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#1 Feb-20-2015 11:04:am

sschkaak
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Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present, edited by David J. Minderhout, published by Bucknell University Press, 2013 - a review.


This collection of articles must be reviewed as two separate books. The first one is about Indians in the Susquehanna Valley in the past. The second one is about Indians in Pennsylvania in the present. Regarding the first, Minderhout presents what appears to be a good summary of “Native American Prehistory in the Susquehanna River Valley," a brief timeline of Indian history; and, Paul A. Nevin gives a good account of the rock art along the Susquehanna. Things begin to go downhill, after these first three chapters, and really plummet when the many undocumented claims of modern-day Pennsylvanians to Indian ancestry begin, somewhere near the end of the fourth chapter and continue to the end. In this critique, I will confine my review to this second part of the book. Please note that I hold no personal animosity toward undocumented claimants. Their claims might be true—and, hopefully, someday they will be shown to be so. As of this date, however, no evidence, aside from family stories, has been presented. And, I know from personal experience that such family stories can simply be untrue.

Once again, as with his 2008 book, Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania, co-authored with Andrea Frantz, Minderhout and his other essayists offer no evidence, whatsoever, in this latest book, that any of the people in Pennsylvania, who claim to be Indians, are, in fact, Indians—or, even descendants of Indians. Their only way to attempt validation of their claims is through hearsay family stories of Indian ancestry. “…as we traveled around the state, interviewing people who claimed native descent …we met hundreds of people who emphatically believed they held native ancestry…" (page x) “As one of our informants, a woman of Lenape descent from Luzerne County, puts it, ‘We are lost in terms of bloodline here in Pennsylvania…" (pages xii-xiii) “…there are a number of people who believe they are descended from the indigenous Lenape and Susquehannock peoples." (page 104) “Many others in Pennsylvania are increasingly claiming native ancestors based mostly on family histories." (page 107) “He was told by his father that he had Shawnee background. …However, he has not been able to definitively prove the genealogical link in his family to the Shawnee." (page 107) “A man of Lenape descent said, ‘…Many times you can only surmise that a person was an Indian from indirect information." (page 108)

In his chapter, Donald Repsher continues this theme: “One might think …the Lenape would have left Pennsylvania lock, stock and barrel. Family histories show this is not to be true." (page 118) “Many family histories in Pennsylvania testify to the presence of Indian ancestors." (page 118) “…German farmers also tended to sympathize with people who had land taken from them … When opportunities arose, they married Lenape women. Private family traditions testify to this." (page 119)

Minderhout, Frantz and Dowsett repeat the refrain in Chapter 6: “…Pennsylvanians have come forward to assert that they have at least some native heritage, but the difficulties encountered in the effort to prove these claims are hard to overcome." (page 128) “

In his chapter, Kenneth R. Hayden writes, “I have spent the last forty years actively seeking genealogical evidence of my family…" (page 175) However, he never tells us what that research has produced!

In her Afterword to the book, Ann Dapice writes, in an unintentionally ironic twist: “…Indians, more than other races, seem to have to deal with people who think someone in the family may be Indian— …This is the ‘wannabe’ phenomenon." [Sic!]

One rationale for the lack of documentary evidence comes up, again and again: That the supposed Indian ancestors of these people, out of fear of reprisals, on being discovered, went into hiding, somehow. “Native peoples in the Susquehanna country, …often feared to identify themselves publicly as Indian in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries." (page ix) “Many Lenapes moved into Ohio …, while those who stayed behind in Pennsylvania hid their identities and assimilated into European society." (page 103) “…a Lenape man living in Monroe County told the author: ‘But a good amount of people stayed behind and assimilated and grew up in the back woods…" (page 103) “…some of those descendants who are living today still do not wish to talk about possible Indian ancestors." (page 118)  “They adopted new names and kept their identities secret from all except their own people." (page 118) “The old saying was, ‘Never write anything down.’" (page 124) “For decades, these assimilated people hid…" (page127)

What makes outsiders skeptical about all these explanations and excuses is the fact that Indian descendants, in the Eastern states (including Pennsylvania), have very little trouble amassing documentation which clearly provides evidence of their American Indian ancestry. There are federal census, military, vital statistics, court, and other records which attest to the Indian ancestry of many Eastern people. It is quite true that Indian descendants in the East are frequently misidentified—but, not ALWAYS! There are plenty enough documents that do provide the required evidence. So, it is a complete puzzle as to why this isn’t the case with ANY of these Pennsylvania claimants to Lenape and other American Indian descent.

The book does give some vague references to what seems like clues to possible evidence: “…many families are still discovering their native backgrounds, backed in some cases by modern technologies such as DNA testing." (page xiv) BUT, not a single instance of this kind of proof is given in this book! “Two of the author’s informants have genealogical data to prove their relationship to Charles Armstrong, a Susquehannock…" (page 91)  BUT, that “genealogical data" is never reproduced in this book! And, what is meant by the term, “relationship," here? That can cover any degree of relationship—and even a marital (rather than “blood") relationship! “The author has interviewed people in Pennsylvania who can show family ties to Mary Jemison…" and she is called “their ancestress." (page 107) BUT, Mary Jemison was a white woman, and what is meant by “family ties"? And, “ancestress" can mean “lineal ancestor" OR “collateral ancestor."  In the latter case, there may be no Indian blood, at all! None of this is made clear, and no genealogical charts are provided. Donald Repsher writes: “…at least one family’s German ancestor, early in the nineteenth century, traveled all the way to Ohio to bring back a Lenape woman who he had married." (pages 118-119)  He claims that there are many living descendants of this couple living in Northampton and Monroe counties, Pennsylvania, today. BUT, as always, absolutely no evidence is given to back this statement. Not even a single name is produced to show who this Lenape ancestress was supposed to be. He states that “Some of the Indian descendants of those who returned to intermarry, or who had never gone away, are now …researching genealogies." (page 119)  BUT, none of this research is ever shown, here! Note that he doesn’t say they have found anything useful—only that they are “researching."  Repsher writes about his unnamed friend (who we know, from other accounts, to be Bob Red Hawk Ruth of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania), that some of his friend’s ancestors were the famous Lenapes, Red Hawk, Killbuck and White Eyes. (page 122) BUT, again, not a single shred of evidence showing these Indians to be direct ancestors of Repsher’s “friend" is produced. There is a repeat of the legend that a daughter of the Lenape, George Rex, married a German farmer (page 128), which I disproved in my review of Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania. To make a long story short, this supposed “daughter" of Geroge Rex was shown to have been born sixteen years after the death of George Rex!

The single most relevant and promising statement, regarding the American Indian ancestry of some Pennsylvania people, is given by Susan Taffe Reed, in her chapter: “A significant percentage of the Eastern Delaware Nations’ membership is descended from the families historically referred to as the ‘Pool Tribe…"  She goes on to say, “…although not all members of the Vanderpool and associated families are necessarily Eastern Delaware Nations members." (pages 159-160)  This family has been noted in previous publications, from the 1940’s and 1970’s, as being descendants of one of Sir William Johnson’s half-Iroquois daughters. These are secondary documents, but earlier than the rush to claim Indian ancestry. So, this might prove to be a fruitful place to discover such ancestry. HOWEVER, I have seen no primary documents that show any connection of the Pennsylvania Vanderpool family with American Indian forbears. None of the many, many Vanderpools are ever enumerated as “Indian" in the various federal censuses or military enlistment documents that I’ve examined. They are almost universally listed as “White."  I saw one person listed as “Black."  DNA testing may prove their ancestry, someday. BUT, right now, where is the evidence?

In truth, some of these Pennsylvania claimants don’t even believe one has to have Indian ancestry to be an Indian! Susan Taffe Reed writes of “Jeff Yellow Fox, who is adopted into an Eastern Delaware Nations family…" (page 170)  And, Ken Hayden writes, “To be related obviously means more than blood or DNA lines." (page 182)  This standard doesn’t even require lineal descent from an American Indian!

