The weekend after the Vernon Verona Sherrill school event, Dakota Bluewolf (Wolf Clan), Seb Schenandoah (Wolf Clan) and Dean Lyons (Turtle Clan), along with Oneida Elder Sheri Beglen (Wolf Clan), were part of a group of Haudenosaunee reenactors that traveled to Valley Forge for the recording of a new welcome video for the historic site.
The short film will depict how several Oneida warriors aided a grossly outnumbered battalion of colonial scouts at the Battle of Barren Hill, a critical victory that stopped the impending push of British forces. If not for the Oneida and American scouts bravely engaging the British, nearly a fifth of the American army could have been lost. Many believe the entire course of the war would have been different if this trap by the British army had not been evaded. Oneida woman Polly Cooper, depicted by Sheri, was also a key figure in the American Revolution, helping to transport and cook bushels of corn for the famished soldiers camped at Valley Forge and boosting morale.
Ron Patterson sent down hand-made clothing, moccasins and weaponry, including muskets and a blunderbuss, from the Oneida Heritage inventory to ensure an accurate representation of the Oneida at the time. Dakota and Dean were also black-powder certified at Valley Forge so they could operate the muskets in the shoot.
The National Park Service commissioned the new video to showcase it at Valley Forge’s new Welcome Center, which opens next year.
Photos: Beth Dhunjisha, National Park Service.