Monday, June 7, 2010
Tomorrow, at the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisburg and in Conestoga Town, Lancaster County, the Tuscarora Indians, who now live in western New York, will commemorate the 300th anniversary of a meeting at which they sought permission to re-locate from North Carolina, where they were being persecuted by colonists and the British government.
The actual move didn’t start until 1713 or -14 because war broke out in North Carolina, and the tribe "was badly mauled," in the words of State Museum archaeological curator Kurt Carr. As it turned out, the Tuscarora, originally Iroquoians, did not stay in Pennsylvania but over several decades, continued on to New York, their ancestral homeland, where they were welcomed as the sixth nation of the Iroquois confederacy.
Carr says Pennsylvania historians have largely overlooked the Tuscarora move through the state, but the tribe considers it very significant, and tomorrow’s observance may lead to a search for new details. While most of the movement was up the Susquehanna Valley, the Tuscarora say some members of the tribe went up the Allegheny River Valley.
Tomorrow’s events will include dancers, a Clan Mother, and young men who will retrace the whole journey on foot.