tv Lectures in History Colonial Diplomacy the Iroquois Confederacy CSPAN August 31, 2021 5:16am-6:13am EDT
diplomatic ties between cole lease and iroquois. this is just under an hour. all right. well, welcome, everyone, today we're talking about diplomacy on the early american frontier. takely between native american peoples and european families. we will talk about some. customs and protocols that governed that style of diplomacy and the objectives of both native american peoples and colonial peoples brought to those meetings. i have an image that is a painting from 1903 that is depicting one such treaty conference that went on in the frontier of new york in the mohawk valley. you did a reading today that featured a fellow named william johnson that not a lot of students know about. but he was an interesting figure. he was an irish immigrant, settled on the mohawk frontier
of upstate new york in 1740s. and became friendly with the mohawk indians who were his neighbors and ultimately gained a great deal of influence among them and ultimately was appointed by the british down to serve as its agent to the iroquois nations this. painter in the early 20th century wanted to depict one of these treaties that johnson convened with native americans. think about the reading you did for today. this is kind of providing you with a mental image of that. it was at jansen hall, which was a georgian mansion that he built on the ho hawk hill. it still stands today. you can get off the new york state throughway and you can visit this site and visit another one of his homes that predated this, both of which are preserved as state historic sites in new york and tell a really interesting story about how europeans and native americans came together on the
frontier not to fight but actually just to talk about their differences and to try to come to some kind of accommodation when they did have conflicts. i want to switch from upstate new york to pennsylvania right now. if you were to travel east of gettysburg for maybe an hour and a half or so along route 30 you would come to the town of lancaster, pennsylvania. i imagine some of you have been to lancaster, are familiar with it. in 1744, lancaster was just this tiny little frontier community that was really on the edge of settlement in pennsylvania. but in june of 1744, a group of 250 iroquois indians arrived in lancaster. they were carrying arms, bows, and arrows, and guns and toma hawks. they marched right through the
center of town. you might imagine this caused panic among the residents of the tiny quaker town. there wasn't even a militia to call out perhaps in fear of an attack from the iroquois. they weren't there to make war. they were there for a treaty conference that had been called by the governor of pennsylvania so they marched through town, their leader singing a song of greeting to the people of lancaster. and when they got to the edge of town, it didn't take long to walk down main street, they built a camp of wigwams and cabins and stayed in lancaster for about the next two and a half weeks negotiating not only with the colony of pennsylvania but also delegations of the colonies of maryland and virginia as well. it was known as the meeting of lancaster, 1744.
benjamin franklin at the time the lancaster treaty was occurring was working as a printer in philadelphia. he was anxious to hear news of what was going on in lancaster. he wrote to his agent in london, a fellow who sent him books to sell in his print shop. he sent they can to his agent to sell. he wrote to him and includeds this description. a treaty is now holding in lancaster county, a place 60 miles west this city between the governments of virginia, maryland and pennsylvania on one side and the united five nations of indians on the other. meaning the iroquois league. i will send you an account of it when printed as the method of doing business with those barbarian may perhaps afford you some amusement. now, that's a pretty condescending statement for franklin to be making. certainly it reflects the attitude of his contemporaries
that these were savage people living out in the forest. when he calls them barbarian he is kinds offer. >>ing about it to his london agent. but there is also an element of fascination, interest. about this method of doing business. franklin wants to tell his agent about you how you do business of engaging in diplomacy with native americans. in that phrase, this method of doing business is an important fact to realize for our purposes today. that's that when europeans came to colonial america and met with native americans, it happened on native american terms. in order to insure a good trade, in order to insure peace, they had to get together and conduct diplomacy with native american peoples. and the protocols and customs and language and metaphors that govern that diplomacy were not european in origin. they were native american in
origin. this is a testimony to the amount of power that native american people had, that europeans had to learn to conduct business on their turf, right, to do it by their method. so, franklin, when he ultimately publishes the treaty of lancaster does send something like 200 copies off to his agent in london because he thinks they might sell there. he thinks people in london might be interested in learn being this, learn being native american people through this context of diplomacy. okay. historians, when they talk about diplomacy between native americans and europeans in the colonial era often use a metaphor that i like that i will share with you today, which is the middle ground, thattese diplomatic negotiations reflected a middle ground between european power and interests in early america and native american power and interests. and the fellow who by neared the use of this media for is a
