A note by Pastor John R. Norwood, author of "We Are Still Here!"

"This material expresses an opposing point of view, contradicted by the wealth of data available and posted on this website and elsewhere. It reflects an ill-informed approach, disregards the history of administrative racial reclassification of American Indians, and proposes erroneous conclusions. It shows a poor handling of the paucity of early records and misunderstanding of the manner in which the historic climate of racism sabotaged the ancestral history of the people we report on."


Folk Legacies Revisited

Chapter One 


       Emergent Native-American Groups in New Jersey:

The Ramapoughs, the Powhatan-Renape,

and the Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape


David Steven Cohen


                                  The pure products of America
                                  go crazy --
                                  mountain folk from Kentucky
                                  or the ribbed north end of


         So begins William Carlos Williams's poem "To Elsie," which I quoted in my 1974 book The Ramapo Mountain People.  I noted that this poem was about one of the racially mixed people, then called the "Jackson Whites," living in the Ramapo Mountains on the New York-New Jersey border, because of the reference in the poem to "marriage / perhaps / with a dash of Indian blood."  At the time I considered the poem to be a reflection the Williams's class and racial prejudices against the mountain people and his willingness uncritically to accept the legends about their origins. 

         Anthropologist James Clifford changed my thinking about this poem.  In his 1988 book The Predicament of Culture, Clifford cites the poem as an expression of what he terms the predicament of native peoples in a modern age. 

         Call the predicament ethnographic modernity: ethnographic because Williams finds himself of center among scattered traditions; modernity since the condition of rootlessness and mobility he confronts is an increasingly common fate.  "Elsie" stands simultaneously for a local cultural breakdown and a collective future. 

Clifford creates a dichotomy that "Elsie is either the last all-but-assimilated remnant of the Tuscaroras who, according to tradition, settled in the Ramapough [sic] hills of northern New Jersey, or she represents a Native American past that is being turned into an unexpected future."  The unexpected future to which he refers is the fact that over the past decade the Ramapo Mountain People "have actively asserted an Indian identity."  Citing my book as "debunking the story of a Tuscarora offshoot," Clifford maintains that "whatever its real historic roots, the tribe as presently constituted is a living impure product." 

         Clifford's book contains an essay about the 1977 land claims trial in Boston Federal Court of the so-called Mashpee Indians of Cape Cod.  Clifford sees the trial of an example of modern Indians having to "convince a white Boston jury of their authenticity."  It raises questions about who has the right to determine who is an Indian and what is authentic.  Clifford compares the Mashpee to "several other eastern groups such as the Lumbee and Ramapough" that have intermarried with blacks and were therefore identified in the past by the census takers and other outsiders as "colored."  Clifford argues that "twentieth century identities no longer presuppose continuous culture or traditions.  Everywhere individuals and groups improvise local performances from (re)collected pasts, drawing in foreign media, symbols, and languages."  In other words, the Maspee, the Ramapaughs, and other native peoples "reinvented tradition" in the twentieth century.  As a modernist poet, Clifford maintains, Williams intuitively realized there was no such thing as authentic tradition.         

         Here, and throughout his writings, Williams avoids pastoral, folkloristic appeals of the sort common among other liberals in the twenties -- exhorting, preserving, collecting a true rural culture in endangered places like Appalachia.  Such authenticities would be at best artificial aesthetic purifications      . . .

          Let this problematic figure with her "dash of Indian blood," her ungainly female form, her inarticulateness stand for groups marginalized or silenced in the bourgeois West: "natives," women, the poor. . . .  She, Williams, all of us are caught in modernity's inescapable momentum. [2]


         In this essay I want to take issue with Clifford's deconstructionist approach which views history and tradition as irrelevant to the ongoing process of reinvention.  Rather than being "artificial aesthetic purifications," history and folklore allow us to make distinctions that Clifford glosses over -- distinctions, for example, between groups like the Mashpees who can trace their genealogy to known Indian tribes that intermarried with blacks and groups like the Ramapo Mountain People who the genealogical record indicates descend primarily from free blacks and who have only a legendary assertion of early Indian ancestry. [3]   The importance of such distinctions can be seen in the three emergent Native-American groups in New Jersey that have been granted state recognition. 

         In January 1980, the State of New Jersey passed a concurrent resolution designating the Ramapough (an archaic spelling) Mountain People as the Ramapough Indians and memorializing the Congress of the United States to recognized them as an Indian tribe.  The resolution stated that the Ramapo Mountain People "are direct descendants from pure blooded Indians of the Iroquois and Algonquin (sic) nations," thereby broadening the legendary Indian ancestry from Tuscarora (whose language was part of the Iroquian language family) to include the Lenape or Delaware Indians (the indigeneous Indians of New Jersey whose language has been classified as part of the Algonquian language family).  The resolution was forthright in its motivation, indicating that the Ramapo Mountain People were striving for Federal recognition in order to qualify for funds earmarked for Indians.  Technically, a resolution such as this is merely a token in that it requests Congress to recognize the group as an Indian tribe, however, the statement attached to the resolution stated that its purpose was for the State of New Jersey also to recognize the mountain people as the Ramapough Indian Tribe. 

         This resolution was followed later the same year by a bill designating the Powhatan Renape Nation and also memorializing Congress to recognize them as an Indian tribe, and in 1982 a similar resolution was passed for the Confederation of Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape Tribes.  These  bills, however, unlike the resolution for the Ramapoughs did not use the term "recognize" either in reference to the state or federal governments.  The term was not used in the statement section nor in the text.  Instead it memorialized Congress to acknowledge them as tribes.  The Powhatan Renape resolution stated that "they are comprised of seven surviving tribes of the Renape linguistic group of the Powhatan alliance or confederation" and "in the nineteenth century many Powhatan Renape People moved to New Jersey. . ."  The Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape resolution states that "it is comprised of several surviving tribes of the Confederation of Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape cultures" and that "these people have an unbroken history of hundreds of years settlement in the southern New Jersey area."  It should be noted that tribes of the Powhatan Confederation were indigeneous to Virginia and like the Lenape were members of the Algonquian, not the Renape or Lenape, language family.  In the Lenape language the "r" and the "l" sounds were interchangeable according to Columbia University linguist John Dyneley Prince.  The term lenni means "man" and lenape means "people," and current anthropological thinking is that the use of the terms together is redundant. [4]  

         The 1990 census lists 14,970 American Indians in New Jersey, yet the Bureau of Indians Affairs in the United States Department of Interior currently recognizes no tribal entities in the state.  This disparity has several explanations.  First, there are individual Native Americans from tribes outside the state who have migrated to New Jersey.  Second, since 1970 the census has used self-identification as the rule for determining racial origin.  Between l980 and l990 the number of Indians by self-identification increased 78.3 percent from 8,394 in l980.  This large increase is part of a national pattern and cannot be explained by in-migration or natural increase alone.  A demographer for the Census Bureau told the New York Times: "Apparently, people who did not call themselves Indians in an earlier census are now doing so." [5]  

         Anthropologists have noted that it is not uncommon for ethnic groups to change their ethnic identity or for new ethnic identities to emerge.  Certainly this has been the case with such groups as the Ukrainians, who have been known at different times in their history as Little Russians, Ruthenians, and only in the twentieth century as Ukrainians.  Among American Indians, new tribes have been formed from remnants of old tribes.  Such was the case with the Seminoles and the Mashpees.  Furthermore, there is no one definition of what constitutes a tribe, and there are conflicts between legal and anthropological definitions.  But this is not simply a question of definition.  It is a question of distinguishing between groups of people that have existed at one time in their past as a tribal entity versus groups that has only recently taken on a tribal identity. [6]  

         In my book The Ramapo Mountain People I contrasted the legend of their origins to a documented, genealogical history.  According to legend their ancestors were Tuscarora Indians migrating from North Carolina to New York State in the seventeenth century, escaped slaves, Hessian deserters from the British army during the Revolutionary War, and prostitutes procured by a man named Jackson for the British soldiers occupying New York City during the Revolution.  The name Jackson White, according to the legend, came from the fact that some of the women were black, hence "Jackson's blacks," and others were white, that is, "Jackson's Whites."   More likely the name comes from the phrase "jacks and whites," free jacks being a slang expression for free blacks. 

