[New York]: 1921-1922. Two typewritten speeches (15 pp. + 6 pp.), both measure 8.5" x 5.5" and both with manuscript corrections. Leaves toned and dust soiled, some wrinkling, paper-clip remnants and evidence of stapling. Good. Item #3986
TWO TYPESCRIPT SPEECHES DOCUMENTING A METHODIST MINISTER'S EXPLORATIONS INTO THE HISTORY OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE NEW YORK REGION, AND DECRYING THE ACTIONS THAT LED TO THEIR DISAPPEARANCE.
Ad 1: Typewritten draft of an inspiring address entitled "The Indians of New York City and Vicinity," delivered by W.R. Blackie at a 1922 meeting of the New York State Historical Society. In this oration, he discussed the history of Native Americans of New York City and the lower Hudson Valley, including tribes that may have predated the American Indians encountered by the first white settlers. The draft for this speech concludes mournfully:
"The coming of the whites spelled the death knell of the Indian in this region. How numerous they were we may not know, butthat they were deprived of their lands and possessions, their fishing and hunting preserves is a lamentable fact. No longer do they roam at will among the hills or fish in the streams. The avaricious whites laid waste their villages, slaughtered their women and children, robbed them of their caches of corn and even sometimes scalped their warriors. 'All, all are gone, the old familiar faces': gone to the shades of their ancestors or to the happy hunting grounds and all that is left as memorials to them are the implements and a few ornaments that time has not as yet been able to obliterate."
Our draft has many substantive variants from the published version of this speech which appeared in "The Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association" (vol. 4, no. 1, 1923, pp. 41-48).
Ad 2: Draft version of Blackie's (unpublished?) speech entitled "The Indians of New Rochelle and Vicinity" which delivered at the Huguenot Society of New Rochelle in 1921. In this shorter speech Blackie laid out the history of the Siwanoya who had lived in the area, and gave examples of archaeological relics that he had found to explain what they had eaten and how they had lived. This draft ended dolefully as well:
"[...] in closing my talk I desire to look back to those vanished people from your neighborhood. Gone! who knows where; ask the colonists who aroused their enmity by coercion by the burning of their homes, by the slaughter of their women and children until only traces of this once numerous tribes and their imperishable memorials of their civilization."
A long biography of Blackie appears on the website of the Ardsley, NY Historical Society, which relates that he was born in Glasgow in 1870 and emigrated to Ontario where by 1890 he had become an itinerant minister in the frontier provinces of Alberta and Northwest Territory. He held pastorates in many towns and cities in New York State, all the while engaging in research on Native Americans and preserving sites and artifacts that he had discovered (the W.R. Blackie is in the New York State Museum). Blackie's lectures and writings inspired many to reclaim what little was left of the Native American presence.
Incidentally, as a traveling priest in the foothills of Western Canada, he was the inspiration for Canadian author Ralph Conner’s popular 1899 novel, "The Sky Pilot," which sold more than a million copies. Blackie died in Patterson, NY in 1946, for which see his obituary in the New York Herald Tribune and elsewhere.
PROVENANCE: Kenneth H. Mynter of Claverack, New York. Mynter was an expert on Native American tribes of the Hudson Valley region, and served as a professor at the University of Rochester and a member of the New York State Archaeological Association. He and other New York State archaeologists excavated an Indian site in Claverack, yielding evidence that the site had been used as a shelter for hundreds of years, thousands of years ago.
LITERATURE: Gary S. Rappaport, "The W.R. Blackie Collection (Part 1)" online.