Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Iroquois Six Nations



As knowledge of the traditions, manners, and national traits of the Indians, composing, originally, the six distinct and independent tribes of the Mohawks, Tuscaroras, Onondagas, Senecas, Oneidas, and Cayugas; tribes now merged in, and known as, the Six Nations, possibly, does not extend beyond the immediate district in which they have effected a lodgment, I have laid upon myself the task of tracing their history from the date of their settlement in the County of Brant, entering, at the same time, upon such accessory treatment as would seem to be naturally suggested or embraced by the plan I have set before me. As the essay, therefore, proposes to deal, mainly, with the contemporary history of the Indian, little will be said of his accepted beliefs, at an earlier epoch, or of the then current practices built upon, and enjoined by, his traditionary faith. Frequent visits to the Indian's Reservation, on the south bank of the Grand River, have put me in the way of acquiring oral data, which shall subserve my intention; and I shall prosecute my attempt with the greater hope of reaping a fair measure of success, since I have fortified my position with gleanings (bearing, however, solely on minor matters of fact) from some few published records, which have to do with the history of the Indian, generally, and have been the fruitful labour of authors of repute and standing, native as well as white. Should the issue of failure attend upon my effort, I shall be disposed to ascribe it to some not obscure reason connected with literary style and execution, rather than to the fact of there not having been adequate material at hand for the purpose.