Munsee (Min-asin-ink, meaning “at the place where stones are gathered together”) is one of three principal divisions of the Delaware, from whom their dialect differed so much that they have frequently been regarded as a distinct tribe.

The Munsee originally occupied the headwaters of Delaware river in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, extending south to Lehigh river, and they also held the west bank of the Hudson from the Catskill mountains nearly to the New Jersey line. The Mahican and Wappinger bordered their land on the north and east, with the Delaware on the south and southeast, and were regarded as the protecting barrier between the latter tribe and the Iroquois.

Their council village was Minisink, probably in Sussex county, New Jersey. By a fraudulent treaty, known as the "Walking Purchase," the main body of The Munsee was forced to remove from the Delaware about the year 1740, and settled on the Susquehanna on lands assigned them by the Iroquois. Soon after this they removed to the Allegheny River where some of them had settled as early as 1724. By 1740 the Moravian missionaries had already begun their work among them. The Munsee practically ceased to exist as an organized body. Many removed to Canada and settled near their relatives, the Moravian Indians.

In 1885 the only Munsee officially recognized in the U.S. were living with a band of Chippewa in Franklin County, Kansas, together numbering only 72.

In 1900, the Chippewas and Munsees were terminated as tribes and their land given to them individually. Because their lands weren’t coveted by white farmers, they were allowed to continue living in their Chippewa Hills homes. Recent efforts to be recognized as a tribe have been unsuccessful.

This information was compiled by the Franklin County Historical Society.

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