Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own. I do not speak for, or represent, anyone else, but myself. As a Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape descendant, I owe it to my ancestors to tell their truth. Please make sure to click on the red hypertext links.
The Legacy of David S. Cohen’s The Ramapo Mountain People and the Rise of Indigenous Hatekeepers
For the past two decades, I have dedicated my time to researching my maternal family’s history, which has guided me to write a book. The voices of my ancestors have always led me to where I am today, providing me with clues and revealing a family history that resisted settler colonialism, which caused genocide, slavery, and dispossession. I firmly believe that there is no separation between the living and the dead; the ties that bind us are eternal.
During the colonial era, indigenous people along the Eastern seaboard suffered from paper genocide, which was a policy enacted by settler colonizers to classify and erase indigenous identity and ties to their ancestral homelands. It is actually quite easy to denigrate and dispossess a people of their land, if you call them anything but indigenous. This practice has resulted in historic trauma that can never be forgotten or denied. The silence of the disappeared voices that remain hidden in the archives speak volumes. However, my family has always known who we are and where we come from, despite the attempts to erase our Afro-Indigenous identity.
My grandfather’s oral and written history indicated that our family’s lineage consisted of Dutch, German, Swedish, Finnish, British, Scots-Irish, Malagasy, West African, and Native American tribes from Connecticut, primarily from Fairfield County, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Our ancestors were from many tribes, including Munsee, Delaware, Minisink, Wappinger, Shinnecock, Nipmuc, Golden Paugusset, Powhatan, Mohawk, Wampanoag, and others, all connected to a Black and Red Atlantic. Our enslaved ancestors, used as human shields, were first put on the front lines to protect the Dutch from the Munsee Lenape in New Amsterdam, but they also formed lasting relationships and intermarried with the Munsee Lenape. Although marriages between Native men and women of African descent occurred, it was primarily Native women who married men of African descent in our family and were the cultural bearers who passed on their knowledge. Similarly, the Lenape also adopted people of African descent into their tribe. DNA does not determine culture. It is possible to be of African and Native descent, European and Native descent, or a mixture of all racial categories. I respect the hard choices that our ancestors made to ensure their survival and that of their descendants. It is a myth that all Lenape were removed from New York and New Jersey in the late 1700s. It is a fact that many Lenape people stayed behind. Most of our family never left their ancestral homeland in PA, NY, NJ, and DE, which shows that our ancestors made the right decision and are the true keepers of our sacred Lenapehoking.
David S. Cohen’s book, The Ramapo Mountain People, which I read ten years ago, is inaccurate based on my family history and the knowledge handed down by my elders including my great-grandfather, Helen B. Hamilton, Yvonne Chandler, Chris Moore, and Pat Mann-Stoliby. Although we descend from enslaved and Free People of Color, including Afro-Dutch Free Black people, our ancestors did not originally arrive in the Ramapough Mountains from the Hackensack Valley starting in the early 1800s, or even in the 1680s when the Tappan Patent was formed. The Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape were always there, albeit in much smaller groups that coalesced into larger entities over time. The Ramapough Mountain area has been settled for the millennia and Indigenous people routinely travelled across the Hudson River setting up camps on both sides. Cohen coined the name “Ramapo Mountain People” in his book and he was correct in stating that they were not the pejorative “Jackson Whites.” However, his book is not a definitive account of our ancestors. It is rooted in a discipline closely affiliated with the field of eugenics and should be seen as a relic of the late-1960s to early-1970s community-based studies. That his book has never been updated in light of new scholarship over the past couple of decades, says a lot.
