INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN
NO. 18 MAY/JUNE, 1986
6TH INSTALLMENT: FUN AND FROLIC IN HISTORY
(In our last issue, we had Dennonville committing his great villainy, grabbing 40 Iroquois Chiefs who had come to his invitation for a peace parley.) After successfully pulling off his famous treachery, Dennonville decided he had about ten days before all the fighting men of the Confederacy can be called together and descend on his expedition. So, he raided the Seneca country nearby and burned four villages, or so he said. Some Senecas, greatly outnumber, stood up to the raiders, but it was seen that they were employing delaying tactics, no doubt, they tried to hold the French in the area while reinforcements they expected from the others of the Iroquois nations can get there. However, the French perceiving this, retired from the Iroquois country in plenty of time.
It was also noted that in this affair, as well as in others, the English allies of the Iroquois Confederacy, were conspicuous as their absence, whereas, when they were engaged to meet the French, they made sure that the Iroquois Confederacy and themselves "sine up" the Covenant Chain of Friendship and fight the French together; and then very often retire from the field of battle, leaving the Iroquois to fight on alone. This was to happen many times. De Dennonville's little caper precipitated another war between the French and the Iroquois Confederacy.
The Ehserake Serfs, once before mentioned, make their reappearance in history. By this time, the original prisoners of war had died off. Their children had grown up and begotten their own children and these were quickly indoctrinated in the European religion and strictly regimented therein. Their minds were washed of all past associations. They never heard of the Founder of the Kanonsonnionwe (the Iroquois Confederacy), the most inspired man of the ages, Deganawida. They never got to hear of the Law of the Great Peace nor of the brilliant creation which was the government of the Iroquois Confederacy. They were instructed by their French captors that they were "savages" and formerly pagan, that it was the most fortunate thing for them that the white man came to America for now they shall know the Kingdom of God in paleface heaven.
To show how extensive and complete is the indoctrination of the white man's religion, one modem day Mohawk priest, about 30 years ago, thundered to his congregation in a sermon: "The white man did not come here to America to steal our land. He came to give us a better land, heaven!" He did not explain how the white man obtained the authority to give away the land in heaven, probably in the same fashion he got the authority to take liberties with the red man's land here below.
The Kahnawake serfs learned so well that after more than 40 years of brainwashing they became completely devoted to the French cause. Like all Christians, they thought all infidels had no right to live, therefore no right to possessions such as land, etc. They looked askance at their brothers the "pagan' Kanonsonnionwe, beg pardon - Iroquois Confederacy. The converted serfs even accompanied their French masters in several forays to the English held territories and acquitted themselves in the approved Aristotelian Christian fashion. (The theories and teachings of Aristotle had been adopted by St. Thomas Aquinas and incorporated in the dogmas and doctrines of the Christian Church.)
The Long House, of course, had no idea of the strength of white man's indoctrination (when others do it, it's called brainwashing). The Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy ordered the Warrior Society (the War Chief and his men) to liberate the Kahnawake prisoners of war, latest of many attempts and the most famous (infamous to twhistorians). They sent an emissary to the Mohawk Praying Castle to tell them the good news, but the captives now pious and holy, no longer wanted to be liberated. They had completely swallowed the unprovable claims of the French and their missionaries. When they were told of their coming liberation in April, they informed the priest who sent word to Montreal. The soldiers came and took the Indians into the fort in Montreal - beg pardon Ville-Marie. They weren't about to give up their precious possessions, workers who work for nothing. To remove their corn, it took the soldiers six weeks. The Indians had to grow a lot of field products as they were keeping the French colony in food as well as their Indian allies who kept hanging around the forts.
