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Indian Deed for Land Along the Mohawk River, 1732

Indian Deed conveying land on the Mohawk River

Indian Deed conveying land on the Mohawk River

New York State Archives, NYSA_A0272-78_V40_p096
 
Document Description
Indian Deed to Petrus Van Drisen (or Driessen) of a tract of land on the north side of the Mohawks River, beginning at the west corner of a tract granted to Fr's Harrison, Lewis Morris, John Spratt and others, 1732.
 
Questions
These Indians signed with European names. Were they born with those names?
Why are there animals drawn on this deed?
Do you think the Indians got a fair price?
This deed transferred land from thirty Mohawk Indians to two Dutch ministers. Why would the ministers want to control the land? Why would the Indians give it to them?
Why would land along a river be valuable?
 
Historical Challenges
How did the Dutch settlers treat the Indians? Did they have positive or negative relations with the local Indian tribes? Explain.
What happened to the Dutch colony of New Netherland? Who controlled it at the time this deed was written?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Draw a map of the land that was transferred. Embellish the map with native flora and fauna as well as with symbols of the Mohawk tribe and the Dutch missionaries of the area.
 
Resources
Bruchac, Joseph. Children of the Longhouse. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1996. ISBN: 0803717938, 0803717946, 0140385045.
Duvall, Jill. The Mohawk. Chicago: Children's Press, 1991. ISBN: 0516011154
Avakian, Monique. A Historical Album of New York. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1993. ISBN: 1562940058, 0585263302
Fradin, Dennis B. The New York Colony. Chicago: Children's Press, 1988. ISBN: 0516003895
Gibson, Karen Bush. New Netherland: The Dutch Settle the Hudson Valley. Hockessin, DE: Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2007. ISBN: 1584154616
Linehan, Stephen. New Netherland: An Exploration of Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum for the 4th Grade. Albany, NY: New Netherland Museum, 2004. ISBN: 0974822302. (Available at http://www.newnetherland.org)
Parker, Lewis K. Dutch Colonies in the Americas. New York: PowerKids Press, 2003. ISBN: 0823964728
 

Historical Context
This deed, conveying land bordering the “Mohawks” River to new settlers, was executed by thirty Mohawk Indians and marked with their signs, or totems, as well as with red wax seals. The deed conveys a tract of land adjacent to the Mohawk River and East Canada Creek to the Reverend Petrus Van Driesen, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church at Albany, and to the Reverend Johannes Ehl, a Dutch Reformed minister in the Palatine District of the Mohawk Valley. Van Driesen had served these Indians as a missionary for twenty years, apparently with some success, since almost all the Mohawks marking the deed had Christian baptismal names. The deed especially recognizes Reverend Van Driesen as a “good and faithfull pastor.” However, the Mohawks also received from Van Driesen and Ehl sixty-two pounds, ten shillings in “money and Indian goods.” Material and spiritual motives were thus intermixed.
 
Essential Question
What are the economic, cultural, and political effects of human migration?
 
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this document and explain the effect of this document on the Indian community.