Shaking things up on a broader scale… unraveling the myths of Native Americans in the Shenandoah Valley

Posted on October 30, 2011 by


It’s nearly everywhere you turn when reading about Native Americans in the Valley… inconsistency and/or one of a small number of standardized, mind-numbed, tracked approaches to the subject.

… and… oh yes, by the way…

…just how do we know that the word “Shenandoah” really means (loosely interpreted, or not) “Daughter of the Stars”?

For that matter, “Sherando”, “Senedo”, “Massanutten”, etc., etc., etc., and yes… even “Cenantua”

…where did these words come from… and can they really be sourced back to people who actually encountered the Native Americans who were in the Shenandoah Valley… who actually had verbal exchanges with the same?

Granted, much with which we have to work is apocryphal or anecdotal, but, does that excuse us from being honest… with ourselves just as much as with others? Can the apocryphal or anecdotal really be certain, or is it nothing more than a range of historic possibilities?

I think it’s past time to take another look at it all, and more importantly, begin a more critical approach… critical, specifically, of the weakly sourced, or un-sourced stories/folklore/mythology about (yes, “about“, and notof“, as most of what we “know” did not come from the Native Americans who were here) native peoples that seem to have permeated the post-native history of the Shenandoah Valley since the last Shawnee left the area in peace (and before returning in wars), over 266 years ago.

Not that one, or a series of blog posts will un-do what has been done. Rather, the objective will be to plant material, on the Web, that takes a non-traditional approach, shaking that mind-numbed consistency of romantic and inadequate history.

So, here and there, between most posts that will continue to focus on the Civil War era, I’ll be, as the title of the post implies… shaking things up a bit more, and on a broader scale, when it comes to the history of the place and the people.

More to follow; a little here… a little there.