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By Joel W. Martin

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John Heckewelder lamented that many Delaware men "died of cold and other Baptizing Indians, painted in 1757, depicts members of the Moravian Church baptizing Delawares and Mahicans at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. S. writers, scientists, theologians, and artists. John Vanderlyn's 1804 painting Death of Jane McCrea played on settlers' fears and prejudices by depicting a fair woman being brutalized by darker muscular brutes while her hero, an armed white man in the distance, arrived too late to save her.

These hunters assumed menstrual blood, associated with the positive forces of life, would overwhelm their power to kill. Merely walking near a menstruating woman or swimming downstream from where she had bathed would ruin a hunter's magic. In order to protect the power of hunters, some Native American peoples sequestered menstruating women until their periods passed. During their menses, Creek and Cherokee women, for example, stayed in isolated huts away from their villages. This practice acknowledged the extraordinary power adult women possessed.

In villages and towns across the eastern woodlands, adults used stories to educate the next generation in how to relate to their world. American Indians in New England, for example, told a story concerning the proper treatment of fish. According to the story, a mischievous god had once tricked all the fish in the ocean that the world was coming to an end. This trickster god convinced the fish that only his own river would 48 Tradition and Crisis in the Eastern Woodlands • remain. When all the fish swam up his river into his fish traps, the trickster god took them to his grandmother so that she would no longer have a difficult time obtaining food.

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