Tag Archives: Native American History

Saltwater Frontier: Contest for the American Coast


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ben_franklins_worldWhen we think of Native Americans, many of us think of inland dwellers. People adept at navigating forests and rivers and the skilled hunters and horsemen who lived and hunted on the American plains.

But did you know that Native Americans were seafaring mariners too?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Andrew Lipman, an Assistant Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia University and author of The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast (Yale University Press, 2016), leads us on an exploration of the northeastern coastline and of the Native American and European peoples who lived there during the seventeenth century. You can listen to this episode here: http: www.benfranklinsworld.com/104

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Sir William Johnson and the Mohawk Valley Fur Trade


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mohawk-valley-fur-tradeOn Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7 pm, the Fort Plain Museum will present “Sir William Johnson and the Evolution of the Mohawk Valley Fur Trade by Michael Perazzini. The presentation will take place at the museum located at 389 Canal Street in Fort Plain. This is the second of four lectures that will take place at the museum.

Perazzini will discuss the evolution of the fur trade in Upstate New York as well as the changes implemented by Superintendent of Indian Affairs Sir William Johnson. He will also display and lead a discussion about many of the artifacts involved in the fur trade. Continue reading

George Rogers Clark & The Fight for the Illinois Country


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ben_franklins_worldIn the Treaty of Paris, 1783, Great Britain offered the new United States generous terms that included lands in between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.

Why did the biggest empire with the greatest army and navy concede so much to a new nation?

Because George Rogers Clark and his men seized the Illinois Country and held it during the American War for Independence.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, William Nester, a Professor of Government and Politics at St. John’s University and author of George Rogers Clark: ‘I Glory in War’ (University of Oklahoma Press, 2012), leads us on an exploration of the life and deeds of George Rogers Clark. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/102

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Historiography: The History of History Writing


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ben_franklins_worldHistorians rely on secondary historical sources almost as much as they rely on primary historical sources.

But what are secondary historical sources and how do they help historians know what they know about the past?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Michael McDonnell, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Sydney, guides us through how he used secondary historical sources to investigate the pivotal role Native Americans played in the history of the Great Lakes region and early North America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/088

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The Mystery of Dutchess County’s Chief Crow


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chief crow burial groundA familiar blue 1935 New York State Education Department roadside marker proclaims, “Indian Burial Ground. Chief Crow and other Mohican Shacomecos of Moravian Faith buried here. Last burial about 1850.”

At first glance, the marker is not at all out of place. The sign is located in the hamlet of Jackson Corners on the Roeliff Jansen Kill, a 56-mile tributary of the Hudson River that is considered to have been populated by the Mohican. The hamlet is technically in Dutchess County’s town of Milan, but borders on Pine Plains, the location of Shacomeco village, and Columbia County’s Gallatin. Continue reading

Eleazer Williams: Professional Indian


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professional indianMichael Leroy Oberg’s new book Professional Indian: The American Odyseey of Eleazer Williams (2015, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press) follows Eleazer Williams on his odyssey across the early American republic and through the shifting spheres of the Iroquois in an era of dispossession.

Oberg describes Williams as a “professional Indian,” who cultivated many political interests and personas in order to survive during a time of shrinking options for native peoples.

He was not alone: as Oberg shows, many Indians became missionaries and settlers and played a vital role in westward expansion. Through the larger-than-life biography of Eleazer Williams, Professional Indian uncovers how Indians fought for place and agency in a world that was rapidly trying to erase them. Continue reading

Caniskek: The Meeting of Worlds in Athens NY


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entranceImagine it is 1665. The place is the wilderness along the banks of the river whose “waters flow both ways.” The native inhabitants are the Mohicans, the newcomers wishing to settle and trade are the Dutch. Exactly 350 years ago a deed was signed for the land the Mohicans called Caniskek, a place that would change forever and evolve into the present day town called Athens, New York. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne on the State History Conference


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unnamed27-300x136The annual New York State History Conference, held at the end of June at Niagara University, demonstrated once again the robust diversity of the state’s historical community and its research, projects, and initiatives. There were many interesting sessions but I wanted to share impressions of five particularly interesting and important themes.

Cooperation. Paul D’Ambrosio, President of the New York State Historical Association, in welcoming conference attendees, emphasized the essential role of cooperation in sponsoring, organizing, and managing the conference. Continue reading