12. Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay Park

The shores of today’s Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx were where the Siwanoy would gather for sacred ceremonies. Translated as “southern people,” the Siwanoy resided in small camps and fished in the surrounding bays. In addition to serving as burial grounds, the shore was a source of wampum, cylindrical beads often made from shells strung together and worn as decoration or used for money. It is believed that the northwestern shore of Hunter Island and the entrance to the Kazimiroff Nature Trail were significant ritual sites. At Pell’s Point, now known as Rodman’s Neck, the Siwanoy established a marketplace.

When the Dutch first arrived, trade with the Siwanoy was quite prosperous, but the Dutch established settlements on Siwanoy land, which led to conflict. Eventually, after years of conflict and disease, the Siwanoy sold the land to Englishman Thomas Pell at the Treaty Oak. A new oak that marks the signing of the treaty is protected by an iron gate. Before fleeing the Bronx to upstate New York or Connecticut due to hostile conditions, one of the Siwanoy chiefs who signed the treaty, Ann-Hoock, may have killed Anne Hutchinson.