Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Broken Claw's "History of the Kansas Munsee"

Broken Claw's web logo --->

With the possible exception of my own posts, the only history of the Munsee Delaware (Lenape) Indians that I've seen anywhere that focuses specifically on the Kansas Munsees (that is, the ones that stopped off at the Stockbridge reservation in 1837), is online and written by a Kansas Munsee descendant. His screen name is Broken Claw and he has a pretty extensive website. You can expect me to say a few more things about his site in future posts, but the main thing right now is that you read Broken Claw's "History of the Kansas Munsee."

I believe that if you combine my posts with Broken Claw's article, you'll have better information about the Munsee Indians than you can find in any book.

An artist's conception of Moravian Missionary David Zeisberger's preaching to the Munsee People.

I'll leave you today with a comment, it isn't a criticism of Broken Claw, nor a criticism of his grandma, just an example of how confused most people are about the Munsee Indians. In his "Kansas Munsee" article, Broken Claw states:

"My Grandmother always made it clear that her family was Canadian Munsee, and not Stockbridge."
You know what was happening? People had heard of the "Stockbridge-Munsee" Indians but didn't realize there was a hyphen between "Stockbridge" and "Munsee." They [the people Broken Claw's grandmother was talking to] must not have known that the Stockbridges were (largely) Mohican Indians. [My guess is/was that is why Broken Claw's grandmother felt compelled to clarify that to people.] That is [was] my take on it anyway. If I missed something there, I'll expect Broken Claw to try to set me straight. [If you read the comments below, it seems that Broken Claw thought I was accusing his grandmother of being ignorant - not so. The commentary written in brackets was added on March 25, 2009.]


Broken Claw said...

Thank you for recognizing my site and for the opportunity to respond. I believe that my "History of the Kansas Munsee" addresses all the questions you pose. It relates their migrations from the East Coast, to the wilderness of the Ohio Territory, to the safe haven in Ontario, and finally to the Kansas Territory. My great-grandfather, Ignatius Caleb, was born in Ontario in 1836, just before they migrated to Kansas. He was the sole blood signer of the Treaty with the Chippewa in 1859.

With regard to the Stockbridge-Munsee question, I believe I make it clear in the article that the Stockbridge were Mohican. My grandmother understood that, and that is why she wanted to pass on to us that our ancestry was with the Canadian Munsee, and not with the Wisconsin Stockbridge.

My sources are posted on the References page of my website. The ones that are relevant to the Munsee are nos. 1, 7, 8, 10, 13, 16, and 17. I have also had some personal correspondence (Reference no. 50) with Siegrun Kaiser, a noted researcher on the Munsee's connection with the Moravian Church.

I have not yet had the opportunity to explore your website, but I certainly appreciate your diligence in preserving this history.

Jeff Siemers said...

Broken Claw: Thanks for commenting.

In my eagerness to get out a post recommending your history of the Kansas Munsee, I send you an e-mail before reading the article carefully. But now have read it rather carefully and will certainly read it again.

Let me explain what I meant about "confusion" regarding the Munsee Indians: I was not suggesting that either you or your grandmother were "confused," I was saying that there is so much "confusion" in the name "Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians" (because the Munsees aren't Mohicans) that your Grandma was forced to clarify that she was not a Stockbridge Mohican/Munsee instead of just telling people she was a Munsee.

Maybe I still don't get it. And if i don't get it, then I think that others aren't getting it either. I'm sure you meant something by your statement, can you clarify what you meant for me and my readers?

Finally, I'm grateful that you will read my Munsee-related posts. I look forward to future discussion about them.