INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN
NO. 20 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 1986
8TH INSTALLMENT: FUN AND FROLIC IN HISTORY
(In the last issue, the erstwhile Ehserakeh prisoners of war, called by twhistorians "converts" were finding it difficult being amateur Frenchmen) They went with the French on the raid at Deerfield, Massachusetts where the French leaders allowed them to keep the Church bell they took off the church steeple. They compelled the English prisoners to carry the bell back to Canada. The bell being weighty, the said Anglos played out half way to their destination. The amateur Indian pirates buried the bell in the woods intending to come back for it in the spring. They finally hanged the bell in the steeple of the Catholic church in Kahnawakeh where for some 250 years, it tolled the hell out of the devil. The original purpose of church bells was to scare away the devil. It was a successful midwinter raid when the English in Deerfield were relaxed and completely unready.
The Praying Mohawks, as they were called in history, took part in numerous raids led by the French. In fact, the French were using them as shock troops just as the English were doing with the Iroquois warriors. By the end of the French regime in Canada, it had become evident that the Christian Mohawks were comparing notes with their "pagan" counterparts.
In 1716 (the last 'migration'), the land on which the converted Indians were living, was being controlled by the Jesuit Order and under the French system, it was called a "seigniory" with the Jesuits as the "seigneurs". The Praying Mohawks, despite their indoctrination in meekness and humility, were regaining their pride. They did not like this system of pecage" under which they were living, put their food down and declared they would be moved no more! Having been told that Montreal and the surrounding country was rightfully owned by their ancestors, the Praying Mohawks started a lawsuit for control of the land they lived on. Every time they were defeated in the French courts, they started another legal action. For some forty years they engaged in legal warfare with the Jesuit Order for control of Kahnawake. In the year 1760, the Praying Mohawks got word from the capital of the Long House at Onondaga that General Amherst was to move on Montreal, the last stronghold of the French in Canada and the way to strengthen their case in the court was to aid General amherst in capturing the city. The Praying Mohawks sent back the word that they would aid the English army under those conditions and so, General Amherst's army was strengthened by several hundred men who showed them all the by ways, unknown paths and trails, the strengths and weaknesses of the city. The French regime had the Jesuit Order to thank for the capture of Montreal. While the Praying Indian "peons" worked for free in the Seigniory, their Jesuit masters took in the profits.
General Amherst took Montreal early in the fall of 1760 and in token of appreciation for their aid in the capture of Montreal, Amherst had blankets distributed among the Praying Mohawks Thirteen hundred of them died from small pox. Amherst was known as the small pox general in history. He gave away blankets indiscriminately to Indians whether friend of hostile until blankets became unpopular and went out of style. The Praying Mohawks who survived, pressed the land claim which was finally settled by the court of General Thomas Gage in March 22, 1762. In the judgment of General Gage, the control of Kahnawake was taken away from the Jesuits and restored to the Indians who rightfully owned it in the first place by aboriginal rights. The judgment terminated the "temporal" lordship of the Jesuit Order over the Indians. They say General Gage did this only because he hated the Jesuits. The land was turned over to the "Iroquois and other Indians." The last requires an explanation. To be an Iroquois, one had to be a member and citizen of the Kanonsonnionwe, which means the Iroquois Confederacy, also known as the Long House.
A provision in the Great Law, Gayanekowa, provides in part: "....and if any of the people submit to laws of foreign nations shall forfeit all birthrights and claims on the League of Five Nations and territory. " The Christian Mohawks had followed laws of a foreign nation, the French and laws and regulations of a foreign religion. This disqualified them from the conditions of belonging to the Iroquois Confederacy. There can be no such thing as a "Christian Iroquois" because the moment an Iroquois becomes a Christian, he is no longer an Iroquois because he then shall be following laws and regulations of a foreign religion and foreign ways.
The English expected the Praying Mohawks to revert to their ancient status of being Iroquois with the reduction of so much of the power exercised by the Jesuits over them. The "other Indians" in the Judgment refers to those Mohawks who would continue to be Christians and therefore "not Iroquois". Just like an American ceases to be American if he becomes a Canadian. The English underestimated the Jesuit indoctrination. It was to be quite a while before the Praying Mohawks would start the revert to being Iroquois, that is, to be Long House people again. The process was nearly as slow as evolution.
England and France signed the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763, in which France gave up forts and lands it did not own, being there only as a squatter, besides which the Kanonsonnionwe held the title on the said lands. The Iroquois Confederacy did not like the Treaty of Paris as their own contributions in the war effort was minimized or ignored and since it was an allied effort, they were justified in demanding an acknowledgement of a share of their own lands dispossessed from the French. The British half of the alliance had quickly forgotten that it was hardly likely the French would have been beaten by English arms alone. The British Lion did not insert clauses in the Treaty of Paris saying that the victories won were those in which the Iroquois had taken part and led the attacks; and that the battles lost were those in which the Iroquois were absent.
To pacify the indignant Long House, the Royal Proclamation of King George III, October 7, 1763, had a lengthy provisions for their Allies, particularly the Six Nations Confederacy, the perpetuity of which was very temporary as usual. The Privy Council of England, safe and secure across thousands of miles of oceans, merely says a few words and the territories belonging to the Iroquois Confederacy and their allies, become included "in Our Dominions". Without even as much as a "by your leave" one part of an Alliance presumes to swallow the other part. This particularly ravenous ally, while being protected by the other ally, pretended to the rest of Europe that he was protecting a great and resolute ally.
It could have been the other way around. The Kanonsonnionwe, after the conquest of Canada, could have announced to the world that Great Britain, its great and resolute (?) Ally was now a Protectorate under the protection of the Six Nations Confederacy, which was actually the case. Canada never would have been conquered without the Long House.
Peace having been concluded, the Red Indians because of their Culture of the Human, had only thoughts of human relationship, field crops and hunting, not in intrigue and possession. When the Long House warriors heard that the weak sister in the battles with the French had proclaimed to the world that the Six Nations were under its protection, they thought it was a great joke. It's the kind of a joke that pays off among the people who practice the Culture of Possession. Since the conquest of Canada was an allied effort, one half of the conquered territory should have come under the possession of the Iroquois Confederacy, but the Confederacy was following the Laws of the Great Peace, that foreign nations so conquered were allowed to retain their lands, their governments, their laws, so long as they maintained the peace under the protection of the Tree of Peace. Their best orators had explained the principles of the Great Peace to their Allies the English, thinking that they would surely have enough capacity to understand that the only way to peace everywhere was to adopt the Iroquois system of Government and society. But, the English, like all other European counties, as well as the other races, were not interested in peace, only in possession. Once in forceful possession, the possessor has to fight to keep it for its rightful owners are boiling mad to get it back. There is no room for peace in white man's society and there shall never be as long as he practices the Culture of Possession, or he is forced to practice something else. A dispatch from Sir William Johnson to the Lords of Trade, November 13, 1763, just before the Royal Proclamation: "This trade was acquired in virtue of the possession which they (the French) had taken (contrary to the stipulation of the Treaty of Utrecht) of all the lakes in North America, though the circumjacent territory avowedly belonged to the Six Nations of Indians".
In brief, the English took possession of the territories belonging to their allies which had been won by the Six Nations by conquest. The English merely called this Indian territory a "protectorate" but as it can now be seen, it is a quiet seizure by fraud. The Iroquois should never have allowed this "protection" racket to develop. They had no way of seeing into the future.
As to be expected, the Royal Proclamation did not stop poachers on Indian lands nor squatters who were trying to move in, law or no law. No sooner were a rash of them run out of one sector, then another bunch was breaking through another. The white settlers had no regard for laws or regulations of their precious King nor any regard or respect for the rights and possessions of others. They had no respect for each other and so can not be expected to have respect for Indians. They were like a herd of cows seeing a com field, breaking down the fence to get at it. They operated purely on instinct which is part of the culture of possession.
