"There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a
wind- ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since
passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful
memory. I will not dwell on, nor mourn over, our untimely decay, nor
reproach my paleface brothers with hastening it, as we too may have been
somewhat to blame."
spoken in Suqwamish Salish to the rep. of Pres. Franklin Pierce
in response to a request to purchase Washington State lands, 1854.
(Read the full
Map of People Found by Original Settlers
Map of North American Tribal Areas
Maryland State Archives
means "original people" in Algonquin. It referred to the people
living along the
Delaware River Basin area. The Lenape called the river "Lenape-wihittnek",
meaning "river of the Lenape."
The village of
Ohesson was home to over one hundred Shawnee and Delaware (Lenape)
Indians where Lewistown now resides. Map
of Indian Territories (larger
knowledge that William Penn was friendly toward the Indians and
preferred to 'purchase' lands legitimately (see
history of Mifflin Co.) however, the Indians did not see such
transactions in the same light as the Europeans. A fundamental
belief shared by all Indians was that land cannot be purchased since
it belongs to no one. They viewed the treaty as more of a lease or
mutual agreement to cease attacks and allow settlement. The Indians
who willingly evacuated agreed-upon lands were being forced out of
their new locations and so soon viewed the colonists as having
broken these agreements. Any aggressive actions afterwards towards
settlers on behalf of the Indians was not actually due to anger
towards individual settlers encroaching on their lands, but was
rather an objection to what they considered deceptive and
dishonorable behavior of the colonist leaders.
granted the Pennsylvania area land by Charles II, William Penn did
not feel it was owned outright. Believing the land truly belonged
to the Susquehannocks/ Lenape, he sought to purchase the land from
them honorably but had a difficult job ahead in negotiating with the
Indians. By the time that he arrived on the scene, negotiations
with traders had already gone on for some time and opinions of
Europeans had been formed. Also, the Algonquin-speaking nations had
formed alliances and lent aid to many Indians forced north to PA,
such as Mid-Atlantic Susquehannocks and Shawnee, as lands were
seized in those areas. By then, the Lenape Nation had become used
to the practice of Colonist officials promising one thing and
delivering quite another. Yet William Penn's efforts to deal fairly
made an impression on the Lenape and he was able to earn their
loyalty. Unfortunately, when he died, the new government was
impatient for expansion with new immigrants arriving, filling up the
cities and clamouring to officials for land in order to earn a
living and support their families. Settlement of Indian lands
increased, often taken by force, causing much friction with the
Lenape. The sons of William Penn did their part to undermine the
previously good relationship with their infamous "Walking
Purchase" of land within the Delaware River Basin.
Lenape Indians moved farther
westward and by late 1800's known Lenape remaining were "removed" to
Oklahoma but were
soon even cheated out of much of this land by corrupt officials of
the Dawes Act
about the time of the Oklahoma Land Race. Today, only about 14,000
Native Americans of any affiliation still reside in PA.
The Lenni Lenape
Indians are divided by three dialects of the Algonquin language:
||original general location:
"people of the stony land"
upper Delaware River valley
"people near the ocean"
southern half of NJ
(eventually absorbed by the Unami)
"people down river"
southeastern/ Bucks Co., PA area
the Mifflin/ Juniata area prior to European colonization consisted of
the following tribes:
(Algonquin-speaking, at war with and then
eventually controlled by the Iroquois)
incl. Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and
off-shoot of the Delaware)
called Mingoes, Andastes and Conestogas-
now extinct as a nation)
(Iroquois-speaking, last to join the Iroquois
Confederacy in 1722 becoming the Six Nations)
Dubbed "Delaware" by
settlers referring to those occupying the Delaware River Basin, the
Delawares and Munsee or Minsi referred to themselves as the Lenape.
The above listed tribes considered the Lenape as the origin of their
tribes, giving the Delaware some authority. The wise women of the
Delaware often were called upon to settle disputes. The Delaware
assisted the Munsee and Susquehannock in their war against the
Mohawk Iroquois. When the Susquehannocks were defeated by the
Iroquois, control of the Lenape Confederacy passed to the Iroquois.
Looking at this
1719 Map of the King's Territory, the Iroquois were considered
owners of a large portion of New England territory. As allies of
the English, the Iroquois were encouraged to dominate the Lenape and
other Indians to ensure no alliances were made with the French.
Forced north into PA
by their enemies,
the Catawba, the Shawnee retaliated when the Catawba's numbers
were depleted by disease and warfare, hunting them almost to the
point of extinction by 1763.
The Shawnee were also
enemies of the Mohawk Iroquois until they joined the Munsee and
Delaware in their subordinance under the Iroquois in 1694. After
being robbed of lands by the
Walking Purchase, the Shawnee and Delaware collectively left
Iroquois dominance in the 1740s and moved to western PA.
at First Nations
from Handbook of Indians North of Mexico
first of the Lenape to sign treaties with the Dutch and
English/European colonists, the controlling group of the Lenapes
and a great Indian nation stretching from NY to MD, the
Susquehannocks were killed off while warring against colonists and
other Indians but mainly due to savage bouts of smallpox from
frequent proximity and contact with the newcomers. The last tiny
band of Susquehannocks called the Conestogas were murdered by the
Paxton Boys, vigilantes from Harrisburg, PA frustrated with PA
official's refusal to aid settlers attacked by Indians.
Tuscaroras were forced north to PA after battles with Carolina, VA &
MD colonists and other Indians. They received lands from the
Oneidas in (now) Winchester & Martinsburg, VA and Path Valley,
Franklin Co. and Beale Twp., Juniata Co., Pa.
SC Tuscaroras were crushed by the Catawba and Yamsee who sided with
the SC colonists (who later turned on their Indian allies). The
Tuscarora shared the Catawba as a mutual enemy with the Shawnee and