As with the previously published work, Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania, this book attempts to muddle the issue of acknowledgement by the repetitive use of false analogies. For example, several times the book lists instances of intermarriages between Whites and Indians. “In 1834, Lewis and Clark …encountered blonde, blue-eyed Mandans, the offspring of French explorers and trappers. The same thing was happening in Pennsylvania in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." (page xiii)  BUT, all of these offspring were living with Indians—not Whites.
Because modern Pennsylvania claimants to Indian ancestry do not claim to be full-bloods, Minderhout writes, “In this regard, they are no different than many other people of Native heritage in the eastern United States."  He gives, as examples, the Lumbee, the Abenaki, the Mohegan, the Pequot, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, and the Shinnecock. (page xv) BUT, he fails to note that members of all these tribes—unlike the Pennsylvania claimants—have many, many documents which evidence their American Indian ancestry. A quotation from Weslager is cited: “…blue-eyed babies were being born to Lenape women by 1633." (page 105)  BUT, these babies stayed with their Indian mother. They didn’t enter White society! Repsher writes, “…the Lenape continued their tradition of welcoming people into their villages. One of their prophets was born of German parents and adopted into the tribe." (pages 121-122)  I suppose he’s speaking of Peter Klingerschmidt, who was captured as a boy and raised among the Munsee. BUT, he stayed with the Tribe. He didn’t return to White society! (And, he wasn’t a “prophet."  He had a vision song which he recited in the Big House. That didn’t make him a “prophet"!)  My point is that, while, yes, intermarriage did occur between the races—that only meant that mixed-bloods were brought up with, and as, American Indians; not as Whites! In a curiously unguarded moment, my point is driven home by the authors, themselves, as follows: “Axtell quotes an eighteenth-century source as saying ‘thousands of Europeans are Indians.’ Hector de Crevecoeur then added ‘and we have no examples of even one of those Aborigines having from choice become Europeans!’" (page 107)

The authors also offer two diametrically opposed arguments. On the one hand, they claim that women were treated much better and had a better life among the Indians; so, therefore, European women preferred to stay with their Indian captives. (page 122) On the other hand, they claim that Indian women chose to marry into, and become part of, Euro-American society, where women were, according to them, treated much worse! (page 127)

Let me end this critique with the errors.

Page ix. The editor writes that this book "differs from earlier works about the Native Americans of Pennsylvania and contiguous areas in that it presumes that people of native background continue to live and celebrate their heritage in the region." This statement is inexplicable! In the first place, "contiguous areas" include New York, New Jersey and Delaware, all of which have living indigenous native people who have been written about in many, many works, over the years. There are innumerable books and articles about the Iroquois of New York, by sundry authors; and Frank Speck, Frank Stewart, Charles Philhower, Clinton Weslager, James Revey, Herbert Kraft, John Strong, Edward Lenik, George Flemming, John Norwood, and others have all published earlier works than this, which include mention of the modern-day Algonquian Indian descendants of New Jersey, Delaware and New York, still living in those states. So, leave the "contiguous areas" out of this. Secondly, Minderhout must have forgotten the earlier work he, himself, co-authored: Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania, published in 2008, which also "presumes" descendants of the aboriginal people still live in Pennsylvania!

