Declaration of Jan Evertsen Bout and Claes Jansen Regarding the Burning of Jochem Pietersen Kyler's House
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Declaration of Jan Evertsen Bout and Claes Jansen Regarding the Burning of Jochem Pietersen Kuyler's House
Encounters between American Indians and European colonists in New York ranged from cultural exchange, trade, and alliance to conflict and outright war. While facing the reality of dominance by European powers and the loss of economic independence, many Indians nevertheless retained their core traditional values. They employed creative and at times unpredictable means to resist their colonial neighbors. British colonial authorities mildly discouraged Indian slavery and on several occasions tried unsuccessfully to prohibit it.
Early court cases and laws listing duties to be placed on Indian slaves imported into New York indicate that colonial authorities allowed the enslavement of Indians to persist. Even freeborn American Indians had reason to fear being forced into slavery and petitioned the colonial
council for protection. From the late seventeenth through the mid-eighteenth centuries, the French and English pressured the Iroquois to choose sides during frequent periods of imperial warfare. Iroquois leaders, distrustful of both powers, opted to maintain neutrality, often playing one side against the other. Still, individual Indian nations at times formed temporary alliances with one power or another. The Oneida and Tuscarora Indians, influenced in part by the missionary work of Presbyterian minister William Strickland, chose to fight alongside the patriot forces in the Revolutionary War. The Oneidas aided the rebels at the battles of Oriskany, Saratoga, and Barren Hill, in addition, to sharing their corn with George Washington’s starving troops at Valley Forge.
Jan Evertsen Bout, aged about forty-four years, and Claes Jensz, baker, aged about thirty-six
years, testify at request of Mr. Willem Kieft, director general of New Netherland, before the
honorable fiscal, that on the 7th of March last, we heard an Indian named Ponkes, say of his own free will in the Indian language (which we perfectly understood) that the Indians, our enemies, did not burn Jochim Pitersz’ house and that no Indian was ever heard to say so, although, as he said, whenever they have done any mischief, they boast of it, but that as far as the Indians know, the Dutch themselves burned and removed the house, for fear of being killed there.