NO. 21 NOVEMBER, 1986


(In the last issue, we had Joseph Brant giving away the Mohawk lands in New York State and in the Province of Ontario.) The Mohawks and the others of the Six Nations protested these land giveaways down through the following years right up to 1945 when the United Nations was founded in. San Francisco (white man keeps finding things on red man's land). The United Nations in those days were too busy bending over backwards trying to please each other in mind the "slight" foibles or delinquencies of duty on the part of one of its senior members, Britain, erstwhile Great Britain now "Little" Britain, considerably reduced by the second world war.

Joseph Brant, the Jonah of the Six Nations, is an example of a Kanonsonnionwe, who wandered away from the Laws of the Great Peace, who listened and was enthralled by the siren call of paleface indoctrinators who claimed to the "civilized state" and to be in possession of a superior way of life, though in their long history, they have never produced evidence to support their claims, their dogmas and doctrines but have ever only produced misery, tensions, worry, poverty (except for the class of indoctrinators), ignorance and fear for their own people and for any foreign people so unfortunate as to fall in the way of their wandering attention.

It might be noted here that not only the Mohawks emigrated to the Grand River Country, but many Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Senecas. All built their Long Houses there. The centuries old Grand Councils or the individual national councils were not interrupted and delegates were crossing the paleface border at will, depending on where the Grand Council was being held, in Canada or in new United States of America. As the Six Nations lived on both sides of the white man's international border, there was a constant flow of Indians crossing and recrossing the border. The white man's border meant nothing to them but it meant something to the white man. Some officials tried to put a stop to this socializing among the natives over their dividing line, but the Indians took to trails and were seen on either side at will.

The matter was solved by the Jay Treaty of 1794. In Article III, it provides: "No duty or Entry shall ever be levied by either Party on Peltries brought by hand, or Inland Navigation into the said Territory respectively nor shall Indians passing or repassing with their own proper Goods and Effects of whatever nature, pay for the same any Impost or Duty whatever... "

So we sorrowfully leave Joe Brant and his era. Some twhistorians think he was the grand chief of all the Iroquois. When he became a British subject, he alienated himself from the Iroquois, the Mohawk nation and disqualified himself from ever being elected to the chieftainship class or to being a war chief. The Mohawk War Chief in his time was Aaron Hill who told the U.S. commissioners during the negotiations for the second Fort Stanwix Treaty in 1784: "We are a free people, subject to no power on earth." Joseph could not say this as he was a British subject. However, Joe made the biggest noise in the Revolutionary War and as a result, who remembers or even ever heard of Aaron Hill?

The next appearance in history of the Iroquois Confederacy was in the War of 1812-14. Barely twenty five years had gone by since the Iroquois were barefacedly betrayed by the English when the Iroquois lands were given away by the Anglos to the new United States. Here again, the British were seducing the Indians to help save Canada from the "Americans" (transplanted Europeans). England was then fighting Napoleon using all its available forces in Europe to do battle with the French Conqueror and Emperor. It is not to be thought that the British Lion was singlehandedly joined in battle with Napoleon's legions. Lil' of Nappy found himself having to fight all of Europe. In Canada, the English had only four thousand soldiers to defend a thousand miles of frontier.

The Kanonsonnionwe met their Christian brothers, the erstwhile Eserakeh serfs to the number of about two hundred and more on the field and for the first time in almost two hundred years, fought side by side. They were joined by other western Indians, including the great Tecumseh. The number of British soldiers in the country was small and they had to be divided to defend many areas. It looked easy pickings for the american forces. The British Lion had left its Canadian Colony to defend itself the best way it could, while grabbing the great opportunity of winning eternal honors by defeating the great Napoleon. The Iron Duke Wellington got the most credit for Napoleon's defeat. We wonder if the Iron Duke used his European allies like the British did the Iroquois allies, stick them out at the front to do all the fighting.

