Woodland Indians Forum

You are not logged in.

Announcement

#26 Jul-04-2008 07:07:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4350

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

dennison wrote:

sschkaak:

Will this be your next addition to the bookend or fly swatter collection. big_smile  I wonder if it does that bad can you claim it as business expense for tax write off. LOL



  Al

I'm thinking "doorstop," Al.  But, I don't want to pre-judge it.

Offline

 

#27 Jul-04-2008 07:17:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

sschkaak wrote:

dennison wrote:

sschkaak:

Will this be your next addition to the bookend or fly swatter collection. big_smile  I wonder if it does that bad can you claim it as business expense for tax write off. LOL



  Al

I'm thinking "doorstop," Al.  But, I don't want to pre-judge it.

Cleaning up after my beagle. Those landmines need thick paper.................


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

#28 Jul-07-2008 01:47:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4350

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

New Amazon sales rank:  #1,611,586.   This volume is sinking like a stone.

Offline

 

#29 Jul-07-2008 02:00:pm

lenape
Member
Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

sschkaak wrote:

New Amazon sales rank:  #1,611,586.   This volume is sinking like a stone.

Hate to pre-judge BUT I would venture to say that Dr. Seuss is more historically accurate, "green eggs and ham" anyone?
tongue

Offline

 

#30 Jul-07-2008 02:02:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4350

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

And a LOT less expensive!!!

Offline

 

#31 Jul-07-2008 02:07:pm

lenape
Member
Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

sschkaak wrote:

And a LOT less expensive!!!

lol

Offline

 

#32 Jul-12-2008 02:57:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4350

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Amazon sales rank, today:  #1,840,896.

Offline

 

#33 Jul-12-2008 03:20:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

sschkaak wrote:

Amazon sales rank, today:  #1,840,896.

lol

Offline

 

#34 Jul-12-2008 07:01:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

sschkaak wrote:

Amazon sales rank, today:  #1,840,896.

The Yucatan meteorite  sank slower...........neutral Hmmm.......check out the ratings on Herb Kraft's final and finest tome.........


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

#35 Jul-14-2008 08:53:am

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Posting for sschkaak due to computer/website issues.

"Okay.  Kraft's book, THE LENAPE-DELAWARE INDIAN HERITAGE: 10,000 BC
TO
AD 2000, is ranked at #346,064, today.  That's a pretty good number,
considering the book is a few years old, now, and still costs over $50.
Minderhout's book is brand new, and it's down to below #1,881,000,
today.  It should surpass the #2,000,000 mark, in a few days, unless
somebody buys a copy!  (Take a hint, folks.  Time to slash the price,
considerably!  But, then, maybe they don't really want people to buy
it?)"

Offline

 

#36 Jul-14-2008 04:04:pm

oldsalty
Moderator
From: Long way from the Northern Hem
Registered: Dec-01-2006
Posts: 901

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

I often wonder whether I have the only copy of Krafts Book in Australia. Cost me well over $100 to get here but worth every cent!!
Id hate to spend that sort of money to purchase something innacurate.
Old Salty

Offline

 

#37 Jul-14-2008 09:07:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

tree hugger wrote:

Posting for sschkaak due to computer/website issues.

But, then, maybe they don't really want people to buy
it?

They really don't want it seen now.  It's about to get interesting kids. wink


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

#38 Jul-16-2008 03:26:pm

sschkaak
Moderator
Registered: Sep-17-2007
Posts: 4350

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

BINGO!  #2,011,048, today.  I wonder how much it would jump with a single sale?

Offline

 

#39 Jul-16-2008 07:54:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

sschkaak wrote:

BINGO!  #2,011,048, today.  I wonder how much it would jump with a single sale?

LMAO:lol: !!!!!!!!!


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

#40 Jul-17-2008 09:20:am

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Wow it's sinking fast

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #2,061,446

Offline

 

#41 Jul-17-2008 07:00:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

tree hugger wrote:

Wow it's sinking fast

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #2,061,446

When Sfpplaaak  finally buys a copy (when it costs $1.50) the sales ranks will jump in 6 digits.


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

#42 Jul-25-2008 06:16:pm

lenape
Member
Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Well folks here is the "long awaited" hmm excerpt from this "masterpiece"

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q _n25418301

  Oh boy!!!  roll

Offline

 

#43 Jul-25-2008 06:22:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

One moment fixing your link cause I"m dying here!

Edit to add: I can't find it.

Offline

 

#44 Jul-25-2008 06:27:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Got it

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q … _n25418301



FindArticles > Human Organization > Spring 2008 > Article > Print friendly

Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania

Minderhout, David
Native Americans are an invisible population in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is one of a few states that neither contains a reservation nor recognizes any native group within its borders. State officials steadfastly assert that there are no Native Americans in the state. Yet, according to the U.S. Census, approximately 18,000 Native Americans live in Pennsylvania, and a minimum of 11 different organizations represent them. The authors have surveyed nearly 300 Native Americans within the state and conducted extended ethnographic interviews with 70 others. A chief concern is obtaining state recognition, but bills to grant recognition have failed in the state legislature for nearly 20 years. A significant barrier to recognition is Native Americans' inability to work together. Given the history of Pennsylvania, claims to Native American heritage are difficult to verify, which leads to disagreements over authenticity of identity. This article reviews the efforts to win state recognition, while comparing the circumstances of Pennsylvania's native peoples to similar groups on the East Coast, such as the Abenaki, the Pequots, and the Wampanoags.

Key words: Lenape, state recognition, native peoples, forgotten history, official denial

Invisible Indians: Seeking Recognition in Pennsylvania

There are no Indians in Pennsylvania.

This statement, attributed to a former governor of Pennsylvania, was one we heard repeated often as we began our research. If there were Native Americans in the state, public institutions certainly did not admit their existence. Pennsylvania is one of a very few states that neither contains a reservation nor officially recognizes any Native American group within its borders. This is ironic, because Pennsylvania was one of the first places where Europeans came in contact with Native Americans. Pennsylvania cultures heroes like William Penn and Conrad Weiser are known in large part because of their interactions with native peoples. For a time in the 18th century, Pennsylvania was a sanctuary for Native Americans from all over colonial America, and Tuscaroras, Conoys, Nanticokes, and others migrated into the area. In time, however, the press of European settlement and the spread of smallpox both severely reduced the number of Native Americans and drove them westward. Available texts, such as Kent (1984), Wallace (1981), and Weslager (1972), treat Pennsylvania's Indians as if they disappeared entirely from the state by the late 1700's; the occasional exception to this will be a discussion of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which closed in 1918 (see Richter 2005).

Yet we knew that this could not be true. According to the U.S. Census (2004) 18,348 people in Pennsylvania indicated they were Native Americans in 2000, an increase of 20% since 1990. (Another 34,302 persons identified themselves as "part-Indian1"). Barely a weekend went by without a scheduled powwow or gathering somewhere in the state. There were occasional newspaper stories about school programs or patriotic celebrations featuring local Native Americans. But most of all, we knew people who claimed Native American ancestry-not many, to be sure, but a few nonetheless.

In September 2004, we began crisscrossing the state of Pennsylvania, attending tribal councils and powwows and talking to Native Americans wherever we could. Initially we circulated questionnaire surveys to find out what Native Americans knew about their statuses and what issues they thought were important; 281 usable surveys were returned to us. In April 2006 we began conducting in-depth ethnographic interviews with a sample of the people we contacted; to date we have interviewed 70 Native Americans in tape-recorded sessions lasting 30 minutes to three hours. In the process, we learned a great deal about what concerned Pennsylvania's Native Americans the most, and among the questions of greatest interest was obtaining official state recognition.

Native Americans in Pennsylvania fall into four main groups. First, there are descendants of the Lenape/Delaware2 and Susquehannocks who were resident in the state at the time of contact. Second, there are Mohawks, Senecas, and others from the Six Nations or Iroquois (see Englebrecht 2003); though indigenous to New York State, the Iroquois became very influential in Pennsylvania colonial history in the 18th century, and many settled there. The third group is made up of descendants of native groups that migrated into Pennsylvania in the 18th century. Pennsylvania was then a relative haven for Native Americans fleeing more oppressive colonial policies elsewhere. Examples include Shawnees, Conoys, and Nanticokes (Sipe 1927). Finally, there are Indians from other states who have migrated to Pennsylvania in more recent decades; many came here in the 1950's as a result of U.S. policy to break up reservations and encourage assimilation into the larger American society. These "urban Indians" formed some of the first Native American associations within the state. Our surveys and interviews come from members of all four groups; 32 different native affiliations are represented in our sample.

State Recognition

Pennsylvania has got to be the worst in its treatment of native people. The state of Pennsylvania needs to recognize us. We are the only nationality that must prove we are who we say we are. That in itself is disgusting to me as a human being. I served as a Marine in 1970-73.1 hold down a job, pay taxes, help put my kids through school, but yet because we have native ancestors, we are second class citizens to Pennsylvanians. We are not seen. To say we don't exist here is crazy. All I want from Pennsylvania is for them to recognize our tribe and make grants available to our tribe so we can build a cultural center. That's all I want. Nothing more!" (Lenape man)

Most of the Native Americans with whom we spoke favored obtaining state recognition. Two benefits were most often perceived as deriving from recognition.3 As put by a Lenape woman from Lancaster County,

State recognition to me is important for only a couple of reasons-and it has nothing to do with money. Let's get that dollar sign away-and it doesn't have to do with hunting or fishing without a license. Let's throw that away, too. I've heard those statements made, and I crack up every time I hear it. You have a child and you raise him in your culture. And he goes to school and in the school he hears that there's no such thing as the American Indian. Pennsylvania has no American Indians. How do you think that child must feel? That's one reason. To me, that's one of the important reasons. Then there's the issue of the repatriation of remains. Pennsylvania's museums are full of the bones of our ancestors. We want to give the ancestors proper burials, but because we are not recognized, we have no legal standing to make that request.

As noted, Pennsylvania does not currently extend recognition to any Native American group. This is not because of a lack of effort or interest. The idea of recognizing Native Americans in the state has been raised since the 1970's, and bills have been introduced into the State Assembly annually for the last 17 years. While hearings have been held on the proposed legislation in the past, no vote has been taken in the relevant committees on the issue. In recent years, proponents of recognition have not even been able to force hearings, largely because of the steadfast opposition of a handful of legislators. That opposition is based on a few predictable issues.

The first of these has been casino gambling. There have been discussions about legalizing gambling in the state since the 1980's, but groups ranging from the League of Women Voters to county commissioners expressed opposition, usually on the grounds that legalized gambling would lead to increased crime. In 2002, Edward Rendell won the governorship of Pennsylvania. In running for office, he proposed that casino gambling could be the answer for the state's rising property tax burden, especially for senior citizens (Bames 2004). Once elected, Governor Rendell worked hard to promote gambling, but at the same time he opposed extending recognition to Native Americans for fear that they would open casinos. In fact, when the bill to legalize gambling finally came before the state legislature in 2004 (Campbell 2004), Governor Rendell let it be known that he would veto the bill if it passed because it contained an amendment granting Pennsylvania's Indians the right to petition for gambling rights. The amendment was removed, the bill passed, and the first casino opened for business in Pennsylvania in the fall of 2006. Ironically, the first casino was the Mohegan Sun, owned by the Connecticut Mohegan. Subsequently, the Pequots of Connecticut have been granted the right to build a second Foxwoods Casino in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania's native groups have consistently protested that it is not their intention to build casinos in the state. In fact, the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act explicitly reserves the right to apply for casino privileges to federally recognized tribes, a recognition Pennsylvania's Native Americans do not have and are unlikely to achieve. However, their protests were undermined by the Oklahoma Delawares in 2004 when that group tried to purchase a piece of land in Pennsylvania with the express purpose of opening a casino (Duffy 2004). The matter became moot, however, when a federal appeals court stripped the Oklahoma Delawares of their federal recognition that same year. The land purchase subsequently fell through.

With the legalization of casino gambling, the question of opposing granting state recognition to Pennsylvania's native peoples on those grounds would also seem to be moot, but a second source of opposition has consistently been the fear that Indians would use recognition to win back lands that had been theirs at the time of European contact. Again, native organizations in the state have stated that they have no such interest (or at least that they would not seek to obtain land on which non-Indians are living: "They've got lots of state forest land they could give us.") Two of the largest groups have obtained land privately on which they are building (or planning to build) culture centers/museums. Any legal basis for reclaiming land in Pennsylvania will be hard to establish since William Penn was careful to extinguish native land claims in the 17th century by insisting that native lands be purchased and legal title be obtained for them: they were not simply seized by conquest (Weslager 1972:160-171).

A major obstacle to achieving recognition is the lack of unity among the various native groups within the state. We have been able to identify eleven different such organizations with the state, and we expect that there are probably more. (This number does not include private organizations maintained by individuals or prison ministry groups of which there are several.) Sometimes these groups are affiliated with a specific native nation, such as the Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy of Philadelphia. Others, like the Pittsburgh Indian Center, are regionally based and are composed of members from many nations. There are at least five organizations that purport to represent the indigenous Lenapes/Delawares. While some individual Indians belong to two or more of these organizations, the organizations remain separate and hostile to one another. In many cases, the hostility is both personal and historical; in several cases, organizations split over the choice of officers ("chiefs"). In some cases, the hostility is based on other disagreements. For example, a member of one Lenape organization warned us in an e-mail about being too closely affiliated with another group: "First I want to say that there is an inherent danger in only linking up with one small sect that does not represent more than its own members and has a history of sectarianism towards other Lenape groups in PA... I believe that this organization is only interested in self-promotion." But the most common symptom of disunity is caught in this commonly heard dismissal: "They're all a bunch of Wannabes."

It is easy for legislators to dismiss Native American appeals for recognition when the groups purporting to represent Indians cannot agree among themselves who an Indian is. Even the advocates of Native American identity in the state have experienced frustration over the intergroup conflicts. As an example, we co-hosted a luncheon at Bloomsburg University in April 2006 to bring together Native Americans around the state and university faculty interested in native issues. Pennsylvania appears to be the only state without a university-level Native American Studies Program or Center; in part the luncheon was an attempt to create such a program. We were subsequently told that most of the Native Americans present had never sat down together before. As the luncheon began, we encouraged each of the participants to introduce themselves and say a little about themselves. One man of Cherokee and African-American heritage chose to use this opportunity to assert that he was the only real Indian in the room. Of course, this only angered the other participants who then had to assert their own authenticity. The luncheon proceeded, and discussions followed on several issues, but afterwards several participants told us privately that they would not participate in discussions again "as long as X is involved." (Who "X" was varied from person to person.) An effort to recreate the luncheon in 2007 failed because so few of last year's participants wished to interact with each other again. We have been told by a state legislator who has sponsored a bill to recognize Native Americans in the state that the same thing happened in committee hearings. "You know, it's very sad," she said, "I don't think they will ever agree on anything."

Restoring Native American Identity in Pennsylvania

All of the Native Americans in Pennsylvania with whom we have talked have asserted their authenticity as native peoples. Upon meeting them, we are usually presented with some sort of evidence to support individual claims. These usually include family genealogies, local histories, or family pictures. In addition, most of our informants surround themselves with tangible evidence of a native affiliation. These include jewelry and artwork, Native American music, clothing, and tattoos. They attend powwows and gatherings, belong to organizations with like-minded people, and often speak at least a few words of a native language.4 Identifying themselves as Native Americans is critical to their sense of self, and any criticism of their status is met with anger or derision: "I know who I am. I'm a Native American!"

Nationwide, Native American identity is one of the major issues confronting native populations (Mio 2004, Fogelson 1995). Identity issues for Native Americans have both legal and personal consequences. Trimble, Helms, and Root (2003:268), writing about social and psychological perspectives on ethnic identity, say: "Self-identification and self-declarations are powerful phenomena that strongly influence personality, one's sense of belonging, one's quality of life, and one's sense of connectedness with others who share similar identities." A strong sense of self-identity has been shown to be especially important to teenagers and minorities. Studies done with Native Americans nationwide find that those with a strong sense of native identity are less likely to suffer from severe depression, less likely to feel anxious, and less likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs. Our informants certainly agree. One Lenape man told us,

That's how it was growing up. When you're that way and you can't find where you're supposed to be, there's a piece of that whole history and culture that's missing. Then your family starts tearing apart and you're not connected to the Earth and you're not connected to your culture and you're not connected to your history and the seams of your family start to rip-it becomes chaos. And through my teen years and through my 20's and early 30's, there was nothing but chaos. There was alcoholism, a lot of different drugs, because I didn't fit in. I didn't fit in anywhere. I'm a mixed blood. I'm not raised on a reservation. I'm not with my people.

But how is Native American identity to be defined? Oswalt (1998:5) writes, "In the history of United States Indian law, a uniform definition of an Indian has not existed. In general, however, if a person is considered an Indian by other individuals in the community, he or she is legally an Indian." Other researchers attempt to define Indian identity/ethnicity as a sense of belonging or a way of feeling. David MayburyLewis (2002:47) says that "Ethnicity is like kinship. When people recognize each other as belonging to the same ethnic group, they feel like distant kin, vaguely related to each other through common descent, but so far back that no one can trace the precise relationship." Fogelson (1998:52) uses the word "peoplehood" to signify Native American identity-widely spread networks of differentially connected individuals having reciprocal rights and duties towards one another. He notes that while Europeans looked at native identity from outside inward (i.e., dark skin indicating native status), Native Americans looked inside out (i.e. how you felt about your identity). Castile suggests that native identity is built around a set of shared symbols: "adhering to such shifting symbols is all that is left when every other aspect of the people has changed" (1981:179, emphasis in original).

No matter how native identity is to be defined, asserting it in Pennsylvania is especially difficult. The first contacts between Pennsylvania's indigenous peoples and Europeans occurred in the 1630's. William Penn began purchasing land from the Lenape in the 1680's and the fraudulent Walking Purchase of 1737 disinherited the Lenape of much of their ancestral territory in Pennsylvania. By the 1740's, many of Pennsylvania's indigenous people were either dead from European diseases or displaced; many of the Lenape, for instance, would end up in Canada, Wisconsin, Kansas, or Oklahoma. Those who remained behind intermarried with Europeans, became Christians, took European names and assimilated into the dominant culture. A woman of Lenape descent from Northampton County told us for example,

One of the great strengths of the Lenape was that they assimilated. Many of the other tribes, there would be no way that could happen, and that's why they became extinct or went onto reservations. It may have kept a more pure blood line, but the Lenape who stayed here assimilated. According to the Lenape elders, Lenape women preferred the German farmers to the English. They could make a connection with the German farmers in the area because they were workers, they were farmers, they were more connected to the land. In the Northampton County area here, we've learned from the elders that people would leave their children with the German farmers before they fled to keep from getting killed. One was the daughter of George Rex [an 18th century Lenape sachem]; she was left behind to be raised by the Frantz family. Many of the Frantz's around here don't know that they're related to a Lenape princess (laughs!) if you want to use that word. It was done mainly to keep a connection to the land, which you know is sacred to a native.

Many chose to hide their native ancestry as well as they could. The Lenape woman from Lancaster County said,

To be truthful, you only know what you hear from your parents or your relatives or the other people about your family. In those days, it was not cool to be Indian. Matter of fact, it was dangerous to be Indian. You lost your job if you were Indian. You couldn't go to school, many times, if you were Indian. You certainly couldn't practice your religion because it was disallowed. So the only way you got a feeling of who you were was by listening to the old ones talk, your family talk.

We heard stories of great-grandmothers caught up in the Trail of Tears or children taken off to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School because they were identified as Indians. A Lenape man in Monroe County told us,

But a good amount of people stayed behind and assimilated and grew up in the back woods and grew up in the back area along the rivers and streams-stayed behind. The same thing-they say it's impossible-but the same thing happened in Cherokee. North Carolina and Georgia. Everybody stayed behind there and assimilated. It's not that odd of a deal. There's still places you can go up here and never be seen again. And that's a lot of what our people did, you know.

This strategy made a great deal of sense in the past, but when the 1960's and 1970's arrived, with its emphasis on civil rights and the resurgence of native pride, those people of native heritage who still lived in Pennsylvania found themselves handicapped by their history of assimilation and remaining out of the public eye. Unlike some other native groups in the Northeast, these people had no reservation to rally around, and indigenous political structures, which were loosely defined to begin with, did not survive the 18th century. Native Americans are widely scattered across the state; there are no Native American towns or neighborhoods in Pennsylvania. Today, Indians in Pennsylvania are scouring old courthouse records as well as baptismal, marriage, and death certificates for proof of their heritage. As an example, the Eastern Delaware Nation has recently received a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical Museum and Commission to conduct workshops on genealogical research.

Some social scientists say that someone is an Indian if they say they are (Miller 2003:38-43). But Native Americans know better: they know the larger society demands more definitive proof. And the fact is that there are Wannabes out there: non-Indians who want to be seen as Indians for a variety of personal reasons (Deloria 1998). ANavajo woman living in Lancaster County told us,

The downside to [Wannabes]-the bad side to that iswhen you go to a function and the community is asked to pay a fee-I think they deserve to see native peoples in their native dress speaking their native language and sharing a learning experience with that paying public. My concern with wannabes on that issue, they see their neighborhood people dressed in gauze, K- Mart skirts, inappropriately dressed, kids running around as if they're from the cave man era. Men running around inappropriately dressed with everything hanging out. They leave thinking that's the way we live. It isn't."

A Waccamaw woman from Allegheny County said,

The problem with Wannabes is that they think they can be an Indian by reading a book. But at the end of the day, they can go home and leave the Indian ways behind. We can't. They're playing at it; we're living it. And it's not easy being an Indian in Pennsylvania.

Most of the people with whom we spoke freely admitted that they were not "pure bloods," but they did not see why that should be barrier to their being accepted as Native Americans. A Shawnee man from Tioga County wrote in an e-mail that,

Yes, I am a 'mixed blood,' Shawnee and German. And yes, I do know my heritage quite well, both sides. How could I honor one without honoring the other? I have no shame for who I am. No one should have shame because they were born 'mixed.' But it is my native ancestry that I have embraced, and for many years. I am a dancer, a drummer, and a veteran warrior. I am proud to honor that part of me that is Shawnee regardless of what any 'full blood' might think. I am Shawnee."

Many of our informants expressed frustration that they had to prove they were Indians. "No one asks an Italian to prove he's Italian," said a Mohawk man from Bradford County, "Why do I have to prove who I am?

State recognition would affirm Native American identities within the state. Non-Indians have often asked us what benefits Native Americans would derive from achieving state recognition. One reviewer of this paper wrote, "No one is stopping Native Americans from identifying and seeing themselves as Native Americans [just as] no one stops an Italian or German from acknowledging those aspects of one's ethnic heritage." Native Americans in Pennsylvania do not share those opinions. As one of our informants put it, "It's time people stopped denying us our heritage. If we are recognized, maybe they'd start to see the truth." Another said, "We're the ones who are always being asked to prove who we are. It would be nice to not have to do that anymore."

Current Negotiations

The current bill before committee would grant recognition to any group or individual who can prove that their ancestors were living in Pennsylvania before 1790. Aboard composed of political appointees and Native Americans would oversee applications for recognition. What documentation is necessary for proving residency before 1790 is spelled out in the bill. The proposed process is somewhat similar to the Bureau of Acknowledgement and Research (B AR), the branch of the Bureau of Indian Affairs that evaluates applications made for federal recognition. The BAR, however, does not have Native American representation, and its standards for recognition are far more complicated and difficult to meet. The author of the current bill sees the bill as a compromise intended to grant recognition to as many Native Americans in the state as is possible, while avoiding the issue of "urban Indians," most of whom come from groups that are recognized elsewhere. The author believes that if the bill could be reported out of committee, it would win easy passage in the State Assembly.

But rather than pleasing Native Americans in the state, the bill has opened up new controversies. In particular, the Lenape Nation has come out in strong opposition to the proposed bill, arguing that only the Lenape should receive state recognition. The chief of the Lenape Nation told us in reference to other organizations,

They're a group that consists of all different tribes. They come together. They allow you to belong and you can promote the fact that you're Indian. The problem with that-they are social groups. They are not an indigenous tribe. They are not tied to the indigenous people of what is now considered the state of Pennsylvania. Their ancestors may or may not have traded with William Penn. Their ancestors may or may not have been involved in the Walking Purchase. Their ancestors may or may not have been involved in the Treaties of Easton. That's fine. But why would the state of Pennsylvania want to recognize an Apache person or a Lakota person or a Seminole person or a Cherokee person or any other person other than the ones that are indigenous to this state? That's the problem. I don't have a problem with anybody else living here. But I wouldn't dare go out to South Dakota, go up on Pine Ridge and demand that the state of South Dakota recognize me as an indigenous person of South Dakota.

The opposition of the Lenape Nation is significant because for years they have taken the lead in negotiating with state officials and in promoting the significance of recognition. They have written their own legislation which would prohibit state recognition to anyone other than those with clear genealogical links to the Lenape. They now say that they will refuse recognition if the current bill before the legislature is approved.

This is an inopportune time, perhaps, to take such a stand. In the 2006 elections, the Democratic Party won a slim majority in the State Assembly for the first time since 1990. (Republicans still control the State Senate.) With the change in leadership, committee memberships and leaders have changed, and key Republican legislators who had blocked bills promoting native recognition are no longer committee chairpersons. However, as a result of some unusual negotiations, a Republican was elected Speaker of the Assembly, and newly reelected Governor Rendell has been non-committal on the issue of recognition. A united native voice might find a real opportunity in 2007 to achieve this long-sought goal, but the on-going divisions make that possibility appear slim.

Other Nations, Other Stories

We have made presentations on this subject over the past year in various venues, and we have been received with skepticism by non-Indians. We have been told that Native Americans in Pennsylvania should not qualify for recognition because there are so few of them; they have no reservation or common tribal organization; and they will have a hard time proving their heritage. (As long-time residents of Pennsylvania, our own skepticism lies more with our knowledge of the Byzantine nature of state politics.) While all of these assertions may be true, they have not precluded other native groups in the eastern United States from obtaining some degree of legal recognition. No set standard exists for guaranteeing recognition, especially state recognition. In fact, it could easily be concluded that the process of recognition is largely haphazard.

Examples include the Abenaki, which were granted state recognition in Vermont just this past May (Ullman 2006). Like the Lenape, the Abenaki have no reservation in the United States and they have assimilated into the larger society to survive. Like the Lenape, the majority of Abenaki live elsewhere, in this case in Quebec; we interviewed several Abenaki who are resident in Pennsylvania. Another example is the Gay Head Wampanoag of Martha's Vineyard (Weinstein 1989). Again, we see a native group with a few hundred members who do not have a reservation, yet they are federally recognized. Perhaps the most famous example in the Northeast are the Mashantucket Pequots who obtained federal recognition in 1983 with less than 300 tribal members (Hauptman and Wherry 1989). The Mashanruckets do have a reservation and, of course, they own the Foxwoods Casino, the largest casino in the world; as one of our Lenape informants put it, "Everyone wants to be a Pequot."

An even more interesting example is the Nanticoke-Lenape Tribe, which has state recognition in New Jersey. The NanticokeLenape claim 10,000 members on their tribal rolls, though they, too, do not have a reservation. It is ironic that the Lenape who live on one side of the Delaware River are regarded as "real" Indians, but on the other side of the River in Pennsylvania, the same people are seen as pretenders and Wannabes.

In each of these cases, there are striking similarities to the circumstances of Native Americans in Pennsylvania. In each case, some local factor led to state or federal recognition. The Abenaki had the support of a prominent Vermont state politician. The Wampanoag did not own a reservation, but they do own property in an exclusive tourist destination. Pennsylvania's Native Americans are invisible to the general public, but the many events the Wampanoag sponsor on Martha's Vineyard each year raise their visibility considerably. The Pequots had both a reservation and a history of visibility; their contribution to the economy of their home state, Connecticut, cannot be overlooked. The Nanticoke-Lenapes of New Jersey have both numbers on their side and a historically concentrated and visible community in Bridgeton; like the others, they have sponsored a great many social events which non-Indians attend and enjoy.

But Native Americans in Pennsylvania also sponsor numerous powwows and gatherings to which the public is invited; most are well-attended. An example is the Rising Nation Journey, a canoe trip down the Delaware to Pennsbury Manor, the restored home of William Penn, sponsored by the Lenape Nation. The Journey is dedicated to the preservation of Lenape culture as well as to the cleaning up of the Delaware River Basin. The Lenape are joined in this effort by a variety of environmental and community groups; each of the non-native organizations signs a Treaty of Renewed Brotherhood, agreeing to promote the continued existence of native culture. As noted before, two of the native organizations in the state have announced plans to build cultural centers/museums to promote native culture to the general public; a Native American museum already exists in Allentown which sponsors a powwow and many community events throughout the year. Other native groups in the Northeast took these steps after they achieved recognition; Pennsylvania's Native Americans hope their efforts will lead to recognition.

Looking at other states also shows that the lack of unity among Pennsylvania's Native Americans need not be a barrier to recognition. The Lenape community in New Jersey is significantly divided over the issue of casino gambling, and a rival Lenape organization has been created to challenge the Nanticoke-Lenape's pledge not to build a casino. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, which did not have a central tribal organization until the 21sl century, but which achieved state and a limited federal recognition decades before. Karen BIu (1980:1) even argues that the lack of unity among them was an advantage, since having many individuals debating the rights of the Lumbee in public arenas worked to raise their visibility in the state.

Conclusion

In short, we believe there is hope for Native Americans in Pennsylvania in their quest for greater visibility and state recognition. As a concluding statement, we offer this response by the chief of the Lenape Nation to the question, "What would you most like to say to the people of Pennsylvania?:

We're not asking for any special hunting or fishing licenses. We're not asking for any land back. We're not asking for any casinos. All we're asking is that the state of Pennsylvania recognizes the people they recognized in 1682 and in 1737 and in 1752 and throughout history, they recognized the Lenape people as being the indigenous people of Pennsylvania. We don't want nothing special. We don't want anything. The only thing we really want is really helpful for the state of Pennsylvania. We want to celebrate the culture of Pennsylvania, which will help tourism. So, that's not a bad thing. We just want to have people come and find the correct history instead of the things that have been taught-that there's nobody here. We're still here. I guess that's what the main thing would be-that we're still here.

Notes

1 The 2000 census was the first to allow people to identify themselves as "combinations," e.g., Lenape/Irish. This undoubtedly led to an increase in the numbers of persons claiming Native American ancestry. As Nagel ( 1995:951 ) points out, as perceptions of Native Americans changed and became more positive in the 1960's and 1970's, the number of persons willing to identify themselves as Native Americans increased.

2 In the 17th century, Europeans initially called the native people of what would become Delaware, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania, "Lenape" or "Leni Lenape." These labels were apparently used among Native Americans themselves in referring to the Lenape as the "original" inhabitants of the region, as "Lenape" referred to the "original" or "common" people. By the late 17th and early 18"1 centuries, Europeans were referring to Native Americans by the rivers they lived along. Since the Lenape lived in the Delaware River Basin (named after Lord de la Warr, the first Governor of Virginia, Sir Thomas West), many Europeans chose to refer to the Lenape as Delawares. Today the two labels co-exist. While the Lenapes living in Oklahoma are legally known as Delawares, Lenapes in Pennsylvania generally prefer the earlier label. Most Lenape organizations in Pennsylvania call themselves Lenape, though the Eastern Delaware Nation of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania is an exception. Individuals we interviewed called themselves by either term, or by related names, such as Munsee or Umlatchgo. The problems of identifying Pennsylvania's Native Americans in the past is discussed by Weslager (1972) and Wallace (1981).

3 We report here what our informants believe will be the benefits of state recognition. However, the legislation before the Pennsylvania legislature explicitly denies any rights or entitlements to Native Americans other than recognition itself.

4 For most of our informants, native identity was Pan-Indian. Pennsylvania's Indians have adopted many Plains and Southwest customs including wearing turquoise jewelry, attending Plains-style vision quests and sweat lodges, and using long-stemmed "peace pipes" and sage smudging in ceremonies. At the same time, they strive to wear authentic Lenape, Cherokee, Shawnee, etc. regalia to dances and powwows, and efforts are underway to teach Lenape, Cherokee or other languages to both adults and children.

References

Barnes, Tom

2004 Legislature Votes Reform of Slot Machine Measure. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 21, 2004. Al.

Blu, Karen

1980 The Lumbee Problem: The Making of an American Indian People. Omaha: University of Nebraska Press.

Campbell, Jackie

2004 Pennsylvania Approves Slot Machines at Tracks, Casinos. URL: (accessed January 9, 2008).

Castile, George Pierre

1981 On the Tarascanness of the Tarascans and the Indianness of the Indians. In Persistent Peoples: Cultural Enclaves in Perspective. G. Castile and G. Kushner, eds. pp. 171-191. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Deloria, Philip

1998 Playing Indian. Hartford: Yale University Press.

Duffy, Shannon

2004 Indian Tribe Sues Over Pennsylvania Land. URL: (accessed January 9, 2008).

Englebrecht, William

2003 Iroquoia: The Development of a Native World. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.

Fogelson, Raymond D.

1997 Perspectives on Native American Identity. In Studying Native America: Problems and Prospects. R. Thornton, ed. pp. 40-59. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Hauptmann, Laurence and James D. Wherry, eds.

