This weeks' thoughts: Impact of the Valley Wars
on the Iroquois

Not too long ago, a longtime friend of mine (who happens to be a full blood Seneca) was giving me a hard time about this website.
He half-jokingly suggested that this site had no value to any Native American, and that I should give him space to focus on current aboriginal issues (he actually had some very funny remarks regarding transferring protest tactics from the reservation to the web, but I think the humor might be taken out of context here, so you'll have to imagine what he really said!).

I reflected on what he said; true, the story presented here so far is a white man's story - told be me, reinterpreting various source material created by various dead white guys. The amount of printed material generated by the Iroquois describing their history is, to my knowledge, rather slim. This is a shame, because I think a critical voice reflecting on the events of the Revolution is missing from our overall picture of events. What we know of Iroquois thoughts and actions is largely derived from white interpretations and observation. It is obvious that there will be bias and inaccuracies in any primary source material generated by an Anglo/European culture that looked down on their neighbors as little more than beasts.

This is not meant to be a pc apology; rather, it is to recognize the significant impact the Iroquois League had on events in colonial New York. It is also to recognize that the Iroquois way of life as a culture and a nation essentially came to an abrupt end on the eve of the Revolution. It didn't matter whether they were pro-British (Mohawk, Seneca), neutral (Onondaga), or pro-American (Oneida), all the peoples of the Longhouse were eventually forcibly relocated from their ancestral homeland.

I will do my best to add the Iroquois perspective to this site as material is located; like the Loyalists, their story is essential to the mosaic of life that was the Mohawk Valley.

To my friend Dave: all you have to do is explore to find Native voices expressing current pertinent issues on the Web. Here is onefor the Tuscaroras of the Six Nations;here is the Oneida Indian Nation page; if you are interested, I'm sure you can find a lot more out there. As to the past, try The Great League in Turmoil as a starting point.

send any comments to the scribe.
Copyright Greg Ketcham 1997