Alice Cunningham Fletcher

Ethnologist, Anthropologist and Social Scientist

Alice Cunningham Fletcher was a pioneer in the science of ethnology, living among American Indians while studying and documenting their culture. Fletcher was a leader in the movement to bring Native Americans into the mainstream of white society, but some of her ideas proved to be detrimental to the Indians.

Early Years
Alice Cunningham Fletcher was born in Havana, Cuba March 15, 1838 after her family traveled there in an effort to improve her father’s health. Both of her parents were from wealthy New England families – her father was a New York lawyer and her mother came from a prominent Boston business family. Little documentation of her early life remains. After her father died in 1839, the family moved to Brooklyn Heights, her mother enrolled Alice in the Brooklyn Female Academy, an exclusive school for daughters of the elite.

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Queen Aliquippa

Native American Leader

Image: Young Major George Washington Visits Queen Aliquippa

Queen Aliquippa was a leader of the Seneca tribe of Native Americans during the early part of the 18th century. Little is known about her early life. Her date of birth has been estimated anywhere from the early 1670s to the early 1700s, but historians have indicated that she was born in the 1680s, probably in upstate New York.

The story of Queen Aliquippa begins long before white trappers had ventured into western Pennsylvania, so no accurate record of her early life exists. The information that can be found is extremely fragmented, so sorting through the fact and fiction of her life will be left to the reader.

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Native Americans of Georgia Colony

Georgia Indian Tribes

Image: Native Territories in Georgia

In 1732, several gentlemen in England, headed by James Oglethorpe, a member of the British Parliament and a philanthropist, organized a plan for establishing a colony in America for the indigent and persecuted in Britain – where the one class might find relief from poverty, and the other from persecution.

King George II granted to a corporation, “in trust for the poor,” the territory of Georgia, which was to be divided among the settlers. Liberal donations were made to defray the expenses of the first company of settlers to the new province.

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Native Americans of Pennsylvania

Image: We Dined in the Hollow Cottonwood Tree
By Robert Griffing

During the Celeron Expedition in the summer of 1749, the French were on a mission to assert claims to the Ohio Valley. The party stopped for the night and dined in the enormous tree in the Allegheny Forest in Pennsylvania. From the diary of Father Joseph Pierre Bonnecamp: “We dined in a hollow cottonwood tree in which twenty-nine men could be ranged side by side.”

Pennsylvania Natives
When first discovered by Europeans, Pennsylvania was inhabited by groups of Native Americans. The life of the Indians reflected Stone Age backgrounds, especially in material arts and crafts. Tools, weapons, and household equipment were made from stone, wood, and bark. Transportation was on foot or by canoe. Houses were made of bark, clothing from the skins of animals.

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Queen Anne of the Pamunkey

Queen of the Pamunkey Native Americans

Image: Pamunkey Sarah Langston Major and her family

The Pamunkey Native American tribe were the most powerful tribe in the great Powhatan Confederacy, which consisted of 35 tribes with a population of some 10,000 people under the leadership of Chief Powhatan. His territory encompassed the entire coastal plain of Virginia, from south of the James River to near Washington, DC. The chief was living among the Pamunkey when the English colonists first arrived in Virginia.

Queen Anne (ca. 1650 – ca. 1715) became the chief of the Pamunkey tribe when her aunt Cockacoeske died. Due to her authoritative position, she was always called Queen Anne by the colonists.

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Native Americans of Maryland

Maryland Indian Tribes

The first Marylanders were Paleo-Indians who came more than 10,000 years ago from other parts of North America to hunt mammoth, great bison, and caribou. By 1000 B.C., Maryland had more than 8,000 Native Americans in about 40 different tribes. Most of them spoke Algonquian languages. They grew corn, peas, squash and tobacco. They also hunted, fished and traded with tribes as far away as New York and Ohio.

The word Chesapeake, as in Chesapeake Bay, came from the Native American word “Chesepiuk,” an Algonquian name for a village that the Roanoke, Virginia, colonists discovered in 1585 near the mouth of the Bay. Later, mapmakers used the word to name the Bay. People have said that Chesapeake means great salt water or great shellfish bay, but no records exist to verify those definitions.

In 1608, Captain John Smith thought there was “no place more perfect for man’s habitation” than the Chesapeake Bay. Fur trader William Claiborne thought so, too, and set up a fur trading post on Kent Island in 1631. This was the first English settlement in the upper Chesapeake.

In 1632, King Charles I of England granted a land grant to George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, to form a colony north of the established Virginia Colony. The colony would be named Maryland in honor of King Charles’ wife Queen Henrietta Maria. The first settlement in Maryland was at St. Mary’s on the Potomac River on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in 1634.

The boundary of the grant included all of present day Maryland and Delaware, and included all of the homeland of the Nanticokes, the Piscataway/ Conoy and parts of many other tribal homelands including the Lenape, Powhatan, Susquehannock, Shawnee and others.

The Piscataway
A tribe of Algonquian linguistic stock formerly occupying the peninsula of lower Maryland between the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay and northward to the Patapsco, including the present District of Columbia, the Piscataway are notable as being the first tribe whose Christianization was attempted by the English.

Under the Maryland Government, the other chiefs or kings all recognized the chief of Piscataway as their emperor, and their original population was probably nearly 2500.

On March 25, 1634, the Catholic English colony of Lord Baltimore, including the Jesuit fathers Andrew White and John Altham, landed on St. Clement’s Island and established friendly relations with the natives and the great chief of Piscataway and the chief of Potomac town on the Virginia side. The first altar was set up in an Indian wigwam.

Because of attacks by the powerful Susquehannock at the head of the bay, the local natives were about to move, and the English settlers bargained with them for the abandoned site.

Under the new Government, the Piscataway rapidly declined. Driven from their best lands by legal and illegal means, demoralized by liquor dealers, hunted by slave-catchers, wasted by smallpox, constantly raided by the powerful Susquehannock while forbidden the possession of guns for their own defense, their plantations destroyed by the cattle and hogs of the settlers, and their pride broken by oppressive restrictions, they sank to the condition of helpless dependents whose numbers constantly diminished.

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Native Americans of North Carolina

North Carolina Natives

Early History
At the time of the first European contact, North Carolina was inhabited by a number of native tribes sharing some cultural traits, but also distinguished by regional and linguistic variations. Three major language families were represented in North Carolina: Iroquoian, Siouan, and Algonquian.

Image: Map of Cherokee homelands and other eastern tribes
Before being forced to move west to Oklahoma

The Iroquoian tribes – the Cherokee, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Coree, and Neuse River – were related linguistically and culturally to the Iroquois tribes to the north. The Algonquian-speaking tribes represented the southernmost extension of predominantly Northeastern Woodlands tribes and were located entirely in the tidewater area of the state. These were the Bear River, Chowan, Hatteras, Nachapunga, Moratok, Pamlico, Secotan, and Weapomeoc.

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Native Americans of South Carolina

South Carolina Indian Tribes

Image: Carolina Indian Village
Depicted in a drawing by John White
The cutaways in the drawing were done in order to show the interior design of the structures.

For thousands of years before Europeans arrived in present-day South Carolina, the area was occupied by Native Americans – at least 29 distinct tribes. The Catawba, Cherokee, Chicora, Edisto, Pee Dee, and Santee tribes are all still present in South Carolina. The many places in South Carolina that bear the names of tribes attest to the important role Indians played in the state’s history.

Sadly, the Indian population in South Carolina and throughout the United States greatly declined after the arrival of Europeans. Tribes were weakened by European diseases, such as smallpox, for which they had no immunity. Epidemics killed vast numbers of Indians, reducing some southeastern tribes by as much as two-thirds. Populations declined even further due to conflicts with the settlers over trade practices and land.

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Native Americans of New Hampshire

Abenaki and Pennacook

Native American Territories

The native peoples who lived in northern New England – whose canoes cut the waters of the Connecticut, the St. Lawrence, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Sound – were called by many names, but the most common name is Abenaki, or People of the Dawn. The Abenaki occupied the greatest part of what would become New Hampshire, while a smaller tribe called the Pennacook lived in the southern part of the state.

The Eastern Abenaki were concentrated in Maine east of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, while the Western Abenaki lived west of the mountains across Vermont and New Hampshire to the eastern shores of Lake Champlain. The southern boundaries of the Abenaki homeland were near the present northern border of Massachusetts excluding the Pennacook country along the Merrimack River of southern New Hampshire.

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Pennsylvania Colony

The Year: 1682

Image: William Penn’s 1682 treaty with the Lenape
Benjamin West Painting

In 1661, the year after Charles II was restored to the throne of England, William Penn was a seventeen-year-old student at Christ Church, Oxford. His father, a distinguished admiral in high favor at Court, had abandoned his erstwhile friends and had aided in restoring King Charles to the throne again.

Born to all the advantages of the landed aristocracy of England, Penn was sent to the finest English schools and on a grand tour of the continent by his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, conqueror of Jamaica.

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