Page xiv. Of all the false or misleading statements in this book, the following one, to me, is the most egregious: "An Oklahoma Delaware named Nora Thompson Dean had collected Lenape stories and vocabulary in the Unami dialect in the 1950's." This, more than anything else, shows Minderhout's nearly total unfamiliarity with the wealth of literature on Lenape history, culture and language which is available. Nora Thompson Dean ("Touching Leaves Woman") [1907-1984] wasn't some assimilated Delaware descendant who went around collecting stories and words in the 1950's--like some itinerant dilettante! She was a full-blood Lenape traditionalist whose first language was Lenape, who grew up, and remained, a thoroughly fluent speaker of that language. She was a traditional Lenape visionary, herbalist, storyteller, name-giver, clothesmaker, craftswoman and cook. And, she was sought out by the most distinguished academics, anthropologists, linguists and historians for her immense and unmatched knowledge on all subjects pertaining to the REAL Lenape people. This characterization of her, as some amateur collector of cultural remnants, displays a depth of ignorance unforgiveable in a book about the Indians of Pennsylvania. Then, adding insult to injury, the author adds, "...by the conference of 2008, Pennsylvanians of Lenape descent were taking those earlier materials, expanding on them, and teaching them to others." In fact, what these so-called "Pennsylvanians of Lenape descent" were actually doing was learning some of Mrs. Dean's language materials, and the materials of other fluent Oklahoma Lenape speakers, and presenting it as part of their own linguistic heritage, in order to bolster their negligible claims to Lenape ancestry, by demonstrating they knew something of the language.

Page 2. All mixed-up, the editor states that Heckewelder’s interpretation of the name of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, Queischachgekhanne, was “a Susquehannock word …meaning ‘the long reach river.’"  Heckewelder actually stated that this was a Delaware name—not Susquehannock. Minderhout goes on to confuse the matter even further, by citing two erroneous interpretations by unnamed—but clearly unlearned—dabblers; the last of which is “‘the place of the straight river,’ based on …the Delaware word saskwihanang.’"  No such word exists in Delaware, though I’m sure siskuwihanewunk was probably intended. Unfortunately, this word really means “at the muddy stream"—“muddy stream" being the true Lenape name for the Susquehanna.

Page 41. The editor states that “European explorers …moved into the interior of Pennsylvania in the sixteenth century…"  Really? I think he must have intended “the 1600’s."

Page 79. The name, Minquas, means “treacherous."  As pointed out in my review of Invisible Indians, this word derives from the Delaware word, mengwe, which means “glans penis."

Page 93. “…the Lenape living in Oklahoma called themselves the Delaware Nation…"  The Anadarko-based Lenape call themselves this. The Bartlesville-based Lenape (by far, the largest in population) call themselves the Delaware Tribe of Indians.

Page 94. “Teedyuscung …called himself Lenopi …"  Teedyuscung couldn’t read or write. This was nothing more than the way Charles Thomson (Teedyuscung’s Scottish clerk) phonetically spelled “Lenape."

Page 95. “…the Lenape did not live in extended families in longhouses."  Some did, some didn’t. The editor includes the Munsee, Unami and Unalachtgo people in his definition of “Lenape" (pages 92-93).  In this, I agree with him. However, this being the case, some Lenape clearly lived in longhouses. There is a Longhouse Brook in northern Passaic County, New Jersey. William Bond’s 1710 map of the Ramapo tract distinctly shows two longhouses in what is present-day Wyckoff, NJ, one in today’s Oakland, NJ, and two more in the Ramapo Pass, near the NJ/NY border. (Indians in the Ramapos: Survival, Persistence and Presence, by Edward J. Lenik, pages 45 & 46) And, finally, the postmolds of a longhouse, 60 feet long and 20 feet wide, were discovered by Herbert Kraft, at the Miller Field site, in Sussex County, NJ. (The Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage: 10,000 BC to AD 2000, page 224)

Page 96. “Lenape communities were not stockaded or built for defence…"  Some were, some weren’t. At least two such communities are referenced in New Jersey deeds: “Oratam’s castle" is cited in a Bergen County, NJ deed of 1676. (transcription of a 1740 copy of this deed in Oratam of the Hackensacks, by Geraldine Huston, pages 42-44) A “ffort" between the Pequannock and Seneconock Rivers is mentioned in a deed from 1694. (West Jersey Deeds, Liber B, page 651). As with longhouses, I don’t believe enough sites in Pennsylvania have been investigated to make a determination that Lenape living there didn’t also build these structures. Van der Donck’s map of 1656 indicates longhouses on both sides of the Delaware River. Early maps also show stockaded villages on both sides. Whether or not these are just cartographic embellishments has not been proven, one way or the other.

