Author’s note: Welcome, and thank you for your interest in my novel ‘Land of Tribute.’ In my book you will come to know of the contributions and sacrifices which the selfless Machequa, her brother Nyantich, and his friend Antimony made in the name of friendship with the earliest settlers of New Netherland. Experience through my novel what has been buried in silence under centuries of colonization. Follow the footsteps of these Native Americans, hear their voices, share the bonds of friendship made between them and the few colonists who really appreciated them. Feel their pain and anger when savaged by those who did not….
This book is for anyone who likes what historical fiction can do to make history come alive, while keeping the story straight. This book is for anyone interested in the colonial history of New Netherland and some little-known reasons why so much of it, including New Amsterdam, gave way to becoming New York. In my book you will witness the massacre of 1643 through the eyes of the traveling missionary Roger Williams and the flying Dutchman David De Vries. My story is also told from the viewpoints of the French-born Huguenot Catalyn Tricault, her American born daughter Sarah Rapalje, Dr. Jean Messier Montaigne, and the beloved Flemish wife of Pieter Alberti, Judy Manje.
Besides the two friends Jacob Wallingen van Winkel and Pieter Alberti (alias ‘Mallemoc,’) my book also portrays many others who lived at that time, like: Jonas Bronck from Sweden, Joachim Kuyter from Denmark, Hans Hansen from Norway, Cornelius Melyn from Germany, and colorful Dutchmen like the Dominie Bogardus, his rival Hendrick Kipp, Laughing Jan Bout, and Cornelius van Voorst. If the leaders of the colony: Director-Generals Keift, and Stuyvesant, and the Secretary Cornelius Van Tienhoven, all share a certain comedic side in the eyes of a populace at peace, it is a very different audience to which they play after perpetrating one tragic war after another….
While my Native American characters are Metoac, you will also get a taste of the cultures of other Algonquian such as: Munsee, Mohican, Metoac, Canarsee, Hackensack, Lenni-Lenape, Wappinger, Minqua, Raritan, Narragansett, Kineticut, Pequot, and Manhattan. Sit with Nyantich and Mallemoc as they hear an old sachem of an Iroquois Mohawk village up the Hudson explain his people’s beliefs. Discover the unique but different roles that shell-beads played in the the lives of natives and settlers, and why Long Island was anciently known as Pamanack, or ‘Land of Tribute.’
This book speaks to the sad dissolution of the Algonquian, a native early American Indian people once so uniquely intertwined with the Dutch colonists. In the beginning, it is a story writ large and individual, at a time when there was harmony and trust, trade and sharing between settlers and natives, an equanimity and proximity unique not only in America but worldwide in this brutal age of colonialism. Indeed, from a scarcity of Dutch and English coin, tribute beads made from seashells became the currency among the settlers of most of the Northeastern Seaboard. Oh how I wish that promising polyglot Dutch settlement had lasted! But it didn’t. Still, though, I wonder if that multi-lingual cohabitation then throughout peace and war become the cultural heritage of our country now” Can it not be said that it is evidenced by the Statue of Liberty standing in the very same waters from which Machequa pulled a half-drowned sailor to safety?
Finally, to those who have read the above episode of my book already, I hope to have conveyed my respect for the resilience of all these people, native and foreign-born; their diversity and unity in diversity –whether by determination or resignation — to survive the terrors of war with each other. Just consider the shock of our colonists on Manhattan back in mid-September of 1655 to realize they were being attacked eleven years after making peace with the natives, burned out of their homes, and scalped? How many of us now I ask, even after 9/11, imagine the suffering which still burns in the hearts and minds of victims from mistakes made by our leaders twelve years prior?