The Memory of All Ancient Customs: Native American Diplomacy by Tom Arne Midtrød

By Tom Arne Midtrød

Within the reminiscence of All old Customs, Tom Arne Midtrød examines the complicated styles of diplomatic, political, and social verbal exchange one of the American Indian peoples of the Hudson Valley—including the Mahicans, Wappingers, and Esopus Indians—from the early 17th century throughout the American innovative period. by means of targeting how participants of other local teams interacted with each other, this publication areas Indians instead of Europeans on heart stage.
Midtrød uncovers an unlimited and multifaceted local American international that used to be mostly hidden from the eyes of the Dutch and English colonists who progressively displaced the indigenous peoples of the Hudson Valley. within the reminiscence of All old Customs he establishes the unbelievable volume to which numerically small and militarily vulnerable Indian teams endured to appreciate the realm round them of their personal phrases, and as usually engaged—sometimes violently, occasionally cooperatively—with neighboring peoples to the east (New England Indians) and west (the Iroquois) as with the Dutch and English colonizers. whilst they fell progressively more less than the domination of robust outsiders—Iroquois in addition to Dutch and English—the Hudson Valley Indians have been resilient, conserving or adapting positive factors in their conventional diplomatic ties till the instant in their ultimate dispossession through the American innovative conflict.

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This practice is especially well documented among the Esopus Indians. Calcop, recorded as a newly named Esopus sachem in 1670, was obviously not the chief of the same name who appeared in 1658. There were at least three leaders with the name Ankerop. The first of that name appears in records between 1669 and 1709, and in 1711 Tackawaghkin or young Ankerop declared to the magistrates of Ulster County that he desired from then on to be known by the name of Ankerop. ” Since other Munsee speakers had unique names, and would not allow the names of the dead openly to be spoken (like Indian people of both the Delaware and southern New England), the appellations of these sachems may be titles rather than personal names.

18 Hudson Valley Indians, at least in principle, observed a distinction between civil and military leadership, a division common among northeastern Indians. Van der Donck wrote that the chiefs and councilors governed public affairs in times of peace, only consulting war leaders during hostilities. Other sources also show a generally clear distinction between sachems and military leaders or captains. Among the Delawares, chiefs surrendered their leadership to their captains in times of war, as a chief must strive to preserve peace, and could have nothing to do with war.

There was at times some level of tension between the sachems and elders and the younger men, often described by the chiefs as rash people who disregarded their advice. To what extent consultations of age groups represented a real process of negotiation is harder to ascertain, and kinship ties probably played a larger role in people’s political decisions. When he negotiated a land cession from the Esopus Indians in 1677, Governor Edmund Andros asked for the consent of the sachems, the young men, the women, and the boys, but when the grantors left their marks on the deed, P o l i t i c s a n d S o c i e ty 9 they did so as representatives of family groups.

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