Did you know that the candy cane has had a long history?

candy canesThe classic peppermint flavor of the candy cane has been around for 600 years, but the original candy canes didn’t have the now iconic hook but were just straight sticks. In 1640, a German choirmaster decided to change things up by curving the shape to look more like a shepherd’s staff, resulting in the candy cane shape we all know and love today.
About this same time, Christmas trees became popular Christmas decorations and candy canes were part of those decorations. If your family is like my family, there’s a good chance that you have candy canes on your own tree today. (We put up our tree on Thanksgiving weekend.) That hook in the candy cane makes it easy to hang those candy canes on the tree.

The candy cane was first introduced to America in 1847 by a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard.

One legend suggests that an Indiana-based candy-maker shaped the peppermint stick into a “J” shape to represent Jesus, with the white stripe symbolizing the purity of his birth and the red stripe later added to acknowledge the blood he shed on the cross. This origin claim has been debunked, because white candy and peppermint sticks existed in Germany since the 1600s. It may be possible though that this Indiana-based candy-maker attached this symbols to the candy cane to make a deeper connection with the holiday season.

Since candy canes were originally made by hand, they were sold out of local candy shops. It wasn’t until the 1950s a Catholic priest named Gregory Keller invented a machine that could make candy canes that curve automatically. Once automated, candy canes became a popular Christmas confection. Every year, 1.76 billion candy canes are sold and ninety percent of them are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In 2012, Geneva pastry chef Alain Roby broke his third Guinness World Record by creating the world’s longest candy cane. This candy cane was 51 feet long. The previous record had been 38 feet.

Though other flavors do exist, the most popular flavor is remains peppermint flavored ones with red stripes on white.

Do you have candy canes around your house this holiday season?


 

Santa_Claus_face

When I was little, I was told that there was a Santa Claus. However, I figured out very quickly (at about 3 years old) that Old Saint Nicholas was a myth. I remember telling my friends at school that there wasn’t a Santa Claus and they treated me as though I were a villain! I vowed then and there that I wasn’t going to perpetuate the lie with my own children. However, as the years went by, I have since relaxed my views.

When my Eldest Son was Little

When my eldest son was little, we had gifts, but the gifts came from family members, not the mythical character. We didn’t have a Christmas tree or any of the other trappings that go with Christmas. We just shared gifts and the Christmas story.

A few years later, after my second son was born, I lightened up on some of the other holiday traditions. We had Christmas decorations and a tree. However, we still didn’t have Santa Claus as part of our celebration. I wasn’t letting a mythical character share the limelight in the celebrations surrounding the second most holy day in Christendom.

Another Ten Years Went By

When my sons were younger, I always told them not to share the fact that Santa was not real with their friends. I even told them the story of what I had to face when I told my friends that there was no Santa Claus.

As I got older, however, I began to see the lack of fun and imagination that comes with “not believing in Santa Claus”. I personally loved watching the Santa Clause with my boys. It was fun to pretend that Santa was real.

My second son was ten when my daughter was born. By the time she was born, Santa Claus was back into our Christmas traditions. The difference we made, however, was that everyone knew that Santa was pretend. My youngest was told from day one that Santa was not real, but we were going to pretend that he was real. We would talk about Santa like he was a real person, but if my daughter was confused about whether he was real or not, I would tell her that he was pretend.

The idea came from something that happened when my eldest was about six years old. I was out blackberry picking while he was talking ninety miles per minute at me. He was telling me a story that I knew was not true and I called him on it. He told me, “It’s just a story, Mom. It’s just a story!”

It’s just a Story

Personally, I have nothing against pretending with our children, especially about someone as benevolent as Santa Claus. Like other forms of fiction, we can use the Santa Claus myth to teach our children about giving to others. The Santa story is also a story that boosts the imagination and by pretending the Santa character with our children, we can build our relationship with them. It is important for everyone to know the truth about the Santa character. Understanding the difference between fact and fiction is a concept that children can be introduced to early and Santa is a reasonable way to introduce this concept to our children.

But was Santa Claus just a fictional character? No, he wasn’t.

Based on a Real Person

Santa Claus was not just a story, however, and it is important for children to understand the history behind the story. Santa is based on St. Nicholas, born around 280 AD in what is now Turkey. Nicholas was known for helping the poor. By 1600, he was a popular saint, especially in Holland, where he was known as Sinter Klaas. By 1800, Dutch emigrants had introduced him to the United States, later helped by the writer Washington Irving passing on their stories about him, and by Clement Clarke Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.

What Do You Think?

What do you think about the Santa Claus Myth? Do you promote it with your children? Do you ignore it all together, or do you, like me, use Santa Claus to teach your children (or grandchildren) about life?


main streetI cringe every time I hear someone say that some way of thinking is “common sense”. One reason is that I feel that common sense comes from a limited way of thinking. Common sense usually is regarded when one person who has been in a specific group of people that has a limited mindset. These people are exclusive unto themselves. Who wants to be common?

As I see it, the idea of common sense is rather bigoted. When a person says that something is “common sense, it means that because you don’t believe like we believe, you’re less than average. You’re not even good enough to be common when you don’t believe what is common to society. Common sense is “in-the-box-thinking.”

Developing Un-Common Sense

I prefer un-common sense or out of the box thinking. Out of the box thinking is creative thinking. I think that I have been a creative thinker all my life and I think that stems from having less than most children when I was growing up.

I Had Creative Parents

It also stems from having parents who grew up during the depression, who also had to be creative. When my mother was little, her playhouse was the shade of an apple tree. She played with her dolls under that tree. My Dad used to tell us stories about things that his brothers and sisters used to do. I remember he said that during the winter, he made barrel stave skis that he used every winter.

Though we never seemed to have enough money everything we wanted, we never had our utilities shut off or were ever without food. My parents always found creative ways to make ends meet. When I was growing up, my mother did a lot of gardening, canning, and freezing produce. I learned self-sufficiency from her.

We didn’t always have money to have birthday parties, but that didn’t stop us from creating them anyway. We would make decorations from construction paper that we recycled at the end of the previous school year. We baked a made from scratch birthday cake from baking supplies that my mother always had on hand. Often, we didn’t have powdered sugar, but my mother was always able to make frosting using egg whites (we often had our own chickens) and white sugar. Sometimes we drank Kool-Aid and other times us kids would pool our cash together and buy dime sodas (we called it “pop”). We would make our birthday gifts.

Books to Encourage Curiosity

We had access to books and my parents encouraged us to read. One of the things that they did spend money on when I was a child was a set of World Book Encyclopedias and a set of Child Craft Books. They used to help us look up things in those books. I loved learning and still do thanks to the uncommon sense that both of my parents had in raising their children.

How about you? What makes you uncommon?

 


MandanSince I did Black History Month during February, I thought that it was only right that I should also commemorate Native Americans this month. This week, I am sharing what I learned about the Mandan while I was researching for The Locket Saga.

In my upcoming book Two Rivers (Book VII of the Locket Saga), my fictional character, Isaac Thorton, joined the Lewis and Clark expedition as far as the Mandan tribe where they spent the entire winter of 1804-1805 before going west into uncharted territory.

Mandan Origins

The English name Mandan is derived from the French-Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier, Sieur de la Verendrye, who in 1738 heard it as Mantannes from his Assiniboine guides, which call the Mandan Mayádąna. He had previously heard the earth lodge peoples referred to by the Cree as Ouachipouennes, “the Sioux who go underground”.
The Mandan referred to themselves as Numakaki (Nųmą́khų́·ki) (or Rųwą́ʔka·ki) (“many men, people”) was inclusive and not limited to a specific village. This name was used before the smallpox epidemic of 1837-1838. Nueta (Nų́ʔetaa), the name used after this epidemic (“ourselves, our people”) was originally the name of Mandan villagers living on the west bank of the Missouri River. The name Mi-ah´ta-nē recorded by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden in 1862 reportedly means “people on the river bank”, but this may be a folk etymology.

The Mandan language belongs to the Siouan language family. It was first thought to be closely related to the languages of the Hidatsa and the Crow. However, since the Mandan language has been in contact with Hidatsa and Crow for many years, the exact relationship between Mandan and other Siouan languages (including Hidatsa and Crow) has been obscured. For this reason, linguists classify Mandan as a separate branch of the Sioux. Mandan has two main dialects: Nuptare and Nuetare. Only the Nuptare variety survived into the 20th century, and all speakers were bilingual in Hidatsa.

The exact origins and early history of the Mandan is unknown. Early linguists believed the Mandan language may have been closely related to the language of the Ho-Chunk or Winnebago people of present-day Wisconsin. This idea might be confirmed in their oral history, which refers to having come from an eastern location near a lake.

Ethnologists and scholars studying the Mandan subscribe to the theory that, like other Sioux people (possibly including the Hidatsa), they originated in the mid-Mississippi River and the Ohio River valleys in present-day Ohio. If this was the case, the Mandan would have migrated north into the Missouri River Valley and its tributary the Heart River in present-day North Dakota where Europeans first encountered the historical tribe. This migration might have occurred possibly as early as the 7th century but probably between 1000 CE and the 13th century, after they started cultivating maize during a period of a major climate change where warmer, wetter conditions favored their agricultural production.

After they arrived on the banks of the Heart River, the Mandan constructed several villages, the largest of which were at the mouth of the river. Archeological evidence and ground imaging radar reveals changes in the defensive boundaries of these villages over time. The people built new ditches and palisades circumscribing smaller areas as their populations declined.

The Double Ditch Village was located on the east bank of the Missouri River, north of present-day Bismarck. Rupture Mandan occupied it for nearly 300 years. Today the site has depressions showing evidence of their lodges and smaller ones where they created cache pits to store dehydrated corn. The name comes from two defensive trenches built outside the area of the lodges. Construction of the fortifications here and at other locations along the Missouri has been found to have correlated to periods of drought, when they raided other villages for food.

At some point, the Hidatsa people also moved into the area. They too spoke a Siouan language. Mandan tradition states that the Hidatsa were a nomadic tribe until the Mandan taught them to build stationary villages and cultivate agriculture. The Hidatsa maintained a friendship with the Mandan and constructed villages north of them on the Knife River.

Later the Pawnee and Arikara moved from the Republican River north along the Missouri River. They were Caddoan language speakers, and the Arikara were often early competitors with the Mandan, although both grew crops. They built a settlement known as Crow Creek village on a bluff above the Missouri.

The Mandan all practiced extensive farming, which was carried out by the women and included drying and processing corn. The Mandan traded crops and other goods were traded from the Pacific Northwest to the Tennessee River, Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the Atlantic Seaboard.

The bands did not often move along the river until the late 18th century, after their populations plummeted due to smallpox and other epidemics.

European Encounter

The Koatiouak, mentioned in a 1736 letter by Jesuit Jean-Pierre Aulneau, are identified as Mandans. The first European known to visit the Mandan was the French Canadian trader Sieur de la Verendrye in 1738. The Mandan carried him into their well-fortified village. He learned that about 15,000 Mandan lived in nine well-fortified villages along the Heart River. According to Vérendrye, the Mandan were a large, powerful, prosperous nation who could dictate trade on their own terms.They traded with other Native Americans both from the north and the south, and from downriver.

Mandan acquired their horses from the Apache to the south. They used them both for transportation, to carry packs and pull travois, and for hunting. The horses helped the Mandan expand their hunting territory on to the Plains. Their encounter with the French in the 18th century created a trading link between the French and Native Americans. The Mandan served as middlemen in the trade in furs, horses, guns, crops and buffalo products. Spanish merchants and officials in St. Louis (after France had ceded its territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain in 1763) explored the Missouri and strengthened relations with the Mandan.

The French wanted to discourage trade with the English and the Americans, but the Mandan carried on open trade with all competitors. They would not be limited by the Europeans. French traders in St. Louis sought to establish direct overland communication between Santa Fé and their city; the fur trading Chouteau brothers gained a Spanish monopoly on trade with Santa Fe.

A smallpox epidemic broke out in Mexico City in 1779/1780. It slowly spread northward through the Spanish empire, by trade and warfare, and reached the northern plains in 1781. The Comanche and Shoshone had become infected and carried the disease throughout their territory. Other warring and trading peoples also became infected. The Mandan lost so many people that the number of clans was reduced from thirteen to seven; three clan names from villages west of the Missouri were lost altogether. They eventually moved northward about 25 miles, and consolidated into two villages, one on each side of the river, as they rebuilt following the epidemic. Also affected by smallpox, the Hidatsa people joined them for defense. Through and after the epidemic, Lakota Sioux and Crow warriors raided them.

In 1796, Welsh explorer John Evans visited the Mandan. He hoped to find proof that their language contained Welsh words. Evans had arrived in St. Louis two years prior, and after being imprisoned for a year, Spanish authorities hired him to lead an expedition to chart the upper Missouri. Evans spent the winter of 1796–97 with the Mandan but found no evidence of any Welsh influence. British and French Canadians from the north carried out more than twenty fur-trading expeditions down to the Hidatsa and Mandan villages in the years 1794 to 1800.

The Mandan and their language received much attention from European Americans, in part because their lighter skin color caused speculation they were of European origin. In the 1830s, Prince Maximilian of Wied spent more time recording Mandan over all other Siouan languages and prepared a comparison list of Mandan and Welsh words. (He thought that the Mandan may have been displaced Welsh.) The theory of the Mandan/Welsh connection, was also supported by George Catlin, but researchers have found no evidence of such ancestry.

Visited by Lewis and Clark Expedition

By 1804 when Lewis and Clark visited the tribe, the number of Mandan had been greatly reduced by smallpox epidemics and warring bands of Assiniboine, Lakota and Arikara. The nine villages had consolidated into two villages in the 1780s, one on each side of the Missouri, but they continued their famous hospitality, and the Lewis and Clark expedition stopped near their villages for the winter because of it. In honor of their hosts, the expedition dubbed the settlement they constructed Fort Mandan. Here, Lewis and Clark first met Sacagawea, a captive Shoshone woman. Sacagawea accompanied the expedition as it traveled west, assisting them with information and translating skills as they journeyed toward the Pacific Ocean.

Upon their return to the Mandan villages, Lewis and Clark took the Mandan Chief Sheheke (Coyote or Big White) with them to Washington to meet with President Thomas Jefferson. He returned to the upper Missouri. He had survived the smallpox epidemic of 1781, but in 1812 he was killed in a battle with Hidatsa.

In 1825 the Mandan signed a peace treaty with the leaders of the Atkinson-O’Fallon Expedition. The treaty required that the Mandan recognize the supremacy of the United States, admit that they reside on United States territory, and relinquish all control and regulation of trade to the United States. The Mandan and the United States Army never met in open warfare.

Why did some Mandan have Bluish Eyes and Lighter Skin?

18th-century reports about characteristics of Mandan lodges, religion and occasional physical features among tribal members, such as blue and grey eyes along with lighter hair coloring, stirred speculation about the possibility of pre-Columbian European contact. Catlin believed the Mandan were the “Welsh Indians” of folklore, descendants of Prince Madoc and his followers who emigrated to America from Wales in about 1170. This view was popular at the time but has been dismissed as not true.

Hjalmar Holand had proposed that interbreeding with Norse survivors might explain the “blond” Indians among the Mandan on the Upper Missouri River. In a multidisciplinary study of the Kensington Runestone, anthropologist Alice Beck Kehoe dismissed, as “tangential” to the Runestone issue, this and other historical references suggesting pre-Columbian contacts with ‘outsiders’, such as the Hochunk (Winnebago) story about an ancestral hero “Red Horn” and his encounter with “red-haired giants”. Archaeologist Ken Feder has stated that none of the material evidence that would be expected from a Viking presence in and travel through the American Midwest exists.

The Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Read the books of The Locket Saga
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Chief CornplanterA few years ago, I met a young man was a descendant of Cornplanter. His family had moved from the tribal lands to the nearby Seneca reservation probably for economic reasons. He gave me a CD of his people’s music. It was beautiful. It is sad that our culture had almost wiped their culture from this country.

Another memory that I have related to this chief is that I remember back when I was a teenager at the nursing home next door where I sometimes worked, one of the residents had been one of the people who helped move a graveyard off land that would be at the bottom of the lake above what was to be Kinzua Dam in Warren County, Pennsylvania. Later I learned that this had been land that was promised to the descendants of Chief Cornplanter. If they lived on the land, it would always be reserved for them. The last member of the Cornplanter Tribe left the land sometime before the US government whisked in and took possession of the area and flooded the area and built the dam for electricity production.

Cornplanter’s Early Years

Cornplanter was born sometime between 1732 and 1746, in the village of Conewaugus on the Genesee River in New York, the son of a Seneca woman and a Dutch trader named John Abeel (O’Bail). Lewis Henry Morgan erroneously states that it was Cornplanter’s mother who was white rather than his father. This is important because the Seneca, like other Iroquois people, are matrilineal. This means that tribal membership comes to individuals through their mothers. Cornplanter had two half siblings who were born to his mother and a Seneca father: a brother, Handsome Lake, the Seneca prophet; and a sister who became the mother of Governor Blacksnake, the Seneca political leader. Little is known about Cornplanter during his early years, although many scholars contend that he was a warrior during the French and Indian War at the defeat of Edward Braddock in 1755 while he was in his early teens. One letter to the governor of Pennsylvania noted that Cornplanter, while playing with the other Indian boys, noticed that his skin color was lighter than that of the other boys, whereupon his mother told him of his white father who lived in Albany. As a prospective bridegroom, he visited his father who treated him kindly, but gave him nothing in the way of either material goods or expected information, particularly regarding the coming rebellion of the colonists against the British. This rebellion played a major role in Cornplanter’s life.

This Role during the Revolutionary War

Cornplanter played a major role in Iroquois Confederacy politics before and during the American Revolution and the subsequent political adaptation of the Seneca to the new government of the United States. The Iroquois Confederacy began as an alliance of five northern Iroquoian-speaking tribes: the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. This alliance was formed to harness the strength of these five groups in fighting common enemies as well as to foster economic cooperation among them. The confederacy was governed by the Grand Council of Fifty Chiefs.

This governing body had cardinal rules which stated that any decision made required a unanimous vote of the chiefs especially decisions regarding war. In the Revolution, the Mohawk were firmly behind the British, but the Seneca hoped for neutrality. Cornplanter and his half-brother Handsome Lake were among the leaders of the Seneca. However, Cornplanter was obliged to support his fellow clansman Joseph Brant, a Mohawk captain who supported the British and he was obligated to fight with the British against the Americans. Other members of the federation, like the Oneida and the Tuscarora remained neutral and refused to get in the middle of the fight.

Despite his original misgivings about entering the war on the side of the British, Cornplanter served as a commander for the Seneca throughout the war.

During the Battle of Canajoharie, located in the Mohawk Valley, during August of 1780. Cornplanter recognized his father, John Abeel, among the captive survivors after his men attacked and burned a village. Though Cornplanter felt slighted by his father for not having send a wedding gift, Cornplanter still respected him as a kinsman and apologize for burning his house. He also offered his father the option of returning to Seneca country with him or being released immediately. Abeel chose to be released, and, at Cornplanter’s request, the council of leaders allowed his freedom.

After the Revolution

Even before the end of the war, Americans started planning to remove the Indians from their lands and punish them for their aid to the British by destroying the political importance of the confederacy and looked at the monetary gain they would get for confiscating and selling Indian land. When General George Washington ordered an invasion of the Iroquois homeland to punish them for their role in the revolution, Cornplanter sent an urgent message in July of 1779, saying: “Father. You have said that we are in your hand and that by closing it you could crush us to nothing. Are you determined to crush us? If you are, tell us so that those of our nation who have become your children and have determined to die so, may know what to do. But before you determine on a measure so unjust, look up to God who made us as well as you. We hope He will not permit you to destroy the whole of our nation.”

Cornplanter tried to reconcile the Seneca with the Americans, but failed. He attended the treaty council held at Fort Stanwix (1784) between the Iroquois and the United States. This treaty ceded large tracts of Indian land to the new government. Because he tried to make peace between the Seneca and the Americas and because the tribe lost great tracts of land, Cornplanter became unpopular with the Seneca. Although he was not a signer of the treaty, Cornplanter agreed to the Fort Harmar Treaty (1789), ceded another great tract of land to the United States, and this only worsened his position with the tribe.
During this period of treaty-making, arguments arose over which of the newly formed states would encompass Indian territories. Robert Morris, an early colonial and American financier, purchased a right, called a right of pre-emption” from the state of Massachusetts. He eventually decided to sell this right of pre-emption to the Holland Land Company, agreeing in the bargain to extinguish Indian claim to the land by buying the land from the Indians. Finances ultimately kept him from accomplishing this, but he still attempted to extinguish Indian claim to the land through political channels. He met with Cornplanter in Philadelphia in August of 1797 to begin preliminary discussions of this issue, which led to full-scale negotiations between Morris and the Seneca at Genesee, New York. The Seneca rejected all of Morris’s offers and Red Jacket eventually proclaimed negotiations to be at an end. The Seneca finally agreed to cede the land and signed a treaty in September of 1797.

The Land Grant

In 1795 the Pennsylvania Commonwealth awarded him in fee simple 1,500 acres of land in western Pennsylvania. Cornplanter directed the survey of this land into three strategic and valuable tracts and a patent was issued in 1796. He eventually lost two of the tracts, those at Oil City and Richland. The third tract he kept, encompassing about 750 acres along the Allegany River including the site of the old Seneca town Jenuchshadago and two islands in that river. He was awarded a yearly pension by the U.S. government because of the 1797 treaty, which he collected for some time. An additional tract of land given to Cornplanter is in what is now Marietta, Ohio, and Cornplanter’s heirs continue to claim that the US government defrauded from them.