historian named richard white. some of you may have heard of him before. he was writing about the french interactions with al gone wean peoples living in the great lakes frontier as the french were developing their fur trade in places like modern day illinois and michigan. there was this middle ground where neither the french nor the native americans had the upper hand in terms of military power or strength. each side wanted something from the other, the fur trade. right? each side had to learn to negotiate somehow with the others. these people were culturally different. they were strangers. there were language divides. white when he wrote about the middle ground described it not only as this geographic territory, the modern day midwest where french and native american peoples were coming together but also this metaphorical middle ground where each side was trying to feel out the other, comprehend its world
view and kpukt some meaning across that culture divide. we are going to use that metaphor today and apply it mainly to the british colonies and english north american as they dealt with native american peoples and also sought this middle ground to negotiate with them. let's look at this middle ground, especially as it developed in the context of ritual. all right? how diplomatic rituals emerged that helped your peeps and indians comprehend each other. there were two primary hitual complexes that europeans learned the use when they engaged with native americans. one was al gone wean in origin. think of that language group in a we talked about and the many native peoples who were connected to that language group, especially in the great lakes region. and the other was iroquoisan, related to peoples of upstate new york, modern day ontario who
spoke languages from the iroquoisan stock. the first of these that we will talk about is the calumet ceremony, this was associated with al gone wean native american peoples from the great lakes region. the calumet was a pipe that native americans used. we know native americans grew tobyio before europeans showed up, they smoked it. one of those reasons of smoking tobacco was a way of greeting strangers, offering hospitality, closing negotiations. when you smoked tobacco for diplomatic reasons you smoked it out of this long pipe, acal you met pipe. a pipe made specifically for diplomatic purposes.
it has eagle feathers attached to it. it has a stone bowel that is made out of a soft red stone called catalanite foind in minute men and that the indians could carve into bowels. here, this indian is smoking a calumet pipe. they are distinguished by those very long stems. when native peoples of al gone wean decent engaged together to engage in diplomacy the calumet pied would be circulated to sort of clear the air. funny because we think of tobacco smoke as unples aren't and you don't want to be stuck somewhere where people are smoking. their notion was that tobacco cleared the air of bad thoughts. the smoke carried away ill feelings, worries, concerns, and kind of cleared the minds of people who were coming together to engage in negotiations.
this is a french illustration of what the calumet ceremony looked like. it's a really interesting image that you could read like you might read a modern day cartoon strip, comic strip. only you need to read it in this order. i added the numbers here so you can understand the action that is taking place here. all right? number one, the savage village. all right? this is where there is a native american community. and then there is another group of native americans who are traveling by canoe downriver and they want to pass by the territory of these folks. they want to make it clear they are doing it as friends, they don't want to make war, not here as aggressors. so a canoe goes ahead of others
with a call you met of peace. you see the canoe and this here is the calumet. a canoe comes out from the village to greet them. they see them, they see the calumet pipe and come out to offer a greeting. then the calumet is carried before the new arrivals, the visitors, as a sign of peace. the villagers come out to greet them. there is ritualistic dancing and they are admitted into the village and then they smoke the calumet as a way of proving their local good intentions. and they can go on with business. that's how the calumet ceremony worked. we do this -- this has entered the american i had i don't mean of turn of phrase smoking the peace pipe. as a way of making amends when there will be the a
disagreement. that's the origins of that phrase in english is the calumet ceremony. the other primary ritual complex that was used in native american and european diplomacy was iroquoisan in origin. it was related to those native americans who showed up at the treaty of lancaster in 1744. the iroquois league, or the five nations, as franklin called them in that letter that he wrote to his agent in london. this is a map -- if you haven't encountered the iroquois before this is a map to brif you a brief into the ircoy league or confederacy. at the time of colonizationation when the dutch showed up there were five leagues. from east to west. they occupied a territory roughly commensurate with modern day upstate new york from the
city of albany in the east to the city of buffalo in the west. in the early 18th century a sixth nation migrated northward from north carolina and joined the iroquois league. sometimes you will hear references to the five nations, sometimes you will hear references to the six nations. they were also iroquois in speaking. even though they came from north carolina, they spoke a similar language, had a similar culture. that's one of the reasons why they came up and settled in this region. they settled between northeastern pennsylvania and central new york. they were a very powerful indian confederacy. we learned about the pow hands in the chesapeake. well, the ircoy had similar power in this strategic territory between french canada, st. lawrence river, ontario and dutch new deatherland and ultimately english new york. they occupied this very strategic territory.
