Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kwanio che Keteru!

The Rev. Mr. Heckewelder, who is probably the best authority we have upon the Indians of this section of the country, states that Tamanend's memory was held in the highest esteem by his own people, but that he never heard them say much concerning him, as it was not their custom to talk of their dead except in a very general way, and that no white man that had any regard for their feelings ever broached the subject of their dead to them. The various traditions, both verbal and written, concerning Tamanend emanated from the whites and not from the Indians. We see that between the first record that we have of him in 1683 and the last in 1697 he must have impressed himself strongly upon not only the community but also upon the officials of the provincial government, for in the last account he is described in the deed, which of course was writ ten by the English, as the Great Sachem Tamaniens, and no other Indian is so described; so to have acquired the right to such a title he must have had at least a large part of the attributes ascribed to him. In further corroboration of the way in which his memory was held, we cite the old cannon presented by the Colony on Schuylkill to the Association Battery about 1747, on which appear the words "Kawania che Keekeru" (This is my right, I will defend it). By many writers this motto is ascribed to Tamanend, and justly so, we think, rather than to the Delaware Nation alone, for we would expect just such a sentiment to be chosen by a man endowed with such lofty ideas as these words express. (This was the motto of the Saint Tammany Society. See Independent, May 3, 1783.) Further, the records of this Society show that their principal day— May 1, or opening day— has been always spoken of by them as Tammany's day. Their tradition is that Tamanend himself made a treaty with the fathers of this Society giving them the right to fish in the waters of the Schuylkill and hunt game upon its banks.

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