INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN
NO. 19 JULY/AUGUST, 1986
7TH INSTALLMENT: FUN AND FROLIC IN HISTORY
(In the last issue we had the Colony of Massachusetts irked because Les Iroquois were playing hard to get in the coming war with the French.)
They had gotten so used to having the Iroquois do the fighting that they thought it was the proper way of life. The Massachusetts Colony blamed the Indians' "inspired words" on New York, as if the indians didn't have an idea in their heads and had to be inspired by the fugitives from the "tight li'l' isle". Another complaint Les English had against Les Iroquois was they wouldn't strike the first blow, neither would they seize the French who hanged around them. The Indians said it was wrong. According to Gayanerekowa (The Great Law) they had to be attacked first. That the English could not force them to attack first is evidence that the Long House were not "subjects", even if the colonies were in dire straits, which conditions the Iroquois had experienced many, many times during the long alliance with England when always their allies made their appearance after the danger had passed.
The Iroquois Confederacy then asserted their independence and freedom of action. No matter how eloquent were the representative from four different colonies, the Long House just would not strike the first blow. Somehow, the French had gotten an insight into Gayanerekowa, leaving the Iroquois alone and fighting only the British. This placed the latter in a precarious position. To top it all, the French Governor of Canada requested a Council with the Six Nations and pointed out the Treaty of Peace that included the signatures of the Six Nations Confederate Chiefs and demanded that the Six Nations remain neutral in the war between the French and the English.
The government of His Britannic Majesty started to awaken to the need of obtaining the active aid of the Six Nations in the war and the Duke of Newcastle ordered Governor Clinton to assemble the Indians for this purpose. Governor Clinton, following the order, wrote to the governors of the Jerseys and Pennsylvania: "To send all the fighting Indians from their governments to Albany on this occasion; and I shall make them such presents on the behalf of the Crown and use such means however costly, as I think will be useful to engage them to take part in the expedition." To all intents and purposes the English Crown thought the best way to protect a foreign people is to stick them out at the front to fight and die so that they'll long enjoy the benefits of being protected.
Then suddenly, a new hero made his appearance. William Johnson. He was an immigrant from Ireland who came to America to make his fortune, the same not being possible in white man's land, Europe. William Johnson was a brash young dude and his uncle sent him to superintend his trading post in the Iroquois country. When reckless, swashbuckling William first met the storied Iroquois, he recognized them as men after his own Irish heart. Here, he decided, were real men and their women, real women. He married a succession of them. In rum, the Iroquois folk saw a white man closer to nature than any other white man they ever saw. Mutual trust developed and it didn't take long before the Young Irishman was asked to be interpreter, spokesman, representative, etc., so greatly were the Long House people taken up with young William.
At the time of the attempts to induce the Iroquois Confederacy to unbury the hatchet, William Johnson had been made Colonel of the Mohawks - no such title in Gayanerekowa. The title was perhaps as frustrating as "subjects". It was through his influence that the Six Nations threw down the War Belt and declared war against the French. The Mississaugas joined them in the declaration.
The war was much more than two years old when the Six Nations and the Mississaugas entered. The rights of the Indians to their independence was fully conceded. They were then committed to carry out their pledge to fight the French and, you guessed it, the pattern of the earlier was again asserted itself. The English policy of "let George do it" was again in effect. "George" being in this instance the Iroquois and not King George of England. With only a few white men with them, among whom was their dauntless friend, the aforementioned Colonel William Johnson, the Long House started incursions into Canada. This while the colonies, whose representatives were so aggressive and warlike at the Conference with the Six Nations, now fumed, sputtered, spluttered and filled the air with their dissensions.
The only area in which the British Lion had any confidence in himself was on the seas. He was not a land roving lion. He was a sea lion. There he really shone. It's not for nothing that it was said the British Lion ruled the waves. In 1745, the British Lion besieged and took Fort Louisbourg guarding the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. He told the people there if they did not surrender he'd turn them over to the terrible Iroquois. They surrendered.
Meanwhile, the Iroquois found themselves bearing the greater part of the land engagements. Their allies, the English, just simply could not leave their blessed colonies and do some fighting. The Long House reproached the English for the feebleness of their efforts. Next, the New York assembly refused to do anything for their defense, voted no supplies in aid of the war and wanted, instead, an arrangement with the French whereby New York might remain neutral. After one hundred and fifty years, French arms were still terrifying to the English. Colonel Johnson informed Governor Clinton that he no longer had the supplies nor the means to fill the needs of the Indians to carry on the war. He had been financing that part of the war himself.
The colonies were suddenly spared the trouble of having to take to the field of battle, when a couple of the masters of the white man's howling civilization decided it was folly to fight over the Red Man's land and signed the truce called the Peace of Aix la Chapelle on October 1748. Now Governor Clinton had the job of explaining the Peace to the Six Nations, which had been concluded without the knowledge and sanction of half of the Alliance. The Crown representative had also promised the Iroquois warriors they would not sign the Peace until the vengeance had been wreaked for the loss of so many of their best men in the struggle of the war they had been led into and have had to endure the brunt of it.