Cohen’s book ignores a gender issue which clearly affects his ability to even entertain the possibility of Afro-Indigeneity. He fails to acknowledge the existence of a large number of Black-Native relationships that produced Afro-Indigenous children who learned their culture from their Munsee Lenape mothers. He ignores the fact that many people of African and Indigenous descent escaped to freedom together throughout the colonial period and even after. Unfortunately, the names of these Indigenous women were not recorded in official records, but this does not mean that they never existed or that their voices and lives do not matter. Cohen dismisses these relationships as insignificant, despite their long history in the Hudson River Valley region, dating back to the1613 arrival of Juan Rodriguez, a fur trader of African descent from Santo Domingo who married a Munsee Lenape woman and fathered children with her. Intended or unintended, Cohen left people with the mistaken impression that the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape strictly descended from African and Afro-Dutch people who had forgotten their history — a history he decided to give them back.
That being said, The Ramapo Mountain People’s greatest flaw is that it fails to acknowledge the historic erasure of indigeneity inherent in official records such as census records. Native Americans were not listed as such in any US census records between 1790-1840. They were, however, included in the racial categories as “Mulatto,” “Black,” “Negro,” “Colored,” “Free People of Color,” and “White” —- labels that striped them of their “official” indigeneity. This is the time period that Cohen attributes the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape as having relocated to the Ramapo Mountains. How convenient it is to make claims that are hard to prove when records do not exist to the contrary because people were made to disappear on documents. Who is Cohen to decide who is indigenous, or not , based on one-drop of “Black” blood rule?
In my family, we had ancestors who decided to accept, on paper, the racial categories that they were given because they could not challenge them especially during segregation and we had ancestors who 100% identified as Afro-Indigenous. Again, one can be Black and Native— they are NOT mutually exclusive identities. I can assure you that my great-grandfather, who was born in 1881 in Newark, NJ, knew who he descended from as his family always kept one foot in the Ramapough Mountains and one foot in Essex County, NJ. Our family continues to do the same today. Cohen clearly believes that only written sources can be used in research and that our oral history doesn’t matter —- except it does. We have our history that clearly shows that the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape maintained their culture despite slavery, genocide, and dispossession. What Cohen wants is for the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape to wholeheartedly accept the colonized view of history — a top-down, one-sided version of history that leaves no room for a history from below. No, thank you. Our history, oral included, is our history and it has been shaped by specific historical forces that are not up for debate.
Cohen’s book has been used in the tribe’s quest for federal recognition despite questions about the validity of his conclusions. Cohen now claims that the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape are “of dubious descent.” He has also been very vocal in stating that all Lenape where removed in the late 1700s and therefore the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape, Nanticoke Lenape, and Powhatan Renape Nations are not legitimate and thereby questions their NJ state-recognition. The Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape have nothing to prove to David S. Cohen, as he insists, they do. Today, Cohen only recognizes the Oklahoma Delaware Lenape, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin, and the Delaware of Six Nations in Ontario. It should be noted that the Lenape people of PA, NY, NJ, and DE have always welcomed fellow Lenape who were removed from Lenapehoking.
Recently, my distant cousin Claire Garland, Director of Sand Hill Indian Historical Association, published “Indian Summer at Sandy Hill: The Revy-Richardson Families at the Jersey Shore,” which serves as an excellent counterpoint to Cohen’s book. It should be evident that Cohen interviewed a small segment of Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape in the late 1960s when he did his research and then applied his findings to the larger Ramapough Lenape population— many who had ceased to live in the Ramapough Mountains, but still lived in other parts of NJ and NY. Claire’s discussion of her centuries-old family history, which is relevant to our own Lenape-identified Van Salee/Van Surlay Revy ancestors, can be traced back to New Amsterdam/New York City, Orange and Rockland Counties, NY, and Bergen, Essex, Burlington, and Monmouth Counties, NJ. It never dawned on Cohen that the Afro-Dutch of New Amsterdam actually continued to intermarry with Lenape before, during, and after they relocated to the Tappan Patent.
In her article, Claire draws on tax records, land deeds, property transactions, census records, cemetery records, vital records, as well as oral history and family photos and memorabilia to detail her family history. Elizabeth Susan Van Surlay Revy, our ancestor, married into the Richardson family, who were Cherokees from Georgia and stopped in Monmouth County, NJ on their way to the Oneida Nation in the late 1700s, where they settled. Claire’s research proves a continuous Lenape presence in New Jersey from the past until the present day. I am positive that there are also other Lenape micro-histories in existence that have yet to be discovered for all the reasons I discussed above. Decolonizing the archives and re-examining past research is a MUST in order to discover these histories as they do exist.
The Rise of the Indigenous Hatekeepers
I recently attended a UPenn webinar courtesy of the Wolf Humanities Center and Penn Museum where the legacy of Cohen’s book was clearly on display. The video can be viewed here in full. (Please note that the video can be triggering for some, particularly one hour in at the start of the Q&A section.) It was billed as a “discussion that highlights tribal relationships to Lenapehoking, the ancestral and spiritual homeland of Lenni-Lenape and Delaware peoples of the Delaware Valley. Archaeologists and tribal cultural specialists bring the site-specific landscapes and histories to life, illuminating once-vibrant places that remain important to tribal Nations today.” I was looking forward to learning more about the Oklahoma Delaware Nation. While Jeremy Johnson, Director of Cultural Education, Delaware Tribe of Indians based in Bartlesville, OK was informative and respectful, the same cannot be said of Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas. This was actually the first time I heard him and saw him.
Though The Wolf Humanities Center posted his credentials on their site, I will not be repeating them here. I don’t respect a man who launched such hate-filled, venomous attacks on various Lenape present in the room as well as the people who were on the panel sitting next to him. No dignified “hereditary chief” that I know would ever present themselves in public in such a way, especially to those who welcomed him with open arms. The optics of it all not only looked bad, but also smelled bad. His focus on federal recognition and treaty signing as qualifiers of indigeneity, the not so-veiled references to race, his seeming ignorance of Eastern seaboard Native history, and his avowed 100% insistence that all Lenape were removed from the Northeast mimicked points that David S. Cohen made in his book and subsequent papers. While, I, in no way, shape, or form hold David S. Cohen responsible for the words and actions of another person, the conclusions made in his book are now being used by Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas and other federally-recognized Native Americans. Let’s be clear, these are Native people who want to silence and erase the specific histories of PA, NY, NJ, and DE Lenape, as well as Afro-Indigenous people, especially on the East Coast, by labeling them “Pretendians” and “CPAIN” derogatory terms no different than “Jackson Whites.”
The OK Delaware Nation claims some sort of authority over Northeastern Lenape because they have federal recognition, a status they were given when they accepted relocation to Cherokee land in Oklahoma in 1867. However, the PA, NY, NJ, and DE tribes are state-recognized, have their own inherent sovereignty, and are accepted by the US government as such. I am in 100% agreement with the statement below made by a long list of Indigenous activists and posted on the Last Real Indian website:
“While federal and state recognition are ways that we legally acknowledge and understand Native American and Indigenous Peoples in the United States, a colonial state, we also honor the fact that federal and state status is not the only form of “recognition” and “assertion of rights” for tribes, Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples across North America. We also recognize the problems with disenrollment, xenophobia, anti-Indigenous, anti-Indian, and anti-Black racism that can lead to insidious forms of individual and collective exclusion. Many tribes have been terminated or thought non-existent for example because they do not meet the requirements of another non-Native government (the United States). We reject the premise that federal recognition is the only way to determine American Indian, Indigenous, and Native American identity. It is within this context that we call on all community members to reject attempts by outsiders to determine tribally specific status of individuals and groups. We believe that every tribe’s self-determination and/or sovereign status should allow them to define who is and is not a member of their communities, including adoption as that is a tribe exercising their sovereignty to determine their own citizenship.”
