|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( New York)|
|traditional tribal religion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Wappinger, Lenape, Wecquaesgeek, Mahican|
The Siwanoy were the Indigenous Americans of Long Island Sound along the coasts of The Bronx, Westchester County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. They were one of the western bands of the Wappinger Confederacy. By 1640, their territory (Wykagyl) extended from Hell Gate to Norwalk, Connecticut, and as far inland as White Plains, New York, and became hotly contested between Dutch and English colonial interests.:28 The name Siwanoy may be a corruption of Siwanak, "salt people".:585
The Siwanoy spoke Munsee, a Delaware language. Like the greater Lenape, the Siwanoy generally had black hair and brown eyes. Women typically wore their hair loose, whereas men would often remove all hair but a long forelock.:5 They frequently painted their bodies and faces (black, red, yellow, blue and white) for ceremonial rites, war and festive occasions, or to mourn the dead.:5 Wampum jewelry and belts were worn as a symbol of social status.:5–6 The Siwanoy no doubt ate all varieties of fish and shellfish, as the shore had numerous fishing stations and a rich aquatic life; and the interior provided fruits, nuts, and animal life.:5
Their closest allies were the Lenape to the west and the Mahicans to the north, with whom they shared a totem (or emblem) – the “enchanted wolf”, with the right paw raised defiantly.:27–28 They were also allied and shared a common lifestyle with the Wecquaesgeek.:3 Like other tribes of the area, the Siwanoy were loosely organized into several groups, each with a sagamore or chieftain and a somewhat-defined territory.
The Siwanoys' largest village in 1640 was Poningo, located near modern day Rye, New York.:279 They also had stockade settlements at Ann Hook's Neck, Hunter Island, and Davenport Neck (Shippan), and “winter quarters” farther south at Hell Gate.:27 They referred to the area surrounding Ann Hook's Neck and Hunter Island as Laaphawachking ("place of stringing beads"),:37 because of the large quantities of wampum produced there.:6
Two glacial erratic boulders named Grey Mare and Mishow, located on Hunter Island, were spiritually significant to the Siwanoy. Here the Siwanoys practiced their sacred ceremonies, and two sachems are believed to be buried at Mishow; the Siwanoys believed the boulders to have been placed there by their guardian Manitou (the spiritual, omnipresent life force that manifests itself in everything).:37–38 However, many Siwanoys likely became Christianized; the Siwanoy sagamore Wampage I was one of these, and he took John White as a baptismal name.:38
Conflict with European colonists
The western bands of the Wappinger, including the Siwanoy, became involved in war with the Dutch in 1640, which lasted five years.:913 This period is often referred to as Kieft's War, and is said to have cost the lives of some 1,600 Wappinger refugees.:913 Thus, tensions between the colonists and the indigenous people of the area were extremely high at this time, and this undoubtedly led to the massacre of Anne Hutchinson and her family in 1643.
A group of Siwanoy, led by Wampage I, killed Hutchinson, six of her children, and nine others in August 1643, near Split Rock, an ancient landmark. The only survivor was Hutchinson's nine-year-old daughter, Susanna - possibly spared because of her red hair - who "became the wife of an Indian Chief, residing in a settlement near the Split Rock". It has been written that Wampage himself was the murderer of Hutchinson and that he adopted the name of Anhōōke due to a Mahican custom of taking the name of a notable person personally killed.:18
In February 1644, the entire village of Nanichiestawack was wiped out by 130 Dutch mercenaries under Capt. John Underhill. The surprise attack, known as the Pound Ridge massacre, took place while a large number of Siwanoy and Wecquaesgeek people were gathered together for a corn festival. The Dutch forces slaughtered between 500 and 700 indigenous people, including women and children, who were forced into their homes and burned alive.
Treaty with Thomas Pell
On June 27, 1654, sagamores Shāwānórōckquot (Shanarockwell), Poquōrūm, Anhōōke (Wampage I), Wawhāmkus, and Mehúmōw deeded to Thomas Pell 9,160 acres of land east of the Hutchinson River northward to Mamaroneck, including modern day Pelham, New Rochelle, The Pelham Islands, and portions of The Bronx.:1 The parties signed a treaty under the Treaty Oak near Bartow-Pell Mansion in Pelham.:18–20 New Netherland authorities did not recognize his title. They accused the New Englanders of continued encroachment upon Dutch territory. Pell's coup turned out to be decisive in New York history. A militia of his colonists from Minneford Island (present day City Island) supported the English naval invasion force that conquered New Amsterdam in 1664.
Merger and removal
Following the 1654 treaty, the Siwanoys remained in the area around Westchester County for another hundred years, until they eventually "melted away" by intermarriage with the English settlers. Some continued to reside along the shore in Westchester County until 1756, when most of the Wappinger and Mahicans remaining in the area joined the Nanticoke, then living under the protection of the Iroquois, and with them were eventually merged into the Lenape. Some of them joined the Stockbridge Indians, who were removed to Wisconsin in the 1830s.
- Wampage I (Anhōōke), chieftain at Ann Hook's Neck and present day Hunter Island
- Wampage II (Ninham-Wampage/Ann Hook), chieftain on present day Hunter Island circa 1700
- Ponus, chieftain at present day Rye, New York circa 1640; possible namesake of Poningo, the Siwanoy village located at Rye:127
- Shanarockwell (Shāwānórōckquot), chieftain at present day Rye circa 1660:127
- Cokenseko, chieftain circa 1680; namesake of Kensico, New York
- Wappaquewam, chieftain at present day Mamaroneck, New York in 1661
- Mayn Mayano (Mianus), chieftain at present day Greenwich, Connecticut circa 1640
- Wascussee, chieftain at Shippan (present day Davenport Neck) in 1640
- Anna, daughter of Wampage II, who married Thomas Pell II, 3rd Lord of Pelham Manor (son of Sir John Pell):34–35
- Wampage I, a Siwanoy chieftain
- Anne Hutchinson, an English dissenter murdered by the Siwanoy in the year 1643.
- Siwanoy Country Club
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