The Lost Tribe of Western New York

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By the summer of 1679, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle had approached his wit’s end. His faithful lieutenant, the Neapolitan  Henri de Tonti, had already repulsed one attempt by the Seneca to burn La Salle’s soon-to-be sailing ship Le Griffon. A year earlier, in hopes to attain a promise of peace, La Salle had travelled seventy-five miles east to the Seneca village of Ganondagan, located on present-day Boughton Hill, just outside of the Village of Victor, about 20 miles south of Rochester.1 Peace was promised, but as the attempted arson proved, wasn’t necessarily guaranteed. So, ahead of schedule, on August 7, 1679, La Salle gave the order to weigh anchor and commanded twelve burly sailors to grab tow-lines and walk Le Griffon from the shallow ten-foot waters of Squaw Island, through the rushing rapids of the Niagara River and, with the help of a much hoped for northeast breeze, into the calm waters of what his native tongue called Lac du Chat (Lake Erie).2 Embarking on La Salle’s mission in search of the Northwest Passage, Le Griffon thus became the first large ship to grace the waters of the Great Lakes above the Niagara Falls.

But it also left several intriguing questions: How did the Lake he sailed into get its name? More interestingly, why did he need to travel to the east side of the Genesee River nearly to the other end of Western New York to speak to the Indians? Indeed, what had happened to the native (at least relative to the Europeans) Western New Yorkers?Continue Reading “The Lost Tribe of Western New York”

The Snow Monster Returns: Buffalo Bills, Undefeated for the Decade!

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Bills_Game_Close_Up_300Should I stay home or should I go?

With red letter snow warnings, ominous travel advisories and a plethora of church service cancellations, the question wavered annoyingly in my own mind and unspoken on my worried wife’s barely wakened lips.

Should I stay or should I go?

The last game of the season. A meaningless game. Against a team that expects to bench most of its starting players. The beleaguered Buffalo Bills, banished for the past decade to the Siberia of no-playoffs, have done little to earn back the loyalty of staunch fans since the heresy of hiring Tom Donahoe. Why should any humble fan place their body in harm’s way, especially when the kind Gods of Time-Warner decided to sell-out the game (the only way they could then broadcast it to local viewers).

Should I stay or should I go?

Continue Reading “The Snow Monster Returns: Buffalo Bills, Undefeated for the Decade!”