Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Pennsylvania Before Republicans Arrived

Paul A. W. Wallace. Indians in Pennsylvania. 2nd Ed. Harrisburg, Pa.: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2005.

The Lenni Lenape, which means Real/Original People, were the dominant Indian tribe in Pennsylvania. There were also known as the Delawares. They were found along the Delaware River and were kinship relations with the Monsee Minisink who resided around the Delaware Water Gap.

Pennsylvania Indians grew corn 3,000 years ago. They made arrowheads from flint and grew tobacco. Tobacco was used for enjoyment and in ceremonies.

Tribes that existed in what is now the United States were much smaller than those that existed in what is now Mexico and Central America. The larger sized populations achieved greater development of tools and built homes, roads, and irrigation systems. They made cereals and had written communication.

Pennsylvania Indians were what is called the Woodland Epoch stage of archeo-social development.

Pennsylvania Indians were considered peaceful amongst themselves, but could be brutal in war with other tribes.

The Susquehannoncks, also known as the Minquas or Andaste, resided along the Susquehanna River.

The Monogehela resided in southwestern Pennsylvania yet were no longer there when white people arrived.

John Smith met with about sixty Susquehannocks in 1608. They wore bear and wolf skins. The Susquehannocks were more advanced in political and military aspects than the Delawares.

The Erichronon resided near Lake Erie. They were conquered by the Iroguois in 1655-6.

The Delawares did not domesticate animals. They got food form hunting, fishing, and growing cereal. Steam sweat lodges were used to cure diseases. Men chopped down trees, built houses, created dams to trap fish, made canoes and weapons, hunted and defended the community in war time. Women raised children and were held in high regard in deciding home affairs. When payments were made to an enemy prevent revenge raiding, women were worth twice more than men.

The Susquehannanocks easily drove the Delawares to the eastern side of the Delaware River in 1633.

Indian warfare generally consisted of a surprise attack, destroy what could be destroyed, take prisoners, and withdraw. Weapons were clubs and spears. Prisoners were often beaten with hatchets and clubs. The tribal women usually determined the life or death fate of prisoners.

The Delaware required that marriage occur outside their community. Each community sent members to a village council. Representatives from this council, known as Captains and sometimes as Kings, would meet with British representatives who referred to those representatives. The British realized these representatives had no authority to make a final agreement to a treaty. Tribal councils, presided by a sachem, were the meetings where decisions were made.

Delaware children were given names at around age six or seven. The name would describe the child’s career path.

A boy was initiated into manhood by being left alone several days in the forest. A spiritual vision was to come to the boy.

Parents arranged Delaware marriages for men around age 17 or 18 and girls around age 13 or 14. The children were not obliged to accept their parent’s choices. Divorce occurred upon expressing a wish to divorce.

Delaware believed spirits were the main reality and that all things have souls. The spirit remains for 11 days, they believed, after death and then on the 12th days goes to the Creator’s home, which is a bright light where all are the same age. The number 12 was sacred, as turtles have 12 marginal back scales. They believe there were 12 levels of Heaven.

The Delaware villages were autonomous to each other. The Iroquois, or Kanosionnis as they referred to themselves, declared a confederation with a strong centralized unity. Women were part of Iroquois councils although only men had positions with titles.

Stickellenamy, an Iroquois representative met with Conrad Weiser and proclaimed “I have had a dream. I dreamed that you gave me a new rifle.” Weiser knew and obeyed the tradition of fulfilling dreams and gave a rifle but added “I, too, had a dream. I dreamt that you gave me that island in the river.” Shickellamy did so but concluded “I will never dream with you again.”

It is believed that 500 to 600 trade ventures were made between New England Indians and white people before 1620. The brisk trade depleted some resources and no beaver were left between the Genesee and Hudson Rivers in 1640. The Iroquois had to find new areas to hunt. The Iroquois raided French traders. The Huron and Susquehannocks made an alliance in 1647. Mohawks failed to block a Huron trading fleet in 1648. The Mohawks and Senecas burned a Huron town in Ontario in 1649. The Iroquois set fire to a Huron village outside St. Louis. The Huron buried their own villages and fled. Some Hurons, known as Wyandot, settled around Detroit and Sandusky and established trade with the French. They established settlements in New Castle, Pa. as well as in Cashocton, Ohio. They would later cede land in between Beaver, Sandusky, and Muskingum Rivers to the Delaware. The Iroquois defeated the Petons in 1649, the Neutrals in 1650, and the Eries in 1654-6. The Susquehannocks drove the Mohawks from Lower Castle. The Mohawks defeated the Susquehannocks in battle in 1660 and a peace was achieved between them in 1673.

The Iroquois and French allied in 1701. The Iroquois declared a neutrality between French and British conflicts and trade with both Conrad Weiser and William Johnson who represented British interests in negotiating agreements with the Iroquois.

The Iroquois accepted and sheltered refugees.

The Conoys, also known as Ganawese, settled in land inside Pennsylvania that the Susquehannocks had left behind, according to a treaty with William Penn.

The Nanticokes who were skilled in using poison and fostered their witchcraft image, settled at the mouth of the Juniata River and, in 1744, asked for safe passage of more to join them. In 1748, they moved into the Nanticoke Flats in Wyoming, Pennsylvania valley in 1753. In 1753, they moved to become part of the Six Nations Confederacy.

The Tuscarora Iroquois discovered whites were stealing their children and selling them into slavery. A white, John Lawson, was captured by Tuscaroras and killed in 1711. War between the British and Tuscaroras lasted until a Tuscarora fort in North Carolina was destroyed in 1713. Tuscarora refugees were allowed to enter the Five Nations, who then became the Six Nations, to include the Tuscaroras.

The Tutelos were driven by other tribes into Pennsylvania around Shamokin. They became part of the Six Nations in 1753.

The Shawnees moved to along the Susquehanna River in 1697. Shawnee fleeing from Carolina arrived in 1707. There were three Shawnee villages that totaled 210 men along the Allegheny and Kiskiminetas Rivers in 1731. The Shawnee attempted to be peaceful towards the Iroquois, English, and French. Yet, after an Iroquois representative was killed when meeting the Shawnee. The Shawnee fled southward. Chartier led some Shawnee on an attack on some English. Kakowetchiky of the Shawnee sent regrets and blamed the British for starting the fight. In 1745, Chartier’s Shawnees allied with the French and attacked some English traders. The Shawnees were driven out by the British.

Six Nation representatives, unfamiliar with European land laws, agreed to sell land to the British without fully understanding to what they were agreeing. It is argued the Indians were not entirely unaware as they had sold land to Minuit in 1638 and to William Penn in 1683 where they realized the sale of land meant their presence on the land had ended. William Penn established land along Brandywine Creek in 1685 for those who sold him land. British settlers later began settling in the Brandywine land. There were also disputes as to whether payments been made.

The Iroquois land was entrusted to New York. William Penn in 1696 obtained a release to New York’s claim to Susquehannock land along the Susquehanna River that the Iroquois had taken.

A 1737 purchase of land from the Delawares led to British claims to more land than the Delawares expected. Land marked for Indians was pushed further and further westward in 1763 and then in 1768. The Iroquois ceded more land to Pennsylvania in 1784 and 1785. Pennsylvania then purchased Seneca rights to land in the Erie Triangle when it purchased the land from the Federal government in 1792. Cornplanter, the Seneca chief, was given three tracts of land.

The Delawares fled their last Pennsylvania homes after attacks by U.S. militia in 1778.

The Munsees left Pennsylvania in 1791 to merge with the Senecas in New York.


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