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Ots-Toch is the name commonly used for a Native American of the Mohawk Nation born in 1600 near Canajoharie, New York. She married Dutch settler Cornelise Antonnisen Van Slyke and founded the Van Slyke family in New Netherland. She was married sometime around 1620 and died in 1646.

Little is known of Ots-Toch, although she is indirectly referenced in many histories of early New York. For example, a daughter, Hillitie, chose to live with the Dutch,[1] but served as an official Mohawk interpreter.[2] Ots-Toch had at least three other children with Cornelise Van Slyke, and may have had more children by a Mohawk father.[3]

Some variants of Ots-Toch's legend claim that her father was French, Jaques Hertel[4]

In local lore, Ots-Toch is often compared to Pocahontas, as the two share many similarities. Both converted to Christianity.[citation needed] Ots-Toch, who was married at the age of fifteen to Cornelisse Van Slyke, is reported to have written this song as a young woman, sometime after the Dutch arrived. Though perhaps not considered politically correct in modern-day vernacular, the song she sang to her children, which was passed down through generations to her descendants, goes as follows:[citation needed]

O'er the dark woods and forest wild
My father in his wild nature smiled
with tomahawk and bended bow
to slay the reindeer and buffalo
My brother in his bark canoe
across the lake so gaily flew
to catch the whitefish in the lake
and shoot the wild ducks in the brake
my mother in her wigwam sat
with copious work and curious chat
and I poor little Indian maid
with acorn shells and wildflowers played
and I beside my mother all day
to weave the splintered baskets gay
to pound the samp and tan the skins
and mend my fathers moccasins
I could not read, I could not sew
my Saviors name I did not know
till white man to the forest came
and taught poor Indian Jesus name
He built a church and school house near
with Holy hymns and wildwood cheer
Now I can read, now I can sew
My Saviors name I'm taught to know
Now my Redeemer I implore
God bless the white man forever more."

Notes Jump up ^ Bielinski, link below Jump up ^ Pearson, pg 342 ^ Jump up to: a b Biasca, pg 4. Jump up ^ Pearson, pg 189

  1. ^ Bielinski, link below
  2. ^ Pearson, pg 342
  3. ^ Biasca, pg 4.


  • Bielinski, Stefan. "Hilletie Van Slyck Van Olinda". People of Colonial Albany. New York State Museum. Retrieved 14 November 2013. External link in |website= (help)
  • Biasca, Cynthia Brott. "Jacques Hertel and the Indian Princesses". Archived from the original on 11 January 2002. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  • Gade, Dianne (7 June 2011). "Who Was Ots-Toch?". Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  • Pearson, Jonathan. (1883). A history of the Schenectady Patent in Dutch and English Times; being contributions towards a History of the Lower Mohawk Valley. Albany, NY.