Page 97. “…the Lenape …used tobacco to help them obtain the visions they sought."  From whence comes this information? No source is given, and I’ve never read or heard this, before.

Page 99. “While there were twelve principal deities, the supernatural figure most often referred to in both stories and daily life was the Mesingw…"  Of the 217 traditional Lenape stories listed in John Bierhorst’s definitive work on this subject, Mythology of the Lenape: Guide and Texts, just five of them have any reference to the “Mesingw."  Six stories reference the “Horned Serpent."  Thirty-one stories reference the “Creator."  How one would determine which figure would have been most often referenced in “daily life"  defeats me. Perhaps, the author can explain that?

Page 103. “…when the author began his research in 2005, he was routinely told by historians and archaeologists that there were no Native Americans in Pennsylvania."  Minderhout cannot possibly have meant this. There were, and are, plenty of Indians, from various parts of the United States and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere living in Pennsylvania, then and now. I suppose he meant they told him there were no Lenape or other Indians native to Pennsylvania, who had been living there, continuously, since the contact period. Even this would be a rash assumption coming from someone who didn’t absolutely know that. (And, there wasn’t then, nor is there now, anyone who knows that to be a fact.)

Page 113. Donald Repsher writes: “…what happens to the doctrine of ‘blood quantum’ whereby a present-day Lenape is expected to have a set number of genes derived from recent ancestors whose ancestry was, as far back as time can tell, entirely part of a single group of human beings who never intermarried with anyone outside of their own particular group?"  Throughout his chapter, Repsher rails against Indian blood-quantum standards which, in fact, do not exist! Members of the federally-recognized Delaware Tribe of Indians have NO blood-quantum requirements. One only need prove descent from a Delaware Indian listed on their official roll. Some other tribes also use only a lineal descent requirement. BQ requirements for membership are set by each sovereign Indian nation—not by the federal government.

Page 120. The author says Indians were not listed on the federal censuses until 1860. It is my understanding that they weren’t officially listed until 1870. In any case, he goes on to say, “for the rest of the nineteenth century, the children of natives and whites were noted in the census as HB, half-breeds."  I have done extensive genealogical research on Lenape descendants and have never found a single one of them listed as “HB"  in a nineteenth or twentieth-century federal census. I have found many of them listed as “I," “IN" or “Ind" (i.e., “Indian"), though. And, this is whether they had two Indian parents or one. Perhaps, somewhere in the United States some people were listed as “HB," but not in any census record I’ve ever seen. In fact, I’ve seen people who were 1/32 Indian and 31/32 White listed as Indians in the federal censuses for Kansas.

Page 120. “Native Americans were not granted U.S. citizenship until 1924."  This irrelevant fact is bandied about, frequently; but, it has absolutely nothing to do with Indians or Indian descendants living in the Eastern states, unless they were members of a federally-recognized sovereign Indian nation. If you didn’t fill that bill (and that’s the case with all the ancestors of these people in PA claiming to be Lenape and Susquehannock), then you were a U.S. citizen. The 1924 Act didn’t change your status, one whit.

Page 120. Repsher states that “government officials, academics and many Indians" deny “Pennsylvanians of native descent" their identity, by seizing upon “the idea of one-quarter blood."  If there are Pennsylvanians who have Indian ancestry, NOBODY can deny them that ancestry. Facts are facts. They can, however, deny them status as American Indians—both as individuals and as groups. Anyone is free to establish his or her own standard for recognizing people as Indians; whether that standard is 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 or whatever BQ measurement, or merely lineal descent. I, myself, would just like to see one shred of evidence (documentary or DNA) that any of the people being touted, in this book, as Lenape Indians, actually do have a Lenape (or even Indian) ancestor.

Page 121. Repsher proposes a false analogy, stating that since he has Scottish, English and German ancestry, he wouldn’t have to prove any of those ancestries to join in the various cultural activities of those groups; therefore, people who claim some Lenape ancestry shouldn’t have to prove their heritage. First of all, many such ethnic societies do, in fact, require evidence of ancestry for membership. In addition, “people who claim some Lenape ancestry" don’t have to prove that they do to anyone to engage in any kind of cultural activities they desire. BUT, they cannot expect to be recognized by the state or federal governments , as American Indians, merely on their hearsay family stories of Lenape ancestry!

Page 122. Without naming his friend or his friend’s ancestor, Repsher repeats Bob Ruth’s claim that his purported ancestor, the Delaware Chief, Red Hawk, was killed by British troops at Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania, during the Revolutionary War. In fact, Red Hawk was killed by American troops at Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Page 123. The government-introduced “blood-quantum" standard will eventually extinguish the “heritage of all descendants of the Lenape."  No. As pointed out, the Delaware Tribe of Indians has a lineage based membership standard. Besides, descendants of people who are known, via documentation, to be Lenape, today—whether or not their tribe has a blood-quantum requirement, are highly unlikely to ever lose that documented evidence of their ancestry.

Page 138. “…a Lenape man from Weatherly" says, “…we have the Medicine Wheel…"  They might “have it," but it has absolutely nothing to do with traditional Lenape culture.

Page 172. Susan Taffe Reed writes, “Some of us recently realized that we grew up hearing our elders use Munsee words and phrases, but did not formerly know the words were Munsee."  So, why are no examples given in this book? This is very difficult to accept on trust. For one thing, the old Dutch community in northeastern New Jersey and southeastern New York had quite a few Munsee loanwords in their local dialect. But, most of the people who spoke that patois had no Indian ancestry!

Page 176. Lenape = “true men" or “true man of the people."  Actually, Lenape means “common person."

Page 177. “Auwenik Haki (“People of the Earth") – This phrase really says, “People are earth."

Page 177. “In the vision quest, the quester lies upon the Earth to feel the Earth Mother, to gain her sense of healing, to experience the rhythm of the Earth and learn of her wisdom and power."  Not among traditional Lenape.

Page 177. “…a naming ceremony is held near free flowing water…"  Not among traditional Lenape.

Page 178. “Kishlemankw" (‘the Creator’) – This is not a Lenape word—at least, not as spelled here.

Page 178. “kelistam" (‘listen’) – This word is meant to convey listening to what the Creator has to say to us. This is the wrong word. This word means to listen to something inanimate.

Page 178. “Nikayuyemena" (‘elders’ or ‘forbearers’). This word should begin with Kika- (inclusive) or Nkika- (exclusive). Also, the English word should be ‘forbears,’ not ‘forbearers.’

Page 179. “Delawares …were given their names by their grandmothers…"  Some were, some weren’t. They were given their names by namegivers, whether relatives or not.

Page 181. “Elan Kumankw" (‘we are all related’ or ‘all our relations’). This is one word, not two; and it means ‘we (inclusive) who are relatives.’

Page 182. “Grandfather Sun" – “Grandmother Moon" – “Father Sky."  None of these are traditional Lenape concepts.

Page 184. “In Pennsylvania in 1756, a massacre of Lenape took place at Gnadenhutten. Refugees …fled to Ohio where they founded a second Gnadenhutten, only to be massacred there in turn by U. S. troops in 1788."  No. The first Gnadenhuetten massacre, on the Mahoning in eastern Pennsylvania, took place in November of 1755. Those massacred were eleven White Moravian missionaries, killed by Indians. No Indians were killed. The second Gnadenhuetten massacre took place in 1782—not 1788.

Page 185. “Wemi nisas awenik yukwe"— "we are the seventh generation now."  nisas should be nishash. What this says is “All seven are persons now."

Page 187. “Wanishi tai" - This should be “Wanishi ta."

Page 201. Regarding the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania Museum exhibit, Ann Dapice writes: “Many teachers and school children have visited this exhibit, increasing greatly the knowledge of children regarding the local Indians of Pennsylvania."  The knowledge gained by the children was about the modern undocumented claimants to Lenape ancestry—not any knowledge pertinent to the historical, traditional, real Lenape.

Page 223. “Ann Dapice is a clan mother of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania…"  The Lenape did not—and do not—have “clan mothers."


