Penn and the Indians
Penn's relationship with Native Americans should be viewed in specific manner. . As Jennings points out, Quaker historians were at first mystified as to why the. An interview with Paula Palmer. Paula Palmer is the director of Toward Right Relationship, a project formed by Boulder Friends Meeting (IMYM) in response to . Quakers and Indians in Colonial America. Introduction. The record of relations between the Europeans who settled in the American colonies and the indigenous .
The Seneca, under the leadership of Cornplanter, were hungry because floods and frost had damaged their corn harvest. After consideration of the Quaker request to live among them and teach them, Cornplanter told them: The Quakers concentrated on teaching some of the young people how to read and write in English and to teach men and women modern farming techniques.
They incorporated moral advice into their practical instruction.
In this way, the Quakers attempted to persuade the Seneca to be sober, clean, punctual, industrious: Inthe Quaker missionary William Kirk supervised the Ohio Shawnee as they cleared acres and planted new crops such as potatoes, cabbage, and turnips.
The Shawnee purchased breeding stock hoping that hogs and cattle would eventually supply them with the meat they used to get through hunting.
While Kirk was successful in teaching the Shawnee the European methods of farming, he was lax with his paperwork.
Quakers and Indians
Having failed to file financial statements with Washington, his mission was terminated by the government. When Kirk left, the Shawnee lost their primary source of technical advice and their experiment in agriculture waned. Red Jacket trusted few persons other than the Quakers, who could not be intimidated and who were quick to expose a fraud.
However, the Quakers were involved with helping the Onondaga and did not have any resources with which they could respond to the Seneca request.
Two years later, Red Jacket repeated his request and this time the Quakers provided the Seneca with both farm equipment and sound advice. In Oklahoma, the Comanche and Kiowa were assigned to the Quakers and the army was removed from the reservation. In Nebraska, the six reservations were placed in the care of the Hicksite Quakers, the liberal branch of the Society of Friends. A part of the Quaker plan to destroy the political and social structure of the Pawnee was the elimination of the Pawnee scouts, a group which had a long history of serving the United States army.
As pacifists, the Quaker brotherhood made no allowance for the Pawnee culture, traditions, or experiences in which war experiences were glorified. Ignoring the reality of drought and grasshoppers, the Quakers saw farming as the way to convert the Pawnee. The Otoe continued to use their traditional agricultural practices and to do some hunting.
LA Quaker: William Penn and the Indians
While the Quaker agents came with good intentions, they failed to understand the organization of the tribe. Therefore they disrupted the traditional leadership pattern, and contributed to tribal factionalism. In Nebraska, the Quakers assumed control of the Omaha reservation.
Once Penn received his charter he realized--or at least was informed--that much of the land he wanted was held by Indians who would expect payment in exchange for a quitclaim to vacate the territory.
The tribe he would have to deal with most often was the Delaware Leni Lenapewho had never been defeated militarily by the Swedes or the Dutch. Penn, not surprisingly, had no military ambitions; he even refused to fortify Philadelphia. As such, the only practicle and legal way to get their land and secure their friendship was the treaty.
The treaty also demonstrated Penn's claim to the land to his investors, who would have been much less interested in the venture without clear title. And so Penn and his agents began the process of buying land from its Native 'holders'. These holders were various Delaware chiefs, and not as legend has it the Iroquois. Despite the fact that this mostly New York State Confederacy of the 'Five Nations' had defeated the Delaware, they did not have the power the sell the land. As Francis Jennings points out, this misreading of the situation resulted from the fact that the Delaware played the role of peacemaker among various quarreling tribes.
As Native women often mediated disputes, the Delaware held the position of the 'woman' in this arrangement. Europeans wrongly assumed that the 'woman' position signified a lack of rights and lack of power. However, they were correct in assessing that the Iroquois held the most power, though Penn thought that politics, at least dealing with Indians, were local so he favored the less militarily powerful Delaware.
What is less assuredly myth--or fact--is whether Penn ever signed a 'Great Treaty' in at the village of Shackamaxon. As we have seen, for many Americans and non-Americans such as Voltaire this deed proved the most inspiring 'event' of Penn's life.
Francis Jennings believes that Penn signed the treaty and never broke it, but that his less scrupulous successors destroyed the document, presumably so that they could renege on its provisions. And there do exist several references to this chain being made between Penn and the Delaware. Penn paid a total of pounds for the land, which though a large sum, was probably fair for both sides.
Penn took the advice of Dutch and Swedish colonists who had already set some parameters for treaty agreements These earlier settlers provided invaluable assistance in delineating who to contact, and who to pay for the land. On the other side of the 'covenant chain', the Delaware had many years of negotiating such treaties, and were ready to sell their land to Penn, on their terms.
Disease had decimated much of their population so they needed less of the land near Philadelphia, and at the time there was plenty of un-occupied space to the North and West of the future city.
As well, the Indian's 'ownership' of the land, was not as 'savagely simple' as had been assumed. They worked with a complex arrangement of overlapping 'right's to use certain areas, and rights to dispose of these obligations. So Penn may have had to pay several times to the same holder in order to clear all claims. He was not 'duped' into paying several times for the same property.
Though Penn was generally fair in his purchases, he also had to be a shrewd businessman, especially as he competed with Lord Baltimore for territorial rights. He out-maneuvered Maryland agents in his purchases, thus insuring that his future city would not be largely subsumed by its southern neighbor. Penn had competitors to the North as well.
And any northern land transactions meant tangling with New York State for land, and perhaps more importantly, trading rights with the Iroquois Confederacy. To secure new routes to the interior and more trade with the Five Nations, Penn tried to purchase a large piece of land on the Susquehanna River. Pennsylvania could then have a trading post closer to the Iroquois than was Albany.