Le­high County seal and the ‘cruel legacy of colonialis­m’

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE -

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

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