5.26.2015

Alice Cunningham Fletcher

woman scientist who studied the American Indian

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.

12.01.2008

Queen Aliquippa

Seneca leader

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.

8.13.2008

Native Americans of Georgia Colony

Native American Tribes of Georgia

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.

7.17.2008

Native Americans of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Native Americans
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.

7.12.2008

Queen Anne of the Pamunkey

Pamunkey Native Americans

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.

6.30.2008

Native Americans of Maryland

Maryland Colony Map

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.

6.21.2008

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.

map of eastern lands of the Cherokee
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.

6.18.2008

Native Americans of South Carolina

Native American homes

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.

6.09.2008

Native Americans of New Hampshire

New Hampshire Native Americans

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.

5.22.2008

Pennsylvania Colony

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.

5.19.2008

Native American Tribes of New York

New York Native Americans map

Native Americans of New York

Image: Tribal Territories in New York

The Abenaki
Abenaki is actually a geographical and linguistic (rather than political) grouping. Before contact with Europeans, individual tribes were the usual level of political organization. Occasionally, several tribes would unite under a powerful sachem (chief) for purposes of war, but the Abenaki were noteworthy for their general lack of central authority. Even at the tribal level, the authority of their sachems was limited, and important decisions, such as war and peace, usually required a meeting of all adults.

In many ways, the lack of a central government served the Abenaki well. In times of war, they could abandon their villages, separate into small bands, and regroup in a distant refuge beyond the reach of their enemies. It was a strategy that confounded repeated efforts by both the Iroquois and English to conquer them. Largely invisible over the years, the Abenaki have remained in their homeland by living in scattered, small bands. The Abenaki Confederacy didn't even exist until after 1670, and then only in response to continuous wars with the Iroquois and the English colonists.

4.13.2008

Native Americans in Delaware

Gnadenhutten Massacre Monument

History of the Delaware Indians

Image: Gnadenhutten Massacre Monument
This 37-foot monument is located next to a reconstructed cabin in the original Gnadenhutten village in Ohio, where Delaware Indians were needlessly killed by American militia. The inscription reads: "Here triumphed in death ninety Christian Indians, March 8, 1782."

Delaware is the English name given to several closely related Native American groups, because they lived in the vicinity of the Delaware River. They called themselves the Lenape. During the 17th century, they lived in what is now New Jersey, Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and southeastern New York.

2.29.2008

Native Americans of Rhode Island

Native Americans Rhode Island

Rhode Island Tribes

Image: Native American Territories in the state of Rhode Island

The Narragansett
In the early seventeenth century, Narragansett Native Americans occupied most of Rhode Island, from Narragansett Bay on the east to the Pawcatuck River on the west. They were the largest and strongest chiefdom in New England. They escaped the great pestilence of 1617 that swept through southern New England, and the remnants of other tribes who had suffered joined them for protection, making the Narragansett a powerful tribe.

The word Narragansett means the people at the small narrow point. They were of the Eastern Woodlands culture. They were made up of several sub-tribes, each with a chief (sachem). Their population was around 10,000 in the 1600s. When the English began colonizing New England in 1620, the Narragansetts had not been affected by the epidemics, and were the most powerful native nation in southern New England.

2.15.2008

Native Americans of New Jersey

New Jersey Native Americans

The Lenni Lenape

Image: Map of Lenapehoking
The Lenape (Len-AH-pay) lived in an area they called Lenapehoking, which means Land of the Lenape. Their land included what is now New Jersey, along the Delaware River, the lower Hudson Valley and lower Manhattan Island when the Europeans arrived. As part of the Eastern Woodlands, Lenapehoking had many rivers, streams and lakes and was densely forested and rich in wildlife.

In the 17th century, the Lenape or Lenni Lenape were organized bands of Native American peoples with shared cultures and languages. Their Algonquian language is known as either Lenape or Delaware.

2.08.2008

Native Americans in Connecticut

Connecticut Native Americans

The Year: 1636

Image: Connecticut Tribes Map

There were originally many small American Indian tribes in Connecticut, including the Nipmuc, Mohegan, Pequot, and the Niantic. Though all of them spoke related languages and shared many cultural similarities, each tribe had its own leadership and its own territory. European epidemics and warfare devastated the Connecticut Indians, and the survivors had to merge with other tribes to survive. All of their languages have been lost, but native people continue to preserve their cultural heritage in Connecticut today.

Nipmuc
The northeast section of Connecticut and part of Massachusetts was occupied by the Nipmuc tribe. This group actually includes four tribes or bands – the Nipmucks, Nashaways, Quabaugs, and Wabaquassets. Since the Nipmuc homeland starts only thirty miles west of Boston harbor, contacts with English colonists began almost immediately after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620 and increased dramatically after the settlement of Massachusetts Bay by the Puritans in 1630. Boston traders reached the Connecticut River in 1633, and Puritan missionaries were close behind them.

11.22.2007

New Haven

Native Americans and the Colony of New Haven

Colony of New Haven

Image: Quinnipiac Memorial Monument
Fort Wooster Park, New Haven, Connecticut

Monument to Native Americans
This monument to local Indians, whose ancient place names like Hammonasset and Wepawaug still identify the landscape, was dedicated on November 12, 2000. It stands above New Haven Harbor, looking down upon rich fishing and oystering grounds, and memorilizes the small tribe who educated the colonists in wilderness skills and helped protect them against raiding parties from larger tribes such as the Pequots.

10.20.2007

Native Americans and Massachusetts Bay Colony

Native Americans of New England

Puritans Have Landed

By the time of early European colonization attempts, there were over 30,000 Native Americans in Massachusetts living amongst a variety of tribes belonging to the Algonquin language group. Some of the most well known tribes were the Wampanoag, Pequot, Nipmuck, and the Massachuset. They lived in small bands and had no supreme chief.

Unfortunately, the Europeans would bring with them diseases that the Native Americans had no immunity against, resulting in large deadly epidemics. The Native population continued to suffer from disease and warfare throughout the remainder of the 17th century. Nearly ninety percent of the Native population were killed during that period.