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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter I. — The Colony of Pennsylvania is Located in the Territory of the Lenno Lenapi. Their History.

Tradition assigns to this people an organization anterior to that of most of the other Indian tribes. Mr. Heckewelder 210 informs us that they came from the west, and that, from their ancient traditions, it is gathered that they crossed the Mississippi river, in their migration to the east. Authors have attempted to prove that their ola walum has reference to a very ancient migration from foreign countries. But these are merely ordinary pictographs, denoting a simple mode of ideographic communication, which is common among the entire Algonquin family, of which the Lenno Lenapi assert they were the head.

It is mentioned that, after crossing the Mississippi river, they were opposed by the Allegans, or Allegewi, who occupied the principal ranges of the Alleghany mountains. At this epoch, the tradition adds, they discovered the Iroquois, their apparent precursors, towards the north, who became their allies, and aided them in driving the Allegans out of the Ohio valley towards the south. 211 The vestiges of tribal strife, still extant in that valley, are the evidences of this ancient war. 212 If the term any, in the word Allegany, denote a stream or river, as it appears to do, and the river has prior right to the name over the mountains, then it may be said the Yoghagany, in which the same

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word for stream is employed, is also a term of Allegewi origin. These appear to be the only words of that language which have survived the lapse of time. 213

The name of this tribe has been said to imply "original men;" but the orthography does not sustain this assertion. Lenno is the same as illini in the Illinese, and innini in the Chippewa; the letters l and n, and the vowels o and i, being interchangeable in the Algonquin. Lenapi (ee) is in the same language, and, under the same rule, the equivalent of inabi and iabi, a male. The true meaning is "manly men;" a harmless boast to be made by a savage tribe, and which, in the history of Europe, has the sanction of more advanced races. 214 No reliable philological or ethnological proofs can be produced in this direction. There is no tribal name, in the Vesperic group of tribes, which has the least reference to their origin. The Iroquois, by the term ongwe honwe, only declared themselves to be superior men. To be men was, symbolically, to be brave; and bravery was the glory to which they all aspired.

We must rest satisfied with the Indian traditions, bare as they are of details. Even this much is an important contribution to their ancient history, which we should carefully cherish, and for which we are indebted to the meritorious labors of a pious follower of Zinzendorf, who thought far more of saving their souls, than of recording the history of this people.

But, wherever the Lenapi originated, and whatever were the details of the history of their migration from the Mississippi eastward, they were found, at the earliest dates, to be located in the valley of the Delaware. In a revised map, published at Amsterdam, in 1659 (
Plate herewith), they are represented as occupying that valley, from its source to its mouth, extending westward to the Minqua, or Susquehannocks, and to the sources of the rivers flowing into the Delaware, which separate them from the latter; and eastward, under the names of various local and totemic clans, across the entire area of New Jersey, to the Hudson. The Dutch, who entered the Hudson in 1609, found affiliated tribes of their stock along both banks of that river, to near the point of influx of the Tawasentha. "When they extended their settlements to the waters of the Delaware, they discovered themselves to be in the central position of the original stock. The fact of their aboriginal occupancy was known to the Swedes, who first entered the Delware river in 1643. 215 The events attending these colonial extensions into the domains of the Delawares, furnish no incidents of history which present new traits in the character of this tribe, warranting any lengthy detail in this

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place. European colonization opened to them a commerce in the skins of animals, stimulating them to unusual exertions, which, however, exposed them to the perils of luxury and indulgence. It furnished them with the new and superior products of arts and manufactures, which at once took the place of their former imperfect implements and utensils of wood, bone, clay, and flint. It taught them the use of gunpowder, the firelock, and the steel-trap, by which the prowess of their young men on the war-path was made more severe and destructive, and the species of fur-bearing animals were more speedily annihilated. Depopulation, which had long previously begun to undermine the prosperity of the Indian tribes, was greatly accelerated by the advent of the Europeans. This was the position of affairs when William Penn landed on the shores of the Delaware, in 1682. The idea of forming a colony of refuge in America for the poor, suffering, and oppressed people of some parts of Europe, had been broached at an early day. The Puritan refugees from the exactions of an English hierarchy, were the first, in 1620, to open the way to the wilderness, where savages stood ready to assail them. A similar necessity for a land of refuge was felt by the Catholics, who emigrated to Maryland under the guidance of Lord Baltimore, in 1634. In 1682, Penn provided a like haven of safety for the persecuted Quakers, who came thither, professing principles of peace and love towards men of every hue. He was especially desirous to protect the Indian race, and to treat them with the most enlarged philanthropy and charity. In the hands of William Penn, civilization was rendered mild and enticing. Christianity, as taught by those who understand its precepts, has ever been a law of good will toward all mankind. Penn did not attempt any rude interference with the principles and practices of the natives. Persuasion and example were his only weapons; and strict justice in all transactions with them, was his cardinal rule. Indian Females, as well as males, were taught the virtue of household industry. Time was deemed to be necessary, to enable the principles of the new system to take root in such dark and bewildered minds. He approached the natives in their councils, as at their lodge-fires, in an open, simple, straightforward manner, which gained him their confidence, and made them receive him as a Friend indeed.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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