This article traces a long trajectory of hymnic placemaking within the Brothertown Indian Nation from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Since their tribe’s inception, Brothertown people have repurposed the forms and rituals of Christian hymnody in order to maintain connections to ancestral homelands, navigate and interpret unfamiliar terrain, and construct and shape tribal spaces. Samson Occom’s (Mohegan/Brothertown) A Choice Collection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs; Intended for the Edification of Sincere Christians, of all Denominations (1774) cultivated this distinctive mode of placemaking within the Native community that formed at Brothertown, New York. Opening up several key moments in the hymnal’s nearly two-hundred-and-fifty-year history, this article reads the Collection’s figures of place in relation to the embodied engagements it has prompted over time, from the daily travel it motivated across the eighteenth-century town to the hollow square formation Brothertown Indians used in 2018 when performing hymns at Yale. By foregrounding the bodily orientations toward place that are promoted by sung hymn-texts and develop alongside their sustained use, the article demonstrates how sonic expressions continue to supply materials for Indigenous placemaking among Brothertown singers today. This hymn-singing tradition, tied to specific homelands and yet remarkably portable, illuminates the situatedness of Indigenous poetic practice under the conditions of settler colonialism.

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