maandag 12 augustus 2013

Nog een keer de Two Row Treaty

Een klein jaar geleden schreef ik hier over een wampum en de Two Row Treaty. In de tussentijd is dit verdrag uit 1613 tussen de Nederlanders en een coalitie van Amerikaanse Indianenstammen verschillende keren in het nieuws geweest. Afgelopen vrijdag stond er weer een groot artikel over in de NRC. Daarin werd ook verwezen naar het speciale nummer van de Journal of Early American History, dat helemaal aan het verdrag gewijd is.
Een van de artikelen is van de hand van de neerlandici Van der Sijs, Noordegraaf en Hermkens. Zij hebben uitgebreid onderzoek gedaan naar het document dat de neerslag van het verdrag zou zijn en tonen opnieuw aan dat het hoogstwaarschijnlijk een vervalsing is. Hiervoor gebruiken ze vooral taalkundige argumenten:
The anachronisms and anglicisms in the “Tawagonshi Treaty” demonstrate without doubt that Eelkens and Christiaensz cannot have been the authors of the text: it was forged in the twentieth century. The large number of grammatical errors (8), anglicisms (13) and anachronisms (19) in the short stretch of text of the treaty – comprising only 315 words – is striking.
Dit was eigenlijk vorig jaar ook al duidelijk en vooral Van der Sijs heeft dit het afgelopen jaar verschillende keren geschreven (in NRC en Volkskrant).

Wat ik nog niet wist, is dat zich ook nog allerlei archivarissen met het verdrag hebben bemoeit.
Van Loon, de "ontdekker" van het document wilde in 1959 over de tekst publiceren in het tijdschrift De Halve Maen, het tijdschrift van de Holland Society in New York. Richard Amerman, de redacteur van het tijdschrift, heeft toen bij het Netherlands Information Centre geïnformeerd of iemand de authenticiteit van de documenten kan verifiëren. En dan verschijnen twee Nederlandse archivarissen ten tonele:
First of all, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amerman’s request was sent to Herman Hardenberg (1901-76), Chief Archivist of the Dutch National Archives in The Hague. Hardenberg examined the transcript, made some corrections, and retyped the text. Consequently, two copies can be found in the archives of the Foreign Affairs department: one originating from the United States, with several handwritten corrections which we suspect were added in the Netherlands, possibly by Hardenberg, and a second, newly copied version which undoubtedly comes from Hardenberg. In October 1959, the archivist reported that he could not come to a reasoned judgment as to its legitimacy without having studied the original. He enclosed the transcript with some minor corrections, based on a different reading of the copy.
Then, another Dutch expert was called for assistance. In July 1960, Amerman asked Dr. Simon Hart (1911-81), the distinguished municipal archivist of Amsterdam, for his opinion on the Tawagonshi text [...]
A month later Hart replied that he had received the copy of “this exciting document”. In his opinion “the wording and manner of writing of the document is conform to Dutch usage in the early 17 th century”, but he had “never seen any documents which confirm the existence of this agreement in the year 1613”. He speculated further, “I think that the original document (which according to my opinion must be a copy) is found in a book in which perhaps more interesting deeds are found … I suppose that this book must be an account book or copybook of the Van Tweenhuysen Company or of the New Netherland Company”; this was an idea that excited him very much. Furthermore, Hart noted that “the form of registration in a book over the whole passage was unusually [sic]. It may also be possible that this copy was written on two pieces of parchment sewed together. I wonder how they could speak with the Indians”. Because it was possible “that the date or the last cipher of the date was falsificated [sic]”, he advised, “that the document from which the photo was made be examined”. Hart also pointed out that the purported signature of Eelkens in the text did not agree with his authentic signature preserved in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives. He was not able to find a reliable signature of Christiaensz that could provide a basis for comparison.
Maar dat is nog niet alles. Twintig jaar later, in november 1980, speelt het Stadsarchief van Amsterdam opnieuw een rol:
 In November 1980, the fourth Russell Tribunal took place in Rotterdam, which was devoted to the infringement of the rights of the indigenous peoples of North and South America. Dutch political activist and publicist Ton Regtien (1938-89) reported on it daily in the communist newspaper De Waarheid. He also interviewed Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons (born 1930), the spokesman for the Iroquois League. In the detailed oral version of the interview, recorded on tape, Lyons can be heard stating: “we also have documents dating back to 1613”, even though these were “difficult to read”. Regtien also noted that Lyons handed him “an old document from April 1613, which for centuries had been carefully preserved by the Indians”. As Regtien himself could not decipher the seventeenth-century text, three employees of the Amsterdam Municipal Archives were so kind as to analyze it; they published a transcript of it in De Waarheid of 28 January 1981, along with a picture of the treaty document that Lyons had provided. 
Die drie "Amsterdammers" waren Gerrit Kouwenhoven, de huidige streekarchivaris van Epe, Hattem en Heerde, Anneke van Veen, die nu nog in Amsterdam werkt, en Jaap Verseput (werkt die ook nog in Amsterdam?)

In dat nummer van de Journal of Early American History, staat ook een interessant artikel van Jon Parmenter. Hij betoogt eigenlijk wat ik vorig jaar ook ongeveer zei: dat document kan best vals zijn en hoogstwaarschijnlijk bestaat de wampum ook niet meer, maar dat betekent nog niet dat er niet in 1613 sprake geweest kan zijn van een overeenkomst. De kern van zijn betoog zijn deze alinea's:
Indeed, this case study suggests strongly that it is incumbent upon all scholars considering the historicity of indigenous (not only Haudenosaunee) oral traditions (especially regarding something as fundamentally significant as kaswentha), to do more than simply identify a single document as a fake, or to set the bar for evidentiary proof of a concept’s existence to practically impossible standards – such as requiring a surviving “physical” Two Row belt from the colonial era that can be explicitly associated with a documentary source. Given the obvious circumstances of the settler majority population’s control of the archives and the structural disinterest of settler nation-states in documenting the distinct and divergent visions of law informing traditions of resistance and opposition among colonized peoples, we may ask why it is so difficult to accept the possibility that Haudenosaunee “traditionalists who speak confidently of agreements that their forebears entered into may be better custodians of the spirit of history than we later Americans who remain preoccupied with the written record”?
One of the primary means by which settler colonialism sustains itself is through the denial of the authenticity or the antiquity of indigenous traditions or both. Eurocentric scholarship, in adopting these approaches, works to conflate contemporaneous cultural and political differences between indigenous and settler nations into temporal sequence – shorn of a “true” or “authentic” past, the indigenous nation is placed in an inferior position, “behind” in terms of its cultural development and thus susceptible to the demands of the colonizing mission. Mohawk legal scholar Joyce Tekahnawiiaks King adds a further salient point regarding the difficulties contemporary Haudenosaunee nations face in contending with voting democracies in the United States and Canada: as each new settler regime leaves behind the policies of its predecessor, it tends to forget the agreements and lessons of the past, thereby placing the burdens of preserving memory and promoting education regarding the terms of those agreements on Haudenosaunee leaders. 
Ook "verhalen" kunnen archieven zijn en soms moeten we onze westerse ideeën over authenticiteit misschien wat verruimen.

Vals of echt? De wampum bewijst het.

De afschriften van de Two Row Treaty zijn te vinden in het Nationaal Archief:
Onderzoek naar het in 1813 gesloten verdrag tussen Nederlanders in Nieuw Nederland en de inheemse bevolking, 1959 (De dossieromschrijving is duidelijk niet correct)
De correspondentie van Hart is te vinden in het Stadsarchief van Amsterdam:
883. Archief van dr. S. Hart, inventarisnr 2, Correspondentie, alfabetisch op afzender en geadresseerde.1948-1980 en z.j.

Plaatje: Chiefs of the Six Nations at Brantford, Canada, explaining their wampum belts to Horatio Hale September 14, 1871. By Hale, Horatio (collector) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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