Object: Dog

Image Credits

David Teniers the Younger, 1650's

Object Type(s)

Dogs were important to the Native Americans and settlers alike.   The Dutch used herding dogs to help manage sheep, and hunting dogs to assist with their hunting and trapping activities. Dogs were seen as working animals that had been trained for centuries to manage cattle.   

The Native Americans  had strong relationships to their dogs which have been found in burials  in Long Island.   See this article by Jeremy Dennis:   https://nativelongisland.com/wiki/dog-ceremonialism/  Jeremy notes that many archeological sites show dog remains buried with human remains, on Long Island usually 2 feet underneath the human remains.   This may have a relationship to the spiritual significance of dogs in Native American culture.

Dogs and wolves have had a spiritual context for humans in all cultures all over the world, from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Asia, and Europe.

Native American Indian Dogs were likely closely related to wolves, although domesticated, and were feared and sometimes killed by the Dutch settlers.   They  were described as howling like wolves instead of barking like European dogs. (See Henry Fleet, translator and guide for Leonard Calvert)   They were both companions and work animals, assisting in hunting and protection.   There is no  evidence that the Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands and Long Island used them to pull sleds or other pack devices, but this was very common in much of the MidWest and Canada.  

The modern Carolina Dog breed and the Native American Indian Dog breeds may have had some relationship to these dogs.

The records of New Netherland show some of the problems involved in managing dogs, people, cattle, and culture in the 17th century.

Imagine your dismay at finding that your neighbor's dog is killing your goats? - https://encyclopedia.nahc-mapping.org/document/complaint-pieter-van-der-linde-and-others-about-dog-nicolaes-sloper-which-roams-woods-and


Additional reading on dogs: