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The Onandaga Indians

Experiences of the French Huguenots in America

Who were the Huguenots?



Hug-or-not, Huge-knot, Huguenots?
September 30, 2000


The house that Huguenot men built
Just sit right back, for a couple of tales I have to tell,
about the French and the Dutch that some of you may not know so well.
They came to America, for reasons that were a bit different,
their arrival explains where all the cool trees, and Indians went.
Protestant Reformation,
caused much frustration, for a bunch called the Huguenots.
Refugees from Eng-land,
lived with religion they could not stand, so they traveled the stormy seas.
But to them I shall return,
on that subject you will learn, of their deeds the good and the bad.
It is here where I am,
in New York on the land, that is near a lake called Onandaga.
The Great Chief Garakontie,
was as nice as he could be, even still some of his subjects were alarmed.
For soon the Dutch came,
in search of fine furs and great fame, and this was the place to be.
On the lake was where one could become a missionary,
and they built a wood building called the mission of St. Marie
Pioneers of the French and the Dutch of the land,
they knew not much, so on the Indian they did depend.
So I enter the building,
now I'm glad the wind is chilling,
my bones, right through my coat!

Greeted by a man, in the front there he stands, to tell of Onandagas' past.
He told us that some just don't care,
'til he shows the black bear, hanging around outside his hut.
At attention Nick and I stand,
soft furs are placed in our hands, that of wolves and beavers and so.
He shows up spears,
even horns of a great deer, and with this he shapes a comb for his long hair.

From there we take lead,
but are warned and we heed, that there is no restroom in the wilderness.
So with speed I proceed,
to the toilet the arrow leads, and now please bring on the experience.
With great care we do step,
over branches that are wet, as we look at the glimmering lake.
There's a big difference runnin' round,
between the past and the now, a freeway sign hangs about.
The Rock says "Can you smell what's cookin'",
all around me I'm lookin', as we enter into the year of 1653.
So in awe there I am,
as I trample on the land, of a great rooster and all of his pals.
As the rain starts to fall,
I can hear someone call, to his friend just beyond the wooden gates.
Inside the gate I jump-step,
must be careful, very wet, but the brave must always push on.

Soft furs are placed in our hands, that of wolves and beavers and so
Here is the place,
where the French first faced, the eyes of strangers, that for a while were friends.
Too bad that power, and much greed,
all soon began to lead, to the death of the many who called this place home.

With a life all their own,
the Onandaga were free to roam, until money made their picture bit darker.
Yet the chief said his word,
and all the people heard, and with these strangers a good peace they made.

So with love but not much need,
he began to plant the seeds, of brotherhood and friendship.
Yet all natives were not convinced,
of how much good was meant, by the pale-faced man from the sea.
Donne' (the Dutch) was their name, and this means to give,
but soon, what they gave, hurt the way the Indians lived.
They brought oil, they brought shoes of hollow wood,
but much of what they brought was not so good.
For soon the ones who welcomed them soon begin to die,
the enemy was disease, and no one could hide or deny.

So more foreign men, pushed by great fear and doubt,
came from the sea to see what this land was all about,
they too came to New York but only a little further south.
Now these were the Huguenots that I mentioned earlier,
first they moved to a Germany, but decided to press a little further.
From teasing and much hate, they sought to run,
to the comforting shores of New Paltz would soon be their new home.
But here also they encountered people full of good deed and much trust,
so they purchased the land from the Indians known as the Esopus.
Listen, these people were Dutch, different from the French mentioned before,
soon after their arrival they sought to gain more.
So they tore down their houses of mud and soon built ones made of stone.
For these made places, because of the weather, for them to call home.

Now in this verse we learn,
why the Hugeunots felt their past needed to burn.
Think of a place where the man who is your preacher, is just like your king,
and he is the mouthpiece of God, at least that's what people think.
A guy named John Calvin said, "Hey no way!,"
this guy has bit much power, so listen to me say,
that its time to bring about a new way of thinking,
if not our freedom and children's future will begin sinking.
But the king thought these are some well liked people so what will I do,
and if they are thinking different than I am, a lot of trouble will stew.

Yet on they went, and houses they built, on the great land that is this,
and of the houses we visited built by Huguenot men of the town, here is a list;

Jean Hasbrouck house 1694
Abraham Hasbrouck house 1694
Dubois house 1750
Deyo house 1692
Bevier-Elting House 1698

to see all these houses was quite a treat.
Did you know that in America, its one of the oldest streets?
Yet on this street and on Onandaga Lake alike,
a lesson is to be learned, and if you listen you might,
find that the French, and the Dutch as well,
despite their great efforts, did indeed fail.
They failed to see that difference in people is really okay,
for they owned slaves and wished to change the religion and ways of the Indian in not such a good way.
If it were done by choice, then it would be fine,
but when you make people change by force, it becomes quite a crime!
For what is good is it to change, if you don't do so alone,
good, and true change comes when you stand up and do it on your own.


Please email me at: kevin1@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Stephanie - How do you voodoo? The truth beyond the Hollywood myth
Rebecca - If Jamestown wasn't the first colony, what was?
Nick - Don a headdress made of turkey feathers and return to the 1600's