Tuesday, April 22, 2014
At the time of the European contact, the Lenni Lenape tribe of Native Americans occupied most of what is now New Jersey, lower New York state (including western Long Island), eastern Pennsylvania, and northeastern Maryland. White called them the Delaware, after Lord de la Warr. By 1650, however, exploding population pressure from whites and the desire to retain their native culture had pushed them into western Pennsylvania, and then by 1700 across Ohio to the White River in Indiana.
In 1778, the Continental Congress signed the Delaware Treaty, which allowed American troops to safely pass through the Delaware Nation's land to attack the British at Detroit, Michigan. Under the treaty, the first ever signed by the new government, the United States recognized the Delaware Nation's sovereignty.
The treaty gave the Delaware Nation the option of joining with other tribes in the Ohio region to form a state!!!! Just like any other state!!! This tribal state would have had full representation in Congress.
Sadly, the statehood option was never used...........................
But can you imagine? A vast Native American enclave stretching from mid-Ohio east to Missouri, occupying most of Kentucky and Michigan. It would have been a marvel. How different Native American history would have been. How different American history would have been!