From Library Journal
An author of Micmac descent who is currently professor of Native American history at Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY), Pritchard has produced what is ostensibly a scholarly monograph on the history and culture of the Algonquin peoples of New York, though much of the emphasis is on the Munsee peoples who inhabited present-day New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson River Valley. Though it is presented with a scholarly apparatus, it will best serve as either a guidebook or history for lay readers. Academic audiences, however, will be sorely disappointed by Pritchard's dependence on uncorroborated sources. For example, the author states that present-day Washington Square Park in Manhattan served centuries ago as a major gathering point for the Lenape. His evidence for this claim is his own logic, since archaeological evidence is unavailable. Repeatedly, the author describes meticulous details about features buried under tons of concrete and asphalt with questionable evidence to support his theories. Obviously, valuable modern oral traditions have been extensively used in the construction of this work, but even they require some level of corroboration for descriptions of places that haven't existed for centuries. Recommended for public libraries in New York and contiguous states. John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY
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Those curious about the origin of native place-names dottingNew York City and its environs will discover a wealth of informationin Pritchard's compendium about its original inhabitants. A historianand linguist, Pritchard sketches verbal tours that amble aboutManhattan, Long Island, and the Hudson River Valley, explaining themeaning of hundreds of names, such as the Shawangunk Mountains: "theplace where you go south." Contrasting a location's present look withits bucolic past often prompts Pritchard to delve into a spectrum oftopics: the local network of trails and ferry crossings; the peoplesso connected and their items of trade; and the nature of Lenape--thegeneral name for the Algonquin groups of the area--civilization. Thislatter interest leads him to relate factual material, such as theLenape's diet, but especially their spiritual outlook as captured inoral history and dream visions, including his own. Folding in Europeancolonization and the subsequent dispersal of the Lenape, this work,although loosely organized, is an intriguing palimpsest of the worldstill readable amid the modern city. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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