Brookhaven Brookhaven Town Town (Suffolk .).) (SuffolkCounty, County,Long LongIsland, Island,N.Y N.Y @ @ 350 350 Years Years Part PartII: II: Brookhaven Brookhaven Prehistory Prehistory An An Under-Sung Under-SungHeritage Heritage ca. ca.12,500 12,500Years YearsBefore
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itsAnniversary Anniversary Treasured Myths About Tribes Their Landholdings; Political, Social, & Cultural Inferiority; Insignificance It is accepted as the wisdom of the ages,& and is still taught in local schools, that there were 13 Tribes of Long Island on initial European contact with the local Indians, and upon 1st settlement of Brookhaven Town
Each tribe held its own well-defined, clearly-marked territory & tribal boundaries, of which we happen to have a convenient, accurate map Brookhaven Town contained precisely two tribes: the Setaukets and the Patchogues (or Unkechaugs), whose lands coincidentally corresponded almost exactly with the bounds of Brookhaven Town Brookhaven Indian-White relations were always peaceful and friendly Each tribe was distinct, & was ruled monarchically, by a sachem or two The ruling sachem of each tribe cheerfully deeded large areas of these clearly-marked parcels to the first Europeans to make an appealing offer Compared to cultured European settlers, the local Indians were ignorant, easily fooled, heathen, superstitious, barbarous, repulsive, & uncouth (e.g., loved torture, dressed, groomed, acted, and even smelled very strangely) Local Indians originally lived in teepees, dressed like and shared the culture and customs of todays Western U.S. Indians, for what is true at large local powwows today must surely have been true yesterday As local Indians didnt write, didnt really affect history, & everything of theirs on L.I. has long since been bull-dozed, they have no history worth our consideration, except as backdrop to real history, European settlement Real Long Island Indians no longer exist, and so, merit little concern Flash!: We Have It on Unimpeachable Authority that the European Discovery & Settlement of Brookhaven Town is Ancient, as This Chart Amply Proves Years Ago 13,000 12,500 Paleo-Indian Period begins in the Brookhaven Town area (probable hunting camp, Wading River; Clovis projectile point found) 12,000 11,000
10,000 9,000 8,000 Archaic Indian Period begins in the Brookhaven Town area 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 Early Woodland Period begins in the Brookhaven Town area 2,000 Middle Woodland Period in the Brookhaven Town area 1,000 Late Woodland Period begins in the Brookhaven Town area 500-0 European Discovery, Contact Era, Colonial Era, & All of U.S. , N.Y.S. History, & Colonial & U.S. Phases of Brookhaven Town & Patchogue-Medford Area History Ancient, Woodland, Algonquian Roots Prehistory to the Contact Era: The 1st Americans, Pt. 1 Archaeological evidence for human settlement in Brookhaven Town extends back about 12,500 years. The State University of New York at Stony Brooks Archeology Department, near one of the oldest sites, is one of a number of local organizations and individuals doing pioneering research across the Town & Island. Pre-Colonial Brookhaven Occupation / Settlement Periods *: Paleo-Indian Period 12,500 8,000 B(efore) P(resent) Archaic Period
8,000 3,000 B.P. Woodland Period 3,000 1,000 B.P. Early Woodland 3,000 2,000 B.P. Middle Woodland 2,000 1,000 B.P. Late Woodland 1,000 B.P. 16 A.D. / C.E. Note: As Brookhaven Town Prehistory is, by far, the longest part of its general history, perhaps it deserves better representation and study than a customarily grudging, cursory acknowledgement. *Source: [Dr. David Bernstein, Director, Institute for Long Island Archaeology, S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook, cited in] Strong, John A. The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island, From Earliest Times to 1700. Interlaken, NY: Empire State Books, 1997: p. 35. Ancient Brookhaven Early Prehistory : Humanitys Dawn & st The 1 Americans Paleo-Indian Period (12,500-8,000 Years Ago) Archeologists have discovered several distinctive Clovis fluted projectile points on Long Island, one in Brookhaven Town, at a Wading River site, indicating a Paleo-Indian presence, ca. 12,500 years ago, around a campfire. Some L.I. Points are in quartz, strongly suggesting local manufacture. The Clovis site is not the only one on L.I., and may have been a hunting camp. Interestingly, it pre-dates the retreat of the last ice cap. Archaic Period (8,000-3,000 Years Ago)
Several Archaic sites were discovered near the mouth of Wading River (actually several sites, along its west bank), at Mt. Sinai harbor (a year-round occupation site), and along Aunt Amys Creek (Stony Brook). Kettle hole pond sites were popular. Evidence of hunting, fishing, shell-fishing, plant gathering (for food), were found, and greater variety in tools and weapons in the local repertoire. Dugout canoes appear to have been made in this period, as well as pottery, storage baskets, and perhaps wigwams. Source: Strong, John A. Earliest Times to 3,000 B.P. In The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island, From Earliest Times to 1700. Interlaken, NY: Empire State Books, 1997: pp. 34-54. Roots) The Ancient & Medieval Worlds, & Early-Middle Woodland Period (3,000-1,000 Years Ago) Early Americana While few sites of this period have been located & excavated, it is from this period that Late Woodland (Contact Era) Indian culture would emerge.
What is known of adjacent regions may be very tentatively applied to Brookhaven, with the caveat that new archeological discoveries and findings may significantly alter interpretations. During this period pottery styles & decorative motifs become more sophisticated. The North Beachpottery style appears at a Shoreham site. Suffolk County (and Brookhaven) became borderlands of the Abbott pottery style, more prevalent to the west. Fox Creek-style projectile points appear on L.I., indicating trade networks that extended as far as western N.J. & eastern Pennsylvania. Village-centered horticulture took root, expanding and varying the local diet New methods of hunting, fishing, shellfishing, and harvesting were introduced Archeological excavations have yielded wampum produced on L.I. in the Middle Woodland period Source: Strong, John A. The Early and Middle Woodland Periods, 3,000-1,000 B.P. In The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island, From Earliest Times to 1700. Interlaken, NY: Empire State Books, 1997: pp. 54-77. Early Modern Brookhaven (To Contact) Prehistory to the Contact Era: The 1st Late Woodland Period (1,000 Years Ago1600 CE/AD) Americans Life is centered in totemic family groups, living in year-round villages Villagers are believed to speak an Algonquian dialect (in Brookhaven, as across Eastern Long Island). Families are related by exogamous marriage (marriage outside the village) throughout the eastern Island, and also much further afield.
People of this era are engaged in hunting, maritime pursuits (fishing, shellfishing, whaling), building dugout canoes, intensive agriculture, food preparation & storage techniques, manufacture of clothing and housing (wigwams, possibly longhouses), functional and decorative ceramic ware, tools & weaponry (serving a wide variety of purposes, some serving multiple purposes). Pharmaceutical knowledge is significant, from which the European settlers would later learn many useful local remedies. Local residents mint their own money, wampumpeague strung or sewn in patterns, becoming early colonial currency, accelerating in the colonial era. Early Modern Brookhaven (To Contact) Prehistory to the Contact Era: The 1st Late Woodland Period (continued) Americans Brookhaven Town is traditionally described as inhabited in the Contact Era by the Se[a]talcott (or Setauket) and Unkechaug (Patchogue, or Patachague) tribes, as 2 of the 13 tribes of L.I. Yet there is no evidence of tribal organization existing on L.I., prior to colonial authorities declaring them to exist, aiding land transfer transactions. This holds true for Brookhaven, and its tribes. According to John Strong, and other modern scholars, the village appears to have been the basic unit of organization prevailing among the Indians of L.I., based on recent archeological discoveries. So the notion of formal Contact Era tribes on L.I., or in Brookhaven,
appears to be antiquated concept that probably needs to be scrapped. Tribes came about later. In the contact era Indians of the Brookhaven area were essentially one people, loosely organized by bonds or networks of marital relations from village to village, on and off L.I. Strong, John A. The Late Woodland Period, 1,000 B.P-1600. In The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island, From Earliest Times to 1700. Interlaken, NY: Empire State Books, 1997: pp. 78-108. Pick a Number Clustering: The Tribal/Village Numbers Rev. Charles Wooley (ca. 1678-80),Pt. whom1Silas Wood apparently Game, missed in his research, said there were 7 nations (i.e., tribes) extant on L.I. in his time, rather than the 13 cited by Silas Wood. Silas Wood (1824), the source whom everyone likes to quote (though often without knowing it), says there were 13 tribes at the time of European discovery and colonization, which he then proceeds to name. Nathaniel Prime (1845), Edmund OCallaghan (1845), Gabriel Furman (1874), Richard Bayles (1874), Benjamin Thompson (1918), Paul Bailey (1959), and Jacqueline Overton (1969) all considered relatively authoritative simply repeated Woods figure, lending it seeming substance. Paul Bailey even invented a map, showing jurisdictions and borders of the named tribes, for his popular pamphlet, The 13 Tribes of Long Island. Woods notion of 13 tribes rests primarily on Indian deeds
Problem: Deeds are far from models of ownership accuracy, esp. when one weighs in the frequency of colonial era lawsuits questioning their authority and validity. E.g., the right of one sachem or group of Indians to have claimed original ownership of land or to a part of a tract of land sold, was disputed. There was a constant need to revalidate claims, questioned by Indian, colonial, and English authorities, some claims being discarded. John Scotts claims via an Indian ceremony of transfer, as opposed John Strongs Count You Said How Many Tribes? Pick a Number Clustering: The Tribal/Village Numbers Game, 2 gray area. to European practice, created anotherPt. interesting Colonial authorities, likely in frustration at having to deal with the unfamiliar, seem to have assigned convenient collective tribal names (previously used as local place names) along with territorial bounds suiting the needs of a deed in question, and decided with whom (which sachems) they preferred to deal. Favoritisms Challenge: It seems that authority to make deals & receive payments came into dispute, esp. where sachems competing for power could summon rival English authorities Martha Flint (1896), struck out the Secatogues, avowing 12 tribes Robert Schur (1942) 1st declared that there were NO (0) tribes on L.I., & called names assigned by Wood & Tooker misleading John Morice (1949), disliking the term, tribe, then identified 14,
including 5 new subgroups. George Weeks (1965) identified 17 principal communities (no tribes) , while John Strong (1997) concurring that there were no real tribes (0), points out defects in Weeks count, so that if you add in Morices subgroups, you can end up with as many as 21 . Source: Strong, John A. The Algonquian Peoples of Long Island from Earliest Times to 1700. Interlaken, NY: Empire State Books, 1997: 25-28. Arrows of Outrageous Fortune Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1 st Residents, Pt. 1 Some General Recent Scholarly Interpretations & Reiterations To date, there seems to be no empirical evidence of the existence of any tribal organization on Long Island, at either the time of European contact, or its initial European settlement, in the earliest European period sources (discoverers & earliest colonists logs, diaries, journals, etc.), or in the archeological record. The basic organizational unit of Indian life in the Brookhaven Town area (and throughout L.I.) during the Late Woodland Period and at the time of European contact & initial settlement appears to have been the Village (not the tribe), whose nature, composition, & extent, was constantly changing. While many villages now appear to have been occupied year-round, people moved to & from village to village. Territorial & hunting ground overlap was the rule, among villages, rather than clear, specific boundaries, which were the exception. Any map would have to account for the steady demographic shifting Tribes seem to have been artificially created to serve colonial diplomacy and commerce, esp. real estate transactions Tribal names appear to have been assigned (for convenience), by European colonists, to selected geographic areas Indian populations,
which were in effect, named into tribes, to facilitate diplomatic and business transactions in a manner familiar to, and more suitable to, European sensibilities. Preferred sachems were gradually elevated in power and authority to sign for the tribe, tending to monarchy. Arrows of Outrageous Fortune Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1 st Residents, Pt. 2 Some General Recent Scholarly Interpretations & Reiterations The familiar 13 tribal names are believed to have derived primarily from adaptations (or misconstructions of) local place names Distinctions among supposed tribal territories belonging to villages on the Island appear to be analytic, at best, rather than real. Late Woodland Brookhavenite Indians are believed to have spoken Algonquian dialects (as did Eastern L.I. Indians, in general). On the Western half of the Island, Munsee-speaking Lenni Lenape culture prevailed. Exogamous intermarriages among villages were common, even across linguistic lines on the Island. Everyone on the Island was probably related by the Contact Era. L.I. Indians, just to the West, were often at war with the Dutch, or, toward the end of the Indian-Dutch wars, essential Dutch allies. Indian-Colonial relations on English L.I. are believed not to have been as cordial as once thought. Witness a violent early encounter between local Indians and Setauket residents over whaling rights on the beach. Once European military dominance was clear, political preeminence favored the creation of European-style Indian governments, able to convey deeds, goods, and services through favored, amenable sachems, in terms acceptable to European, and to a lesser extent Indian, authorities, with the power or recognition or denial of claims.
Changing Perceptions of Early Deeds -- Recent Scholarly Interpretations Of Trinkets, Deeds, Iron Fists in Velvet Gloves, Land by Might: Once the Pequot War (1636) established the Pt. English Foolishness & Wisdom, 1as the greatest military & naval force in the region, the political reality of their easy isolation on an island, probably dictated that these most dangerous of neighbors be courted by its prior residents. Land, goods, services, and sometimes servitude ensued. Bauble-Land: So-called trinkets & practical items that local Indians sought and received in payment for land were, still rare commodities symbols conferring status, valued trade items, valued also for strength, durability, utility; whether worn, used, exchanged, or given (as signal gifts, bribes, or tribute). In the beginning, European goods were scarce, even to Europeans, as trans-Atlantic shipments were still infrequent. Arms for Land: It is easily overlooked that iron hatchets, muskets, or guns, gunpowder, and lead (musket balls) implements useful for not only hunting, but waging modern war routinely figured in early Brookhaven land deeds. Early deeds spoke of defensive alliance, but Indians demand for protective might indicates wary trading. This equation needs to be factored into condescending interpretations of such bargains. Agendas & Diplomacy: As they learned some of the vagaries and language of English-style real estate and trade transactions, local Sachems exhibited increasing diplomatic and negotiating skill, hedging bets, reserving rights, challenging prior deeds, negotiating terms
and conditions, before warily signing, sometimes appealing for fairness to higher colonial authorities. Colonists had to hone their skills, too. Trustful, peaceful atmospherics alluded to in colonial sources may have been mostly for show masking, & tempered by Indians implicit threat of force or potential for resistance, via their partial European-style armament, as a condition of sale. Mutually-protective alliances, were a frequent feature in major land transfers, though it was clear who was senior protector, as Indians were disenfranchised and fell under European wardship and sway. Changing Perceptions of Early Deeds Recent Scholarly Interpretations Duress, Veiled Hostility, Wampumpeague, Indian as Fool, Pt. 2 All this suggests that Brookhaven Indian deeds were signed under implicit duress, given New Englands military dominance, known ferocity, effectiveness, demonstrated by the Pequot War (as compared to the Dutch); that they were politically realistic, yet just a bit less cordial, less straightforward, less obsequious, than is usually stated. If limited arms transfers to Indians were regular features in the terms of most deeds, perhaps it was to ensure colonists neighborly, good behavior. Deeds, while shrinking Indian domains, temporarily enhanced local Indians military power & security, against all potential rivals, be it other Indians or nominally allied, friendly transplanted New Englanders Transfer of fathoms of wampum also often featured in deeds meant instantly-useable currency, visible badges of power, influence, & bargaining leverage, useful as diplomatic or trade gifts, a medium of exchange, as conveyances of authority, invested with mythic power All this makes traditional presumption of Indian gullibility & foolishness more doubtful, problematic, misplaced, & disrespectful. That Indians enjoyed giving away their ancestral heritage seems highly unlikely. The basic military imbalance, initial differences in basic concepts of land ownership, & ignorance of the finer points of 1500+ years of European & English law developed for land transactions, were serious disadvantages for Brookhaven Indians, in an increasingly European world.
Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1st Residents , Pt.1 Recent Scholarly Interpretations What do recent scholarly historical, archaeological, philological & other studies say about these same people? Languages: Indians of the western half of the Island shared Lenni Lenape culture, & appear to have spoken related dialects, dialects while those of the Eastern half, including the area of present day Brookhaven Town, are believed to have spoken Algonquian dialects Tribes: The origin of the pervasive myth of 13 tribes is traceable to Silas Wood, (L.I.s 1st historian). It was contradicted even at its writing by an earlier source that Wood missed, then claiming 7 nations. Woods notion has been quoted & re-quoted, unquestioningly, often unknowingly, so often since the 1790s, for the simplicity & convenience (as opposed to accuracy) of his idea, which was even mapped out, that to many today it is almost a local article of faith. Subsequent historians & archeologists, advanced alternate numbers of tribes, or family groups. There was no agreement on any set number of family groups, just as there was earlier no agreement on a set number of tribes, when they were in style. Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1st Residents , Pt.2 Recent Scholarly Interpretations
The notion of 13 tribes & clear, mappable tribal borders, still taught in schools today, and often repeated, is an artificial construct, highly inaccurate & misleading. L.I. Indian village populations are believed to have been related to each other by marriage, by the time of European contact, even across linguistic lines. Available sources & archeological research indicate that: No tribe (much less 13, or any number) can be shown to have existed on L.I. (or in Brookhaven Town), at the outset of European contact. Only villages existed, whose familial makeup changed constantly. Boundaries: Borders between (or hunting grounds of) villages appear to have been nebulous, shifting, not surveyed and permanently fixed. Governance: There is a growing impression, in recent historical literature, that not until, & in direct response to European dominance, were formal tribes erected, & tribal domains implicitly declared in deeds, to: (a) channel diplomacy & (b) impose & speed European-style land transfers, through pliable individuals & councils; as opposed to having Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1st Residents , Pt. 3 Recent Scholarly Interpretations to haggle ceaselessly with a changing series of sachems, over amorphous territories and political spheres of control. Sachems are believed to have possibly presided solely over specific functions or categories of activity at which they excelled. (Local Indians are believed
to have led a more democratic than monarchic style of governance.) Wyandanch is believed to have been gradually imposed as grand sachem over all L.I. Indians; having perhaps started out as a local East End diplomatic sachem. As protg of Lion Gardiner, his eloquence & willingness to sign away land for peace & security seems to have raised his worth in English eyes, leading to his steady political elevation over other Indians of the region. Material Culture: Agricultural & Pharmaceutical Skills of local Indians were adapted to locally-available resources, putting them more than on an initial par with their European neighbors. Sanitary Matters European settlers of the era believed bathing unhealthy, unlike the Indians. Bear grease, which New England (& probably Brookhaven) Indians smeared themselves in summer, kept them freer of mosquitoes & other pests than Europeans. Both Europeans and Indians made clay pottery with design elements Housing: Brookhavens Indians lived in wigwams, perhaps occasionally longhouses (elongated wigwams), not teepees. These were suited to the climate, and had portable elements. Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1st Residents , Pt. 4 Recent Scholarly Interpretations Hairstyles: Assuming they dressed & groomed themselves about as in lower New England, these could be very strange indeed, & highly individualistic, e.g.: mohawks; or half a head shaved, half long hair On Barbarism: The prehistoric war record of Brookhaven Town could use amplification. But theres no denying that Brookhavens cousinly Woodland Indians in New England, could be ferocious, esp. when engaged in ritualistic torture,
torture usually in parody of the adoption ceremony, with an expected etiquette of stoic restraint on the recipients part; local engagements need further archeological investigation and historical interpretation, where possible. Then, there are the nearby incessant Dutch-Indian Wars, in which L.I. Indians participated as 1 st as formidable enemies, then as Dutch allies. 17th Century European brutality was a good match for that of local and regional Algonquian Indians: Consider, e.g. the: (a) excesses of the 30 Years Wars & wars of religion, then current; (b) frequency of war throughout the early colonial period; severity of punishments routinely meted out even for minor offenses; (d) European witch craze, & auto da fes (burnings at the stake); (e) the killing edge that gunpowder weaponry gave Europeans; (f) nearby destruction of the Pequots in 1636, with little regret (in alliance with the Dutch). Evidence is mounting that local Indians werent nearly as passive as has often been suggested and believed Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1st Residents , Pt. 5 Recent Scholarly Interpretations Bank of Long Island: In the early contact era Wampumpeague (wampum), strung beads drilled from shells of the quahog or whelk, became (for a while) the favored medium of early colonial currency, purple beads being worth about twice the value of white ones. Wide wampum belts (often referred to or measured in fathoms), were transportable trading forms. It appeared in clothing and as accoutrements, esp. for those who wished to flaunt their status, position, & wealth. Wampum was in use throughout most the Northeastern U.S., and L.I. and doubtless Brookhaven was one of its chief sources. The
expansion of wampums use may have been a colonial European contrivance, as in the absence of abundant hard currency an alternative was needed, and European tools made quicker work of the profitable bead-making process. process (For a time, you could literally manufacture your own wealth. And European drills soon gave them the lead.) Whaling: Brookhaven area Indians, like their L.I. Neighbors, were actively involved in whaling (both at sea, and beached whale processing) contributed to & competed with the colonist in the development of that early American industry Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1st Residents , Pt.6 Recent Scholarly Interpretations Setaukets & Patchogues: Names (& their variations) given to the supposed two tribes of Brookhaven likely derive from local Indian place names, adapted as convenient contrivances as an umbrella descriptor for Indians of a geographic area, to create ownership bounds, clear enough to be acceptably deeded. In other words, once early European or colonial real estate agents found a willing seller, a formal tribe could be erected, declared named, its bounds delineated, so its land (ancestral tribal landholdings) could be legally transferred to be confirmed by European royalty or proprietors. The Unkechaug were grouped as a tribe, and soon dispossessed. But, thanks to a reverse deed from William Tangier Smith, reinherited 175 acres of what became todays Poospatuck Reservation,
Reservation in perpetuity. Myth of Extinction: There is still a local Indian population spread around the Town, and elsewhere, notably in Setauket & Patchogue, as well as in the Mastic reservation, and elsewhere, some of it in upstate New York; some in Wisconsin, who can often trace their lineage back to the Contact Era. Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1 st Residents General Recent Scholarly Interpretations Brookhavens Longer Heritage: Indian Contributions to Its History Local Indians left a number of forms of records of their existence on L.I.: artifacts, colonial documents, post-literate Indian documents. The historical record is still being located, still being pieced together. There is a growing archeological record, some of it prepared ahead of the bulldozers, some just ahead, & it is ongoing now. Despite bulldozers, and the supposed indistinctness of the sandy soil of L.I., stratigraphy (layers of soil, dirt, rock) is often present, & patterns of evidence on Brookhavens prehistoric & ancient (a much abused word in L.I. History) are emerging. Its history is not only 350 years old, but more akin to 12, 500 years. In the contact era, terms of deeds favorable to Indians, dealings among villages, with surrounding tribes, and with & among European powers and colonies, indicate more political & diplomatic skill & sophistication than traditionally attributed to the Indian powers. Desire to secure colonial backing & arms as security against enemies, & lucrative, symbiotic trade relations , appear to have been powerful motivators. As in New England, preceding diseases probably rendered land more readily available than it might have been a few decades earlier.