1990 The Pequots in Southern New England: The Fall and Rise of an American Indian Nation. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Kent, Barry

1984 Susquehanna's Indians. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Anthropological Series No. 6.

Maybury-Lewis, David

2001 Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups and the State. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Miller, Bruce G.

2003 Invisible Indigenes: The Politics of Non-Recognition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Mio, Jeffrey

2004 On Teaching Multiculturalism: History, Models and Context. In Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Minority Psychology. G. Bernai, J. Trimble, A. Burlew, and F. Long, eds. pp. 119-146. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Nagel, Joane.

1995 American Indian Ethnic Renewal. American Sociological Review. 60(6): 947-965.

Oswalt, Wendell

1998 This Land Was Theirs: A Study of Native Americans. 7th Edition. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co.

Richter, Daniel

2005 Native Americans' Pennsylvania. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania History Studies Series, No. 28.

Sipe, C. Hale

1927 The Indian Chiefs of Pennsylvania. Lewisburg, PA: Wennawoods.

Trimble, Joseph E., Janet Helms, and Maria Root

2005 Social and Psychological Perspectives on Ethnic and Racial Identity. In Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Minority Psychology. G. Bernai, J. Trimble, A. Burlew, and F. Long, eds. pp. 239-275. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Ullmann, Maryann

2006 Vermont Finally Recognizes the Abenaki. Cultural Survival. 30(3):8.

U.S. Census Bureau

2004 The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2000. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce.

Wallace, Paul A.

1980 Indians in Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Anthropological Series No. 5.

Weinstein, Laurie

1989 The Wampanoag. New York: Chelsea House.

Weslager, C.A.

1972 The Delaware Indians: A History. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

David Minderhout is professor of anthropology, Bloomsburg University, and Andrea Frantz is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University.

Copyright Society of Applied Anthropology Spring 2008
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

Offline

 

#45 Jul-25-2008 06:33:pm

lenape
Member
Registered: Feb-11-2008
Posts: 1779

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

tree hugger wrote:

One moment fixing your link cause I"m dying here!

Edit to add: I can't find it.

Sorry about that????????smile

Offline

 

#46 Jul-25-2008 06:35:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Jesus! I can't even get a quarter through this without having an a stroke. Be back later.

neutral

Offline

 

#47 Jul-25-2008 06:36:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

lenape wrote:

tree hugger wrote:

One moment fixing your link cause I"m dying here!

Edit to add: I can't find it.

Sorry about that????????smile

No problem thanks for the heads up! I may have to go throw up before I read the rest though.

Offline

 

#48 Jul-25-2008 08:10:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

tree hugger wrote:

I may have to go throw up before I read the rest though.

He's comparing us (The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape) a continuous community that did not marry outside our kith and kin with a bunch of one percenters and wannabes who met each other as adults. Is he nuts? yikes
  He has not shown one "continuous community" of interelated families which makes up a "tribe". How much research has he actually done?
  Maybe Minderhout should show up to a Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Gathering where a couple of hundred people are going in and out all weekend who can honestly call each other "cousin" through blood or marriage. Whose oldest elder's parents were raised around one another as children.
  I remember when "Chief" Bob Ruth was white. I know people who were there when he was "adopted" by Bill Thompson. That is what I know for fact.

Last edited by NanticokePiney (Jul-25-2008 08:11:pm)


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

#49 Jul-25-2008 08:52:pm

tree hugger
Site Admin
Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11101

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

I've thought about this all day, but I'm going to go ahead and give my "nosebleed" opinion on a public forum.

Look how hard Ray Whritenour and others tried to prove Evan Pritchard's stupidity, no one listens. Unless, and I'm serious here, Curtis and Kerry say something or someone from an enrolled position does anything, this is going to get worse. Why on earth are you all being quiet? I know you read here, I know you know the truth.


When I said I had to go get sick, I wasn't joking. I will be very surprised if any of them say a thing at this powwow this weekend. I am so disgusted that this is being backed by a University. Worse by people that have some sort of power to speak out against it.

I seriously think I've given up. This is the most idiotic thing I've ever seen.

I hope someone proves me wrong, but I highly doubt it.

Offline

 

#50 Jul-25-2008 09:07:pm

NanticokePiney
Member
From: Hopewell Twp., New Jersey
Registered: Jul-10-2007
Posts: 4214

Re: "Invisible Indians" of PA

Not just enrolled Delawares. But where are the other experts? Where's John Kraft?  We have 2 of the most knowledgable, respectable experts on the Lenape speaking out on this forum. Why doesn't the others follow? I'm nobody. Some backwoods half Nanticoke half Piney who lives outside of Alloway. But at least I'm speaking out. I know the truth. I know who and what these "Lenape" really are. neutral


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
---------------------------------------------------
      Warning:  Some Profanity
This might cause you to experience reason

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson