A speech made in 1700, by Soquans, a Native leader who had arrived at Schaghticoke twenty-six years earlier, demonstrates the bonds formed between the Native people and the English settlers of New York. In his speech, Soquans describes the peaceful and thankful disposition of his people towards the English, using a tree as a metaphor for their continually growing relationship. This was, in fact, a common trope used among the region’s indigenous people, originating with the Iroquois Confederacy, the symbol of their Great Tree of Peace.
“Then it was that a tree was planted at Schakkook whose branches are spread that there is a comfortable shade under the leaves of it: we are unanimously resolved to live & die under the shadow of the tree and pray our Father to nourish and have a favourable aspect towards that tree.”
While these positive relationships were by no means universal, they do provide an interesting counterbalance to the far more hostile affairs between English colonials and Native Americans in southern New England, and in the Wabanaki heartland to the north and east of New York.