Cover

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

I did not set out to write a book about gender. In fact, I was not particularly interested in the topic at all. What did interest me was trying to understand as much as I possibly could about how Lenape Indians lived their lives around the time that they first encountered people from across the great sea and how that encounter altered their society...

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Introduction: “We Are But a Women Nation”

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pp. 1-13

“We are but a women nation,” explained a young Delaware man in 1758 to a visiting delegation from the Pennsylvania colonial government, and presented three strings of white wampum signifying the peaceful intent of Minisink Delawares living north of the Delaware Water Gap. ...

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1. The Power of Life: Gender and Organization in Lenape Society

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pp. 15-50

In 1624, in perhaps the earliest European account of encounters with Lenapes, Nicolaes van Wassenaer related with awe that the people followed closely the movements of the celestial bodies. The first full moon following the end of winter occasioned special celebration. ...

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2. Living Traditions in Times of Turmoil: Meniolagomekah

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pp. 51-100

While contacts between Lenapes, now called Delawares, and colonists increased after the turn of the century, daily lives and experiences among Indians remain as elusive as ever. Colonial records are rife with minutes from councils held between various Indians and white diplomats. ...

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3. Powerful Women: Disruptive and Disorderly Women

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pp. 101-126

The women in Meniolagomekah made it abundantly clear that they were deeply involved in the well-being of their families and that this concern formed a powerful foundation for their relationships with the missionaries. Yet for Delaware women, just as for other Native women, the missionary contact was entangled in a troublesome paradox...

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4. Mapping the Future: Women and Visions

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pp. 127-159

Delaware interaction with Moravian missions was at its most intense in the period between the late 1740s and the massacre of some ninety unarmed Christian Delawares in the town of Gnadenhütten, Ohio, in 1782. These relations, which tied into the spiritual responsibilities that women shouldered...

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5. Metaphors and National Identity: Delawares-as-Women

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pp. 160-198

A pivotal moment in the practice of designating the Delaware people as women took place at the statehouse in Philadelphia in July 1742. This event illustrates the stakes involved in the usage of this description and consequently it has also been central to scholarly interpretations. ...

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6. What the Hermit Saw: Change and Continuity in the History of Gender and Encounters

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pp. 199-210

This chronicle of change from independence in the production of all necessities of life to dependence upon European wares, which occurred in the lifetime of one woman, illustrates the gendered nature of colonization. The story may be read as a mythic tale of great depth and significance for the people involved...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 211-212

Notes

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pp. 213-241

Index

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pp. 243-248

Acknowledgments

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pp. 249-251