Die Mechdich Lechaa

All hail the Mighty Lehigh!
Lehigh at low tide, Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, PA
Great western river of Lenapehoking!
At low tide even does your spirit reach

From the rocks to the sky and beyond.

Great nourisher and benefactor
Your calm waters cede to rapids.
Your serene nature becomes fury.

Well known to us as die Lechaa,
You took us into your bosom.
You blessed the fields of the Deitsch,
And quenched our thirst for freedom.

The canal crews feared your swells,
Even while depending on you
For sustenance and livelihood.
Dumping soot and ash
Into your holy stream.
Yet you forgave us.

Your beauty never faded,
And You have regained power.
Oh, Mighty Lehigh!
Mechdichi Lechaa!
May we be worthy of your gifts.

                  - Robert Lüsch Schreiwer, 2019

These Hills... These Mountains...

These hills... These mountains...
Blobarrick from Mt. Pisgah, Carbon County, PA
Worn yet timeless
The oldest of the old
The spirits disturbed
By the plundering of coal

And the stripping of the hardwood

Slumber again 

Among the rocks

And the Mountain Laurel.

The restless spirits
Of the Lenape ancients
Roam these mountains
With the younger spirits.
Their imprint is forever
On the Mauch Chunk -
The Sleeping Bear.

The voices of the ancestors
Echo through the Gorge
From the Deitscherei in the south
To the coal towns to the north.
All of us are part of this Great Walk;
Generation after generation
Here on these hills... These mountains...

                               - Robert Lüsch Schreiwer, 2019


Kutztown Folk Festival 2019

The Folk Festival is underway. If you haven't visited it yet, what's keeping you?

The quilts are exceptional this year, and the crafters have a great supply of goods available. The music is also on the upswing this year.

The event runs until Sunday, July 7. More details and info about programming may be found on KutztownFestival.com.


Palatine Boors

In this current era in which we have forces trying to tear our country apart based on race, skin color, ethnicity, etc., let us learn some lessons from the past.
Our own ancestors were discriminated against and insulted by one of the most respected Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin.

The Palatines were not white enough for Franklin. 

The sad thing is that the same rhetoric that Franklin used to insult our ancestors is being used now in Alt-Right marches in DC and Charlottesville. The primary difference is that the Alt-Right has expanded the definition of "white" to include the Deitsch descendants of the Palatines as well as the Irish, the Italians, and the Slavs, all of whom have been the targets of discrimination at earlier points in our history.

I think my colleague and friend, Michelle Jones, said it best in this post on Facebook:

While there are legitimate conversations to be had about legal vs. illegal immigration and a variety of topics within the social sphere, bigotry and racism are not to be tolerated. Our ancestors were the first refugees to these shores from a non-colonial land. The Deitsch were the first to protest slavery in the Americas. The settlers lived in general peace with the Lenape, and there is lore within Braucherei of exchanges of information about plant medicine. 

The Palatines - and the present-day identity of the Deitsch - have always had their own way of viewing and doing things even within the context of being leaders in the pursuit of the ideals that are spelled out in our Constitution. Our cultural expressions and practices continue to this day despite  20th century efforts to undermine them and to suppress them.

Even while celebrating what makes us unique, let us embrace the wider diversity of this country with the recognition that we are all building toward those ideals.

In that spirit, we proudly adopt the hashtag of #PalatineBoor and its Deitsch equivalent, #PelsicherRauhbautz* as recognition that we are the descendants of the people whom Franklin eschewed. May we be more generous to later arrivals than he was to our ancestors.

* The Deitsch cognate of the English word "boor" is "Bauer" and is also cognate with the Dutch and Afrikaans word, "Boer." However, in regular Deitsch usage, the word "Bauer" has come to mean simply "farmer" without a semantic of class that would render it as "peasant." A "Rauhbautz" carries the semantic meaning of "boor" that reflects the unrefined aspect that people who would use a word like "boor" would intend. Quite literally, a "Rauhbautz" is an "unrefined (raw) bugaboo."



As is the case with many Deitsch folks, my family, particularly on the maternal side, took part in the Battle of Gettysburg. We have some rich family lore associated with the battle and with the Civil War in general. I am still researching some of the information for accuracy.

Folks may be interested in the book, Damn Dutch: Pennsylvania Germans at Gettysburg by David L. Valuska and Christian B. Keller. It's a great read, and I think people will find it to be very interesting and educational.

Books like these provide fantastic insights and understandings into what make us a unique ethnic group and culture, which still in many areas remains starkly different from the wider American society.

Hail to those who gave their lives to protect our liberty and to extend that liberty to all Americans!


"Gudi Rutsch!"

This is a New Year's phrase not-so-commonly heard in Deitsch but very commonly heard with relevant cognates in German. It's meaning literally is, "Good slide!"

Wishing one a good "Rutsch" has multiple meanings in Deitsch, though... Some are quite insulting (someone, usually in a sexist structure but may be directed at anyone, with loose morals), some area a little funny (a squirmy kid), and then there is the intended meaning (slide).

Thus: Gudi Rutsch ins Nei Yaahr... A good slide into the New Year!

(This would have a very different meaning from "Gudi Rutsch im Neie Yaahr," which would be wishing one a good physical sliding board, squirmy child, or person with loose morals in the New Year).

It is also worth noting that "Rutsch" is grammatically feminine (die) in Deitsch but grammatically masculine (der) in German.

Grammar matters!  :)