Sir Wm. Johnson, the Governors and Commanders in Chief of the colonies became alarmed when they got reports of Indian movements all over the frontier. That meant war. Because of these encroachments in Indian territories by white frontiersmen and settlers, all Indians were organizing to wage a war to the finish. The Colonies decided to make a quick and final settlement of the boundary line and the Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768 was signed. The Line of Demarcation only temporarily halted the "migrations" (encroachments) of the settlers and squatters.
It would be a most happy occasion to report that the trials and tribulations of the Kanonsonnionwe were overcome and that the English had found happiness at last. However, the English are not happy in peacetime. No having to fight the French any longer, they decided to fight among themselves. They found a way, King George III himself provided the occasion by overtaxing the colonies. Of course, it's nothing compared to the taxation suffered by Americans and Canadians in these days of enlightenment. King George III was a piker compared to the tax bosses of today. Georgie found resistance in the colonies. The colonials even had the Mohawks dump the overtaxed tea in the Boston harbor. At least, the rascals were dressed up or undressed like Mohawks. If they wee like Mohawks, they must have been topless and if we read the white man right, his "Mohawks" must have been bottomless also. The purpose of blaming the terrible crime of dumping the tea on Mohawks was because they are supposed to be the most ferocious of Indians and who was going to go up to them and complain? At any rate King George was properly insulted and he sent down some of his boys to put the colonials in their place. One of the boys who came in from merry of England went by the name of Tom Paine. He spoke to the tax burdened colonials: "There's an idiot on the throne of England and we have to worship him!" No doubt he referred to the practice of falling on one's knees in the presence of Kings. As a result, the Americans no longer worship the King of England. They transferred their affections to the Statue of Liberty, Goddess of America.
In 1776, the American colonies declared themselves independent from England. They made a Declaration of Independence and proclaimed that they were no longer English colonies but a united country and called themselves "United States of America". The Kings of England did not invest money and people in the colonies to free themselves. The Mother Land poured men and arms into the colonies to punish her rebellious children. First, the old Mother punished her colonial children with oppressive taxation and when they rebelled, projected death and destruction upon them. The war dragged on for almost eight years dragging the Iroquois Confederacy into it. Thereby hangs a tale.
Modem Iroquois point an accusing finger at one man for all the land losses suffered by the Iroquois because of the Revolutionary War and afterwards in Canada. Joseph Brant was a younger brother of Mary Brant who was but 16 years old when she married Sir Wm. Johnson. Sir William adopted the boy when he was still a child, sent him to school and had him well educated. In school he became Christianized and according to the laws of the Confederacy, he became alienated and cannot become a Chief nor to hold any office in the Long House.