It is disheartening to see other Natives engage in hate tactics that are straight out of the settler colonial project play book. The fact that the OK Delaware Nation refuses to recognize those Lenape who never left, under the guise that they themselves know that “No Lenape would ever leave another behind,” is absurd. They can never speak on matters with 100% certainty when they weren’t alive to witness the event themselves or know all the hard individual choices people made at the time. They can’t speak of the decisions that Afro-Indigenous people made for fear of state-sponsored punishment —- as if our ancestors had the power to make any decision in the construction of a racial classification system hundreds of years ago. They maintain that the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape never called themselves that until Cohen published his book because they had no name. Not only is this false, but we were called by many names: Munsee, Tappan, Haverstraw, Minisink, Hackensack, Pompton, Acquacanock, Esopus, Wappinger, and others. That these Indigenous bands formed larger confederacies in the wake of colonization, does not mean that the people who inhabited the Ramapough Mountains, and surrounding areas, never knew who they were. Neither does it mean that Cohen gave us our name.
Why The Wolf Humanities Center and Penn Museum invited Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas to be on the panel is beyond me when there were local Lenape groups available to present. I am not too sure why representatives from local Lenape tribes were not on the panel, as they should have been, and this fact was not lost on many who intended in person and online. I also question why the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville, OK would have a representative of their nation sit on any panel with Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas because it made it look like they condoned his rude behavior. He stated that he did not speak for the tribe, but for “the people.” What people? Who gave him the authority to speak on behalf of all Lenape in PA, NY, NJ, and DE? Is this how the OK Delaware Nation builds alliances with local Lenape? WHY can’t he speak for the tribe now?
The way he performed at the webinar made me question who he was and why was he so angry and disrespectful. I called some of my Indigenous contacts across the country asking them if they knew him, and many did. I am now left with the impression that Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas is a “hatekeeper,” a term I use to refer to the ways in which some Natives from federally recognized tribes advocate for a one size fits all Indigenous experience. It is interesting to note that these Natives are primarily from the Midwest and Southwest who refuse to acknowledge the specific experiences that Eastern tribes faced as the first tribes who were colonized. These Natives also tend to wield their federal recognition around like a club they can hammer other Natives over the head with for not being “Native ” enough. Some have even gone further and have engaged in acts of harassment, bullying, intimidation, and more.
Perhaps the best-known example of a “hatekeeper” is Jacqueline Keeler, a Navajo activist who keeps an “Alleged Pretendian List.” While the original goal of identifying “Prentedians” was based on valid concerns, it has gone above and beyond its original intent and has morphed into a whole different beast. The list that has rightfully been exposed and denounced by many Indigenous people as highly problematic. The following links demonstrate how “hatekeepers” are specifically targeting people, even federally recognized Native Americans with whom they disagree, and are compiling dossiers on individuals complete with personal information, vetting individual family trees and misinterpreting family relationships/ties, etc. to try to discredit people.
Comprehensive Timeline of Keeler’s Harassment of Indigenous People (with mention of Daniel “StrongWalker Thomas in a couple of places)
Community Members Speak out Against the “Alleged Pretendian List”
The Crashing of Sacheen’s Funeral
Opinion: The Real Problem With Jacqueline Keeler’s ‘Alleged Pretendian’ List
It turns out that Keeler is a well-known associate of Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it’s a duck. Their tactics mirror each other.
I wasn’t surprised then to learn that Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas is also affiliated with, and routinely posts in, a Facebook public group called Roots of Illusion, Ramapo/Ramapough that believes in “educating the public of who the Ramapo, Ramapough Mountain People really are.” This group often shares Cohen’s papers as well as the Afro-Dutch genealogy charts featured in his book to make determinations about individual Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape family trees and ethnic identification. The group advocates using DNA tests to determine how much “Native American” admixture Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape have in order to “prove” individuals are not Native. They also share DNA information without a person’s consent which is very unethical. This group has no understanding of ethnic admixture, how genes are inherited, and how admixture is calculated by DNA companies. It is also apparent that they think “race” is a fixed status, and not a social construct, and that census enumerators were always correct in recording a person’s “race” based on their phenotype. Needless to say, their one-dimensional view of history where they see “Enslaved/Free Blacks versus Lenape” is troublesome as it is ignorant and places blame unfairly on Enslaved/Free Blacks for the oppression of all Lenape people. Their Black History Month postings are indicative of their anti-Black racism though they claim not to be so. The Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape, Nanticoke Lenape, and Powhatan Renape are all NJ state-recognized sovereign tribes that Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas does not have jurisdiction over. He knows this and has decided to pursue an agenda to malign these tribes at all costs.
Here are some screenshots from the Roots of Illusion, Ramapo, Ramapough Facebook group:
I want to state clearly that I don’t know if David S. Cohen is working directly with Daniel “StrongWalker” Thomas and other “hatekeepers,” or if he is unaware of how these “hatekeepers” are using his book to promote their own agenda in the way that may cause real harm to others. I have never met David. S. Cohen. I am actually sure we could have a civil conversation about his book and the impact that it has undoubtedly had on Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape descendants that he has never met, in addition to the ones he already knows. What I do know, is that his book has been used to unfairly define a group of people for decades and is also now being used by “hatekeepers” to target and character assassinate the Ramapough (Munsee) Lenape. However, is this really the legacy Cohen wants to leave behind? I wouldn’t think so. I would hope not.
Time to Mann Up: Nicka Smith, The Legacy of the Cherokee Freedmen, & the Hope For A Better Future
As I listened to the Wolf Humanities Center/Penn Museum webinar, I couldn’t help to think about how the OK Delaware Nation resides within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. This led me to think about my friend, mentor, and professional genealogist Nicka Smith, who recently gave several lectures about her Cherokee Freedman ancestor, US Deputy Marshall Isaac Rogers, to the Cherokee Nation. She provided various written, oral, and DNA (i.e., cousin matching and not admixture) documentation to provide one of the best case studies I have ever seen by a Afro-Indigenous descendant. You can view her presentation below.
I thought about how the Cherokee Nation has finally come to realize the mistakes of the past and are now working on reconciling their history with that of the Cherokee Freedmen to provide a fuller, truer picture of the past. I can only hope that sometime in the future, the OK Delaware Nation will be open to reconciling with the PA, NY, NJ and DE Lenape instead of trying to erase our history in Lenapehoking. Until that day comes, I will continue to pray for Lenapehoking and all Lenape wherever they reside as my ancestors have always done.
David S. Cohen’s Book and Articles:
The Ramapo Mountain People. NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1974.
The Academia.edu articles below are listed as part of his upcoming book titled Dubious Descent, with the exception of the last article.
For Further Reading and Viewing:
Below are some suggested websites, articles and books that you should read if you are interested in exploring some of the issues slavery in the North, Indigeneity, New Amsterdam/New Netherlands under the Dutch vs. British in NY &NJ, paper genocide, and resistance. This is meant as a starting point only. I also encourage people to dig deep into the archives (libraries, historical societies, newspapers, etc.), re-examine what has been written and what may have been left out of the historical record, and write those who have been left out back into the historical record. It is only when we see how history was experienced by all viewpoints that we can truly understand how this country came into being.
Ezra Stiles, Census Making, and Indian Erasure in New England with Jason Mancini https://youtu.be/6lmSB5FkKOw
https://www.youtube.com/@whoisnickasmith/playlists (Researching the Enslaved playlist) and episode on The Five Civilized Tribes)
https://youtu.be/xJkZG2SKEKI (Finding Isaac Rogers)
Indian Summer at Sand Hill: The Revy and Richardson Families of the Jersey Shore” by Claire Garland in New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 9 , No. 1 (2023) Winter 2023 (p.168-224). https://njs.libraries.rutgers.edu/index.php/njs
“ Reytory Angola, Seventeenth-Century Manhattan” by Susannah Shaw Romney (pp. 58-78) and “Sarah Chauqum, Eighteenth-Century, Rhode Island and Connecticut” by Margaret Ellen Newell in As If She Were Free: A Collective Biography of Woemn and Emancipation in the Americas, Edited by Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas, and Terrell Snyder.
