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‘An Indian’
From the Journal of Jasper Danckaerts, December 29, 1679


Below we have evidence of Indian-English interbreeding as well as the very dependent relationship that European arrivals must form with Indians or European-Americans using Indian methods, just to move about a long-settled area.

“The man who lived on this island was named Beerent, and came from Groningen. He was at a loss to know how to get us on further. Horses, absolutely, he could not furnish us; and there was no Indian about to act as a guide, as they had all gone out hunting in the woods, and none of them had been at his house for three weeks. To accompany us himself to Achter Kol or the Raritans, and return, could not be accomplished in less than four days, and he would have to leave his house meantime in charge of an Indian woman from Virginia, who had left her husband, an Englishman, and with two children, one of which had the small-pox, was living with him; and she could be of no use to any one, whether Indians or other persons who might come there. We were compelled again to wait upon the providence of the Lord.

“About three o'clock in the afternoon a young Indian arrived with whom we agreed to act as our guide, for a duffels coat which would cost twenty-four guilders in zeewant, that is, about five guilders in the money of Holland; but he had a fowling-piece with him which he desired first to take and have repaired at Burlington, and would then come back. He accordingly crossed over, but we waited for him in vain, as he did not return.

“The greatest difficulty with him was, that we could not speak the Indian language, and he could not speak a word of anything else. He not coming, we asked Beerent if he would not undertake the task, which, after some debate, he consented to do. He arranged his affairs accordingly, and prepared himself by making a pair of shoes or foot-soles of deer skin, which are very comfortable, and protect the feet. That was done in half an hour. We were to give him thirty guilders in zeewant, with which he was satisfied.”

Note how the European-American, living in mixed culture circumstances, immediately discarded his European footwear for the trip, and that the Indian wished a European coat, that heavy upper body garments being prized among tribes from Georgia to Canada as much as a status symbol as an item of practical attire.

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