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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/223

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219
PREHISTORIC ABORIGINES OF MINNESOTA
They say, however, that the whole of their nation did not reach this country; that many remained behind in order to aid and assist that great body of their people which had not crossed the Namaesi-sipu, but had retreated into the interior of the country on the other side on being informed of the reception which those who had crossed had met with, and probably thinking that they had all been killed by the enemy.

The tradition continues further, but is not essential to this inquiry except so far as it shows that the Lenape finally spread themselves into the eastern states, establishing new tribes, and into Virginia and Maryland, and states that these younger offshoots recognized their relationship by calling the Lenape their grandfathers, this proving a confirmation of the recentness of the southern Algonquian tribes.

Several important conclusions can be drawn from this tradition, should it be accepted as mainly based on fact. First of all it should, however, be remarked that the well-known Iroquois were never on the Mississippi Elver in any such war. Either some other river must be understood, or it must be presumed that the alliance with the Mengwe was an event of the later part of the war, and that in the relation it was not sufficiently indicated that the Lenape waged alone a long war of aggression against the Allegewi and drove them from a large part of their domain before the Iroquois tendered their services. The latter alternative is the more probable, since the Huron-Iroquois have only been known as an eastern nation, and since the legend would not so many times mention the Mississippi by name unless there was a grounded conviction in the mind of the narrator, which seemed not likely to be misunderstood, that the Mississippi was crossed by the Lenape.[1]

We may reasonably infer from this tradition, in the light of what we know from a study of the mounds and their characteristic distribution:

1. That the Lenape struck the then mound-builders in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, in the region of the effigy mounds, these earthworks being admitted by all to be older than the great mass of the small tumuli of the Mississippi Valley.

2. There was a period of interruption in the war during which the aggressors rested and dwelt peacefully in the land which they had won.

3. On the resumption of the war not all of the Lenape participated, but some remained on the banks of the Mississippi. These may have become known later as the Kaskaskia, Kikapoo, Illinois, Miami, and further south, the Shawnee. It is distinctly stated that a large body


  1. Since this was written the old Dutch map of unknown date has been discovered showing "Iroquoysen" in the region of northern Wisconsin, and if dependence can be placed on that map the Iroquois (i. e., the Hurons or other tribe of that stock) may have united with the Lenape on the east bank of the Mississippi in Wisconsin, according to the statement of the tradition.