alan michelson

“Native Perspectives” Label at The Met, written by Alan Michelson (Mohawk) that now accompanies the traditional museum label for “Washington Crossing the Delaware” in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Native Perspectives” Label at The Met, written by Alan Michelson (Mohawk). “The boatman pictured in the stern wears Native moccasins, leggings, and a shoulder pouch, and likely represents an Indigenous member of Washington’s troops. Native American warriors fought, often decisively, on both sides of the war—British and American—according to their nation’s interest. In 1778 the United States signed a treaty with the Lenape (Delaware), its first formal treaty with an Indigenous nation, securing assistance and safe passage through Delaware land in exchange for “articles of clothing, utensils, and implements of war.” The treaty recognized Delaware sovereignty, guaranteed territorial rights, and offered the possibility of Indigenous statehood. But soon a (double) crossing of the Delaware took place: persistent treaty violations by settlers and the US government culminated in the 1782 Gnadenhütten Massacre, in which a Pennsylvania militia killed ninety-six defenseless Christian Lenape. Virtually all of America’s Indigenous allies suffered similar fates.”

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