Reply To: The First Land Deal pt. 2

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I would love to know more as well.  I assume you already read the next installment in this series:

Having made the trip to Michigan by car dozens of times, I could only imagine what it was like to walk there as he seems to have done in 1681.  He dealt with French Explorers, English visitors, Dutch colonists, and English governors, and all of the local native peoples, he would have had quite the perspective.  If I find anything else I will surely post it.

Right now I am researching the last installment of this series.  It will be about why Claes a.k.a. Towachkack might have relinquished his claim to the land in the 1701 deal with Jacobus van Cortlandt.  And I think there are a lot of reasons.  But one thing that I have been thinking about–especially as we are all affected by Covid 19, is the effect of disease on the local Munsee.  According to Grumet, “By 1701, the Indian population of the Munsee homeland was nearly 95 percent less than what it was when colonists purchased their first tracts of land from River Indians some seventy years before.”  And much of those losses were from disease.  He explains that in 1679 “smallpox carried off much of the coming Munsee generation.”

There have been plenty of reports lately about the affect of Covid on mental health and we (mostly) understand the scientific reasons for the disease’s spread.  People of that time largely attributed disease to spiritual causes.  No doubt many Munsee thought their world was ending with those kinds of catastrophic losses.  It must have been a true spiritual crisis for them.