The pale-faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the red-men has not yet come again. My day has been too long.

The Delaware patriarch Tamenund speaks these words in the final chapter of the novel, lamenting Uncas’s death. His words clarify the meaning of the title The Last of the Mohicans. Tamenund describes the pain of his old age. He has lived through three generations of Delaware warriors and has witnessed the death of the “last of the Mohicans”; survival has become not a triumph but a burden. You live too long, he suggests, when you are able to witness the extinction of an entire group of people. Although Tamenund speaks mournfully, a spark of hope comes from the words “not yet.” Tamenund implies that though the white men now dominate the land, the progress of history is cyclical and that the Indian people will eventually rise to power again.