LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Friday after Thanksgiving is Native American Heritage Day. This is a time to honor the tradition, heritage, and contributions of Native folks. It can be a time to replicate on our nation’s history and the Native land on which we reside.
The Lenni-Lenape, Susquehannock, Shawnee, and Seneca have been among the many Native folks in Pennsylvania when the English King Charles II granted the world to William Penn in 1681, says Gettysburg College history professor and creator Timothy Shannon.
Barry Lee, government director of the Circle Legacy Center and Munsee American Indian, says that Penn and different colonists had a peaceable relationship with the Native folks in Pennsylvania throughout Penn’s lifetime. As a Quaker, Penn was a pacifist, and he most popular to buy land from the Native Americans somewhat than taking it.
“[Penn] is a colonial proprietor, so he’s mostly interested in getting title to Indian lands when he enters into these treaties with them, but he does kind of develop this reputation as kind of a friend of the Indians,” says Shannon.
Lee made a duplicate of a wampum belt stated to have been given to William Penn by the Lenape in 1682 on the time of a treaty. It symbolizes “friendship, love, and brotherhood” between the colonists and the Native Americans, says Lee.
Penn visited the Conestoga, who have been the descendants of the Susquehannock and lived in Lancaster County, in 1701.
While relations between the colonists and the Native Americans in Pennsylvania could have been peaceable throughout William Penn’s lifetime, issues modified after his loss of life. When Penn’s sons inherited the colony, they engaged in a sequence of fraudulent land offers with the Native folks within the space, explains Shannon.
Then a sequence of violent conflicts and wars, beginning with the French and Indian War in 1754, additional dispossessed Pennsylvania’s Native folks from their houses, Shannon says. “The most egregious example of this dispossession occurs in December of 1763 at the Conestoga Indian Town,” says Shannon.
Jack Brubaker is a contract author and the creator of “Massacre of the Conestogas: On the Trail of the Paxton Boys in Lancaster County.” He explains that whereas the Conestogas have been by no means very populous, by the tip of 1763, there have been solely 20 Conestogas left within the Conestoga Indian Town. The Paxton Boys, or Paxton Rangers as they have been referred to as on the time, murdered all of them. The Paxton Rangers have been by no means delivered to justice.
“Some will say that when they slaughtered the Conestoga people…[it] brought an end to this belt,” says Lee, holding up the William Penn wampum belt that symbolizes brotherhood between the Native Americans and the colonists. “The belt in my mind — in our minds — never ended. We still have this agreement,” Lee says.
If the Lenape chief and William Penn got here again immediately, says Lee, “It would be like…’Hey, Bill, look! Look at all these people living together just like we thought they would.’”
There are presently no federally acknowledged or state-recognized Native nations in Pennsylvania, however there are various Native folks dwelling within the state.
Brubaker says that a number of folks and organizations in Lancaster County and elsewhere are acknowledging the function their ancestors performed in harming Native folks, in addition to acknowledging that they reside on Native land.
“It’s important to know this past,” says Lee. “It’s important to know all of our past.”