Munsee Indians

From Ohio History Central

The Munsee were historically considered to be a part of the Delaware, or Lenape, although they lived separately from the Delaware nation for most of their existence. Some scholars argue that the Munsee should not be considered Delaware because of some stark differences in dialect. The United States referred to the Munsees as a separate tribe in the Treaty of Fort Industry. The Munsee were Algonquian natives. The Algonquian natives consisted of various tribes that spoke similar languages. The Munsees lived originally in New York and New Jersey, but they moved westward -- first, to lands around the Susquehanna, and subseuquently, to the lands around the Ohio River, where the rest of the Lenape had migrated -- as European settlers forced them from the land. In the 1720s, substantial bands of the Munsee met Moravian missionaries in their settlements along the Susquehanna, and many converted to Christianity -- these groups became known as the "Christian Munsee" or "Moravian Munsee"; and many later emigrated to Fairfield/Moravianville, Ontario along the Thames. Portions of the Munsee subsequetly moved to Wisconsin, or joined other Lenape in settling Kansas, and were compelled along with them into mid-19th century removals to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma.

Although the Munsee partnered with other tribes and were granted federal recognition and reservation lands from the mid-to-late 19th century, the Dawes act effectively disbursed all remaining tribally-held Munsee land to private families, and ended federal recognition of the the Munsees as such.

See Also


  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.