11/20/12 RichardGreener: TheTrueStory Of Thanksgiving
nearly two-dozen tribes of Native Americans living in the New York area in those days had adistinctly non-European concept of territorial rights. They were strangers to the idea of "realproperty." It was common for one tribe to grant permission to another to hunt and fish nearby themselves on a regular basis. Fences, real and imagined, were not a part of their culture.Naturally, it was polite to ask before setting up operations too close to where others lived, butrefusal in matters of this sort was considered rude. As a sign of gratitude, small trinkets wereusually offered by the tribe seeking temporary admission and cheerfully accepted by those already there. It was clearly understood to be a sort of short-term rental arrangement. Sad to say, theunfortunate Canarsees apparently had no idea the Dutch meant to settle in. Worse yet for them, itmust have been unthinkable that they would also be unwelcome in Manhattan after their deal.One thing we can be sure of. Their equivalent of today's buyer's remorse brought the Canarseesnothing but grief, humiliation and violence.Many Indians lived on Long Island in those days. Another Dutchman, Adrian Block, was the firstEuropean to come upon them in 1619. Block was also eager to introduce European commercialismand the Christian concept of "real estate" to these unfortunate innocents. Without exception, theseIndians too came out on the short end in their dealings with the Dutch.The market savvy unleashed by the Europeans upon the Indians constituted the first land usepolicies in the New World. In the 17th Century it was not urban but rather rural renewal. Theresult was of course the same. People of color with no money to speak of got booted out and theneighborhood which was subsequently gentrified and overrun by white people.Not far from Manhattan, one tribe of about 10,000 Indians lived peacefully in a lovely spot on apeninsula directly along the ocean. There they fished in the open sea and inland bay. They huntedacross the pristine shoreline and they were quite happy until they met a man - another Dutchman- named Willem Kieft. He was the Governor of New Netherland in 1639. These poor bastards werecalled the Rechaweygh (pronounced Rockaway). Soon after meeting Governor Kieft, they becamethe very first of New York's homeless.The people of New Netherland had a lot in common with the people of Plymouth Colony. At least itappears so from the way both of these groups of displaced and dissatisfied Europeans interacted with the local Indians. The Pilgrims in Plymouth had a hard time for the first couple of years. While nature was no friend, their troubles were mostly their own doing. Poor planning was theirdownfall. These mostly city dwelling Europeans failed to include among them persons with theskills needed in settling the North American wilderness. Having reached the forests and fields of Massachusetts they turned out to be pathetic hunters and incompetent butchers. With gameeverywhere, they went hungry. First, they couldn't catch and kill it. Then they couldn't cut it up,prepare it, preserve it and create a storehouse for those days when fresh supplies would run low.