The French also had a number of Six Nations prisoners as well as English at Quebec. The Six Nations had French prisoners taken by themselves. The English also had French prisoners. The Iroquois Confederacy wished to exchange prisoners with the French. The French Governor said to send Deputies to Canada for the purpose. Now that peace was once more upon the land and Governor Clinton's worries of seeing the French forces deploying on Colonial soil had evaporated, the Governor decided he had no further use for the Red Man's good will. He alleged that the Iroquois Confederacy were British subjects and could not conduct separate negotiations with the French. The exchange of prisoners must be made by him.
In a Council with the Six Nations, Canada's Governor de la Galissonieres read to the delegates of the Iroquois Confederacy, a letter from the Governor of New England who styled them subjects. "It shocked them so much that they immediately made their protest, which was received by a Notary and they affixed their seals or totems ... that they fully maintain that independence." Upon Governor Clinton's demand, the Governor of Canada de la Galissonieres wrote him on December 29, 1748, denying the Iroquois were subjects of Great Britain. Governor Clinton told Colonel Johnson to tell the Long House that the reason why he called them subjects was because if they boldly told the French Governor that they were the children and the subjects of His Majesty, the French would not dare hold the Six Nations war prisoners. We are now to presume here that the French had become afraid of the English. It is an easy thing to say about an enemy when one does not have to march against him. Colonel Johnson and other officials deprecated the use of the term and said they were a foreign people to be dealt with by the King himself or his representatives, impliedly as the treaty making power rested in the Sovereign.
At this time, there were completed, alliances between the Western Indian nations and the Iroquois Confederacy "which later was to cause such contentions between England and the infant United States, that the Revolutionary War which ended in 1783 was almost resumed."
The time of peace was taken up with various land disputes (fighting over Indian land) and the settlement of the same. It was in this time quiet that a Mohawk orator (or "haranguer" as the twhistorians would say) gave a speech to an audience which included Benjamin Franklin. He urged the white men to adopt the Iroquois form of Government, explaining in some detail about this great people's government. It was perhaps too much and too soon for the white man, accustomed to masters to understand. A government of the people whose Rotiyaner (leaders) are their voice and will? Referendum and recall? The roll of women in government and natural righteousness in society? The Red Man's audience had never heard of such things. When the Indians were gone, Franklin said: "We call them savages, why can't we get a government like theirs?" The white race still hasn't got such a government - incorruptible and dedicated to peace for all. Some twenty years later, several white men in that Red Man's audience did try to build a like government and copied almost word for word the Gayanerekowa - the world's first people's Constitution. But the government they instituted fell far short of perfection. After copying the Iroquois Constitution, the rewrite men "refined it". After that, it took seven Philadelphia lawyers to understand it.
War clouds once again began to roll in 1754 and the recommendations that the command of all forts and governors in the different colonies in America, as well as the sole direction of Indian Affairs, be placed in the hands of "some one single person, Commander in Chief, to be appointed by Your Majesty", was represented to the King by the Lords of Trade.
The colonial governors were notified of the preparation of a force for America and the colonies were given instructions how to raise their own forces as auxiliaries. Colonel Johnson was recommended to the post of the management of Indian Affairs, especially those of the Six Nations - "the strongest barriers to the British settlements. "
A great military force was being organized to drive the French from their forts on the Ohio, at Niagara, Crown Point and Beausejour in Nova Scotia to be under the command of General Braddock. While with Braddock in Virginia on April 15, 1755. Colonel Johnson received from the King, the appointment of Superintendent of the Six Nations. Making the Iroquois subjects again? General Braddock's expedition did not include the army of the Iroquois Confederacy. The reason given for this was that Braddock's expedition contained Souther Indian warriors who were mortal enemies of the Long House and it was decided inadvisable to have the two factions meet. Actually the correct explanation is that Britain and the Iroquois signed a Treaty of Alliance and Braddock's force was expected to conquer Canada and if the Iroquois took a hand, the land being conquered would have to be divided between the two parties of the Alliance. This the English did not want. They wanted all the land for themselves.
General Braddock's huge force, estimated at 19,000 men, the largest force ever assembled in North America up to that time, was ambushed and massacred by the French and their Indian allies led by Pontiac who turned out to be a great military leader. The absence of t"the great barrier to the British settlements" was conspicuous indeed. The enemy, perceiving that not a single Iroquois accompanied the British force, happily backed the huge army to pieces. Even Braddock was killed. It was said that young Sgt. George Washington of the Colonial Forces set a fine example of athletic ability. Six feet three inches tall, every one admired his great strides as he dashed to safety. A wise old proverb was justified. "He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. " Even become a great man. "Bestride the ages." Why stick around and be chopped up like a butchered steer? There are better times ahead. Greatness ahead.
Two months later, on September 10, 1755, the British Army, under the command of a one time, brash young Irish rascal, gained a great victory over the French commanded by Baron Dieskau, who was taken prisoner. Yes, swashbuckling Colonel William Johnson who was never a soldier, did what the English have not been able to do for a century and a half, Lead an army to a victory over a superior force of French soldiers. But, who did he have with him? His old friends and kindred spirits, the Iroquois who had to lead the attack and sustain the greatest losses, due to the backwardness of the regular army and the colonials. We shall go on record here as saying that had the Long House been absent, the result of that battle would have been different indeed!
Colonel Johnson was wounded as should be expected being with the Iroquois at the front of the action. He was thanked by the Kind and made a Baronet of Great Britain, after which he was called "Sir William". On the 24th of the same month he wrote to the Lords of Trade: "The next day after this affair, the Indians acquainted me that they proposed to return home as was their constant custom after an engagement when they had been very faithful to our interests. The sustained the chief attack from the enemy in the morning action and they complained to me that they were sacrificed by the backwardness and flight of our people and I fear from impartial accounts, they had reason. Every one of their officers who were in the engagement were slain."
It is very plain from this letter that the English policy of letting the Iroquois do the fighting was still being followed and not only that, Sir William dispassionately writes of "flight of our people" which means that at the onset of the engagement, the English had taken flight leaving to the Iroquois, as usual to do the fighting, returning only when it was safe and helped to achieve this great victory. This attitude on the part of their comrades-in-arms- was to determine the future conduct of the Iroquois Confederacy for the rest of the war.
The people of the Long House in general did not like this treatment of their most able bodied men. They did not like this sacrifice of the lives of the cream of the manhood of the Kanonsonnionwe, so that the white man may indulge in their culture of possession and at the same time, stay in the background of the battles in comparative security. Since it was not a lapse, a momentary slip or an accident on the part of the British, but a regular policy down through all the wars to stick the Iroquois in front of them in battles, the Long House people in general held a People's Council and decided on neutrality. They submitted their decision to the Grand Council through their War
Chiefs and a Grand Council was convened. The decisions of the people in general have to be considered as it was the law and the Chiefs of the Grand Council sanctioned the issue. Only volunteers were to be allowed to take part in the battles henceforth.
The Iroquois Army was to take to the field again after some adjustments and promises of better treatment by their British Allies. In April 1759, a Council was held at the Canajoharie Castle of Sir William Johnson with the Six Nations and the Covenant Chain between them and the English was again renewed. On July 8, 1759, an English army under General Prideaux with about 3,000 men, one third of whom were Iroquois descended on Fort Niagara. The French killed General Prideaux on July 20 and Sir William Johnson took over the command. Fort Niagara surrendered on July 24. Under General Amherst, the same Army took Forts Crown Point and Ticonderoga.
On September 18, 1759, the mighty fortress of Quebec, regarded by many as the strongest on earth, surrendered to the Army under General Wolfe in a fight which lasted about twenty minutes. It was a great victory for English arms and history (twhistorians) give credit only to the British soldiers, saying there were no Indians at Quebec. A document at New York gives a different version. It tells the story of how little French kids were brainwashed by their own parents to fear the terrifying "Les Iroquois." Any mischief a boy committed always brought an admonition that Les Iroquois would get him if he didn't behave. The Kanonsonnionwe had become a byword of fear in the Colony of Canada. Day after day this fear was driven into French children. The English, somehow, had tumbled into this. They used the fear of the Long House to intimidate the great fortress of Louisbourg to surrender.
According to this source, General Wolfe had been at Quebec for about a month, besieging the place when the "ferocious" Iroquois started to trickle in. The night before the famous battle of the Plains of Abraham, the Long House reinforcements had swelled to a thousand men and Wolfe had cunningly contrived to have them hidden from spying eyes hoping to capitalize on the shock of their sudden appearance. How right he was! On the Plains itself, the British Army formed a line behind which stalked the Iroquois warriors; out of sight of French line of battle marching towards them. At a signal the British soldiers executed a maneuver which made every other man step behind a comrade at this side, creating a space through which rushed the "terrible" Iroquois with "blood curdling whoops" roaring from a thousand throats. The English soldiers also whooped to add to the tremendous din. The young French soldiers, indoctrinated day by day with fear by their own parents and the brimstone sermons from the pulpits about "incarnate fiends of hell, les Iroquois", ground to a stop momentarily petrified; here were the bogeymen of their childhood, the nightmares of their adulthood, rushing upon them, formidable engines of destruction. The French simply turned and ran in panic. Montcalm, their commander, tried to avert the panic by shooting them down;. One of his own fear crazed men shot him.
The "battle" lasted only about twenty minutes. In the excitement, it is said that one of General Wolfe's own men shot him. Said to be a martinet and a lot of his men hated him. This is how a British Army, outnumbered two to one, defeated the French at Quebec. Were it not for the fear of Les Iroquois, Canada would still be French. In fact, many are convinced the whole continent of North America would be French speaking today.
GRATITUDE OF THE EXALTED
We now return to the Eserakeh serfs who were no longer enslaved physically, having broken away from that by their own efforts, but were still attached to paleface spiritual dogmas and doctrines, which they had so far omitted to require their indoctrinators to produce evidence to support the same. They had enough physical freedom to go on forays with the French to English held territories, having been told that the English were heretics who must be punished. Earlier, Count Frontenac had been furious with them when they refused to fight the Mohawks who were with the English in one engagement. The praying Mohawks answered: "We are not dogs that we should kill our own relatives." (To be continued)
INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN