The Commissioners for Managing the Indian Affairs in Albany

Who Were the Albany Indian Commissioners?

The Albany Indian Commissioners managed Indian Affairs for the British colony of New York between 1677 and 1745, playing an important role in relations with other British colonies as well.  Most members of the Albany Indian Commissioners were also Commissioners for the City Council of Albany. Their diplomatic protocols were heavily influenced by the Haudeenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and other native nations as well as by European traditions. For example they combined the use of records written on paper with the use of wampum and calumets. These protocols evolved prior to the British conquest of New Netherland from relations between the Dutch traders and farmers of the upper Hudson, in Beverwyck, Rensselaerswyck, and Fort Orange, and the indigenous nations that surrounded them, including the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, and the villages of the Mohican, Munsee, Abenaki, and related peoples.

For a short introduction to the Albany Indian Commissioners (who have been called by a few variations of that name), see the Wikipedia entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commissioners_for_Indian_Affairs.

For a more in depth discussion, see the article by Jon Parmenter, “Onenwahatirighsi Sa Gentho Skaghnughtudigh”: Reassessing Haudenosaunee Relations with the Albany Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1723–1755 in Nancy L. Rhoden (ed.), English Atlantics Revisited: Essays Honouring Ian K. Steele, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007 (pp. 235-283). If you have access to JStor, you can access this book here: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80t7r

For digital images of the Albany Commissioner’s records, see Cornell’s online collection: The Records of the Albany Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1678-1755: An Integrated Digital Database at http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/i/indianaffairs/

The original records are in Library and Archives Canada. They too have digital images available online, but they are a bit harder to read: http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c1220/7?r=0&s=1

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About hopefulwanderer

Writer, researcher, archivist, etc. @ahhunter
This entry was posted in Albany Indian Commissioners, Background, Iroquois History, New Netherland History, New York History, Sources and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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