Theresa Hayward BellAmerican Indian activist
The daughter of a military officer, Bell moved frequently as a child. However, as a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Indian tribe, she spent considerable time at the reservation in Mashantucket, Conn. After graduating from Ledyard High School in Ledyard, Conn., around 1970, Bell began working on tribal affairs, helping promote a resurgence in Pequot identity. In the 1970s she served on the tribal council and the housing authority. In the late 1980s Bell served on the Connecticut governor's task force on Indian affairs. In 1989 she became responsible for managing tribal events, such as lectures and cultural programs. In addition, she initiated a tribal library and founded the Pequot Times, a tribal newspaper. In 1994 Bell became executive director of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Mashantucket. She was also named Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Reparation Officer. In 1999 she received the Harriet Tubman Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the National Organization of Women.