Cornplanter  raised horses and cattle and maintained his own political community. According to O. Turner in Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, Cornplanter later quarreled with Handsome Lake over some of the religious teachings which Handsome Lake had introduced to the Seneca.

Cornplanter eventually became a Christian, and invited Quakers to build a school on his land grant. However, he became disillusioned with the white man’s effects on Seneca culture and he publicly destroyed the formal regalia and various awards that he had received from the president of the United States. He died on February 18, 1836, in Jenuchshadago at about one hundred years old.

Kinzua Dam

Kinzua Dam

Cornplanter’s last direct heir and great-great-great-grandson, Jesse Cornplanter, an artist, died in 1957. By the 1960s, Cornplanter’s indirect descendants had already moved to Salamanca, New York.

Construction of Kinzua Dam condemned 10,000 acres of the Allegheny Reservation including  the land granted to Cornplanter in the Treaty of Canandaigua. The Seneca lost a considerable number of acres of fertile farmland and forced 600 Seneca from their community within the reservation. Because he claimed the immediate need for flood control,  President John F. Kennedy denied the Seneca’s request to halt construction.

In Pennsylvania, the government condemned most of the historic Cornplanter Tract,  made by the state legislature to Cornplanter after the Revolutionary War to him and his heirs “forever”. This area included a historic cemetery that contained Cornplanter’s remains as well as three hundred descendants and followers and a state memorial monument erected in 1866.

The state exhumed and reinterred these remains in a new cemetery, located west of the north central Pennsylvania town of Bradford, about 100 yards from the New York state line. “The cemetery contains remains of white residents of Corydon, a town submerged by the reservoir. By 2009 Seneca observers and whites pleaded with the State Corps of Engineers to protect the area when they saw erosion on the bluff where the cemetery  was located. Other remains were relocated to a cemetery in Steamburg.

The Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books

Read the books of The Locket Saga
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I was in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I had the privilege of meeting members of the Eighth Pennsylvania Re-enactors. The original Eighth Pennsylvania’s leadership where the ones who signed the treaty with the Lenape.

When I was researching my book A Coward’s Solace, I discovered that the first American treaty with the Indians were between the Lenape or Delaware I decided to share this story this week as my focus for Native American History Month. I wrote about it at the end of my book A Coward’s Solace.

The Treaty with the Delaware, signed on September 17, 1778, at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), was the first formal written treaty between the new United States of America and any Native Americans. This treaty gave the United States permission to travel through Delaware territory and required the Delaware to allow American troops whatever aid they required in their war against Britain, including warrior support. What the Delaware and our story’s naïve protagonists did not know was that the United States planned an attack on the British fort at Detroit, and Lenape friendship was essential for that campaign’s success.

In exchange for the Delaware support, the United States promised to provide clothing, utensils, and weapons. They offered to build a fort in Delaware country with the promise that fort would provide safety for their women, elderly, and children while the warriors fought any common enemy. Although it was not specifically stated in the written treaty, the American Government assumed that along with their French allies, the Delaware would become active participants with the Americans against the British.

The Delaware, on the other hand, assumed, like their treaties with other Native American tribes, that the agreement simply allowed the Continental troops free passage through Delaware country and the building of a protective fort for defending white settlers. However, the American government wanted the Delaware to do much more. The United States intended to use the fort for offensive campaigns and wrote into the treaty that the Delaware would attack their native neighbors. This way, the Delaware would be responsible for controlling the other native tribes so that the Continental and militia troops could focus on subduing British forces.

The treaty recognized the Delaware as a sovereign nation, guaranteeing territorial rights, even encouraging the other Ohio Country Native American tribes who were friendly to the United States to form a state. A member of Delaware leadership would represent the Delaware state in Congress. This measure had little chance of success, and some experts believe that the authors of the treaty were dishonest and deceitful. Others believe that the Delaware chief White Eyes proposed the measure. The Delaware state was to become the fourteenth state of the United States. In any case, neither the United States nor the Delaware acted upon this measure.

Delaware Grievances

Before a year passed, the Delaware Indians expressed grievances with the treaty. A Delaware delegation visited Philadelphia in 1779 to voice their dissatisfaction to the Continental Congress, but nothing changed and peace between the United States and the Delaware Indians dissolved.

Of the members who signed the treaty on September 17, 1778, White Eyes, the tribe’s most outspoken ally of the United States, died in mysteriously. Initially the official army report stated that White Eyes died of smallpox on an expedition to attack Detroit, but upon farther investigation, an officer killed him in “friendly fire”. The stated reason for the cover-up was an attempt to keep the Delaware from seeking revenge for his death.
The Pipe had tried to stay neutral throughout the American Revolution even after General Edward Hand killed his mother, brother, and several of his children during a military campaign in 1778. Because Hand did not know the difference between the Native American tribes, he mistook the neutral Lenape for the Shawnee who allied with the British, so he attacked hoping to reduce Indian threats against settlers in the Ohio Country. When Pipe and other Lenape leaders protested the US interpretation of the treaty, General Lachlan McIntosh demanded that Lenape warriors assist the Americans in capturing Fort Detroit. If they refused, he would exterminate them. Pipe and other leaders left the Fort Pitt area and relocated to the Walhonding River near what is now Coshocton, Ohio.

Many Lenape joined the war against the Americans. In response, Colonel Daniel Brodhead led an expedition out of Fort Pitt on April 19, 1781, which destroyed Coshocton. Surviving residents fled to the north. The soldiers left the Lenape at the Moravian mission villages unmolested because they were Christianized and considered non-combatants.

Due to indiscriminate American attacks against the Lenape during the war, chiefs of several clans switched to ally with the British. After being pushed out as principal chief, the Pipe led an American attack on a major Lenape town, and then retreated to Fort Pitt. After the war, he converted to Christianity at a Moravian mission in Salem, Ohio, where he took the Christian name of “William Henry.”

The Lenape after the American Revolution

Pipe’s neutrality ended in 1781 when Colonel Daniel Brodhead attacked and destroyed Pipe’s village. He moved his people to the Tymochtee Creek near the Sandusky River. This village became known as Pipe’s Town. Captain Pipe spent the rest of the American Revolution resisting American expansion into the Ohio Country. He helped defeat the Crawford Expedition in 1782 headed by William Crawford, and Crawford was ritually tortured and then killed. After the Revolution, Pipe continued resistance efforts against white settlements in what the US called the Northwest Territory.
Over time, Pipe realized the futility of his attempts to defeat the Americans. so he negotiated treaties with the government. These treaties did nothing to limit the number of settlers who moved onto lands the American government reserved for the Lenape. Time after time, the Lenape moved only to be moved again when settlers wanted to settle on Lenape lands.
In 1812, the Lenape moved west again and the government moved them yet again in 1821. No one knows exactly where Chief Pipe died. Some say that he died in 1818 near Orestes; others say somewhere in Canada. His son also called Captain Pipe signed many treaties and moved with the tribe to Kansas.
Today, the tribe is organized west of the Mississippi. They have an official newspaper based out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The Delaware Indian News is the official publication of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. It is published by the Delaware Tribe and mailed free to tribal members. Check it out here http://delawaretribe.org/delaware-indian-news/

The Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books
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little africa 5

If the land could talk, it would tell us about the people who lived here. It would tell you about the Erie, how they lived and how they died.

Last fall I saw that November was not only the National Novel Writing Month, but it was also Native American History Month. Since I did Black History Month in February, I thought that it was only right that I should also commemorate Native Americans this month.

I decided to start with Native Americans who used to live in the area where I grew up. I was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania where the Erie Indians resided when the only white men in the area were a few French Jesuits. Several years ago I wrote an article on Hubpages called Whatever happened to the Erie Indians. Here’s a link if you’d like to read it. https://hubpages.com/education/What-Ever-Happened-to-the-Erie-Indians
This week, I am again honoring the Erie Indians.

What Do We Know about the Erie?

According to the History of Erie County Pennsylvania written In the 1880s, The State Library of Pennsylvania at Harrisburg had two ancient French maps. One of them was printed in 1763 and the other in 1768 and both maps show geographical features of parts of the US and Canada. Both represent the southern shore of Lake Erie as peopled with a tribe of Native Americans known as the Erie. A note in the margin of each reads, “The ancient Erie were exterminated by the Iroquois about one hundred years ago, and every since then they (the Iroquois) have been in possession of Lake Erie.”

On the earlier map the following is printed on the lake between what is now Cleveland and Sandusky. “The seat of war, the mart of trade, and chief hunting grounds of the six Nations on the lakes and the Ohio.”

This information is related to a French book published in 1703 which described the voyages of Le Baron de Lahonton an adventurous Frenchman who lived for ten years among the Indians from 1683-1693.

“The shores of Lake Erie,” he said, “are frequented by the Iroquois, the Illinois, the Oumanies, among others who are so savage that it is dangerous to stop with them.”

Frequent reference is also made in the letters and memoirs of Frenchmen -who visited this section, to the Flatheads, who would seem to have been settled somewhere south or west of the lake. All the authorities agreed that the date of the extermination of the Erie was somewhere about 1650. Most early historians claim that the word Erie was the Indian expression for wild cat, but a more recent writer contends that ” this is a mistake, that it does not mean wild cat, but raccoon. Raccoons were (and still are) abundant upon the lake shore while wild cats are seldom seen.”

A French memoir, written in 1718, relates that one island in the upper part of the lake was infested to so great an extent by wild cats, that ” the Indians killed as many as 900 of them in a very short time.” It is possible that the French explorers, from whom the supposed meaning of the word has descended to us, mistook raccoons for wild cats.
Students of Native American history believe that the tribe was at one time considerably ahead of the other tribes in progress and intellect.

Records show that French missionaries visited the Erie were visited by French missionaries as early as 1626. They claimed that the Erie were a neutral nation among the other more warlike tribes in the area. These Native Americans were governed by a queen, called in their own language, Yagowania, and in the Seneca tongue, Gegosasa. She was regarded as “the mother of nations,” and her office was that of “keeper of the symbolic house of peace.” The chief warrior of the tribe was Ragnotha, who had his principal location at Tu-shu-way, now the site of Buffalo, New York.

The End of the Erie

The Erie stayed neutral until 1634, when a bloody dissension broke out between the several branches of the Iroquois. During its progress two Seneca warriors appeared at Gegosasa’s lodge and were hospitably received. They were preparing to smoke the peace pipe when a deputation of Massassaugues was announced, who demanded vengeance for the murder of their chief’s son at the hands of the Seneca.

The queen granted the request promptly. She set out with a large body of warriors to enforce her decree, and dispatched messengers to Ragnotha to command his assistance. The visiting Seneca flew to their friends to notify them of the queen’s course, and a body of men hastily gathered in ambush on the road upon which her army traveled. The Erie did not know about the presence of the Seneca until the Erie heard their war-whoop. The Erie were ambushed. At first the queen’s forces gained the advantage, but the Seneca rallied and the Erie fled, leaving behind 600 dead. There are no accounts of any further hostilities at that time and the Queen did not appear to enforce her plan to avenge the grievances of the Massassaugues.

The war where the Erie were exterminated by the Iroquois occurred around 1650 and was one of the cruelest in history. From the beginning, both sides understood that one tribe or the other would be completely obliterated. The Erie organized a powerful body of warriors and hoped to ambush the Seneca in their own territory. A woman secretly alerted the Seneca of the Erie plan. The Seneca raised a force and marched to meet the invaders. The Seneca were completely victorious. Seven times the Erie crossed the stream that divided the hostile lines, but they were driven back with terrible losses.
At a later date, several hundred Iroquois attacked nearly three times their number of Erie, encamped near the mouth of French Creek, dispersed them, took many prisoners, and forced the rest to flee to remote regions.

In a battle near the site of the Cattauraugas Indian mission house, on the Allegheny River, the loss of the Erie was enormous. Finally, a disease broke out among the Erie, which “swept away greater numbers even than the club and arrow.” The Iroquois took advantage of their opportunity to end all fear of future trouble from the ill-fated Erie. Those who had been taken captive were, with rare exceptions, remorselessly butchered, and their wives and children were made slaves to the Iroquois villages. The few survivors “fled to distant regions in the West and South and had undying hatred the Seneca. Their council fire had been put out, and their name and language as a tribe lost.”
Sculptures and embankments on Kelly’s Island, in the upper end of the lake, was probably the last stronghold of the Erie. Traces of the tribe were occasionally found by the French Jesuits aw they wandered through the western wilderness. A number were living as slaves among the Onondagas of New York. They appealed to the missionaries to help them escape, but the French refused their requests. An early French writer described the Christian village of La Prairie and said that a portion of the settlement was made up of fugitive Erie.

How does this Tribe Relate to the Locket Saga?

The Locket Saga 5 books
In the Locket Saga series, I make no mention of the Erie because they were long gone by the time of the series. However, in The Anvil (Book VI), Luke mentions that the Erie had at one time lived in the area where they were moving.

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