Twhistory records that General Brock's "little army of 800 men" defeated 10,000 American soldiers and that Brock and his men were killed. Even Tecumseh was killed. How did 800 dead men defeat 10,000 troops? It seems that after killing Brock and his men, the Americans began a wide sweep of the Upper Canada country and in the way was the Iroquois settlements on the Grand River country. They didn't quite get there as 1,000 Iroquois 'troops'; mostly Mohawks, ambushed the Americans in the woods and forced them to flee back into the United States. The Mohawks picked up a bad habit from the whites. They took all the credit. It was also in these series of battles that the Mohawks gained their greatest fame of having the greatest "capacity". They outdrank as well as outfought all their competitors.

The records downplay the forest fighting by the Indians which cut the invading forces into pieces. At Beaver Dam the Indians are accorded some glory, when outnumbered, they trapped the invaders very few of whom escaped. The Kahnawake Mohawks were very prominent in this action.

The Six Nations of the Grand River, had hoped that by their defense of Canada and saving the country, some redress and restitutions for the wrongs committed by the idiotized Joseph Brant and for the great loss of land suffered thereby, would be ordered by a grateful government. All they got was a smile of appreciation. The English had a bigger fish to fry. They now had a great hero, the Iron Duke who was fighting the "Little Corporal" as history fondly refers to Napoleon. Such things as land frauds and other acts of land piracy was a matter of small moment to Great Britain. The British Lion was now engaged in making history. He was about to humble an ancient enemy, the French, who had gained a superiority over the English in matters military, a state of affairs which had lasted about 200 years. Vengeance was at hand, to be drunk to the full, one simply had no time to redress any wrongs against some folks who had merely helped in one's empire making. That it caused sadness, sorry, anxiety and mental anguish was besides the point. The British Lion's own people also suffered sadness, sorrow, anxiety and mental anguish in his drive to create a great Empire. Why shouldn't other people experience like suffering? Of course, the people who were not in the ruling class in the British system did more suffering, including physically suffering. Attainment of high sociology or the practice of human relationship never created a great Empire. Possession was the thing. The happiness of the elite or champions of the white man's culture of possession lay not on human relationship but on possession.

A force of 4,000 English soldiers could not have saved Canada in the war of 1812-14. To the further testimony that the Indians saved the Colony from the Americans, we offer the battle of Chateauguay. Seven thousand American troops were marching through Lower Canada to take Montreal. They had to pass through Chateauguay and then through Kahnawake. In Kahnawake itself, a large wharf took care of all traffic across the St. Lawrence River into Montreal. Packets crossed and recrossed the river at that point taking in wagons, horses and even trains later aboard. Until the Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge was built in 1885. The invading U.S. Army would have had to commandeer the packets to ferry the army and its equipment over. It was estimated that a whole week was required to ferry all the men and equipment over and this included horses, wagons, artillery (cannons on wheels) and of course, the camp followers, called "hors de combat". As a usual custom for armies taking over a town, the Americans would have taken over the homes of the Kahnawake Indians, eat their food and sleep in their beds, not to mention all the raping and plundering an army enjoys when on the march. This was the expected fate of the Indians.

Canadian History gives the credit for the victory of the Battle of Chateauguay to Colonel de Salaberry and his three hundred Canadian Voltigeurs. According to the account of the battle as taught to school children in the Province of Quebec, 300 French Canadians defeated and turned back 7,000 American troops under General Hampton. A plaque on the battle site gives thanks to the "Iroquois" allies in the number of 700 who went into the forest and engaged the enemy and thus "helped" win a great victory. According to the story, Colonel de Salaberry had felled trees for breastworks behind which his soldiers fought and stopped the Americans. Colonel de Salaberry was lucky the artillery didn't reach his barricade. One salvo from those cannons on wheels would have blown his barricade sky high killing every one behind.