“Can Genealogy be Racist? Identity, Roots & The Question of Proof” by Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Latino Genealogy and Beyond.com, March 22, 2018. https://latinogenealogyandbeyond.com/blog/can-genealogy-be-racist/
”Extinction: The Historical Trope of Anti-Indigeneity in the Caribbean” by Maximillian C. Forte, Issues in Caribbean Amerindian Studies, Vol VI, No. 4, August 2004-August. https://indigenouscaribbean.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/forteatlantic2005.pdf
The U.S. Census and the Contested Rules of Racial Classification in Early Twentieth -Century Puerto Rico” by Mara Loveman Caribbean Studies, Vol. 35, No. 2, Julio-Diciembre, Instituto de Estudios, pp. 79-114. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/392/39215017004.pdf
“How Puerto Rico became White: Boundary Dynamics and Intercensus Racial Reclassification by Jeronimo O. Muniz and Mara Mara Loveman, American Sociological Review, Vol. 72, Issue 6, pp. 915-939. https://bit.ly/3Kiz8Yf
“One-drop” — Reckoning with Erasure of Native Identity in Appalachia” https://www.salon.com/2018/05/21/one-drop-reckoning-with-the-erasure-of-native-identity-in-appalachia_partner/
Beyond Conquest: Native Peoples and the Struggle for History in New England by Amy E. Den Ouden
Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America by Pekka Hämäläinen
Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England by Jean M. O’Brien
African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals by David Hackett Fischer
Spaces of Enslavement: A History of Slavery and Resistance in Dutch New York by Andrea C Monsterman
Bound by Bondage: Slavery and the Creation of a Northern Gentry by Nicole Saffold Maiskell
The Red Atlantic: American Indigenes and the Making of the Modern World, 1000-1927 by Jace Weaver.
Settler Memory: The Disavowal of Indigeneity and the Politics of Race in the United States by Kevin Bruyneel
An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States by Kyle T. Mays, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, et al.
Louisiana Creole Peoplehood: Afro-Indigeneity and Community by Rain Pru’homme-Cranford, Darryl Barthe, and Andrew Jolivette, eds.
Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom by Tiya Miles
Frontiers of Citizenship: A lack and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil by Yuko Miki
Tainos and Caribs: The Aboriginal Cultures of the Antilles bySebastian Robiou Lamarche
Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth Century Boston by Jared Ross Hardesty
Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah
Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic by Jennifer Morgan, Angel Pean, et. al.
The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States edited by Miriam Jimenez Roman and Juan Flores
North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715-1885 by Warren Eugene Milteer, Jr.
Native American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Encounters and the Contigency of Race by Nancy Shoemaker
The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle by Malinda Maynor Lowery
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz
We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creek, American Identity, and Power by Caleb Gayle
The Myth of Indigenous Caribbean Extinction: Continuity and Reclamation in Boriken by Tony Castanha
Long Hammering: Essays on the Forging of an African American Presence in the Hudson River Valley to the Early Twentieth Century by A. J. Williams-Myers
In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley 1735-1831 edited by Susan Stressin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini
Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples by Jack D. Forbes
Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past and Museums and Atlantic slavery by Ana Lucia Araujo
The American Discovery of Europe by Jack D. Forbes
The Pinkster King and the King of Kongo by Jeroen Dewulf
A History of Connecticut’s Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe by Charles Brilvitch
Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes & Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America by A. N. Wilkinson
The Book of Negroes: African Americans in Exile after the American Revolution (2021 edition), Edited by Graham Russell Hodges and Alan Edward Brown
Black Indian Genealogy Research: African-American Ancestors Among The Five Civilized Tribes, An Expanded Edition by Angela Y. Walton-Raj
Freedmen of the Frontier Volume 1: Selected Cherokee, Choctaw, & Chicasaw Freedmen Families by Angela Y. Walton-Raji
Freedmen of the Frontier Volume 2: Selected Creek and Seminole Freedmen Families by Angela Y. Walton-Raji
Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited From Slavery by Joel Long
Black Lives Native Lands White Worlds: A History of Slavery in New England by Jared Ross Hardesty
The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860 by Calvin Schermerhorn
The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast by Andrew W. Lipman
Brethren By Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery by Margaret Ellen Newell (A must read)
Root & Branch: African Americans in New York & East Jersey, 1613-1803; Pretends to be Free: Runaway Slave Advertisements from Colonial and Revolutionary New York and New Jersey, and David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City by Graham Russell Hodges
Slavery in the North: Forgotten History and Recovering Memory by Marc Howard Ross
New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren
In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 by Leslie A. Harris
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America and Generations of Captivity by Ira Berlin
Slavery and Freedom in the Mid-Hudson Valley by Michael E. Groth
Slavery and Universities: Histories and Legacies by Leslie Harris, et. al.
Scarlet and Black: Slavery: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History (Vol 1) by Marisa J. Fuentes and Deborah Gray White, eds.
Scarlet and Black: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945 (Volume 2) by Kendra Boyd and Marisa J. Fuentes, eds.
Pirates, Merchants, Settlers and Slaves: Colonial America and the Indo-Dutch Atlantic by Kevin McDonald
Memories of Madagascar in the Black Atlantic by Wendy Wilson Fall
Running from Bondage: Enslaved Women and Their Remarkable Fight for Freedom in Revolutionary America by Karen Cook Bell
Flight to Freedom: African Runaways and Maroons in the Americas by Alvin O. Thompson
Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War by Vincent Brown
Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America by Damian Alan Pargas, ed.
The Archaeology of Social Disintegration in Skunk Hollow: A Nineteenth Century Rural Black Community by Joan H. Geismar
From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World by Eugene D. Genovese
Black Rebellion in Barbados: The Struggle Against Slavery, 1627-1838 by Hilary Beckles
Purchasing Whiteness: Pardos, Mulattoes, and the Quest for Social Mobility in the Spanish Indies by Ann Twinam.
The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean by Gerald Horne
The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War by Jonathan Daniel Wells
Slave No More: Self-Liberation before Abolitionism in the Americas by Aline Helg
Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean by Randy M. Brown
Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence by Alan Gilbert
Standing in Their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution by Judith L Van Buskirk
The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution by William Cooper Nell
The Negro in the American Revolution by Benjamin Quarles
The Colony of New Netherlands: A Dutch Settlement in Seventeenth-Century America by Jaap Jacobs
New Netherlands Connections: Intimate Networks and Atlantic ties in Seventeenth-Century America by Susanah Shaw Romney
Before the Melting Pot: Society and Culture in Colonial New York City, 1664-1730 by Joyce D. Goodfried
hat the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia by Arica L. Coleman
3 thoughts on “The Legacy of David S. Cohen’s Ramapo Mountain People and the Rise of Indigenous Hatekeepers”
Very well researched & extensive archival resources,
Informative, great tool to educate with real history to back it up.
Your research clearly shows the complexities of indigenous-Black-European contact in the 17th,18th, and early 19th centuries. This mixed ethnicity goes far beyond the casual genealogy and white-biased documentary evidence that was in use fifty years ago. Indigenous and Black people had every reason to remain “invisible” to the ravenous European culture that was engulfing them. Just because we can’t always see them doesn’t mean they weren’t there!
The old mantra reminding us that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” should be kept foremost in mind for anyone trying to understand the indigenous and Black presence in New York and New Jersey.
Neither can we rely on the old colonial-era tribal names, which wrongly assumed that indigenous people were distinct populations confined to small geographic areas. Ramapos and Hackensacks and Esopuses and Minisinks were all Munsee Lunaape, and along the Hudson they mixed freely with the many Mahican sub-groups. We waste so much time and energy, and interfere with their own ideas of identity, when we presume to designate who they are!