and diplomacy with the iroquois became very important to the french, the dutch and to the english in order to preserve their fur trade. when they engaged with negotiations with the iroquois they had to learn something about the condolence ceremony. i will let you know in a moment how that worked. when the iroquois league got together, usually on an annual basis, to renew friendship and alliance between the member nations, they began their negotiations with each other by engaging in a condolence ceremony whereby each nation offered its condolences for the other nations for losses they had suffered since the last time they met. you know, somebody important had died, or perhaps there had been warfare with outsiders and
casualties has been suffered and so forth. the opening message was condolence to assuage the grief of those who were bereaved, suffering losses since the last time they met. this was expressed by exchanging wamp up beads and wamp up belts. wham pam were beads made out of marine shells, they could be fond along the coast of long island and new england. they were very important to the iroquois because they held a great deal of spiritual power. so wampum, the exchange of wampum became the symbol of condolence. you began diplomatic negotiations by exchanging string of beads of wampum that represented in this metaphorical language -- they talked about giving three strings of wampum to drive the tears, open the ears, and clear the throats of those who are grieving so that
they could now see, hear, and speak clearly again. so, this was a symbolic way of recognizing the -- kinds the burdens the people brought with them to these diplomatic negotiations. and then the wampum was meant to clear away all those bad thoughts, kinds of doing the service the tobacco was doing in the calumet ceremony so you could see, speak, hear clearly, and engage openly in these diplomatic negotiations. when wampum beads were strung together on strands of leather, you could make a wampum belt. this is what a wampum belt may have looked like. now, this is acrylic wampum that i bought from some folks who use, basically, modern methods to recreate this for people who are involved in the reenacting community and things like that. but it is a good approximation of what the size of these wampum beads looked like.
especially their color. they were made out of two colors, white and purr pull, that represented the marine shells that they came from. and those contrasting colors could then be woven into designs and belts. we will see some of these a little later. but a lot of these designs like you see here, like you see here, had these geometric patterns that emphasize linking. right? so a linking of arms, or diamonds that are linked a the corners. and that's meant to show kind of unity and strength. purple or black wampum, they sometimes called it black, often was used to symbolize war or mourning. white wampum was used to symbolize peace, well-being. so there is a color symbolism that's associated with these wampum beads as well. so they became devices, material devices, that were used to engage in the condolence
ceremony. you can pass that around. if you were a european diplomat who is going out to meet native americans to engage in this diplomacy, you better bring your wampum? all right. ? you don't have wampum, your message is meaningless. this is an example of how these native american customs and rituals is something the europeans had to learn and use and learn to manipulate if they were going to negotiate with the natives. another type of gift eni gauged in the condolence ceremony are black strouds. they are really navy blue strouds that were produced in england, that were a big part of the textile exchange and the fur trade. when given in the context of a condolence ritual they became black strouds that were many to cover the graves of the deceased to allow grieving relatives to put away the grief of those who
had died and clear the ears, eyes, and throats so they could engage in negotiations. do we have any questions about the condolence aramony or the calumet ceremony? yes. >> how did the british learn how to make the wampum? did they trade with other indian nation force the wampum to give it to others? >> how did wampum get manufactured? when europeans show up, they bring tools that make it easier to manufacture wampum. so beads get smaller because they are using tools to grind and make holes in the beads. native tribes continue to make wampum, and europeans become interested in purchasing it.
in early new england it is supposedly used as money before -- when the economy is just developing there. by the 18th century we see evidence of wampum kinds of being mass produced for the purpose of engaging in this type of diplomacy. the belts themselves were generally made by native american women. at the treaty of lancaster in 1744, 250 indians arrived. approximately half of them are adult males. the other half are women and children. when she is treaty negotiations are going on, many of the women are spending time creating the wampum belts that will be exchanged in the course of the proceedings. so it is a native american art that contact with europeans is changing the production process and the value, but it's still very much a native american process by which it's being produced. all right. well, let's move on. and we'll talk a little bit about these treaty conferences
that so fascinated franklin. in our modern view, if i say to you "treaty" you probably think of a document. you think about the treaty of versailles that ended world war i. or you think about the peace of paris of 1783, which ended the american revolution. you know, we tend to think of treaties as texts that are the result of negotiations. and europeans who traded with native americans when they got together for these diplomatic meetings generally had very specific objectives. right? we are getting together with native peoples to talk about specific issues that have come up that need to be brought up. matters of war and peace. we need to convince some native allies to go to war with us. or we need to convince some enemies to make peace with us. or they might have issues about the fur trade trade, right, we need to initiate contact with
these people so we can expand our trade into that region. by the mid 18th century, the era of the french and indian war a big part of these treaty negotiations involves the repatriation of captives americans trying to get native americans to return captives they have taken. these are finite wants that they brought to the negotiation process. ideally, they would produce a written document at the ends that would put all this down in writing so your peeps could archive it and refer to it the next time they had an issue with the indians. for the native americans, the treaty was about process as much as it was about objectives. it matter equally as much, maybe more so, that you observe the proper rituals and customs in engaging in these treaties than any subject objective that was reached, agreement written down at the end. the iroquois, when they wrote
about -- or when they talked about treaty making, used a couple of very interesting metaphors. one was polishing the chain. they talked about their alliance with english colonies as the covenant chain alliance. a chain has many links. together they have strength. so they talked about the need to periodically brighten the chain or polish the chain so it would not rust and break. in other words, you periodically have to get together with us and reenact all of these rituals so that we know you remain a person of good will, a person who is willing to treat us as equals. they also used another metaphor of clearing the path. the he can change and contact between native and colonial communities occurred along a path, and that path would become overgrown. it would have bramibles,
treeings on it, it would have obstacles and periodically you needed to come together and clear the path so trade and negotiation was open between both sides. this tension developed in the colonial era between native peoples who saw treaty making as a regular part of having relations with outsiders. you got together periodically, engaged in rituals as a sign of good will and good intentions. europeans who kind of didn't have a lot of patience for this, they tended to want to treat only when there was a specific issue. they didn't like the amount of time the treaty negotiations took or the expense that was often involved with them. a kind of tug-of-war develops between colonial governments which are trying to minimize the time and the expense of these treaty conferences and native african-american people who is are saying, hey, look, you need to show us proper respect. you need to show us that you care about us as allies and as trading partners and so forth.
so those treaty negotiations take place out lot to the 17th and 18th century. and they became increasingly frequent over the course of the colonial era as colonists kind of get worn down by the indians' demands that colonists treat them according to these terms. and frankly as colonial governments too get more savvy about how to engage in this business and how to go about doing it. what did a treaty conference look like? in lancaster in 1744, the indians are in town for about two and a half weeks. so 250 indians in town with, you know, a town that probably has about 200 inhabitants. you have got delegations from three colonial governments there. what's going on? what makes it a treaty conference? the primary activity is making speeches. each side giving speeches to the other side to express discontent, to express potential
resolutions to conflicts, or perhaps to make proposals about the way they want to change their alliance or the fur trade or something like that. this speech making occurred around a council fire. and they were usually convened in public. both native americans and your peeps attached public hearing -- attached a notion of kind of propriety to having public meetings. so there would be other observers. meetings that didn't happen in public, what we might call back room deals, they called it happening in the bushes. you know, and meetings that happened in the bushes had that connotation of kinds of people pulling the strings behind the scene, perhaps acting out of selfish interests rather than representing the interest of their people or their governor or something like that.
both sides like the idea of convening these treaties in towns like lancaster. some convened in philadelphia. many convened in albany. some convened in boston. generally speaking native americans wanted these to durr in frontier towns. they were easier for them to get to. and indians prospect as threatened by communicable diseases. eastern pennsylvania, lancaster, pennsylvania, albany, new york, these were small frontier towns that became centers for that kind of diplomacy. this is an image from a map produced in 1765 that showed a treaty conference happening on the ohio frontier after a british military expedition into the region. it's not a perfect image, but it's one that somewhat approximates what happened at lancaster in 1744. you have an outdoor meeting.
you know, oftentimes in these towns there wasn't a public building large enough to accommodate the size of the audience these meetings would attract. you have a group of officials, in this case, british military officers, sitting around the council fire on one side. and you have a group of indian males sitting on the other side this. indian is making a speech at the council fire. he has a wampum belt he's holding in his hand as he makes his speech. if you look around the scene you also see the tents of the soldiers who are in camp nearby. here's a scottish soldier. you can tell he is a scottish soldier. he is wearing a kilt. what i love about this image, too, is you see women in this image. you have an indian woman here with a child. you have another indian woman here with a child. another one right here. they are all kind of part of the
scene. and they are listening to what's going on. the proceedings kind of have legitimacy because they are occurring out there in the open. you also have, it's worth noting, a colonial secretary right there who is basically serving the purposes of stenographer taking down notes of what's going on which raises the question which is interesting, if these were people of native american and european descent and they didn't speaking one another's languages, how did they actually communicate with each other? there are two primary ways through which that happened. i want to spend time now talking about that. the first is interpreters. it was very important to have interpreters who could relate the substance of the speech given by one side to the other side. and over the history of these
meetings, we see several different types of people emerge as being kind the typical interpreters. missionaries. missionaries, who we have already talked about in class. we know they made an effort to learn native american languages. missionaries often served as interpreteders at these treaty conferences. and their converts. native american christians who had learned perhaps french, perhaps dutch, perhaps english, well enough to serve as interpreters would sometimes serve this role as well. you might also have fur traders serving as interpreteders, and native american women that fur traders had married, who picked up language, you know, the fur traders picking up language by virtue of their engagement with native american communities. a native american woman who learned european language from her fur trader husband.