The Iroquois Warrior Society didn't show up until early in the morning of August 5, 1689 and saw the deserted settlement of Kahnawake (the first, several miles down the river from the present site). The bird had flown the coop. The Iroquois army crossed the St. Lawrence River and arrived in Lachine just before dawn. Rain was coming down in torrents, lightning flashed, thunder roared and hail stones added to the miserable scene as the Iroquois took Lachine. They failed to liberate the Kahnawake captive serfs but did avenge Dennonville's treachery and the capture and enslavement of the 40 Iroquois Confederate Chiefs. Two hundred of Lachine's residents were killed on the spot. Nine hundred were taken prisoners and marched to the very gates of Fort Ville Marie. They tried to exchange the Lachine prisoners for the Kahnawake captives. The French refused. In those days, the Church was burning heretics and witches at the stake. The Iroquois had learned of this from the Dutch many years before and so decided to burn the Lachine prisoners at the stake. The Iroquois thought that it would make the French agreeable to a prisoners exchange. But the French turned out to be as hard on their own people as they were to their enemies. They watched their own people burn without turning a hair. They could have stopped it by simply agreeing to exchange prisoners. The civilized Frenchmen had seen too many burnings at the stake in their native France to be bothered by it. Hundreds of years of it. The Holy Mother Church is a woman and her score of burnings is estimated at a modest 50 million dead witches and heretics during the 500 years she terrorized the known world. Her sons, the Crusaders did a lot better in less time. It took only 200 years and 11 crusades to score 300 million dead infidels. So, the Iroquois was a tyro, a mere learning beginner, at the "Massacre of Lachine" when compared to the pros, the ancient Christians. The Iroquois is called "savage" when he is only an amateur while the accomplished European torture killers of millions are called "civilized".
There were hundreds of soldiers in the Fort who refused to be drawn out to fight the Indian raiders. Though they saw their own countrymen and women being prepared for the stake, they dared not come out to fight. The suffering of the condemned as they burned couldn't induce the soldiers to leave their stone walls or give up the Indian prisoners who built the stone walls by slave labor. All they needed to do was give up their slaves to stop the burnings.
They preferred to see their own people destroyed than to give up any possessions. Only the children were spared to be taken into the Iroquois country. Every night the besieged residents of Fort Ville Marie were treated to the spectacle of the Iroquois War Dance and other dances. What a sight that must have been! as 1500 of the toughest men on earth - as they were referred to in Europe - took their recreation, went through various dances. Still the regiments in the fort refused to come out and play. The Iroquois did not have artillery to own the stone walls and so could not go in after them.
The Iroquois army occupied the Island of Montreal for two months until October and the approach of cold weather (too cold for ancient bikinis the Indian wore, called "breechcloth") made them retire from the area, but not until they emptied all the towns, villages and farms all the way to Three Rivers.
The Lachine kids who were taken to the Iroquois country, grew up with Indian kids, were exposed to Indian ways, natural righteousness instead of unprovable European dogmas and doctrines and learned the Indian form of government, the people's government instead of rule by a king. When they were strong enough, they were released and allowed to go home. The purpose was to have the white people instructed in the superior Indian ways by their own boys and girls. Many of the young French people were to find their way back to the Iroquois cantons and report: "It's no use!" White men as a whole cannot learn the Indian way, though one did and spent the rest of their lives with Indians."
The success of the Iroquois raids now emboldened their English allies. There was much trepidation on the part of the English to fight the French but they decided to attack New France by land. Colonel Peter Schuyler with 150 English and 300 Mohawks attacked Fort Laprairie near Montreal. As usual when the going got rough, the English started to retire and would have left to the Mohawks to fight on alone, but this time, the Indians fooled them. They also left. In the French Canadian history, it was a great victory.
Then in the winter of 1693, the French pulled a fast one. A dirty trick, one might say. They attacked the Iroquois off season; that is, at a time when the Iroquois had no thoughts for war. It was during the time of the Midwinter Festival sometimes called the New Year Jubilee. It was a time for all manners of ceremonies, Thanksgiving, Child Naming, games and social dances in the evening. The joyful occasion lasts about a week but the spirit lingers on and the dancing and good cheer prevails in the dead of the winter.
