Wappinger (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Wappinger are often considered to have comprised two main subgroups, the Western Wappinger (who lived in what is now New York State, along the lower Hudson River) and Eastern Wappinger (who lived eastward to the lower Connecticut River valley). It is estimated that at the first encounter with the Dutch, in the early 1600's, the Western Wappinger numbered about 3,000 and the Eastern Wappinger about 1,750.
The Wappinger were closely related in customs and organization to the Delaware (Lenni Lenape) and to Indians of southern New England. They hunted, fished, and grew crops, primarily corn. They were noted for their manufacture of wampum beads. Their totem was the wolf. The tribe was headed by a sachem (male or female) and a council of lesser chiefs.
With the arrival of Dutch settlers and traders, the Wappinger were thrown into close proximity with whites. Indians and whites coexisted peacefully for a number of years, and the Western Wappinger became involved in fur trading. In 1640 a number of sources of friction led to a five-year war between whites and Indians, including the Western Wappinger. Destruction and casualties were inflicted by both sides, with the Indians losing half their population, the Western Wappinger bearing the brunt. Disease further reduced their population. Nevertheless, the tribe remained intact until 1756, when they joined the Nanticoke; both tribes were later absorbed into the Delaware. Their last public appearance...
(The entire section is 275 words.)
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