The Western Delaware Indian Nation, 1730-1795: Warriors and Diplomats

The Western Delaware Indian Nation, 1730-1795: Warriors and Diplomats

by Richard S. Grimes


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During the early eighteenth century, three phratries or tribes (Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf) of Delaware Indians left their traditional homeland in the Delaware River watershed and moved west to the Allegheny Valley of western Pennsylvania and eventually across the Ohio River into the Muskingum River valley. As newcomers to the colonial American borderlands, these bands of Delawares detached themselves from their past in the east, developed a sense of common cause, and created for themselves a new regional identity in western Pennsylvania. The Western Delaware Indian Nation, 1730-1795: Warriors and Diplomats is a case study of the western Delaware Indian experience, offering critical insight into the dynamics of Native American migrations to new environments and the process of reconstructing social and political systems to adjust to new circumstances. The Ohio backcountry brought to center stage the masculine activities of hunting, trade, war-making, diplomacy and was instrumental in the transformation of Delaware society and with that change, the advance of a western Delaware nation. This nation, however, was forged in a time of insecurity as it faced the turmoil of imperial conflict during the Seven Years' War and the backcountry racial violence brought about by the American Revolution. The stress of factionalism in the council house among Delaware leaders such as Tamaqua, White Eyes, Killbuck, and Captain Pipe constantly undermined the stability of a lasting political western Delaware nation. This narrative of western Delaware nationhood is a story of the fight for independence and regional unity and the futile effort to create and maintain an enduring nation. In the end the western Delaware nation became fragmented and forced as in the past, to journey west in search of a new beginning. The Western Delaware Indian Nation, 1730-1795: Warriors and Diplomats is an account of an Indian people and their dramatic and arduous struggle for autonomy, identity, political union, and a permanent homeland.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611462241
Publisher: Lehigh University Press
Publication date: 10/27/2017
Series: Studies in Eighteenth-Century America and the Atlantic World Series
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 6.21(w) x 9.35(h) x 1.22(d)

About the Author

Richard S. Grimes is currently adjunct faculty at La Roche College and Community College of Allegheny County.

Table of Contents

Introduction: To “Enjoy the Light of Heaven”
Chapter 1: “We Conquer’d You; We Made Women of You”: The Delawares as Women and the Six Nations–Pennsylvania Chain of Friendship
Chapter 2: The Western Migration of the Delawares, 1730-1750
Chapter 3: “We, the Delawares of Ohio, Do Proclaim War against the English”: The Political Ascension of the Western Delawares, 1750-1756
Chapter 4: “We Are Now Men, and Not So Easily Frightened”: Western Delaware Identity during the Seven Years’ War
Chapter 5: “On Behalf of All Our Nation”: The Coming Together of the Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf
Chapter 6: White Eyes, the Great Council, and the United Brethren: Peacemakers on the Muskingum, 1770–1776
Chapter 7: The Quest for Nationhood: Delawares and the American Revolution
Chapter 8: “A nation . . . Shattered, Wrecked, and Severed”: The Demise of the Delaware New World Order, 1783–1795
Conclusion: “That We Might Again Be One People”

Map 1: Linguistic Areas of the Delawares (Lenape-Munsee Groups)
Map 2: Primary Indian Towns
Map 3: Western Delaware Indian Towns in the Ohio Territories
Figure 1∙1 Tishcohan, Delaware chief
Figure 1∙2 Lapowinsa, Delaware chief
Figure 2∙1 “Chiefs of the Delaware Indians at Allegaeening”
Figure 4∙1 John Armstrong, “Plan of Expedition to Kittanning”
Figure 4∙2 Robert Griffing, Post and King Beaver at Fort Duquesne
Figure 5∙1 Robert Griffing, Preparing to Meet the Enemy
Figure 7∙1 Robert Griffing, The Peace Maker 000

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