The Munsee Tribe is a subtribe of the Lenape. They originally were one of three great divisions of the Lenape nation and lived around the upper portion of the Delaware River. They generally populated around New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
They were known as the Wolf tribe of the Lenape, which was probably due to how prolific they were in battle. The Munsee were the most warlike nation within the Lenape tribe and often assumed leadership in war councils.
As stated previously, the Munsee tribe populated the headwaters of the Delaware River and extended south to the Lehigh River
The Munsee originally occupied the headwaters of the Delaware River in present-day New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, extending south to the Lehigh River, and also held the west bank of the Hudson River from the Catskill mountains nearly to the New Jersey line.
They were surrounded by other Native American tribes:
- The Mahican and Wappinger were located to their north and east.
- The Delaware Lenape were located to their south
The Munsee would then act as a buffer between the southern Lenape and the Iroquois Confederacy.
Their council village was Minisink.
The bands along the Hudson were prominent during the colonial era of New York, but as settlements increased, most of the Munsee moved south to join their relatives along the Delaware River.
Colonial - Modern Era History
In 1669, the Munsee and the Esopus tribe were defeated in their attack against the Dutch. They were defeated by the Dutch soldiers under the command of Martin Cregier.
In 1740, they were forced to move from the Delaware River to the Susquehanna River due to a fraudulent treaty known as the Walking Purchase.
Later, they moved again and joined the main Lenape nation on the Ohio River. Most of the Munsee tribe merged within the Lenape nation, and the Munsee tribe ceased to exist the way it had in the past.
The remaining Munsee in New York eventually merged with the Mohawk tribe. By 1756, most of the Munsee in New York were known as Mohawks.
The Christian Munsee, who were converted by the Moravian missionaries, drew off from the rest and formed a separate organization, most of them moving to Canada during the Revolutionary War.
Others joined the Ojibwa and Stockbridge people in Wisconsin. The majority were incorporated in the Lenape, with whom they participated in their subsequent wars and removals.
Most of the Munsee tribe vanished after the mergers. However, some did remain and are now recognized as a First Nation.
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community is a federally recognized tribe in Wisconsin, United States.