Tag Archives: Mohican

The River That Flows Both Ways: New Netherland Novel

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The earliest known written record of travel in the New York interior west of the Hudson River appears on an early map of Nieuw Nederlant (New Netherland). In 1614 a trader named Kleyntjen went west to the Mohawk along the river that now bears their name and then turned south along the Susquehanna River. If he or those who followed ever kept journals they haven’t survived, and it’s believed any records of early travels may have been tossed out when the Dutch West India Company archives were purged during a reorganization in 1674. Michael Cooney’s novel The River That Flows Both Ways recaptures some of that time, of Dutch traders, native Mohican and Mohawk people, and the fur trade that held them together in commerce.

Cooney’s novel is based on the one very early New York travelogue that has survived since the first half of the 1600s. Written by Fort Orange (Albany) barber-surgeon Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, it had somehow fallen into private hands and was discovered in an attic in Amsterdam, New York in 1895. His small party, which also included two other Dutchmen (Jeronimus dela Croix and Willem Thomassen) left in the middle of December 1634 in an effort to reach the Oneida tribe and renegotiate the price of beaver. They Oneida had nearly abandoned their trade with the Dutch in favor of the French to their northwest and Van den Bogaert, at the age of 23 was sent to correct the situation in favor of the Dutch.

The journey last six weeks and according to Van den Bogaert took them nearly 100 miles to the west-northwest of Fort Orange where he spotted the Tug Hill Plateau – a harrowing journey to say the least. Van den Bogaert experienced much generosity from the Native People he met in his travels and in 1647, when he was charged with Sodomy committed with his black servant Tobias, he fled to the Iroquois he had visited thirteen years earlier; he was captured in an Indian storehouse by a Rensselaerwyck employee named Hans Vos and in the ensuring struggle the building was burnt down. Van den Bogaert was taken back to Fort Orange but escaped – as he fled across the frozen Hudson River the ice broke beneath him and he was drowned. That incident serves as the climax of The River That Flows Both Ways.

Cooney, who writes the Upstate Earth blog, tells the story through the eyes of a young Mohican boy in a time when European diseases and war were creating chaos in the local native cultures. Using his wit and imagination, he wins over the Mohawk and finds a home with van den Bogaert. The novel brings together other historical characters like Arent van Corlaer, Adriaen van der Donck, and Isaac Jogues to weave a tapestry of life in the in the first half of the 17th century in the Upper Hudson and Mohawk valleys.

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10th Annual Algonquian Peoples Seminar Program

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The Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley and The New York State Museum have announced the program for this year’s 10th Mohican/Algonquian Peoples Seminar to be held at the NYS Museum in Albany April 17, 2010.

This year’s featured speakers will include keynote speaker Tribal Council President Kimberly M. Vele, Mohican historian Shirley Dunn, Mohican military historian and veteran, JoAnn Schedler, Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife pathologist Ward Stone, noted archaeologists, and more.

Here is a complete schedule:

9:00 – 9:30 Registration -Clark Auditorium -Please take the escalator or the elevator# 8 to the left of the security desk (behind the front desk) in the main lobby to the lower or Concourse level.

9:30 – 10:00 Welcome & Board Introduction: Mariann Mantzouris

Presentation of Colors by the Mohican Veterans

Morning speaker introductions: Lisa Little Wolf

10:00 – 10:20 President Kimberly M. Vele: “Family Circles”

Keynote speaker, President Vele’s presentation is “Family Circles”. She will be speak on reflecting on the past and what it means for the present in the context of families. Ms. Vele was elected to serve as President of the Tribal Council in the fall of 2009. Ms. Vele also served as an Associate Judge for the Tribal Court from 1996-2007 at which time she began serving as a Council member for the Tribal Council. She served as General Legal for the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe in Bowler, Wisconsin for several years before starting a private practice which involved representing numerous Tribes throughout the country.

President Kim Vele is a member of the Federal Bar Association; State Bar of Wisconsin; Wisconsin Indian League of Lawyers and was a former member of the Wisconsin Tribal Court Judges Association; former Treasurer for the National Tribal Court Judges Association; and past Chairperson of the Management and Oversight Committee for the National Tribal Justice Resource Center. She is a faculty member at the National Judicial College and has given presentations at numerous Bar Association and Judicial Conferences.

10:25 – 10:45 Shirley Dunn: “River Indians: Mohicans Making History”

In her book, The River Indians: Mohicans Making History. Ms. Dunn stresses the often- overlooked importance of the Mohicans to New York history and pre-history. The new book presents a rare look at historic events in which the Mohicans (called “River Indians”) should get credit. Leaders among the native nations on the Hudson River, Mohicans welcomed explorer Henry Hudson, who visited them for 13 days, longer than he stayed with any other Indian nation. She will explain how Mohicans initiated the upriver fur trade and continued in it for a century. Mohicans were close friends with the Dutch leader Arent Van Curler, and helped save the farms of Rensselaerswyck. There is a surprise here. Did he have a Mohican daughter? There is new information about the Mohican leader Etowokoaum, who went to England in 1710. We know that Mohicans fought beside English soldiers in wars against Canada from 1690 to 1765, protected Albany from attack from Canada on more than one occasion, and enlisted in the Revolution on the American side at George Washington’s request. (After the Revolution, they were refused soldiers’ grants of their own land.) The land where the State Museum is located was once in Mohican territory.

Further, the information is valuable to archaeologists because it identifies Mohican areas taken over by the Mohawks after 1629. So, whose artifacts are being found? These overlapping locations will be explained, as well as the connections of Arent Van Curler’s grandson with the Mohicans. He ran a fur trade in Washington County in the 1700s, and lived to be 106 years old! An explanation of Mohican place names will conclude the talk.

Shirley Wiltse Dunn, a holder of Masters’ degrees in English and History, has worked as a teacher, museum interpreter, and historic preservation consultant. A scholar of the Mohicans and early Dutch, she is the author of The Mohicans and Their Land, 1609-1730 (1994), The Mohican World, 1680-1750 (2000) and co-author of Dutch Architecture Near Albany: The Polgreen Photographs (1996), and The Mohicans (2008), a booklet for young readers. (All have been published by Purple Mountain Press.) She also has edited a book of family stories, Pioneer Days in the Catskill High Peaks (Black Dome Press, 1991) and three bulletins, each containing Native American Institute seminar papers, for the New York State Museum. She became interested in the Mohicans two decades ago while studying Indian deeds for early properties in the Albany, New York, area.

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11:20 JoAnn Schedler “Mohican/Stockbridge Military History”

Ms. Schedler will review Mohican/Stockbridge military history and present information on individuals as it relates to their military service in various wars and conflicts from our homelands to Wisconsin. She will share the projects the Mohican Veterans are working on to preserve this history and honor our ancestor’s military service.

Ms. Schedler, BSN, MSM, RN, is a life member Reserve Officers Association, Mohican Veteran Officer founding member, 1996-present, American Legion post # 0117, 2004-present, Tribal Historic Preservation committee for Stockbridge-Munsee Community, 2004-present, Constitution committee for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, 2005-present, Peacemaker, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Court 2005- present Nursing Instructor for Associate Degree Program at College of the Menominee Nation 2008/ 2009, Officer in the US Army Nurse Corps Reserves 1984, served over twenty years with the 452 Combat Support Hospital (CSH), retired as a Major from the Army Reserve in July 2004, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses since 1992, National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association # 10179.

11:25 – 11:45 Ted Filli: “The Importance of Exploring Waterways Flowing To and From the Hudson River in Relation to Locating Contact Period Mohican Sites”

This presentation will cover from the early 1600’s – mid 1700’s newly discovered Contact Period Mohican sites that have not been documented before in Columbia county. Physical evidence will be shown demonstrating trade and interaction with the early European settlers in the Claverack / Greenport areas of Columbia County. The objective of this presentation is to encourage more research in this area and to demonstrate a larger need to study these waterways.

Ted Filli has lived his entire life in the town of Claverack, NY and as a young man was mentored by the well known advocational archaeologist, Ken Mynter, who excavated the with Claverack rock-shelter the results being included in the Recent Contributions of the Hudson Valley Prehistory by Robert Funk. Ted is a former town historian and is still active in Native archaeological research.

11:50 – 12:10 Matthew T. Bradley: “Reconstructing the 17th century path across the Berkshires”

This presentation presents the first rigorous reconstruction of the course of the 17th century path connecting Springfield and Albany which was documented at least as early as the foray into the Berkshires lead by Major John Talcott in August of 1676. Evidence for the reconstruction will include textual accounts (including those related to the Talcott foray and the Knox Expedition of 1775–76), early cartographic records, archaeological site distribution, and topographic features.

The reconstruction will add to already existing work on regional transportation networks such as the Mohawk Trail and as such will aid scholars concerned with the broader historical geography of New England and the Mid-Atlantic. It will also be of interest to descendent communities of the indigenous peoples of New England and the Mid-Atlantic as well as to all current residents of the Berkshires and the Capital Region.

Matthew Bradley is a graduate student affiliated with the Indiana University Anthropology Department and currently residing in the Berkshires. His interests include the culture history of the Iroquoian peoples, north/south interaction within the Eastern Woodlands culture area, and the history of the discipline of anthropology as it relates to the study of American Indians.

12:15 -1:15 Seminar Luncheon: Buffalo Loaf (“Thunder Rumble”), Maple Roasted Turkey, Wild Rice with Nuts and Berries, Succotash, Maple Squash, Corn Bread and Strawberry Desert- Fresh Brewed Coffee, Decaf, Hot Tea and Water

Afternoon speaker introductions: Larry Thetford

1:15 – 1:35 James C. Davis: “A Brief Look at the Links Between the Prophecies of the Algonquin People and the Ongoing Elimination of Ancient Sacred Ceremonial Sites in the Hudson Valley Region”

This presentation will include original footage from the “Cry of the Earth: The prophecies of the First Nations at the United Nations” in November 1993 as well as, a reading of a portion of Grandfather William Commanda’s statement on The Seven Fires Prophecy Belt. He will also speak about the damage currently being done to the sites that may have been used for millennia, including the Ulster Ridge sites and the lack of any Native American review of such sites. This work is an outgrowth of Grandfather Commanda’s statement of 2008, “Respecting the Sacred in the Land:”Inherent in the prayer of the Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island is the deep knowledge that we are all connected –my people in the east say GINAWAYDAGANUC. The prayer is a celebration of the profound knowledge that we are connected with the each other, as well as with the chief elements–Mother Earth, Water, Air and Fire–the animate and inanimate, the plants and animals and the larger universe, connected energetically.

Spirit embraces and unifies us all~ Inherent in the prayer is a deep respect for both Mother Earth, the penultimate provider and nurturer, and all her children. The prayer is a constant reminder to honor this connectedness, and walk gently in the places of our differences, for those are the places of co-creation.”

James C. Davis is Environmental Director of the Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources in Woodstock, NY. and a co-founder of the Earth Reunion Project which works with traditional wisdom keepers of Earth traditions from around the world. For the past 30 years Jim has pursued mastery of the wisdom of the Earth and of the earth-based traditions. His primary focus has been the Hudson Valley and the Catskill watershed bio-regions, yet he has travelled extensively to explore the shamanic teachings of many traditions and was adopted as an Elder by the Yuin Nation of Australia. He has written a lexography of the Annishinabe places of the region

1:40 – 2:00 Ward Stone: The Destruction and Contamination of Mohican Ancestral Lands by the Cement Plant Operation in Ravena, Albany County, New York

Ward B. Stone, Elyse Griffin, Elyse Kunz, Amanda Allen, Michael M. Reynolds, and Aaron W. Behrens New York State Wildlife Pathologist, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Delmar New York, Community Advocates for Safe Emissions, Ravena, New York, State University of New York of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, NY

Since 1962 in Ravena, Albany County, New York cement plant operations have impacted thousands of acres of land with plant operations, quarrying of limestone, and pollution. This extensive environmental damage is within several miles of the site where the Mohican council fire was located on Schodack Island in the Hudson River. Much of this Albany County area has received little study by professional archeologist. Valuable artifacts and Mohican cultural material may still be able to be saved.

It appears that historic preservation studies have been, at least very limited, on this former Mohican land. The requirements were not in place in 1962 on the cement plant and permits have largely been “grandfathered in”. We will present a case for the need of a thorough historic preservation study.

Ward B. Stone, B.A., M.S., Sc. D. (Hon.),Wildlife Pathologist NYS Dept. Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Pathology Unit, Delmar, NY; Adjunct Professor, SUNY Cobleskill; Adjunct Professor, College of Saint Rose.

2:05 – 2:25 Ed Lenik: Mythic Creatures: Serpents, Dragons and Sea Monsters in Northeastern Rock Art

Serpentine images carved into non-portable rock surfaces and on portable artifacts were invested with ideological and cultural significance by American Indian people in the Northeast. These images occur on bedrock outcrops located along the shores of lakes, the banks of river, seaside bays, low hills and mountains. Serpentine images have also been engraved into utilitarian and non-utilitarian artifacts such as tools, ornaments, pebbles, and on small, flat stones. They appear on wood and bark, and as facial tattoos on an 18th century Mohican Indian and on a portrait of a Delaware Indian. These various images are described and an interpretation of their origin, age and meaning is presented.

Ed Lenik has thirty-seven years of fieldwork and research experience in northeastern archaeology and anthropology, specializing in rock art research, documentation and preservation.

M.A. in Anthropology, New York University; Registered Professional Archaeologist.

Proprietor and Principal Investigator of Sheffield Archaeological Consultants, Wayne, NJ Author of these books: Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast (University of Alabama Press, 2009) and Picture Rocks, American Indian Rock Art in the Northeast Woodlands. (University Press of New England, 2002) [The first comprehensive study of rock art in the northeast].

2:25 – 2:40 Break

2:40 – 3:00 Paul Nevin: The Safe Harbor Petroglyphs – Research in the New Century

The Safe Harbor Petroglyphs, Lancaster County, PA, are one of three major rock art sites on the lower Susquehanna River and the only one that remains accessible in its original location. Information on the general nature of the site with and emphasis on research conducted there in the past ten years will be presented.

Paul Nevin: Safe Harbor Petroglyph documentation and research, 1982-present; Board Member, Eastern States Rock Art Research Association (ESRARA); President, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., 2007-2008; Contributing Author, The Rock Art of Eastern North America (University of Alabama Press, 2004); Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award, 2003, Safe Harbor Petroglyph Recording Project.

3:05 – 4:15 Panel Discussion:

John Bonafide, Historic Preservation Services Coordinator, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Nancy Herter, Scientist, Historic Preservation Archaeology Analyst, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Charles E. Vandrei, Agency Historic Preservation Officer, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of State Land Management, Historic Preservation Unit

Jeff Gregg, Indian Nations Affairs Coordinator, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Office of Environmental Justice

The Army Corps of Engineers will have two representatives

Representatives from the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers will discuss the process of reviewing potential projects within the State of New York. The focus will be on determining whether it is a federal, state, or SEQR project and how the agencies consult with the Native American Tribes.

***Please note! This panel is here to describe their agency’s criteria for determining sites. Questions will not be entertained on specific sites.

4:15 – 4:30 Closing Remarks and Retreat of the Colors” by Mohican Veterans

For questions or for a copy of the registration form, email Mariann Mantzouris, Seminar Chairwoman at marimantz@aol.com or call

Shirley Dunn To Speak On Mohicans And Dutch

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Shirley W. Dunn, who has published two books about the Mohicans (The Mohicans and Their Land 1609-1730 and The Mohican World, 1680-1750) and has one in press, will speak on October 22nd at the Smithsonian Institution’s Heye Museum in Manhattan (a branch of the Museum of the American Indian) beginning at 6:00 pm. Her topic will be the Mohicans and the Dutch, and the she will deal with contributions of the Mohican Indians to Dutch settlement and to the Colony of Rensselaerswijck. The talk is free and open to the public.

Mohican Seminar April 4th in Albany

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Native American Institute of The Hudson River Valley will host ten scholars who will present papers on all aspects of Mohican culture on April 4, 2009 at the New York State Museum in Albany.

The Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley (NAIHRV) specializes in the study of the native Algonquian people, or Mohicans, who were long settled along the river. Described by Hudson’s crew as “loving people,” they greeted the explorer in a friendly manner and later played an important role in the survival of the new colony.

The NAIHRV is a nonprofit organization of interested volunteers, educators, archaeologists, historians, and researchers devoted to promoting an awareness of Native Americans in general and the Mohican Nation in particular.

Native History Blog Featuring New York Indian Removal

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One of the blogs I’ve been following regularly (and you occasionally see posted in my New York History News Feature at right) is Jeff Siemers’ Algonkian Church History. Jeff is a Reference Librarian at Moraine Park Technical College (Fond du Lac Campus) and has recently written a series of outstanding posts on the New York Indian Removal that are highly recommended reading.

I asked Jeff to tell me how he came to Algonkian Church History and this is his reply:

If you include the Brothertowners, there are 12 American Indian communities in Wisconsin, but mostly they are relatively small and – except for the Oneidas – rural (or in forests). As a result, most white Wisconsinites don’t have a lot of awareness of Wisconsin Indians.

I was not much more aware than most other whites, until I took up the sport of whitewater kayaking (in 1995). I was part of a club that got together on Tuesday evenings…we paddled the Red River which i realized was close to the Menominee reservation, but I didn’t know that we were closer to another reservation, legally known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. Anyway, the spring snowmelt (and/or rain) makes normally unrunnable stretches of water runnable, and in April, 2001 I was part of a group that paddled the seldom-run upper Red – we were stopped by an Stockbridge-Munsee tribal employee who explained we were trespassing on a federally recognized Indian Reservation. The employee told us something about the history of the Stockbridge Mohicans and let us complete our trip.

Anyway, it was on that trip that another (white) paddler that lived in the area told me about an old and rare bible given to the Indians by the British. It aroused my curiousity – months later I visited the museum where the bible is held, then forgot all about it. Until I went back to school to become a librarian….There I found myself in a class called the history of books and printing – and was racking my brain to think of a topic for my term paper – that’s when I remembered the Stockbridge Bible (it was fall, 2003 by then). After many re-writes, the project that began as a term paper was published by The Book Collector (Spring, 2007 issue) http://www.thebookcollector.co.uk/ (the world’s foremost authority on old and rare books).

I’ve continued my research way beyond the Stockbridge Bible since then, of course… gone on a lot of tangents.