Native: A word loaded with implications.
Through the lens of varying perspectives, and in an array of contexts, the semantics of "native" convey a range of meaning including indigenousness, birthright, savagery, inheritance, bare basics, innateness, firsts, and instinct.
"New York" by its very name embodies a paradox of originality and derivation, and begs the question: does "native" mean what we're born with, or that for which we come to be known?
A look at our particularly odd assortment of State symbols indicates that both are correct. Beavers, the State mammal, once ran rampant throughout these lands — but the beaver fur trade that built up the New York economy had to be established and manipulated; the Dutch dubbed Albany "Beverwijck" ("beaver district"). On the other hand, the apple — our State fruit and the most famous nickname for our largest city — arrived only when European settlers planted and cultivated trees in the mid-17th and early-18th centuries
. One association isn't diminished by the structure or history of the other.
Ancestors of American Indians claim a presence on this terrain that dates to roughly 11,000 B.C., and extant sovereign nations within the State include the Cayuga
. When Henry Hudson arrived on these shores in 1609, he met Munsee (Lenape) Indians and, farther north, Mohicans. That same year, Samuel Champlain encountered Mohawks and Algonquins. As is well known, these tribes endured suppression at the hands of Dutch and British immigrants (and still contend with the ramifications of this history), who themselves also form part of the fabric of New York, and whose arrivals paved the way for other nationalities and ethic groups, whether the Irish in the mid-1800s (themselves victims of so-called "nativism") or African refugees today. Despite differences in the longevity of ties to the land, perhaps all contributing groups are no more or less "native" to New York than any other.
More than any other issue to date, in July we delve deep to discuss what it means to define anything as "absolutely New York." It's the question of your New York state of mind.
What does native New York mean to you?
From New York City,