As in New England, local Indian knowledge of foodstuffs, medicinal plants & herbs, & some of their planting techniques, worked their way into the colonial repertoire, esp. helping to sustain struggling settlements. Changing Perceptions of Brookhavens 1 st Residents General Recent Scholarly Interpretations Brookhavens Living Amerindian Heritage As John Strong forcefully points out, the Indian heritage of L.I. (and by extension, of Brookhaven Town) is a longer, richer one than standard histories portray, which generally have done little more than to gloss over the Indian contribution. Real estate, restitution, paybacks, social, tax, racial, reservation status issues, drugs, casinos, & other potential legal, political & other hot potatoes & fallout are more than many care to address. These are often in the news, not likely to go away, & have a good deal to do with impeding a general acknowledgement or reconciliation. Slaves and Indians often intermarried, leading many to say that no true Indians still remain. Yet, fascinating dual lineages are there. Elementary schools routinely have students study an Indian tribe. In 4th and 7th grades in New York State, local history is taken, more could be done to link, perhaps even expand on these two threads. As John Strong points out in And Were Still Here, there are many living, breathing people who trace their Brookhaven Amerindian ancestry back to the European Contact Era, perhaps even beyond it. Many still live in the Town, others across L.I., still others, more widely scattered, still awaiting an affirmation. Recommended Readings John Strongs The Algonquin Peoples of Long Island, From
Earliest Times to 1700 & its sequel vol., And We are Still Here, are esp. worth examining. The former was the predominant source used in creating this section (Part II). The Readings in Long Island Archaeology and Ethnohistory series, masterfully edited by Gaynell Stone for Suffolk County Archaeological Association, gathers and publishes key past & new research in a growing series of thematic volumes. The Associations Newsletter reports archeological excavations & general findings. Many public libraries on Long Island, including Brookhaven Town (e.g., the Patchogue-Medford Library) maintain vertical files on L.I. Indians Municipal records-keepers & archivists often have interesting documents and other resources; as do larger colleges & universities Museums: Try, e.g., Southold Indian Museum, the new Shinnecock Reservation Museum, Suffolk County Historical Society Museum, & Garvies Point Museum (Nassau County). Unfortunately none are presently located in Brookhaven Town. The New Model Logo Old-Style / New Style, Part 1 From Offensive to the Inane, in One Easy After it became a statewide issue, orders were sent from the N.Y.S. Step Commissioner of Education for all school districts using a logo that could be conceived as offensive to native Americans, to eliminate and replace them with inoffensive ones. ones Some districts balked at the idea of loosing a symbol long used in their district, and at the costs entailed in replacing everything from uniforms, to school vehicle logos, to
stationery. But orders were orders, and the order was firm. Enter a certain Brookhaven School District, District to remain nameless, which until recently proudly sported its, say, Red Routers logo, an Indian head, strongly resembling that of the Cleveland Indians logo, but favoring a (non-Harry Potter) lightning bolt across its face, and School District initials. The Commissioner determined that it must go. It had also been brought to District attention that the face was just plain ugly, viewable as offensive and politically incorrect, to certain local circles, which had also let their opinions be well known. Read: Danger! Risk of lawsuit. But how could this be best addressed? What was the best means of purification ritual/catharsis? Phase 1: The District was ordered cleansed of all public references to Native Americans. (Starting with swastikas in the bathrooms, one would hope. ) Bit of an over-reaction, one might say; and one really has to wonder how Indians in the locale are going to take to that. The New Model Logo Old-Style / New Style, Part 2 From Offensive to the Inane, in One Easy But, what of the issues of censorship Stepvs. district educational mission & purpose? Or the fate of future years assignments on Native American tribes? Presumably therell no posting of laudable student work in the hallways, and how will the subject fare in the curriculum? Whose loss? Phase 2: A logo contest was held. And who were to be the judges?
The Board considering this was a policy & political hot potato? No. The Administration charged with daily district operations? No. High school kids would vote on it, & presumably shoulder any blame. Theyre just kids, & dont know better. What could be done? Long Island Advance, 6/19/2003: p. 1, carried the sequel, New School Mascot Unveiled. And lo, there was a picture of a snorting buffalo (not particularly native to these parts, unless you count, e.g., imports to the Long Island Game Farm), with the District initials firmly emblazoned on, of all things, its hindquarters. The artist, a talented district graduate, when interviewed, mentioned (as credentials?), having won school coloring contests, as a child. There was a P.R. saving grace: the school is located on one Buffalo Avenue. Avenue Straight from offensive to inane: inane Brookhavens new Wild East model for dealing with Indian sensibilities? Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. Time to circle the wagons, boys & girls!