The Original New Yorkers: An Indigenous History of Land

The New York that you know today wasn’t always this way.  Learn about those who inhabited the land before colonization. Discover more about the place that Native Nations called home.  Join us on July 9 at 4pm for a discussion about the original New Yorkers with public historian Heather Breugl. Heather is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and first-line descendant Stockbridge Munsee. She is an activist, and independent consultant who works with institutions and organizations for Indigenous sovereignty and collective liberation.  She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. There she is studying First Nations Education with a focus on creating inclusive historical narratives for teaching.

Our program will also provide an opportunity to discuss Rye’s Indigenous heritage. Did you know? The original New Yorkers who were stewards of what we call the Jay Estate today were a Mohican tribe known as Siwanoy who spoke Algonkian – they called the land overlooking Long Island Sound Apawamis. It wasn’t until November 12, 1661 that Chiefs Shanorock, Rawmaquae, Rackeatte, Pawwaytaliau, Mawmatoe, and Howinse signed a deed that rendered possession of their land to an English Quaker named John Budd.

The talk is FREE but registration is requested. Register here.


Heather Breugl is a graduate of Madonna University in Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in U.S. History. Her research comprises numerous topics related to American history, legacies of colonization, and Indigeneity, including the Dakota War of 1862, the history of American Boarding Schools, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW). Heather has presented her work at academic institutions including the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bard College, Vassar College, and Brooklyn Law School. Heather consults for a variety of museums and universities and is a frequent lecturer at conferences on topics ranging from intergenerational racism and trauma to the fight for clean water in the Native community. She has been invited to share her research on Native American history, including policy and activism, equity in museums, and land back initiatives for such institutions as the Tate, the Brooklyn Public Library and most recently the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

Heather opened and spoke at the Women’s March Anniversary in Lansing, Michigan, in January 2018, and at the first-ever Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC, in January 2019. In 2019, 2020, and 2021, Heather spoke at the Crazy Horse Memorial and Museum in Custer, South Dakota, for its Talking Circle Series.