|Relatives Gladys Tantaquidgeon|
|Name Melissa Zobel|
Occupation Author, Storyteller
|Full Name Melissa Jayne Fawcett|
Born March 24, 1960 (age 55) (1960-03-24)
Alma mater Georgetown University, University of Connecticut, Fairfield University
Books Medicine Trail: The Life and L, Oracles, Fire Hollow, The Secret Guide to Mohegan
Nationality Mohegan, United States
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (born March 24, 1960) is a Mohegan author, historian, and storyteller who serves as both the Medicine Woman and Tribal Historian for the Mohegan Tribe. In addition, she is executive director of the tribe’s cultural and community programs department. Also a prolific writer, Zobel has published many books including the historical biography, Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon, and the futuristic novel Oracles. Some publications appear under her maiden name of Melissa Jayne Fawcett.
Education and family
Tantaquidgeon Zobel served as high school president of The Williams School in New London, Connecticut. After receiving her B.S.F.S. in History and Diplomacy from Georgetown University, where she was both a member of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and recipient of the Lorenze Tsosie Native American Scholarship. Zobel earned an M.A. in History from the University of Connecticut—the school from which both her mother, Jayne Fawcett, and great-aunt, Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon, received degrees. Both are prominent Mohegan figures. Jayne Fawcett grew up on the home site of Reverend Samson Occom, one of the first Christian American Indian ministers. Gladys Tantaquidgeon founded what is now the oldest Indian-run museum in the United States, the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum, in 1931. Dr. Tantaquidgeon also trained the young Zobel in tribal oral traditions, beliefs and sacred practices. Following her death on November 1, 2005, Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon’s life and accomplishments were acknowledged in a New York Times article. In 2012, Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel also earned her M.F.A. from Fairfield University. She has three children: Madeline Fielding Sayet, Rachel Sayet, and David Sayet.
Zobel has served as the storyteller of the Mohegan Tribe and traveled all throughout New England. She has held a number of prestigious tribal positions and elected posts, including the Mohegan Federal Recognition Coordinator from 1992 to 1994 and the first Native American Gubernatorial Appointee to the Connecticut Historical Commission in 1994. As an author, her first recognized work came in 1992, when she was awarded the first annual Non-Fiction Award of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. This accolade was presented for her manuscript, The Lasting of the Mohegans. Zobel later became the first American Indian appointed by Governor Lowell P. Weicker Jr. to the Connecticut Historical Commission. In 1996, Zobel also received the first annual Chief Little Hatchet Award, given in recognition of her efforts in fostering the survival of the Mohegan people. Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children. Zobel also won a $10,000 essay contest in 2009 for an essay in which she shared her perspectives on the difficulties and opportunities of the current economic and political landscape. Additionally, Zobel won a top national award for “The Accomac Business Model.” The contest, called “Native Insight: Thoughts on Recession, Recovery & Opportunity,” was sponsored by the Alaska Federation of Natives, in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.