Great farmers, they had feasts galore and one early morning, the merry makers of the Onondaga villages were awakened and surprised by a force of 600 men from Montreal who killed about 20 and took 280 prisoners, men, women and children. The French Governor Count Frontenac, who replaced De Dennonville when the latter was recalled by the King, had ordered the invaders to show no mercy. Something went wrong and the raiders found themselves running for dear life back to Canada sans captives, sans many of their own killed by pursuing dance tired Onondagas. The entire striking force almost perished and were rescued by reinforcements from Montreal who were coming to help them destroy the Iroquois country. They all returned home.
Though the English allies had no part in the scuffles with the French they were quick to criticize the Indians for carelessness at the Conference with them in Albany on February 25, 1693. The English mentioned something about a "brisk attempt" on the enemy with "secrecy and expedition". They also warned them they had a traitor in their midst.
The Confederate Chiefs in turn, congratulated the Governor on his speedy relief and admitted "the French of Canada, our enemies have felled upon our brethren the Mohawks, and destroyed their castles and we can blame nothing for it but their hearkening to your Excellency's wholesome advice to keep good guard and send out scouts." (meaning that the French also attacked the Mohawks who had not been as careless as the Onondagas.)
Then the Iroquois Chiefs mentioned that the English might do some fighting themselves, attack the French by sea and by land; and since the Iroquois seemed to be doing all the fighting, the English might supply more arms and ammunition.
A Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy was held at Onondaga in January 1695 when it was decided not to send back French prisoners, until their own people held by the French were returned and would send no delegation to Canada to treaty for peace. They addressed their message to "Onondio" or King, therefore, to the King of France.
The Long House message to Onondio was like waving a red flag at Count Frontenac. Frontenac assembled and led all the available forces of Canada against the Iroquois Confederacy in the summer of 1696. Again, the Long House was caught napping (slightly did Frontenac came tapping), but with whatever men they had available, they employed the burned earth policy. Frontenac killed very few of the Iroquois for the Indians escaped into the forests with their families "but not, however, until they had given examples of 'savage' heroism worthy of a better cause". The priestly narrator did not submit a better cause than one's defense of home and country.
An Onondaga Indian, almost a hundred years old, remained behind and refused to escape into the forest saying it was time for him to leave this earth. Notwithstanding his age, Frontenac's men vented their frustrations on him for the escape of the rest. The army of Frontenac invaded only the Onondaga country whose villages had been self destroyed and as usual in these French invasions of the Iroquois country, so many days were allowed for the Iroquois warriors to collect together their own army to fight the raiders. The French were usually gone by then, for they had o wish to engage in forest war with the masters of such.
Frontenac quickly retired to Canada for he had sudden fears that the Iroquois warriors in assembling, may decide to bypass him and invade Canada instead. With Frontenac and the whole army of Canada in the Iroquois country, the colony would be in trouble indeed. But, the Iroquois failed to take advantage of the absence of the army from Canada. The chance also escaped the English. In fact, these "protectors" of the Confederacy were nowhere near the people they were supposed to be protecting. This time, the Iroquois had to bear the brunt of the entire army of Canada while their allies the English were somewhere in the rear.
At a conference with the Governor of New York in October 1696, the Iroquois said that they had heard the King of England "has canoes of 70 guns a piece and many forces" and demanded that they be employed in the war. BUT, the English and the French signed the Treaty of Ryswick, September 20, 1697. It brought peace between England and France and of course, left the Iroquois Confederacy holding the bag. With the English at peace with the French and their questionable protection removed, the way was open for the Army of Canada to invade the Iroquois country with no interference from the British ally. Frontenac planned such a campaign, but he realized that he needed every available force to invade the Iroquois country and with such a force absent from Canada, the Iroquois army may choose such a time to invade Canada themselves. Frontenac gave up the plan and died not long after in 1698.
