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Virtual Talk: “Calvinists and Indians in the Northeastern Woodlands”

February 21 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm



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This virtual program is part of our Winter Speaker Series, and will be presented on Zoom. A Zoom link will be emailed to all SCHS members before the program. 

Stephen Staggs, PhD is the author of the forthcoming book Calvinists and Indians in the Northeastern Woodlands. He will discuss intercultural relations between the two groups in the 1600s: Native Americans and New Netherlanders hunting, eating, drinking, smoking, and fighting with each other, sharing their faith while traveling in canoes, and sleeping in each other’s bedrooms. Such details emerge in documents written by New Netherlanders like Megapolensis, whose work provides a window into the influence and limits of the Dutch Reformation upon the dynamic, multifaceted relationships that developed in the early modern Northeastern Woodlands. Megapolensis came of age when Dutch Reformed theologians looked to the Bible to incorporate Indians into a Reformed worldview. In so doing, they characterized Indians as “blind Gentiles.” This characterization ultimately informed the instructions given to those heading to New Netherland, raised expectations among the clergy and lay chaplains who served in the colony, and prefigured the reciprocal, intimate relationships that developed between Indians and New Netherlanders.

Stephen Staggs is an independent historian who holds a PhD and graduate certificate in Ethnohistory from Western Michigan University. His research focuses on the impact of the interactions and interrelations between Indigenous, African, and European peoples in early modern Europe, colonial North America, and the Atlantic World. His recently published book is Calvinists & Indians in the Northeastern Woodlands.


February 21
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm