Expert discusses atrocities suffered by Native Americans

Expert discusses atrocities suffered by Native Americans


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By Janet Redyke

WANTAGE-As Lusscroft Farm celebrated Lusscroft Day on Saturday July 7 with a barn sale, wagon rides, crafts, food, children’s activities and more, the farm the also played host to Dr. Robin Hill-Chandler, a noted expert on the Munsee/Lenape Indian culture. An overflowing crowd squeezed into the parlor area of the Lusscroft home,surprising the volunteer docents. Dr. Hill-Chandler welcomed the audience with a Cherokee greeting.

Proud of her own Native American roots, Dr. Hill-Chandler spoke of the relationship between the Munsee, Cherokee, Sand Hill, Delaware, Algonquin, Iroquois and the Lenape dating from the 1700s to present time. The basic differences in these tribes seemed to be their locations and their languages.

She reminded the group about the atrocities of African slavery and said they were very prevalent among Native Americans as well.

“Native Americans suffered from slavery, disease and abduction,” clarified Dr. Hill-Chandler.

Families were torn apart by slavery. Diseases like measles and small pox ran rampant sometimes killing whole tribes. Greedy European slaveowners benefited by forcing Native Americans to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations. Native American children were abducted, placed in “schools” and were harshly taught to forsake their culture.

“They were taught to be ashamed of the own culture,” the professor said.

Hill-Chandler spoke of how the students were punished for stealing food, not obeying, not speaking only English and running away. She also elaborated on the cruelty of the 1830 Indian Removal Act and the Cherokee Trail of Tears. But she also mentioned how Native Americans remained in New Jersey, with a population in Paterson and a reservation still in the Pine Barrens.

The talk was concluded with the doctor reminding the group of the rich customs and cultures of New Jersey’s Native Americans and brought up Black Creek in Vernon-Glenwood as a must-see experience.



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