Iroquois warriors start early. Young Joseph was at the battle of Quebec when only 14 years old. He took to the military life and in the Revolutionary War, he held a position of a Captain in the British army. "He was more British than the British" they said. As both sides of the struggle had asked for neutrality on the part of the Iroquois Confederacy, Brant went to the Mohawk nation and asked for volunteers. The recruiting was slow at first, but since the British paid in gold pieces and the Americans had no money to pay the men, in time Brant had several hundred Mohawks and Senecas under his command. The first defense of Canada against the U.S. soldiers was fought by Brant's men when 800 rebels were ambushed and scattered by Brant's volunteers. The signal to start firing was always Joseph Brant shooting some Army leader. That way, he got three U.S. generals, a number of Captains and Lieutenants. Some say he was the best shot in the British army. Brant and his volunteers went on raids with Butler and his Rangers and it was for these raids that a large Colonial army of 9,000 men under General John Sullivan invaded the Seneca country in 1779 while the Seneca men were away serving unwisely for the British. The Six Nations Confederacy had passed an order in Grand Council declaring neutrality which the Seneca and Mohawk men had ignored in favor of fighting for money. It was a 19 day raid timed to get it done and over with by the time the Senecas can get back with possible reinforcements. It was too easy to get ambushed in the forests and Sullivan wanted to get back with least possible losses in men and his mission accomplished. Sullivan reported that he destroyed 40 towns. Some of the places he said he destroyed he never went near. His men surrounded a dwelling in the woods. An old Seneca woman came out and scared them off. They thought she was a witch. When Sullivan returned and announced his success, the white people howled with joy: "The Long House is finished!" The Long House had protected them for 150 years and now they didn't need them to help fight the French. According to the reports the Sullivan raid had decimated the Seneca nation. Decimate means to kill a tenth part of. Since the Sullivan raid had killed a total of 33 Senecas which is a tenth part of 330. so the Senecas had a total population of 330. Since the men were away and only old people, children and young women were home and their orders for such an emergency was to run into the forest so the raiders found precious few to kill. The burned homes were rebuilt and the Senecas, joined by other Indians went on a rampage of their own starting in 1780 and cleaned out three large areas including Ohio. The Long House was far from finished.
Meanwhile, Captain Brant and his volunteers went on their guerilla style fighting, always against odds, winning battles and were very surprised when England declared it had enough. England signed articles without any mention of the Iroquois Confederacy, other than signing away their lands, which it had no right to do. Apparently, the Privy Council had forgotten that the Six Nations were an independent state and included the Iroquois lands in its surrender of the colonial lands in America. Some friend, by jove! Gratitude of Princes.
There were some adjustments in the land boundaries made in the New Country by General Washington and another Fort Stanwix Treaty with the Six Nations this time in 1784 and with the brand new U.S.A. As usual, the white man reserved the right to write the terms of the treaty and the only right accorded the Indians was to sign it. After the U.S. Commissioners read out the treaty to the Indians for their approval and then to sign it, War Chief Aaron Hill of the Mohawk nation asked to read it. The Commissioners refused to allow that. They expected the Indians to sign an agreement without reading it! None of the Chiefs signed and the signatures in the 1784 Fort Stanwix Treaty were not those of Chiefs. The Grand Council of the Six Nations refused to ratify the treaty and who can blame them? Another treaty was proposed in 1789 called the Fort Harmar Treaty which also did not satisfy the Grand Council. The Canadaigua Treaty of 1794 contains the signatures of the Chiefs so they must have been permitted to read that one. One of the articles was rather tricky but the Indians signed it anyway. The U.S. government in all signed about 375 Indian treaties. What dillies they must be.
The King of England had given up and the Allies who helped his were once again "holding the bag". The Indians fighting with Brant naturally could not stay in the new republic. To repay for their losses a strip of land bought from the Mississaugas in 1732 was granted to the men of Brant and there their families settled to begin a new life. The grant of land known as the haldimand deed ran along the entire river known as the Grand River and six miles on either side for a total of a reported 700,000 acres.
Then the ultra-British Joseph Brant performed the crowning achievement of his career. In this episode, he displayed qualities he developed in his days in college and chumming around with his paleface friends. He went to New York and sold the nine million acres Ganienkeh territory (Mohawk territory) for $1,000. At that price, New York State said it was a "steal" and gave him a bonus $500. Generous Joe got about 1c for every six acres. Then he went back to the Grand River country and again without consulting the Mohawks, leased all except for about 45,000 acres of the 700,000 acre territory to his British friends at no cost. Ninety nine year leases at no cost. Felt sorry for his English cronies he said. "They got no money." He felt no sorrow for the Indian people he was pauperizing. Present day lawyers say he was getting money under the table. From a dreaded foe he became the white man's darling. He and his friends died happy. He would have sold the Brooklyn Bridge very cheaply. The land sale and leases are, of course, fraudulent and not acceptable to the Mohawk. (To be continued...)
INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN