Chapter 30 Summary
Uncas is brought to the Delaware council meeting to meet with Tamenund and the other elders who will decide Uncas' fate. Uncas remains as defiant and courageous as always. When Tamenund asks who stands before him, Uncas claims his Delaware heritage.
At first Tamenund and the other Delaware in the group are astounded that someone who sneaks into their village like an enemy could claim to have Delaware blood. To add further insult, Uncas also calls Magua a liar. Upon hearing this, although the Delaware are not fond of Magua, the elders decide that Uncas must face what is referred to as the trial of torture.
Several Delaware men rush at Uncas to prepare him for the torture. When they tear his shirt off, however, they discover a beautiful, blue-tinted tattoo of a tortoise on his torso. The tortoise is a sacred symbol of the Delaware people. In addition, Uncas' voice rouses memories in Tamenund's mind of another Indian named Uncas, a man from his youth, whose voice sounded just like Uncas'.
For a while, Tamenund thinks that he has been transported back in time or that he has just awakened from a long dream and that the man named Uncas that he once knew has risen from the dead and is now standing in front of him.
Uncas clears this mystery for the aged chief, telling him that he is a descendant of the ancient tribe that fathered the Delaware people. Recognizing this fact, Tamenund acknowledges that Uncas must be a great Indian, one of the last of the once-great tribe of Mohicans.
Tamenund then asks Uncas if he is a hostage of Magua, to which Uncas replies that he is not. Tamenund also questions Uncas about Hawkeye and Heyward. Uncas tells the chief that although they are white men, Hawkeye and Heyward are friends of the Delaware and should be allowed to go free.
When Tamenund continues to inquire about the white people, particularly the young women, Uncas declares that Alice should be allowed to go with Heyward. Uncas hesitates when the focus is on Cora. According to tradition, when an Indian kidnaps a person, that person must stay with the tribe. Uncas has to admit that Cora is Magua's hostage and must therefore go with Magua.
Upon hearing this, Hawkeye attempts to bargain with Magua, first offering his gun to the Indian. Magua refuses. Then Hawkeye offers himself. He will become Magua's captive if Magua releases Cora. Magua hesitates for a few seconds but decides he wants to keep Cora.
According to the ways of the Delawares, the Indians must allow Magua to return to his tribe and take Cora with him. Before Magua leaves the council meeting, Heyward threatens Magua, telling him that before noon, he will seek revenge on him for taking Cora. Hawkeye reinforces Heyward's threat. Magua scoffs at such a threat and leaves with Cora.