On the eve of the famous battle, the Mohawk warriors left Kahnawake and marched ... beg pardon ... skulked (whiteman's books says Indians do not march, they skulk) to Chateauguay, passed Colonel de Salaberry's breastwork (must have been a sculptor) and went into the forest, prepared a trop and an ambush. The Americans, not expecting any resistance came happily singing and marched into the trap. The happy occasion became a horrendous disaster as soldiers were shot down by the hundreds and thousands. Less than half of their number got back to the U.S. much faster than they came and reported that there was an Indian behind every tree and there are millions of trees. General Hampton was court marshalled for failing to capture Canada. "Why don't you try it yourself," he said. The Kahnawake warriors returned home with huge horses, wagons and first class rifles and sent the cannons on wheels to Montreal as a present. They had no use for artillery. They travelled light and attacked without reserve (a pun is intended). There was no report on what happened to the camp followers. Maybe they joined the Indians. After all they were the winners. Yes, you guess it. They made de Salaberry a hero. Without firing a shot he won a battle. Can you beat that!

To this day, neither England nor Canada has shown any appreciation for being saved again and again by the Indians. They'll not even credit them for battles won. Sir Caucasian has a moral for this: save a man's life and he shall eventually hate you for the obligation he shall bear for the rest of his life. Viewed in this light, it was far better for the Indians not to have won any battle for the thankless paleface at all.

The next military show to be presented by the Kahnawake Mohawks happened in the morning of Sunday, November 4, 1838. The French Canadians at that time, as well as now, were not satisfied with their lot. They felt that the English had no right to take away the land they stole from the Indians. Of course, the Indians didn't think the French had any right to steal the land in the first place, even though the French did it in the approved holy way by erecting a cross and stealing the Indian land in the name of God. Both European groups and tribes had been fighting each other about who had more right to steal the Indian land. The English through a dirty trick of using the Iroquois had stolen a march over the French was now the masters of the land. In 1837, the French Canadians rebelled and tried to conquer the Province of Lower Canada by kicking out the English tribe. They called themselves "Les Patriotes" and were the separates of their day. The French tribe had some success at first and then decided to attack Kahnawake. The parish priest later said the French were not really attacking. They just wanted to get the Kahnawake warriors on their side and together they could wallop the English tribe. To do that, they had to get the Indians in such a position they would have to agree. So they had decided to surround the church on the Reserve while the pious Mohawks were attending the holy Mass and hold them as hostages until they agreed to take the warpath against the English tribe. Sounds familiar?

An old Indian woman spoiled the game. She was supposed to be in church and here she was looking for a delinquent cow that hadn't come home to be milked, when she saw a mass of white men maneuvering in the west end, just out of town and out of sight. The startled matron forgot her problem cow and ran back to alarm the town. Even the church didn't escape her attention. The Sunday before, the parish priest had thundered from the pulpit that he wanted to see the place filled to "overflowing next Sunday. "

The elderly messenger of death and destruction threw open the church door and screamed her message. The house of God emptied in a thrice despite the pastor's please of "It's alright! They don't mean any harm." The Mohawk townsmen made short work of the Patriots. No one can attack the town and get away with it. The young bloods had this sudden opportunity to show off their fighting prowess before their girl friends and they did it with abandon. In the action, they were positive lions and tigers. For their part, many of the raiders, when they saw the "ferocious" Mohawks charging down on them, simply ran for the woods and escaped. Seventy five of them were captured and marched to Montreal where two were hanged and a number banished to Australia. The insurgents were eventually defeated. The urge to separate was not killed however. It was only contained, to flare up again more than a hundred years later. The two white tribes cannot mix and assimilate, yet they expect the Indians to assimilate and become white people or imitation white people. In the case of Les Patriotes, they don't want to mix with the English. It's hard to imagine how the English, formal, haughty and snobbish wanted to assimilate with the French whom they regarded as being their inferior. The French in their turn regard themselves as being the most civilized people on earth and the most high class. Certainly, these two white tribes cannot mix and be as one.

The following years were peaceful but not lacking in excitement for the Kahnawake Indians. They were introduced to a new vocation when they were hired to work on the construction of the Victoria Bridge, spanning the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to the southshore, then one of the wonders of the world. It was completed in 1859. This is work which required daring and nerve. Some eight hundred Mohawks still follow this trade. The Kahnawake Mohawks also took the precarious job of guiding rafts of timber down the St. Lawrence River and through the Lachine Rapids. The Indians would get on the rafts several miles upriver from the rapids and the French Canadian river men would get off and return upriver for more rafts. The Mohawks would then guide the rafts in their wild ride down the dreaded Lachine Rapids. The Lachine Rapids measures a quarter of a mile long from the head to the foot of the rapids. The river drops fifty feet and the log rafts may achieve a speed of maybe fifty miles an hour or more. Whoever designed the rapids threw huge rocks in the way and the guides need split timing skills to avoid being killed in the mad dash down the chute.

The first man to pilot a ship down the awesome rapids was John Taiaiake Rice of Kahnawake. The even was commemorated by the printing of his image on the Canadian two dollar bill. One of the ships he piloted down the Lachine Rapids developed rudder trouble right in the middle of the rapids. Big six foot seven inch John Rice saved the ship by brute force in the course of which, the spokes on the steering wheel broke off in the man's mighty hands. Today, in a museum in Montreal, the steering wheel with its broken spokes may be seen with a full size picture of John Taiaiake Rice standing behind it. Big John, 1810-1892.

Another Big John made a splash (so to speak) on the Lachine Rapids. Big John Canadian, a little smaller than John Rice but had a son, Tom who was as big as John Rice. Big John Canadian used to shoot the Lachine Rapids in a 30 foot long row boat on New Years Day. With two of his huge sons at the oars, Big John stood on a small platform at the stern of the boat to steer past the big rocks. Standing on a crazily swaying boat, how he kept his balance is one of the mysteries of the Lachine Rapids. He even took passengers. Yes, you even pay to take a chance on having your broken body wash ashore somewhere past the rapids. Every New Years day for several years, a gallery of up to 200,000 people lined the north shore of the river to watch the spectacle. The Devil's Island blocked the view from the south shore. Reaching land, the passengers are covered with ice from the spray. Everybody repaired to taverns to celebrate Big John's New Year and guess who was the guest of honor?

In 1884, the English army was in Egypt. Is it possible that the British were still following the Dark Age law which reads: "No rights have the infidels!"? At any rate they were out there determined to wrest this fair land of they pyramids from the infidels. They wee supposed to be helping Egypt fight other arabs but eventually took over the whole area as a "protectorate". Sounds familiar? The sons of Islam weren't given up their land without a fight. Mounted on camels, long legged, hunch backed, homless cows of the Nile, they trapped the British in Khartoum and sealed them up tight. Frantic English appeals for help pealed from the land of the Nile. The cry of anguish rang right into ancient Kahnawake, reminding the elders of the pact of yore the Iroquois had made with the English, besides which, they were promised much gold if they would undertake the rescue of General Gordon and his men.

So, by fast ship, to the land of the pyramids went fifty two red men. The only way to reach General Gordon's beleaguered garrison was by the Nile River and to make it interesting they had five famous cataracts in the way. To make it more interesting, instead of shooting down the cataracts they had to tow up the things. It was a feat of engineering and it was a slow process which took months. Before they got to Khartoum, they received the word that General Gordon and his men were all wiped out. Though they were armed with the latest and the best, the Arabs had killed them with bows and arrows and spears. General Gordon had been killed with a spear. The expedition returned much faster. In keelboats, the Mohawks took the English army and their equipment for a wild ride down the cataracts of Sumnah, Ambigol, Tangur, Akaska and Dal of the storied Nile at that particular long, dangerous stretch never before navigated in all its thousands of years of history and after the Mohawks left was never again navigated. With gold bulging their moneybelt, the Indians took their time getting home. They toured Europe. Nowhere did they raise a cross and take the land in the name of God. They all went different ways. Some went to Russia, Germany, France, Ireland, etc. The last trickle in two years later. (To be continued...)