-Raymond Whritenour

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#2 Feb-20-2015 12:12:pm

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

Re: Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

NICE JOB RAY!!!! big_smile


I don't have anger issues...just violent reactions to B.S.
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#3 Feb-20-2015 01:21:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

Thanks!

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#4 Feb-20-2015 04:13:pm

Ohelemapit
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Re: Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

One outstanding in depth review, top quality.


Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Native American.

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#5 Feb-20-2015 04:15:pm

sschkaak
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Registered: Sep-17-2007
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Re: Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

Anischi!

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#6 Feb-21-2015 04:31:am

tree hugger
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Registered: May-12-2006
Posts: 11032

Re: Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

Thank you for taking the time to do this. I would like to say I'm surprised, but I'm not. 

Prophets?

"One of their prophets was born of German parents and adopted into the tribe." (pages 121-122)  I suppose he's speaking of Peter Klingerschmidt, who was captured as a boy and raised among the Munsee.  BUT, he stayed with the Tribe.  He didn't return to White society!  (And, he wasn't a "prophet."  He had a vision song which he recited in the Big House.  That didn"t make him a "prophet"!)

I have absolutely no words for this next part. This is so unreal. Shameful.

Page xiv.  Of all the false or misleading statements in this book, the following one, to me, is the most egregious:  "An Oklahoma Delaware named Nora Thompson Dean had collected Lenape stories and vocabulary in the Unami dialect in the 1950's."  This, more than anything else, shows Minderhout's nearly total unfamiliarity with the wealth of literature on Lenape history, culture and language which is available.  Nora Thompson Dean ("Touching Leaves Woman") [1907-1984] wasn't some assimilated Delaware descendant who went around collecting stories and words in the 1950's--like some itinerant dilettante!

hmm

Page 97.  "the Lenape used tobacco to help them obtain the visions they sought."  From whence comes this information?  No source is given, and I've never read or heard this, before.

This almost made me giggle-almost.

Page 177.  "In the vision quest, the quester lies upon the Earth to feel the Earth Mother, to gain her sense of healing, to experience the rhythm of the Earth and learn of her wisdom and power."  Not among traditional Lenape.

Sigh. This is Academia, and they can't even get simple history correct?


Page 184.  "In Pennsylvania in 1756, a massacre of Lenape took place at Gnadenhutten.  Refugees  fled to Ohio where they founded a second Gnadenhutten, only to be massacred there in turn by U. S. troops in 1788."  No.  The first Gnadenhuetten massacre, on the Mahoning in eastern Pennsylvania, took place in November of 1755.  Those massacred were eleven White Moravian missionaries, killed by Indians.  No Indians were killed.  The second Gnadenhuetten massacre took place in 1782-not 1788.

This is the problem in a nutshell!!

Page 201.  Regarding the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania Museum exhibit, Ann Dapice writes:  "Many teachers and school children have visited this exhibit, increasing greatly the knowledge of children regarding the local Indians of Pennsylvania." The knowledge gained by the children was about the modern undocumented claimants to Lenape ancestry-not any knowledge pertinent to the historical, traditional, real Lenape.

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#7 Feb-21-2015 06:59:am

sschkaak
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Re: Native Americans in the Susquehanna River Valley, Past and Present

tree hugger wrote:

Sigh. This is Academia, and they can't even get simple history correct?

Page 184.  "In Pennsylvania in 1756, a massacre of Lenape took place at Gnadenhutten.  Refugees fled to Ohio where they founded a second Gnadenhutten, only to be massacred there in turn by U. S. troops in 1788."  No.  The first Gnadenhuetten massacre, on the Mahoning in eastern Pennsylvania, took place in November of 1755.  Those massacred were eleven White Moravian missionaries, killed by Indians.  No Indians were killed.  The second Gnadenhuetten massacre took place in 1782-not 1788.

It reminds me of that old Bob and Ray skit about the author who wrote a "History of the United States"--mostly, from memory!  LOL!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcsIJqhGkB4

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