Tag Archives: Native American History

Fort Hunter: Who Owned The Fort? Talk Tuesday

Tricia Shaw, the education coordinator at Schoharie Crossing, will share her latest research in a lecture entitled “Who Owned the Fort?” sponsored by the Friends of Schoharie Crossing on Tuesday.  The presentation will explain the Fort Hunter’s history and trace the families who lived at the confluence of the Mohawk River and Schoharie Creek including the Mabee, the Enders, the Putman, the Wemple and the Voorhees families.

The talk will emphasize the importance of intermarriage between these families. Also how the settlers intermingled and influenced the Native population will also be discussed. The lecture will be followed by refreshments and the August meeting of the Friends of Schoharie Crossing. All are welcome to attend- the meeting and lecture are both open to the public.

The event will be held Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 6:30pm at Enders House, located adjacent to the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site Visitor Center, at 129 Schoharie Street, Fort Hunter, NY 12069.

For more information about this event or how to join the Friends of Schoharie Crossing, please call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516. For more information about New York State Parks, visit our website at www.nysparks.com. Find us on Facebook.

The Oneida Nation: People of the Standing Stone

Karim M. Tiro’s The People of the Standing Stone: The Oneida Nation From Revolution Through the Era of Removal (Univ. of Mass. Press, 2011) traces the history of the Oneida’s experiences from the American Revolution to the mid-nineteenth century.

Between 1765 and 1845, the Oneida Indian Nation weathered a trio of traumas: war, dispossession, and division. During the American War of Independence, the Oneidas became the revolutionaries most important Indian allies. They undertook a difficult balancing act, helping the patriots while trying to avoid harming their Iroquois brethren.

Despite the Oneidas wartime service, they were dispossessed of nearly all their lands through treaties with the state of New York. In eighty years the Oneidas had gone from being an autonomous, powerful people in their ancestral homeland to being residents of disparate, politically exclusive reservation communities separated by up to nine hundred miles and completely surrounded by non-Indians.

The Oneidas physical, political, and emotional division persists to this day. Even for those who stayed put, their world changed more in cultural, ecological, and demographic terms than at any time before or since. Oneidas of the post-Revolutionary decades were reluctant pioneers, undertaking more of the adaptations to colonized life than any other generation. Amid such wrenching change, maintaining continuity was itself a creative challenge. The story of that extraordinary endurance lies at the heart of this book. Additional materials, including teaching resources, are available online.

The author specializes in North America from the 16th through the mid-­19th centuries. He is also the author of Along the Hudson and Mohawk: The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006). Tiro is an Associate Professor of History at Xavier University and is currently researching the history of the United States sugar industry.

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

Fort Ticonderoga 1759 Living History Weekend

Join General Amherst’s British and provincial army at Fort Ticonderoga this Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5 and experience the daily life of a soldier in the aftermath of the destruction of France’s southernmost stronghold on Lake Champlain.

Hear the roar of musketry as these well-trained soldiers continue to prepare for conflict. Lend a hand as these soldiers move men and material from Lake Champlain to supply the army encamped around the Fort. Meet British staff officers and learn about their overall strategy in the French and Indian War in 1759.
Highlighted programming will be offered throughout the weekend including musket drills and firing demonstrations, activities on the shores of Lake Champlain as troops unload supplies, Fife & Drum Corps performances, and even an 18th-century Sunday morning Divine Service. Admission to “1759 Relief & Refit” is included with FortTiconderoga’s general admission ticket. Fort Ticonderoga is open from 9:30 am until 5 pm daily. A complete event schedule can be found online
or by calling 518-585-2821.

“’Relief & Refit’ will take place on the very ground where General Amherst’s troops secured this strategic victory,” said Stuart Lilie, Director of Interpretation. “This weekend-long program will dramatically bring to life the experience of the British and American provincial soldiers who were part of the 1759 campaign. In this British living history weekend event, we will recreate and practice the regular, naval, and ranging elements of this Army as it prepared to move on towards Canada in August of 1759.”

“Fort Ticonderoga offers an unparalleled and unique experience for visitors to be immersed in a dramatic moment in time,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga’s Executive Director. “What took place at Fort Ticonderoga determined in part the fate of North America. The capture of the Fort in 1759 was critical to the overall British strategy which ultimately led to their victory during the French and Indian War.”

This living history weekend will include a Friday evening program at the site of the 18th-century French saw mill, located in present-day Historic Ticonderoga. Visitors will watch as a detachment of Massachusetts Provincial soldiers haul timber back to the Fort with a bateau. Talk with men from Rogers’ Rangers, fresh from a scout up Mount Defiance. The French & Indian War history ofTiconderoga will come to life in this fascinating evening program located in the town park from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

Pre-European Agriculture in the Champlain Valley

When I set out to write From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in New York’s Champlain Valley, I became discouraged by the mixed information coming from various authors.

While there is archeological evidence of Native settlements in Plattsburgh at Cumberland Bay, across Lake Champlain in Vermont and along the Hudson River and its tributaries, little information exists for the rest of the Adirondack Coast.

In the following, I will present the information from resource materials so that readers may better understand the conclusions presented in our short history.

The obvious starting place for understanding pre-European life in the Champlain Valley was to explore the journal of Samuel de Champlain, who recorded what he observed of Native life. In &#8220Voyages,&#8221 he states:

“I made inquiry of the savages whether these localities were inhabited, when they told me that the Iroquois dwelt there, and that there were beautiful valleys in these places with plains productive in grain, such as I had eaten in this country, together with many kinds of fruit without limit.”

In this context, it is hard to determine what “localities” the Natives are referring to, but if we explore deeper, Champlain states the following after the conflict at Ticonderoga artfully depicted in the image at the top of the page:

“…the raiding party amused themselves plundering Indian corn and meal, which had been raised on the clear ground.”

Therefore, we can determine the Champlain did in fact see native agricultural development in New York’s Champlain Valley. However, if we move forward to 1858, Flavius J. Cook, author of Home Sketches of Essex County, has a very different perspective.

“…Few sounds, save of the warwhoop and of the wild bird and beast- few movements, save of the human or brute forms, crouching, contending, retreating or simply passing by, disturbed the western shore of Champlain in its earliest ruggedness and beauty.”
 

Cook concludes that prior to the European exploration, that the area between Horicon and Lake Champlain was an uninhabited no-man’s land between warring tribes, despite Champlain’s contrary observations. This conclusion was even shared in the 20th century in the Ticonderoga Historical Society’s Patches and Patterns from Its Past (1969).

“For many generations, perhaps centuries, it [Ticonderoga] had been an in-between land, the rich hunting ground of and often the battle ground of the primitive people to the north and south of us. Archeologists hint at very ancient cultures that occupied the Champlain Valley after the last glacier withdrew some twelve to fourteen thousand years ago. The small study that has been made in the field does not seem to point to any particularly heavy population at any time in our ancient past. Here the grinding mass of ice that scooped out or valleys and in its melting heaped up our useful deposits of sand and gravel seem to have been found in slow procession  by mosses, grasses, shrubs and forest, with very little disturbance by homo sapiens except as he came to feast upon the plenitude of fish and game that were to be found here.”

What we can ascertain is the knowledge of agriculture of tribes in the surrounding area. This information is best presented in Peter S. Palmer’s History of Lake Champlain 1609-1814(1886)

The Iroquois were powerful, plitic, warlike and courageous … They lived in villages, around which they had extensive cultivated fields … The Algonquians were a warlike nation and a migratory people, disdaining the cultivation of the soil and depending altogether on the produce of the chase. The Hurons had some slight knowledge of husbandry, but were more effeminate and luxurious than the other tribes, and inferior in savage virtue and independence. They lived in villages, of which the nation possessed twenty, but were inferior in construction and strength to those of the Iroquois.

The conclusion that we draw in From Forest to Fields is that it would be shortsighted to overlook Champlain’s observation of corn and meal grown at Ticonderoga, particularly with the knowledge we have of the Algonquin, Iroquois and Huron tribes living in the surrounding areas. It is much more likely that migratory tribes lived in this area, depending primarily on cultivated wild foods, fish and game. To a much lesser extent, they would grow corn, beans and squash (the Three Sisters) as part of a companion planting system that left them free to pursue their seasonal migration from winter villages to summer camps near the Lake.  Since this is a more “mobile” culture, it would be easy for a tribe to retreat into the forest in instances of impending danger, and for observers to conclude that no Native settlements existed in this area.

Iroquois Indian Museum Hosting Early Technology Day

On July 4, The Iroquois Indian Museum will host its Early Technology Day, billed as a hands-on learning experience about life in early America.

Visitors can watch and participate in the process of flint knapping (the ancient art of making chipped stone tools), Primitive fire making, Atlatl spear throwing and early archery. There will be displays of projectile points, tools, and local archaeological finds from the Museum’s archaeology department. Have you ever found an artifact? Please bring it with you and the Museum’s experts will try to identify it for you.

Currently on display at the Museum is the exhibition, &#8220Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.&#8221 The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of retired archaeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott.

Early Technology Day takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free with paid admission to the Museum.  The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949.

For more information contact the Iroquois Indian Museum at (518) 296-8949, info@iroquoismuseum.org or visit www.iroquoismuseum.org.

What Lies Beneath Chimney Point Program Set

The Lake Champlain Bridge construction project helped reveal some exciting historic and archaeological findings at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont. On Thursday, June 21, at 7:00 p.m., site administrator Elsa Gilbertson presents an illustrated program about the Chimney Point experience during the bridge project and “what lies beneath.”

Archaeological work confirmed that the site has had a history of human habitation for 9,000 years, since the glacial waters receded, and that this was one of the most strategic spots on Lake Champlain for the Native Americans, French, British, and early Americans. What evidence did all these people leave behind?

The doors open to the public at 6:30 p.m. Come early, bring a picnic, go for a walk across the new bridge, and take a quick look at this year’s exhibit, “What Lies Beneath: 9,000 Years of History at Chimney Point,” before the talk at 7:00 p.m. The public is welcome. Free, donations appreciated.

The Chimney Point State Historic Site is located at 8149 VT Route 17, at the foot of the new Lake Champlain Bridge. Call 802-759-2412 for information. The site is open Wednesdays through Sundays and Monday holidays through Columbus Day, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For information about Vermont’s State-Owned Historic Sites, visit: http://historicsites.vermont.gov Join the Vermont State Historic Sites conversation on Facebook.

Native Artisans at the Fenimore Art Museum

The Fenimore Art Museum welcomes five Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists this summer to spend three days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American interpretive site, Otsego: A Meeting Place. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.

June 18-20: In addition to traditional pottery, Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating Haudenosaunee craft techniques. She will be creating pottery on site and sharing its relationship to Haudenosaunee tradition and stories.

July 17-19: Penelope S. Minner is a fourth-generation traditional artist making black ash splint baskets and cornhusk dolls. Working in the customary Seneca way, Penny uses no forms for basket shapes and sizes.

August 5-7: Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautiful decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork and embodying Iroquoisworldviews.

August 21-23: Ken Maracle creates beads from quahog shells and has been making reproduction wampum belts for more than 25 years. He also makes condolence canes, horn rattles, water drums, and traditional headdresses. He speaks the Cayuga language and is knowledgable about the history of wampum and his people.

August 30-September 1: Iroquois sculptor Vincent Bomberry carves images of Iroquois life in stone.

Artisans will be in the museum galleries and at Otsego: AMeeting Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the Artisan Series, visitors can explore the extraordinary Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a collection of over 800 objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures. Tours of Otsego: A Meeting Place and its Seneca Log House and Mohawk Bark House are also available.

Admission: adults and juniors (13-64) is $12.00- seniors (65+): $10.50- and free for children (12 and under). Admission is always free for NYSHA members, active military, and retired career military personnel. Members enjoy free admission all year.

For more information, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.

Schoharie Crossing Announces Temporary Exhibits

The Schoharie Crossing Visitor Center is presenting two small temporary exhibits for the 2012 season (May 1- October 31). The exhibits are available for viewing during the regular Visitor Center Hours: Wednesday- Saturday 10AM to 5PM and on Sundays 1PM to 5PM. The Schoharie Crossing Visitor Center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and is located at 129 Schoharie Street in Fort Hunter, five miles west of Amsterdam, off Route 5S.

The larger of the two exhibits is entitled “Celebrate 300: Centuries of Fort Hunter History and New Discoveries.” It addresses the 300th anniversary of Fort Hunter and the Queen Anne Chapel, its rich history and recent archaeological discoveries. Fort Hunter, built in 1712, was a British frontier fort- 150 square feet with four corner blockhouses.

Queen Anne’s Chapel served as the center of Christian spiritual life for the settlers of European decent in the area and the surround 600-person Mohawk Village of Tiononderoge.

The other smaller exhibit will show photos of the recent Hurricane Irene flood damage and the recovery effort at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.

For more information about Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516. You can also find them on Facebook.  

Photo: Normally high and dry, Putmans Store (and the adjacent Enlarged Erie Lock 28) at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site filled with water on August 29, 2011. Photo by Howard Ohlhous, Courtesy National Park Service.

Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama Seeks Volunteers

The non-profit Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama is seeking volunteers and interns to assist with a variety of short term and long term assignments for their annual theatrical production in Lake George, NY this summer. This outdoor drama, which recently garnered the “Tourism Excellence for Cultural Heritage” from the NYS Tourism & Vacation Association, brings alive the pages of history through James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel.

Participants will have a chance to learn more about local history, support a local non-profit organization and assist in bringing the historical dramatic performance to audiences of all ages. This opportunity also provides a learning experience for college students seeking to enter careers in theater, design, fashion design, construction, tourism, public relations and marketing.

Volunteers and college interns are specifically being sought to assist with costume, scenery and set production, delivering of promotional flyers to surrounding businesses, etc., as well as some duties during the actual performance dates which would include ticket booth, ushers  and back stage helpers.

Training and supervision will be provided but experience with live performances is a plus. Any volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. All volunteers will receive complimentary passes to a performance of the historical outdoor drama and will be recognized for their efforts. Performance
dates for 2012 are July 27 to August 18th, with nightly performances on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. There is one matinee performance on Saturday August 4th. Most volunteer assignments start in early June.

For more information about The Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama visit www.LastoftheMohicans.org. This summer’s production has received support in part by the Warren County Tourism Occupancy Tax Fund and with public funds from the New York Council on  the Arts Decentralization Program and administered by the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council.

Those interested in applying for volunteer work should email volunteer@LastoftheMohicans.
org or call 518-791-6342 or e-mail Maura Fox at volunteer@LastoftheMohicans.org by May 15.

Iroquois Indian Museum Opens With New Exhibit

The Iroquois Indian Museum has opened for its 2012 season with a new exhibit, &#8220Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.&#8221 The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of beadwork scholar, retired archeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott. A Spring Party to Celebrate the Opening from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5


A great number of animal images appear in Iroquois beadwork including pets, forest wildlife, farm animals, and exotic beasts. The exhibition highlights these animals that appear on varied beaded household items such as purses, pincushions, wall pockets and picture frames made popular during the Victorian era.


The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949. The museum is located in Howes Cave, NY (Off Exit 23 of I-88).