With no longer any assurance of "protection" (so called) and help in case of an attack by the French and its Indian allies, the Long House decided to buy protection of a sort. They held a conference with Lieutenant Governor Nanfan of New York on July 14, 170 and the first Beaver Land Trust Deed was given to the English. This comprised the land north and northwest of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario the former being Sweege, the equivalent of Oswego. Both shores were included and Nanfan described the tract as 800 miles long and 400 wide. It was designed to prevent French claims and was signed by twenty Chiefs (Rotiyaner) from all the Iroquois nations. Most of this great tract was in Canada and the Five Nations (another name of the Iroquois) said they had taken it from the Hurons eighty years before. There was a later trust Deed of Lands south of the lake. It is clear from this that the Iroquois Confederacy wished to live in peace and for it they paid with a huge slice of territory. In exchange for this land the English agreed to a mutual protection pact which was to last forever. In time, the Long House would see how well "protected" they were going to be. Next the French ask for a peace parley with all Indians to take place in Montreal and especially invited the Five Nations. As this was a call for peace, the Iroquois Confederacy was bound by the Gayanerekowa, Law of the Great Peace, to respond. A general peace was concluded with great ceremonies.
THEN THERE WERE SIX
On September 25, 1714, the Confederate Chiefs of the Five Nations addressed Governor Hunter of New York, saying "Brother Corlaer: We acquaint you that the Tuscarora Indians are come to take shelter among the Five Nations. They were of us and went from us long ago and are now returned and promised to live peaceably among us and since there is peace now everywhere we have received them, to give them a belt of wampum. We desire you to look upon the Tuscaroras as those have come to live among us as our children who stay, obey our commands and live peaceably and orderly."
The Tuscaroras had lived for some centuries in the Carolinas up to the time they asked for asylum with the Iroquois Confederacy. The southern colonies were suppressing the local rich farmland Indian communities and the Tuscaroras were one of those who fought back. This brought down the weight of the colonial armed forces on them. By the time they arrived in the land of the Iroquois they had lost half of their number, well nigh to the way to extinction. DeGraffenried, one of leaders of the North Carolina settlers, in speaking of an encounter of the Tuscarora War, said that he "marched against a great Tuscarora Indian Village called Core, about 30 miles distant from Newbern, drove out the King (Chief) and his forces, and carried the day with such fury that, after they had killed a great many, in order to stimulate themselves still more, they cooked the flesh of an Indian in good condition and ate it. " This proves the point that Indians, besides having gorgeous color, are also very delicious. The civilized Europeans just couldn't pass up scrumptious feasts of roasts and broils of tempting, luscious Native Americans. Aristotle was a 'pagan' who exerted a great influence and doctrines of the Church. Aristotle also thought that people who ate other people are inferior people born to serve the better people as slaves. This puts the settlers from Europe in the category of inferior people. It has been recorded that in the 1880s, the settlers in the northwestern states, hunted down the Indians like game and ate them. The Tuscaroras had to be in desperate straits to leave their home of centuries. Likely, they feared to all end up in the cooking pots of the settlers. Henceforth, the Long House was to be referred to as the Six Nations instead of Five Nations.
There followed a time of peace, also a time of jockeying for positions among the French, English and the Iroquois Confederacy. It was a time for intrigue. The French made every effort to detach the Long House from its alliance with England. The English did likewise.
In 1744, His Britannic Majesty declared war on His Most Aristotelian Majesty, the King of France. After getting the news from the Duke of Newcastle, Governor Clinton replied, begging to acquaint His Grace: "I have had an interview with the Five (he forgot there were now Six) Nations and have renewed a treaty of peace and alliance with them." This after calling the Iroquois Confederacy "subjects". One does not make an alliance with one's subjects.
Of the Iroquois, Governor Clinton demanded: "You will to the utmost of your power to assist His Majesty's subjects in the rigorous prosecution of this just war against the French..." The right words? We shall see.
The Confederate Chiefs replied: "We look upon ourselves to be a war like people and never entered into a war with any nation, but in the end we got the better of them, but yet, we are inclined to peace." The Colony of Massachusetts did not like this answer by the Iroquois and filed a protest.
INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN