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tandt trans 65hCulture rarely stands still. New ideas are formed, new cultures arrive, new inventions are adopted. The people that shape and are shaped by culture are in a constant state of reaction and adaptation. The result is a history of turmoil and transition. This is true of Lancaster County and the nation. It is often within the times of greatest turmoil and transitions that we learn the most about what it means to be American. It is then that we learn what lies at the core of our uniquely American worldview. It is during those times of turmoil and transition, while our worldviews seem to be changing dramitcally, that we discover some ideals do, in fact, remain the same. These ideals—liberty & freedom, tolerance & diversity, democracy & the political process—were molded and shaped in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


The Treaty of 1744

Known as the Treaty of 1744, the two-week meeting shaped our nation's history. In exchange for Indian land claims in Maryland and Virginia, the Native Americans bargained for gunpowder, shot, guns, blankets, clothing,and rum. The treaty also created a strong alliance between the settlers and Indians, helping to protect Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War.

The star of the Lancaster Treaty of 1744 was Canassatego, chief of the Iroquoian Onondaga nation and prominent diplomat. He recommended that the colonies adapt a form of government similar to the Iroquois by forming a confederacy. He feared that the colonies lacked a strong coordinated policy to address the military threat of the French. His words were published and read by colonial leaders such as Benjamin Franklin, and would influence the United States Constitution—forty years later.

Hundreds of Indians from the six Iroquois nations set up a large village in Lancaster, a few blocks from the courthouse. Smoke from the cooking-fires, along with the smell of bear grease, filled the summer air. The event was quite entertaining for the colonial people of Lancaster, often hanging out of windows for a closer look at the Indians. Likewise, the Native Americans checked out the town and the townspeople with equal curiosity as they traded in the shops and at the market.

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& Country

For hundreds of years Lancaster has helped to shape the story of America.

 This program made possible through the generous support of

the Richard C. von Hess Foundation


the National Endowment for the Humanities

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