Nick Offerman confronts bittersweet ancestral past

·2 min read

Who Do You Think You Are? explored the family history of Nick Offerman on Sunday. The former Parks and Recreation star learned that his eight-times great-grandmother was extremely accomplished for a woman at the turn of the 18th century, but he also had to grapple with her treatment of indigenous people.

In the early 1700s, Eve Pickard was a literate Dutch colonial who owned a tavern outside Albany, N.Y., on what was Mohawk Nation property. At first, the tribe welcomed her, but soon they became weary as she started seizing more and more land.

Tribe leaders wrote to the British governor repeatedly, in hopes he would intervene. At the time, and later during the Revolutionary War, the Mohawks were allied with the British. The governor eventually evicted Eve and her family, after they attempted to steal some Mohawk land by having drunken Mohawks sign over the property.

“I just have to say, I mean, at least in all of these recountings,” said Offerman, “I am moved by the even-handed dealing of the Mohawk Nation.”

Eve’s great-grandson, however, was given the land following the Revolutionary War. The Mohawks had fled to Canada, and American soldiers were granted land in exchange for military service during the war.

The property sits in what is currently Danube, N.Y., Offerman, his mother Cathy and aunt Michele visited the former family land. While upset about his family's dealings with the local Native Americans, he was excited to visit the land on which his family fought and lived.

“Being here, on this land, it's powerfully moving,” said Offerman.

Who Do You Think You Are? airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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