Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Schoenbrunn Village and the #Shawnee



“I am taking my wife’s body back to Schoenbrunn Village.” Hawk Song said to his brother and war chief, Little Owl. 
“And your wound?”
“If I die on the way there, I die. I must do this. She believed in the white man’s god and I will not dishonor her spirit. Her body will sleep in the white man’s cemetery at her village.”
Little Owl extended his hand to Hawk Song. Hawk Song clasped his brother’s forearm. “Do not be gone for long, the- tha.”
“I promise I will be back in six months. If I do not return by then, come for me. Do not let the white man corrupt me as they did to the grandfathers.”
- Excerpt from Calico (Children of the Shawnee: Book 1)

Schoenbrunn Village and the Shawnee

The world drastically changed around the Shawnee as settlers, dismissing the warnings of not upsetting the Shawnee, began to pour over the Appalachian Mountains into Ohio and Kentucky. It wasn't the first time the Shawnee had encountered invaders on their lands. They had lost their homelands to the Iroquois during the Beaver Wars. Displaced by the Iroquois, the Shawnee had spent an entire generation away from their lands until a movement to reclaim their ancestral homelands prompted the tribe to walk back into Ohio. Although, the Iroquois had long abandoned Ohio, the Shawnee had to barter with other Ohio tribes in order to settle back on the land. It was here the Shawnee met and traded with the French. The only way to trade with the Shawnee was through family relations. Thus, some French traders took Shawnee women as their wives and created families of their own. The Shawnee valued their French counterparts so much they fought alongside them during the French and Indian War. After the war had ended, the British had kicked out the French from the area. Thus British soldiers who forced a French citizen to leave his Shawnee family either sold the Shawnee wives and halfbreed children into slavery or completely abandoned them to defend for themselves without the benefit of being near their tribe. 

The Shawnee had experienced the brutality of the British during and after the French and Indian War. Completely dependent upon trade goods, they had no choice but to trade with the British. Despite this, the Shawnee opposed the British settlers desires to move onto their property. They had been promised by the British that no settlers would cross the mountains onto their lands. But, the British never reinforced their promises, which only upset the Shawnee even more. The Shawnee had no choice but to defend their homeland from the encroaching invaders. They sent a strong messages to the invaders through a series of vicious raids on any settlements in Ohio which caught the attention of Lord Dunmore, resulting in Lord Dunmore's War. 

Not all the of invaders were settlers nor were all Ohio tribes enemies of the white people who sought to settle in Ohio. Schoenbrunn Village was founded May 3, 1772. David Zeisberger and five Native American families had been invited by Delaware Chief Netawatwes to establish a mission close to the Tuscarawas River. The first thing David Zeisberger and his followers did was plant crops in order to sustain them through the winter. After the planting was completed, they built David Zeisberger's home then constructed the church. The village became Ohio's first schoolhouse, church and code of laws. The Moravians and Delaware peacefull co-existed under the same belief system, Christianity. Zeisberger's mission was so successful that the village had a population of 400 within a few short years. The village had been formed into a T formation with the church at the center of town. Shops, cabins, roads, gardens, fields for livestock sprawled throughout the site. The Christian faith had come to reside among the Native population. The conversion of the Delaware to the white man's God was an insult upon the Shawnee. They had a deep respect for the Delaware nation because they believed their tribe had been directly descended from the Delaware. Known as the Grandfathers, the Delaware were their elders. In the Shawnee's eyes, the white man had corrupted one of the most sacred people in their world.

Although, Schoenbrunn Village was successful it wasn't popular with several groups of people, including the Shawnee. The Shawnee saw Schoenbrunn Village as an intrusion upon the natives way of life. Native American groups who sided with the British and settlers who wanted their lands saw Schoenbrunn Village as a hinderance that needed to be dealt with. The peaceful inhabitants of the village were against all forms of violence. The never supported either side of conflict between the Shawnee and the settlers. Although, they tried to remain neutral the village was attacked several times by several different groups. The village lasted five years. In 1777, David Zeisberger and his followers destroyed the meeting house so no one could ever use it and moved closer to Coshocton. 

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