Lehigh County seal and the ‘cruel legacy of colonialism’
Dan Barker pointed out (Aug. 22 op-ed, “Your View by Lenni Lenape member: Why Lehigh County seal is a ‘symbol of white colonialism’”) that the Lehigh County seal is a symbol of white and Christian colonialism.
Letter writer Carol Kuhn is correct in pointing out that not all white Christian settlers were hostile to the Lenape and there was indeed a period of peaceful co-existence, and intermarriage was not uncommon. This points out the difference between immigration and colonialism.
Letter writer Donald Neumann illustrates this by pointing out the inclusion of the Christian cross on the seal of the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma; this too is a symbolic legacy of colonialism.
The very name of Delaware Indians, which is a shortened form of Lord De la Warr’s Indians, is a legacy of colonialism. Thomas West, Twelfth Baron De la Warr (1576-1618) was the first governor of Virginia, noted for his genocidal policies toward the Indians.
William Penn (1644-1718) was a marked contrast to De la Warr. His Treaty of Shackamaxon (1682) is remembered as the “Great Treaty.” Quakers and German sects and the Lenapes co-existed for decades without conflict.
This legacy is worth remembering, and celebrating, but it doesn’t negate the cruel legacy of colonialism, racism and oppression.
Thomas Watts Lower Macungie Township