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Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania By David J. Minderhout and Andre ...

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Invisible Indians:


There are no Indians in Pennsylvania.

This was a phrase we heard repeated often as we began our research. If there were Native Americans in the state, public institutions certainly did not admit their existence. Pennsylvania is one of very few states that neither contain a reservation nor officially recognize any Native American group within its borders. This is ironic, because Pennsylvania was one of the first places where Europeans came in contact with Native Americans. Pennsylvania culture heroes like William Penn and Conrad Weiser are known in large part because of their interactions with native peoples. For a time during the 18th century, Pennsylvania was a sanctuary for Native Americans from all over colonial America, and Tuscaroras, Conoys, Nanticokes, and others migrated into the area. In time, however, the press of European settlement and the spread of smallpox both severely reduced the number of Native Americans and drove them westward. As far as contemporary textbooks go, the history of Native Americans in the state ends in the late 18th century.