NEW YORK — Members of one of America’s oldest Protestant churches officially apologized Friday — for the first time — for massacring and displacing Native Americans 400 years ago.
“We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people and disregarded your culture, along with your dreams, hopes and great love for this land,” the Rev. Robert Chase told descendants from both sides. “With pain, we the Collegiate Church, remember our part in these events.”
The minister spoke on Native American Heritage Day at a reconciliation ceremony of the Lenape tribe with the Collegiate Church, started in 1628 in then-New Amsterdam as the Reformed Dutch Church.
The rite was held in front of the Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan, where Dutch colonizers had built their fort near an Indian trail now called Broadway, just steps away from Wall Street.
The Collegiate Church was considered the “conscience” of the new colony, whose merchants quickly developed commerce with the world in fur and grains — till then the turf of the natives.