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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lawrence the Indian

This is Lawrence the Indian. Well, not really. He is representative of a friendly Native American who lived here when Schenectady was burnt by the French and Indians in 1690. Although we don't know his actual name, this statue was raised in his memory in 1887. He was one of the very persistent trackers of the raiders and helped identify the culprits.

Although today we think of 'Indians' as a single, cohesive people, that wasn't the case at all. There were many different peoples, and they weren't necessarily friendly with all the others. 'Lawrence' was a Mohawk, a Dutch ally, and the raiders were Algonquin and Sault from Quebec along with the French, who wanted to disrupt the Dutch traders. The Indians came along to revenge Iroquois attacks on their lands, fueled by British ammunition. Schenectady was unlucky enough to be isolated and northerly enough to be a target.

The location of the statue marks one corner of the fort that was built in 1705 after the settlement was rebuilt.

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