         The genealogical record indicates that the group descends from free blacks who were culturally Dutch.  I traced the oldest families back to the late seventeenth century to a community of free blacks living on the outskirts of New York City.  In 1687, three of these families were the original patentees in the Tappan Patent in the Hackensack Valley on the disputed boundary between New York and New Jersey.  Throughout the eighteenth century these "colored pioneers" lived in the Hackensack Valley as landowners.  They were Afro-Dutch, having Dutch surnames, attending the Dutch Reformed Church, and speaking a black variant of the Jersey Dutch dialect.  At the turn of the nineteenth century, they began to sell their land in the valley and buy land in the Ramapo Mountains.  The probable reason for this migration was the passage of a slave code in New Jersey that required free blacks to have a pass to cross state or county boundaries, and the boundary line between New York and New Jersey had been run through the middle of the Tappan Patent.  Once they moved to the mountains, the ancestors of the Ramapo Mountain People took on a "hillbilly" cultural identity. 

         There has been an oral tradition of Indian ancestry among the Ramapo Mountain People as early as the eighteenth century.  During the French and Indian War, one of them signed up for the militia, listing his race as "Indian."  This listing doesn't necessarily prove Indian ancestry, however.  It could mean that they were asserting a legendary Indian ancestry in order to set themselves apart from blacks who were slaves.  In the book I argued that there was no evidence of early Indian ancestry among the Ramapo Mountain People.  It is possible that one or more Indians may have married into the group, which was not recorded in the church records.  But there is a difference between a possibility and a historical fact based on evidence.  The main ancestry of the group is explained by the genealogical record.  In the twentieth century, the genealogical record shows that some Indians from outside New Jersey did marry into the group.  However, the group never constituted a tribe until it was incorporated as the Ramapough Indians, Inc. in the late l970s. 

         Throughout their history, the Ramapo Mountain People have had a situational ethnic identity.  During the colonial period, they were Afro-Dutch, having Dutch surnames, attending the Dutch Reformed Church, and speaking a black variant of the Jersey Dutch dialect.  Once they moved to the Ramapo Mountains they took on a Appalachian mountain cultural identity.  At the time I did my fieldwork in the late l960s, they jokingly referred to themselves as "hillbillies."  Many of them preferred to listen to country and western music.  However, they also had an alternative identity as Indians, referring to themselves as "the tribe of the Ramapos."  At one point in their history, they were even willing to adopt an African-American identity.  In 1943 they solicited the help of the Harlem Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to integrate the Hillburn school system.  The NAACP sent their special counsel, Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black United States Supreme Court justice. [7]  

         The Nanticoke-Lenape represent a somewhat different situation.  They were incorporated in 1978 as the Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape Indians of New Jersey, Inc., living in and around Bridgeton in southern New Jersey.  The surnames associated with this group include Gould, Ridgeway, Pierce, and Harmon. [8]   The surnames Gould and Pierce are common among the free black community of Gouldtown located just east of Bridgeton.   According to legend, the Goulds descend from a free black who married Elizabeth Adams, the granddaughter on John Fenwick, a prominent Quaker proprietor of West New Jersey.  The following clause from John Fenwick will was cited as confirmation: 

         Item, I do except against Elizabeth Adams of having any yet leaste part of my estate, unless the Lord open her eyes to see her abominable transgression against him, me and her good father by giving her true repentance, and forsaking that Black that hath been ye ruin of her, and becoming penitent for her sins; upon the condition only I do will and require my executors to settle five hundred acres upon her. 

In a 1908 article on "Negro Communities in New Jersey" in the Southern Workman, Richard R. Wright, Jr. argued that the black referred to in John Fenwick's will was Benjamin Gould, who had three girls and two boys through his marriage to Elizabeth Adams.  One of the boys was supposedly also named Benjamin Gould. [9]   This Benjamin Gould has been described as "the founder of Gouldtown," and his existence can be documented in written sources, because he left a will dated 1777, which indicates that he owned 136 acres of land in Fairfield, Cumberland County. [10]    The oral tradition that the man mentioned in Fenwick's will was named Gould can be traced back to the mid-nineteenth century, but the historical accuracy of this assertion remains unproven. [11]  

         A history of Gouldtown written by two members of the community in 1913 states that "tradition says" that the Pierces descend from two mulatto brothers, named Richard and Anthony Pierce, who came to South Jersey from the West Indies in the early eighteenth century.  They in turn paid the passage of two Dutch sisters named Marie and Hannah Van Aca, whom they married.  The same source indicates that the first Murray in Gouldtown was named Othniel Murray.  "He claimed to be a Lenapee or Siconessee Indian, and came from Cape May County." [12]   Thus, the Lenape Indian ancestry was mentioned in regard to only one of the founding families of Gouldtown, and like the legend about John Fenwick's granddaughter it is based on oral tradition, rather than written documents. 

         The surnames Harmon and Ridgeway entered the group by way of intermarriage with the Moors and Nanticokes of Delaware.   The relationship between the Moors and Nanticokes is unclear.  In 1915 anthropologist Frank G. Speck wrote about the Nanticoke people consisting of "two bands, the nuclear band living in Indian River Hundred, Sussex county, the other, supposedly an offshoot, residing at Cheswold, Kent County." [13]   In 1943 historian C. A. Weslager argued that they were two distinct groups; the term Moor being used only in Cheswold, on the outskirts of the state capital of Dover, and the term Nanticoke being used fifty miles south at the Indian River Hundred. [14]  

         As with all of these groups, there are multiple legends about their origins.  Speck collected the following legend that supposedly explains the name Moors: 

         An interesting tradition current among the members of the band is that they are descended from a crew of Moorish sailors who were shipwrecked near Indian River inlet, escaped to shore, and intermarried with the Indians who were living there.  This story is well known in the region and repeated with several variations.  One states that on board the wrecked vessel was an Irish princess; another claims that the vessel was owned by a Moorish prince; another that the Moors were pirates from the Spanish main, and to this they attribute their local name of "Moors." [15]  

Weslager offers a more convincing etymology of the name.  He notes that the term "blackamoor" or sometimes simply the shortened form "Moor" was often used in the colonial period to refer to African-Americans, as opposed to the more modern usage of the term to refer to natives of Morocco.  He cites a l639 reference to a blackman named Anthony, describes as "an Angoler or Moor" being brought to the Delmarva Peninsula, presumably by the Dutch. [16]  

         Weslager recounts another origins legend which appeared in the testimony given in an 1855 court case in Georgetown, Delaware, in which Levin Sockum, the owner of a general store in Indian River Hundred, was accused of selling a quarter-pound of powder and shot to Isaiah Harmon in violation of a state law that prohibited the sale of firearms to a Negro or mulatto.  The case hinged on Harmon's racial ancestry.  A key witness was one of Harmon's relatives, an eighty-seven-year old woman named Lydia Clark.  Weslager quotes a paraphrase of her testimony from a newspaper article written after the trial by the prosecutor in the case. 

         About fifteen or twenty years before the Revolutionary War, which she said broke out when she was a little girl some five or six years old, there was a lady of Irish birth living on a farm in Indian River Hundred, a few miles distant from Lewes, which she owned and carried on herself. . . . Her name she gave as Regua, and she was childless, but whether maid or widow, or a wife astray, she never disclosed to anyone. . . . After she had been living in Angola Neck quite a number of years, a slaver was driven into Lewes Creek . . .


         Miss or Mrs. Regua, having heard of the presence of the slaver in the harbor, and having lost one of her men slaves, went to Lewes, and to replace him, purchased another from the slave ship.  She selected a very tall, shapely and muscular young fellow of dark ginger-bread color, who claimed to be a prince or chief of one of the tribes of the Congo River. . .  This young man had been living with his mistress but a few months when they were duly married, and as Lydia told the court and the jury, they reared quite a large family of children, who as they grew up were not permitted to associate and intermarry with their neighbors of pure Caucasian blood, nor were they disposed to seek associations or alliance with the Negro race; so that they were so necessarily compelled to associate and intermarry with the remnant of the Nanticoke tribe of Indians who still lingered in their old habitations for many greats after the great body of the tribe had been removed further towards the setting sun. [17]  

On the basis of this testimony, Sockum was convicted of selling powder and shot to a mulatto.  After the trial, he closed his store and moved to Gloucester, New Jersey.  In 1865 some members of the Harmon family moved to Blackwood Town, New Jersey.  Weslager cites a local historian who believes that the Ridgeway family are the descendants of the lady named Regua and the Congo slave. [18]     

         The Nanticokes were a documented tribe residing on the Chesapeake Bay side of the Delmarva Peninsula.  There was a tradition among the Nanticoke that they were once part of the Lenape, but current thinking is that they were culturally distinct. [19]   In the 1740s under the pressure of European encroachment most of them left the Delmarva Peninsula seeking the protection of the Iroquois in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania, and finally settling on a reservation in Ontario, Canada.  There is evidence that some of them remained in Delaware and intermarried with blacks.  Weslager notes that the surname and Indian named John Coursey was was on the signators of a 1742 treaty, and the surname Coursey is one of those among the Nanticokes at Indian River Hundred.  Furthermore, he indicates that the leader of the Choptank Indians residing at Locust Neck, Maryland, in the 1790s was an Indian woman named Weningominsk, whose white name was Mary Mulberry.   And the surname Street occurs both among the Nanticoke descendants in Canada and among the Indian River group. [20]  

         Thus, unlike the Ramapough Indians who have only legendary claims to Indian ancestry, there is genealogical evidence of some early Indian ancestry for the Nanticokes of Delaware.  However, this documented Indian ancestry is limited to only a few individuals.  The so-called Nanticoke-Lenape in New Jersey, however, stem from intermarriage between some Nanticoke who moved to New Jersey and people from the free black community of Gouldtown outside of Bridgeton.  While there is a legend about Lenape ancestry for at least one of the Gouldtown families, this legend is unsupported by historical documents. 

         The Powhatan-Renape represent yet a third situation.  The Powhatan Indians is a collective term for the Algonquian-speaking chiefdoms of Virginia's coastal plain.  The name Powhatan refers both to one of the chiefdoms and to its leader at the time of the English settlement.  Powhatan, who was the father of Pocahontas, inherited six of these chiefdoms (the Powhatan, Arrohateck, Appamattuck, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and Chiskiack) and then added more into what one anthropologist has described as an empire, rather than a confederacy.   This empire was short-lived, breaking apart after a war with the English in the mid-1640s.  Unike the Indians in New Jersey and the northern Delmarva Penninsular, the Indians of Virginia's coastal plain and eastern shore (the lower Delmarva) remained, but they broke up into smaller and smaller groups occupying smaller and smaller territories.  They also began to intermarry with blacks.  In 1785, in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson described the state of the remaining Powhatan groups as follows: 

         The Chickahominies removed about the year 1661, to Mattapony River.  Their chief, with one from each of the Pamunkies and Mattaponies, attended the treaty of Albany in 1685.  This seems to have been the last chapter in their history.  They retained, however, their separate name so late as 1705, and were at length blended with the Pamunkies and Mattaponies, and exist at present only under their name.  There remain of the Mattaponies three or four men only, and have more negro than Indian blood in them.  They have lost their language, have reduced themselves, by voluntary sales, to about fifty acres of land, which lie on the river of their own name, and have from time to time, been joining the Pamunkies from whom they are distant but ten miles.  The Pamunkies are reduced to about ten or twelve men, tolerably pure from mixture with other colors. The older ones among them preserve their language  in a small degree, which are the last vestiges on earth, as far as we know, of the Powhatan language.  They have about three hundred acres of very fertile land, on Pamunkey River. . . .  Of the Nottoways, not a male is left.  A few women constitute the remains of that tribe  . . . .  At a very early period, certain lands were marked out and appropriated to these tribes, and were kept from encroachment by the authority of the laws.  They have usually had trustees appointed, whose duty was to watch over their interests, and guard them from insult and injury. [21]      

But the trustees did not watch over their interests so well, because in the early nineteenth century they participated in the actions on the part of the State of Virginia to terminate the reservations and detribalize the Indian descendants on the grounds that reservations were becoming havens for free blacks, which was feared might lead to slave insurrections.  The termination of tribal status was reinforced by the developing white racial attitudes in Virginia that any amount of black ancestry qualified a person as black. [22]  

         The New Jersey Powhatan-Renape acknowledge that the Powhatan Indians were located primarily in Virginia, but they claim that some of their number migrated to New Jersey in the eighteenth century.  Their current leader, Chief Roy Crazy Horse, wrote in his A Brief History of the Powhatan Renape Nation: "The majority of our people are still concentrated in the tidewater region of Virginia, although a sizable population (approximately 1,200) survives in the Delaware Valley region as a result of a migration to the North in the 1700's to escape racism and in search of jobs."   There is, however, no historical documentation for this migration.  Chief Crazy Horse explains the Powhatan-Renape name as follows: 

         In ancient times we called ourselves Renape (human beings -- the people -- our people).  Renape has the same meaning and origin as Lenape, the name originally known by the Delaware people.  The letter L gradually replaced R in the Lenni Lenape language.  All these people were not united in one tribe.  There were many independent republics.  Sometimes they came together in alliances or confederations.  So Powhatan refers to a political alliance, while Renape refers to an ethnic group -- a people speaking a common language. [23]  

In 1983 his group reached an agreement with the state of New Jersey for the use of a part of Rancocas State Park in Burlington County, where they have reconstructed an Indian village and museum.  Thus, the Powhatan-Renape represent a third situation, as distinct from the Ramapough and Nanticoke-Lenape.  They claim to be descended not from a remnant group left behind when the main group migrated elsewhere, but from individuals who migrated to New Jersey after the main group was detribalized because of intermarriage with blacks. 

         During the 1920s the Powhatan Indians in Virginia and the Nanticoke in Delaware underwent a revitalization movement, under the influence of University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Frank G. Speck.  A crisis in Virginia was precipitated when in 1924 the state legislature passed its Racial Integrity Law requiring the listing of racial ancestry on certificates issued by the state Vital Statistics Bureau.  Speck, who was working on a book about the Rappahannocks and another on the Powhatan tribes, actively helped the racially mixed Indians in Virginia fight the arbitrary designation of them as being black.  He also encouraged them to revitalize their crafts.  Under his guidance, a new Powhatan Confederacy was formed and intertribal gatherings took place, but this effort was short-lived. [24]  

         Speck also visited the Nanticoke Indians at the Indian River Hundred beginning in 1911.  He was instrumental in the incorporation of the Nanticoke Indian Association of Delaware in 1922.  He also was active in encouraging the revitalization of Indian culture among them.  According to Weslager: 

         In a further effort to sharpen interest in old Indian traditions, the Association voted to hold an annual festival at Thanksgiving, reminiscent of native campfire powwows.  Under the guidance of their benefactor, Dr. Speck, they made costumes, strings of beads, and feather headdresses.  He taught them the steps of simple Indian dances and the words to Indian songs.  There was no intent to hold up these things as direct survivals of their Nanticoke Indian forbears. [25]


In a later book Weslager defended Speck's actions in becoming an advocate for the people he studied: 

         One might question the appropriateness of Speck directly involving himself in the process of change of his study group.  He may have been one of the first anthropologists studying the Indians east of the Mississippi to become so involved, but participant intervention has recently become more common.  In this nontraditional method, the investigator becomes a vital part in the process he is studying while it is taking place.  Be that as it may, Speck did not consider the songs and dances as direct survivals handed down from ancient Nanticoke Indian forbears.  Speck, as well as the Indians themselves, knew that the original Nanticoke ceremonies, like the native language, had not been preserved. [26]  

         In the l970s and 80s during what has been termed the Ethnic Revival, there was another movement to revitalize Indian traditions, this time among the emergent Indian groups in New Jersey -- the Ramapough, the Nanticoke-Renape, and the Powhatan-Renape.  The Powhatan-Renape especially have been effective in obtaining state arts council funds for many of their activities.  These groups tapped into a growing pow-wow movement among tribal Indians, nontribal Indians, and non-Indians across the country.  The presentation of Indian culture was pan-Indian, that is, a composite of Indian traditions from many different parts of the country.  While there are some that may question the "authenticity" of these pow-wows as a stereotype of Indian culture, the fact remains that many Indians have participated in this events and similar composite cultural identities have been formed among other ethnic groups. [27]  

         The stakes in the cultural politics of obtaining tribal recognition from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs were increased tremendously in 1988, when the Indian Gaming Act was passed.  This act allowed tribes recognized by the BIA to run gambling operations if the state allows such gambling for any other group.  However, to be recognized by the BIA the group must prove continuous existence as a tribe, which is difficult to define and hard to prove for these eastern nontribal groups.  This law has been especially controversial in New Jersey, where since 1976 casino gambling has been legal in Atlantic City.  In November 1993 the Bureau of Indian Affairs recommended to the Secretary of the Interior that the Ramapough's petition for recognition be denied because they did not meet the criteria established by the BIA, most importantly, continuous existence as a tribe.  The ruling was hailed by some members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation, some newspapers, and Donald Trump as a victory for Atlantic City.  Trump, the owner of several Atlantic City casinos, suggested that the only reason the Ramapoughs sought Indian recognition was to gain a casino permit.  In fairness to the Ramapoughs, their application for recognition antedated the Indian Gaming Law by eight years. 

         I believe that it is a mistake to view the Ramapough's assertion of Indian identity and that of the other emergent Indian groups in New Jersey as a cynical attempt to gain economic advantages through a bogus claim of being a tribe.  Most of the members of these groups honestly believe that their claims are valid.  The problem is reconciling different ways of validating statements about the past, that is, oral tradition versus historical documentation.  The Ramapough Indians understandably put more stock in what they have been told by their parents and grandparents than in footnotes in a book written by an outsider. 

         Certainly, there are difficulties in determining the legal definition of a tribe.  Perhaps it is arbitrary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to require the continuous existence as a tribe in order to qualify for federal recognition.  And it is true that very few folk traditions survive from the distant past, rather than being revitalized and re-invented.  Notwithstanding all of the above, there is still a need to keep the historical record separate from oral tradition and to make distinctions between different kinds of emergent Native-American groups.  Otherwise, we are unwittingly providing a new meaning to the closing lines of William Carlos Williams's poem: 

                 It is only in isolate flocks that
                 is given off
                 No one
                 to witness
                 and adjust, no one to drive the car. 

[1] William Carlos Williams, Collected Poems, 1909-1939, vol. I. Copyright, 1938. New Directions Publishing Company. Reprinted by permission of New Directions.

[2] . James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth- Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988), pp.3-11, 14. 17. 

[3] . For two other views of the Mashpee trial, see Jack Campisi, The Maspee Indians: Tribe on Trial (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1991) and Paul Brodeur, Restitution: The Land Claims of the Maspee, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Indians of New England (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1985).  For the genealogical record on the Ramapo Mountain People, see David Steven Cohen, The Ramapo Mountain People (1974, Reprint, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1986). 

[4] . Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas's People: The Pohatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries (Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990), p.3; J. Dyneley Prince, "An Ancient New Jersey Indian Jargon," American Anthropologist 14 (1912): 510; Herbert C. Kraft, The Lenape: Archaeology, History, and Ethnography (Newark: New Jersey Historical Society, 1986), pp. xvii-xviii. 

[5] . U.S. Census. Population. New Jersey. l990; "Census Finds Many Claiming New Identity: Indian." New York Times, March 5, 1991, p. A16.

[6] . Fredrik Barth, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (Bergen-Oslo and London: Universitets Forlaget and George Allen & Unwin, 1969), pp. 17-18, 22-24; Paul Robert Magocsi, "Ukrainians," in Stephen Thernstrom, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1980), pp. 200-10; Clifford, The Predicament of Culture, pp. 278, 289, 294-295. 

[7] . Cohen, The Ramapo Mountain People, pp. 25-59, 97-101, 111-116. 

[8] . C. A. Weslager, The Nanticoke Indians -- Past and Present (Newark and London & Toronto: University of Delaware Press and Associated University Press, p. 1983), pp. 254-5. 

[9] . Richard R. Wright, Jr., "The Economic Condition of Negroes in the North: III. Negro Communities in New Jersey," Southern Workman (1908): 385-6. 

[10] . William Steward and Rev. Theophilus G. Steward, Gouldtown: A Very Remarkable Settlement of Ancient Date (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1913), pp. 52-54.  

[11] . Robert G. Johnson, "Memoir of John Fenwick, Chief Proprietor of Salem Tenth, New Jersey," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society 4 (1849): 53-89. 

[12] . Ibid., pp. 62-3. 

[13] . Frank G. Speck, "The Nanticoke Community of Delaware," Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. Contributions 2 (1915): 2. 

[14] . C. A. Weslager, Delaware's Forgotten Folk: The Story of the Moors and Nanticokes (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1943), pp. 16, 17. 

[15] . Speck, "The Nanticoke Community," pp. 2-3. 

[16] . Weslager, Delaware's Forgotten Folk, pp. 3-4. 

[17] . Quoted in ibid., pp. 34-5. 

[18] . Ibid., pp. 36, 78; Speck, "Nanticoke Community," p. 9n.   

[19] . Christian F. Feest, "Nanticoke and Neighboring Tribes," in Willliam Sturvesant, gen. ed., Handbook of the North American Indian, vol. 15, Bruce G. Trigger, ed. Northeast (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978), p. 240; Weslager, Delaware's Forgotten Folk, p. 43. 

[20] . Weslager, Delaware's Forgotten Folk, pp. 58, 69, 74-5. 

[21] . Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785; Reprint, New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1964), pp. 91-92.  

[22] . Rountree, Pocahontas's People, pp. 187-96. 

[23] . Chief Roy Crazy Horse, A Brief History of the Powhatan Renape Nation (Rancocas, N.J.: Powhatan Renape Nation, 1986), pp. 3, 25. 

[24] . Roundtree, Pocohantas's People, pp. 218-224.  

[25] . Weslager, Delaware's Forgotten Folk, p. 95. 

[26] . Weslager, The Nanticoke Indians, pp. 223-4. 

[27] . Vanessa Brown and Barre Toelken, "American Indian Powwow," Folklife Annual (1988): 46-68; Gertrude Prokosch Kurath, "Pan-Indianism in the Great Lakes Tribal Festivals," Journal of American Folklore 70 (1957): 179-182; Weslager, Nanticoke Indians, pp. 13-20; Hazel W. Hertzberg, The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1971).