Norwich Bulletin - Norwich, Conn.
Mohegans prepare to raze Norwich’s Masonic Temple
March 1, 2006
The tribe had been debating what to do with the property since it purchased it from the city in 1999. The building, a piece of Norwich history dating to the 1920s, has been in violation of building codes for some time and restoring the property for another use would be too costly.
The tribe said in 2003 it wanted to replace the temple with a burial ground and memorial park. When the temple was built, many Mohegan graves were desecrated and remains of those buried there were burned.
"The Mohegan Royal Burial Grounds are truly one of our tribe's most sacred sites," said Tribal Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs Bozsum. "Our ancestors were laid to rest there, and it has been the hope and prayer of every generation that we would some day be able to return ownership and care of this precious land to the Mohegan Tribe."
Once the building and foundation is removed, a project that is expected to take about three months, the tribe will proceed with its efforts to return the site to its natural state.
The tribe has also discussed a donation to the city after the demolition of the building, rumored to be worth $1 million. But tribal leaders did not commit to a number or donation Wednesday.
The demolition plan is supported by Norwich city officials.
"The Tribe’s extensive research clearly confirms the historical importance of the Mohegan Royal Burial Grounds and we recognize and honor their decision to once and for all permanently protect this sacred site," said Norwich Mayor Ben Lathrop.