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Our Undying Past

Reclaiming the Wyalusing cliffs

The stunning, strategic, sacred site.

One of the most gorgeous spots in Pennsylvania is the Wyalusing Rocks overlook. Looming high above the upper Susquehanna River, it offers a breathtaking vista of the winding river and its broad alluvial plain. As a boy from that Northeastern Pennsylvania region, I remember going there with my parents and beholding the view in awe. Wouldn’t you know, in my historical novel Visions of Teaoga, my modern young protagonist and her dad pull over at Wyalusing to absorb the historical setting before them.

Go to Wyalusing today and, mixed among the roadside tourists, you may find Native Americans, there to pray and pay their respects. They know that this was far more than a lovely overlook. It was a strategically important sentry post, a site of tribal councils, and sacred ground. Fifteen years ago, the Eastern Delaware Nations coalition managed to buy 14 acres of the cliffs, and one of the group’s chiefs, John Taffe, tells me seekers of all ages go there to conduct traditional vision quests.

Wyalusing has been on my mind because I’ll be traveling Read More 

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'Indian-German Commonwealth'

An engraving of Moravian Indian converts being baptized in virginal white robes.
During the colonial era, the Christian group that historians say had the greatest success evangelizing to Native Americans was not the Baptists, nor the Presbyterians, nor the Quakers. It was a group that many people outside Pennsylvania are clueless about – the Moravians.

This German-speaking pacifist sect found refuge from persecution in William Penn’s new colony, establishing the lovely little city of Bethlehem, Pa., as its new base. It turns out I’ll be making an author appearance at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem this Saturday afternoon, March 21, and will happily highlight the Moravian history that runs through my book Visions of Teaoga.

And run through it, it certainly does.

The book’s real-life protagonist, the 18th-century Shawnee matriarch known as Queen Esther, was attracted to the Moravian missionaries and made numerous visits to their “prayer towns” on the Susquehanna River. The record shows that three of her children even converted to Christianity during Read More 
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