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The Catskills lie at the intersection of three Native American territories, which are not neatly defined but overlap:
- Haudenosaunee (ho-dee-no-SHOW-nee) who we used to call the Iroquois (comprised of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca) — most of the Catskill Park lies within Haudenosaunee territory which covers the north and western Catskill
- Mohican (mo-HEE-kan) — includes the northeastern Catskills starting in Spruceton Valley
- Munsee Lenape (le-NAH-pay) — areas south of the Devil’s Path in the eastern Catskills, and the Pepacton in the western Catskills, including the Ashokan, Rondout and Neversink reservoirs
Indian Removal Act
These Native American communities were forced out of The Catskills by the Indian Removal Act, signed into law in 1830 by President Andrew Jackson.
As a consequence…
“Iroquois” descendants now live in scattered communities throughout New York, and in Wisconsin, as well as in Ontario and Quebec.
Under the same policy, many Mohican were also displaced to Wisconsin and Ontario.
And in the 1860s, the U.S. government sent most Lenape remaining in the east to present-day Oklahoma.
Modern-day Lenape still live in Oklahoma, with some communities in Wisconsin and Ontario.
Displaced. Far from their native land.
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