Tag Archives: Native American History

America’s Invasion of Canada: The War of 1812


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Although it has taken a backseat to the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and has been largely forgotten outside the areas it was fought, this year marks the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. In the reissued The American Invasion of Canada: The War of 1812’s First Year (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012), Pierre Berton transforms history into an engrossing narrative that reads like a fast-paced novel.

To America’s leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be “a mere matter of marching,” as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of eight million Americans fail to subdue a struggling British colony of 300,000 already enmeshed in a life and death struggle with the armies (and navies) of Napoleon? Continue reading

Lake Champlain Indigenous Heritage Center Event


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The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) will be hosting Dr. Fred Wiseman, Chairperson, Department of Humanities, Johnson State College for a presentation titled Lake Champlain Indigenous Heritage Center: A Future Possibility tomorrow, Thursday, February 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in the LCBP office in Grand Isle, Vermont. This program is part of the LCBP’s Love the Lake speaker series. Continue reading

Books: The Unkechaug of Eastern Long Island


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Few people may realize that Long Island is still home to American Indians, the region’s original inhabitants. One of the oldest reservations in the United States—the Poospatuck Reservation—is located in Suffolk County, the densely populated eastern extreme of the greater New York area. The Unkechaug Indians, known also by the name of their reservation, are recognized by the State of New York but not by the federal government. A new narrative account by John A. Strong, a noted authority on the Algonquin peoples of Long Island, has been published as The Unkechaug Indians of Eastern Long Island: A History (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2011). The book is the first comprehensive history of the Unkechaug Indians.

Drawing on archaeological and documentary sources, Strong traces the story of the Unkechaugs from their ancestral past, predating the arrival of Europeans, to the present day.

Although granted a large reservation in perpetuity, the Unkechaugs were, like many Indian tribes, the victims of broken promises, and their landholdings diminished from several thousand acres to fifty-five. Despite their losses, the Unkechaugs have persisted in maintaining their cultural traditions and autonomy by taking measures to boost their economy, preserve their language, strengthen their communal bonds, and defend themselves against legal challenges.

In early histories of Long Island, the Unkechaugs figured only as a colorful backdrop to celebratory stories of British settlement. Strong’s account, which includes extensive testimony from tribal members themselves, brings the Unkechaugs out of the shadows of history and establishes a permanent record of their struggle to survive as a distinct community.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

New Book: The Race to the New World


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Doug Hunter’s just released The Race to the New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and the Lost History of Discovery (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), offers a new angle to the ubiquitous story of Columbus’ voyage; how John Cabot became his true rival in this search for the West Indies.

The final decade of the fifteenth century the Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus sailed westward on the Atlantic Ocean, famously determined to discover for Spain a shorter and more direct route to the riches of the Indies. Meanwhile, a fellow Italian explorer for hire, John Cabot, set off on his own journey, under England’s flag.

In Race to the New World Hunter tells the fascinating tale of how, during his expedition, Columbus gained a rival. In the space of a few critical years, these two men engaged in a high-stakes race that threatened the precarious diplomatic balance of Europe-to exploit what they believed was a shortcut to staggering wealth. Instead, they found a New World that neither was looking for.

Hunter provides a revealing look at how the lives of Columbus and Cabot were interconnected, and how neither explorer should be understood without understanding both. Together, Cabot and Columbus provide a novel and important perspective on the first years of European experience of the New World.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Iroquois Museum Cuts Staff, Closes Until Spring


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The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY has announced significant staff cutbacks for 2012. “Severe economic downturns coupled with the recent devastating flooding in Schoharie County have forced the Museum to suspend most Museum operations from January 1 to April 30 and to layoff staff during those months,” Museum officials said in a prepared statement issued Wednesday. Continue reading

Thacher Park, Indian Ladder Slideshow Sunday


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Local historian Timothy J. Albright along with land conservationist Laura A. Ten Eyck will offer a slide presentation and talk entitled “John Boyd Thacher State Park and the Indian Ladder Reserve” at the Albany Institute on Sunday, November 20 at 2 PM.

Albright and Ten Eyck will discuss the history of the wilderness that became this region’s beloved Thacher State Park. They will present many rare and unusual photographs of the land traversed by Native Americans, transformed by hardworking colonial farmers, and visited by 19th century travelers and tourists. Caves, cliffs, and legends are all part of the fascinating story.

Following the presentation, Albright and Ten Eyck will be available to answer questions and sign copies of their recently published book, John Boyd Thacher State Park and the Indian Ladder Reserve . The book is available for sale in the Albany Institute Museum Shop. This event is FREE with museum admission.

Photo: Mine Lot Falls at John Boyd Thacher State. Courtesy DEC.

Four Indian Kings Lecture in Albany Thursday


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On Thursday, November 17, the State University of New York Press will present the Third Annual John G. Neihardt Lecture, featuring a talk by renowned novelist, historian, and lifelong dream explorer Robert Moss. Co-sponsored by the Albany Institute of History & Art, the event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Albany Institute, located at 125 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany. The program will begin at 4:00 pm and a reception will follow the lecture.

Moss will begin his lecture, “Four Indian Kings, Dream Archaeology, and the Iroquois Struggle for Survival on the New York Frontier,” with a bit of entertainment by following the adventures of Four Indian Kings at the court of Queen Anne in 1710 as they are taken to see Macbeth and to a horrible scene of bear-baiting. He will then discuss his own development of a discipline he calls dream archaeology which involves reclaiming authentic knowledge of ancestral traditions through a combination of careful research, active dreamwork, and shamanic journeying across time and between dimensions. He will end his lecture by delving into the Iroquois struggle for survival before the American Revolution.

Born in Australia, Robert Moss is the bestselling author of nine novels, including his Cycle of the Iroquois (Fire Along the Sky, The Firekeeper, and The Interpreter) and nine nonfiction books on dreaming, shamanism, and imagination, including Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, and The Secret History of Dreaming. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, magazine editor and foreign correspondent, he spent seven years researching the background to his Cycle of the Iroquois, walking the battlefields of the French and Indian War, studying the languages, traditions, and spiritual practices of the Iroquois and their neighbors, and mining documentary sources. He gives lectures and seminars all over the world. Moss lives in upstate New York.

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) was the celebrated author of many books of poetry, fiction, and philosophy. His work includes The River and I; Man-Song; and the legendary Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux all of which are available from SUNY Press. The John G. Neihardt Lecture was established by Coralie Hughes, Neihardt’s granddaughter, in honor of his legacy.

For more information on SUNY Press and the Neihart Lecture can be found online.

Photo: Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, one of the “Four Indian Kings” who traveled to London in 1710. The print, by John Verelst, is entitled “Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations.” The title “Emperor” was a bit of a stretch, he belonged to the council of the Mohawk tribe, but not to that of the Iroquois Confederacy as a whole.

First Manhattans: The Indians of Greater New York


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The Indian sale of Manhattan is one of the world’s most cherished legends. Few people know that the Indians who made the fabled sale were Munsees whose ancestral homeland lay between the lower Hudson and upper Delaware river valleys. The story of the Munsee people has long lain unnoticed in broader histories of the Delaware Nation.

First Manhattans, a concise distillation of the author’s more comprehensive The Munsee Indians, resurrects the lost history of this forgotten people, from their earliest contacts with Europeans to their final expulsion just before the American Revolution.

Anthropologist Robert S. Grumet rescues from obscurity Mattano, Tackapousha, Mamanuchqua, and other Munsee sachems whose influence on Dutch and British settlers helped shape the course of early American history in the mid-Atlantic heartland. He looks past the legendary sale of Manhattan to show for the first time how Munsee leaders forestalled land-hungry colonists by selling small tracts whose vaguely worded and bounded titles kept courts busy—and settlers out—for more than 150 years.

Ravaged by disease and war, the Munsees finally emigrated to reservations in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Ontario, where most of their descendants still live today. This book shows how Indians and settlers struggled, through land deals and other transactions, to reconcile cultural ideals with political realities. It offers a wide audience access to the most authoritative treatment of the Munsee experience—one that restores this people to their place in history.

Robert S. Grumet, anthropologist and retired National Park Service archeologist, is a Senior Research Associate with the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His numerous publications include The Lenapes and The Munsee Indians: A History.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Atlatl Championship at Mount Independence


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Journey way back to the ancient past, before the invention of the bow and arrow, to experience how people the world over hunted big game by coming to the 16th Annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship September 17 and 18, 2011, beginning at 10:30 AM on Saturday and 10:00 on Sunday, at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont.

The competition is based on the ancient hunting technique of using an atlatl (spear thrower). Atlatlists of all skill levels are welcome. Demonstrations of flint knapping, bow making, hafting stone points, fletching atlatl darts, cordage making with natural materials, and other aspects of Native American life will take place on Saturday. Food will be available. Continue reading

Mohawk Valley: 2011 Western Frontier Symposium


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The 2011 Western Frontier Symposium: Frontier Style Culture at the Edge of Empire Mohawk Valley, NY: 1700-1800 will be held October 15-16, 2011 at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, New York.

The fourth biennial Western Frontier Symposium continues to explore the history of the Mohawk Valley in the century when the region was the western edge of colonial New York and a crossroads of French, Dutch, British and Native American empires.

Far from European centers of fashion, Mohawk Valley residents expressed their sense of style with strategic design choices from multiple cultures. Distinct regional variations in their clothing, architecture and interior designs reveal their values and their aspirations. Participating experts in 18th century design and regional cultures include Phillip Otterness, David Preston, Timothy Shannon, George Hamell, Mark Hutter, Robert Trent, Mary Elise Antoine and others.

There will be a companion exhibit, “Frontier Style: The Height of Fashion at the Edge of Empire Mohawk Valley NY 1700-1800” at Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Perella Gallery from October 14 through December 9, 2011. The exhibit will be an exhibition of 18th century Mohawk Valley fashion and home decor, featuring clothing reproduced for New York State Historic Sites collections.

This event is sponsored by Mohawk Valley Historic Sites, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Costume Society of America.

More information about the symposium can be found online.

A Teacher Open House at the Gage Center


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The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, NY would like to share with teachers the opportunity to learn more about Matilda Joslyn Gage, an important local historical figure on Thursday, September 22, 3:30-5:30 pm.

Matilda Joslyn Gage (1824-1898) was involved in the Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad. Along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gage was a major figure in the Women’s Rights Movement. With them, she co-authored The History of Woman Suffrage.

She was a supporter of Native American sovereignty and a proponent of the total separation of Church and State, she was the author of Woman, Church and State.

Because of her strong, liberal position on religious freedom, she was written out of history books until recently.

Gage’s ideas are as relevant today as they were in the 19th century and this is a great way to bring Central New York history into your classroom and promote discussion of the past and contemporary issues.

Materials for lessons, activities, and curriculum packets available.

For more information, call 637-9511.

Fort Ticonderoga Highlights Role of 1759 Indian Agent


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Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga this summer will be able to explore the role of an Indian agent in 1759 as part of a new program entitled “Within Humane Bounds.” The program will be offered from 2 pm – 5 pm, Sunday through Thursday through October 20, 2011.

An historic interpreter representing an Indian agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department who supplied and coordinated with Mohawk warriors in 1759 brings this nuanced history to life. The program includes an impressive display of representative trade goods including leggings, shirts, powder horns and weapons that were that were needed to secure Mohawk support to the British army. Visitors will learn about the role the agent played in maintaining the bonds of alliance as well as being an important source for practical trade goods utilized in the native villages including agricultural tools and cutlery.

Native American allies in the French & Indian War were key players for both the French and British armies. Accordingly, both sides had extensive networks of agents and traders to try to forge those alliances and coordinate native warriors. Beyond the backing of the British crown, and a large supply of trade goods, Indian agents also had to use personal connections to fulfill their positions. Their fluency in languages, knowledge of local customs, as well as their own personal bonds of kinship within tribes were all essential in securing native alliances. These bonds were very often tested during these times of war, as Indian agents walked a fine line between encouraging native military support while keeping these warriors acting, “Within Humane Bounds”. Sir William Johnson’s directive to his Indian agents was to use the inherent skills of natives in woodland warfare, while keeping them acting within the moral morays of European warfare. Indeed, 1759 through the work of Indian Agents, the Mohawk allies had a reputation among the British army for discipline as admirable as their martial skill.

“Within Humane Bounds” program is part of Fort Ticonderoga’s broader interpretive emphasis this season which brings to life the year 1759. Costumed historic interpreters portraying members of Abijah Williard’s Massachusetts Provincial Regiment recreate 1759 through daily programs and historic trades demonstrations.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Historic Interpreter, Joseph Privott, portrays an Indian Agent of Sir William Johnson’s Northern Indian Department at Fort Ticonderoga as part of the “Within Humane Bounds” Program.

New Native American Area Opens at Fenimore


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The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, has officially unveiled “Otsego: A Meeting Place” – its latest addition to the Native American Interpretive Area and Trail.

Located on north side of the Fenimore’s expansive back lawn, the new area consists of the recently relocated Seneca Log House, a “Three Sisters Garden,” a pond, and other features pertaining to a settlement of this type in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


The Seneca Log House is a single-family log house typical for most reservation Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) families during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Adjacent to the house is a “Three Sisters Garden” with corn, beans, and squash. Medicinal plants are grown in their natural environment in the surrounding woodlands.

Museum admission, which includes entry to “Otsego: A Meeting Place,” is $12 for adults and $10.50 for seniors. Children (age 12 and under), members of the New York State Historical Association, as well as active and retired career military personnel always receive free admission. Visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org for more information and full schedule.

Photo: Otsego: A Meeting Place.

Fort Ticonderoga to Recreate 1759 British Capture


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Re-enactors portraying French and British soldiers of the Seven Year’s War, also known as the French and Indian War, will converge upon Fort Ticonderoga this Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 to recreate the tumultuous and chaotic events by which General Amherst’s British army captured the vital Fort. Visitors will experience the life of British soldiers and besieged French soldiers recreated around them, with all the sights and sounds they would have encountered at Fort Ticonderoga in the summer of 1759.

The modern recreation of this clash for empire will feature a variety of demonstrations and events. Highlights of the weekend include: a battle each day featuring re-enactors recreating events of the siege as reported in the diary of a private in Willard’s Regiment of Massachusetts Provincials, who was part of the British force attacking the Fort; artillery and musket demonstrations; a talk by author Russ Bellico on his book, Empires in the Mountains; 18th-century music performed on period instruments by musician Robert Mouland; a rousing game of 18th-century cricket; and historic merchants to give visitors an immersive experience in the inevitable victory for the British forces. In addition to these special events, visitors to Fort Ticonderoga on June 25 and 26 can also enjoy the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts and militaria and the King’s Garden; admission to this reenactment weekend is included in the price of general admission to the Fort.

During the Seven Year’s War the great rivalry between France and Britain played out in their American colonies. The summer of 1759 saw General Amherst, commander and chief of all British forces in North America, moving to take the French Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) from the rear guard of soldiers posted there. Amherst moved his massive force of 11,000 to siege lines previously held by the French outside the Fort. The tiny French contingent of 400 pounded the British line with artillery for four days, in a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable. Finally, with their defeat in sight, the French spiked the cannons in the Fort, rendering them useless, and lit a fuse in the powder magazine, which exploded with destructive force. The French force retreated by boat to Fort St. Frederic in the north, also known as Crown Point. Out of the rubble of the old Fort Carillon rose the new Fort Ticonderoga as the British forces immediately moved in to begin reconstructing the fortifications.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Historic Interpreters Portray Massachusetts Provincial Soldiers in 1759. Courtesy Fort Ticonderoga.

Champlain Maritime Museum Native American Encampment


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will be hosting a Native American Encampment Weekend this weekend, June 25 & 26, that is expected to give visitors a Native American perspective on life – past, present, and future – in the Champlain Valley and across Vermont.

Members of the Elnu and Missisquoi Abenaki tribes, the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk and Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation will gather will gather at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for the annual celebration of the region’s Native American Heritage. Continue reading

Schoharie Crossing to Host Mohawk Archaeology Talk


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Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host a lecture entitled “The Proof is in the Ground: Previous Archaeological Excavations at Schoharie Crossing” sponsored by the Friends of Schoharie Crossing and presented by Michael Roets, the Bureau of Historic Sites Archaeologist, responsible for ensuring the preservation of Archaeological resources at the 41 Historic Site and Historic Parks managed by the New York State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation. Continue reading

11th Annual Algonquian Peoples Seminar


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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 11th Mohican/Algonquian Peoples Seminar to be held at the NYS Museum in Albany April 30, 2011.

This year’s featured topics will include: Archaeological Research on First Peoples of Eastern New York and the New England-Maritimes, Life’s Immortal Shell: Wampum as a Light and Life Metaphor, The 150th Anniversay of the Mohican Stockbridge-Munsee in the Civil War, Frank Speck on Penobscot and Iroquois Worldviews in the Cosmological Narratives, Investigation of the Vosburg Archaeological District, Growing up on the Reservation, Lithic reduction & resource use in southern New York State and the Stephentown Mounds


For a complete schedule and registration information email Mariann Mantzouris, Seminar Chairwoman at marimantz@aol.com or call 518-369-8116.