The Cape Cod woods were flush with quail, partridge, rabbit and deer.
There’s the Cape Cod boy, and there is Mills, the high school star athlete, who went into the Army after finishing high school, and from there went to Arnold College to play football and run track. He was later athletic director at Falmouth High.
In the Army, Mills first honestly connected with his Wampanoag heritage; one night at Fort Dix, a group of soldiers were sitting around, and a young Iroquois from New York state started a tribal dance. A Chippewa from Montana joined him; it was that moment, far from Mashpee, that Mills first recognized his Indian background as something to be celebrated. When he returned to Mashpee 15 months later, he went directly to the tribal leaders, and said “teach me.”
In 1956, in the Old Indian Church at Mashpee, the Rev. C.C. Wilson and Supreme Sachem Ousa Mequin — Yellow Feather — declared Mills chief: “You receive the name Flying Eagle, and, as such you are in charge of all Council Meetings held by the Indians of Mashpee, Massachusetts, and none is above you in any office.”
When I visited Mills in his warm cottage the other day, he made us lunch — corn chowder and lobster salad on a toasted roll. He was taking a pot of chowder to his daughter who wasn’t feeling well. Photographs of the recent snow and of grandchildren lay in ordered piles on the kitchen table, ready to be put into weekly letters to friends. The phone rang a lot — more friends calling to chat. Mills still corresponds with high school and Arnold College classmates, if not almost everyone else who has had the fortune to know him. He has five children, many grandchildren, and some great ones. He even gets along well with his two ex-wives; some would say that alone describes a chiefly character.