or their children. the children of a biracial marriage growing up with a foot in each culture would be cable of doing this. other people who might serve as interpreters, captives. native americans or europeans who had spent time, sometimes unwillingly, among the other side as children. children absorb language very quickly, they learn language very quickly. so sometimes the interpreters were people who had spend time like i said willingly or unwillingly among the other -- folks on other side. on the european side indian children who had been placed in schools in an effort to educate them in the english language or cat kiz them in christianity. on the indian side, it would be oftentimes young people who had been taken kab captive during wars and brought up in indian
families who would serve this year. at the treaty of lancaster the most important interpreter was a man by the name of can rod wisener. he is an early american who has a fascinating story to him. if you drive east of gettysburg and you go into amish country you will find the conrad wisener historic side. he was born in germany and came over in the 1710s to new york with a large group of german migrants who were very poor. and when they got to new york moved up into the mohawk region, mohawk valley region in order to find listen and basically live this kind of pretty insular german-speaking community. they wanted to be far away, didn't want to be bothered by folks. as a young boy, conrad wisener was taken by his father and placed in a local mohawk community. the german immigrants wanted
somebody to develop the language skills to communicate with the indians who lived nearby. so, as a boy, conrad went to live with the mow hawks and he learned the mohawk language. then, as an adult he moved into pennsylvania. he came down and became a fur trader and a farmer on the pennsylvania frontier. and because of his language skills became an interpreter for the colony of pennsylvania. also served as an interpreter for the colony of virginia at the treaty of lancaster in 1744. he had a pretty good reputation. the native americans liked him and spoke of him as having two sides, an indian side and a european side. colonial governments generally trusted him, considered him to be fairly upright. unlike a lot of interpreters who they didn't trust because they might have been of a different ethnicity and they never trusted fur traders. wisener had a good reputation
not only for his ability to speak native languages but also to understand and interpret and teach the protocol of diplomatic exchange. a new york official -- scottish -- who migrated to new york about the same time as wisener. and colden, in the 1720s, wrote a history of the iroquois. he was very much interested in the iroquois league. historians still read his history of them today. it is not a great read but it is probably the first history written in the english language. this is what he had to say about native american oratory. like many of highs peers he was fascinated by native american speech, but he didn't speak the language himself. so when he attended treaty conferences he had to rely on interpreters. he said, i suspect our interpreters may not have done
justice to the indians' eloquence because the indians may love our passions by their lively images. in other words he witnessed indian speakers able to move their 5ud yens even though they didn't understand what they were saying. this is an image from a french book from that era but presenting indian -- an indian speaker and his audience. what does this look like? a scene out of ancient rome. wearing togas and around a public forum somewhere. so this notion that europeans had that indians had this innate gift to communicate through speech without necessarily relying on words to do so.
so this notion that they had this gift to communicate through speech without having the words to do so. gesture, the cadence of their voice, their posture, the way they moved about the room, this was all part of the eloquence. check out this image, it was based on the image we saw earlier from that map in the ohio country, right? it was done by the american artist benjamin west who was living in london in the 1760s when an account of that treaty conference was being published. he did this image for it. i want to point out a few things to you -- sorry about that. about -- so here is our indian speaker, right? you see his gesture, pointing with his finger, he as a wampum belt in his hand. he's at the council fire. we have all of these other indian fellows sitting around him. this one is smoking a pipe. look at his audience. this is the commander of the
english army that marched out to the ohio country, right? this is the secretary writing things down. and officers are officers who are listening. and look at the rapt attention. everyone is listening. even among the native american listeners, they're enraptured by this fellow speaking. the one thing that we don't see in this image -- there is no interpreter. what is the artist telling you. so he is telling you that this native american simply by the sheer force of his presence and his eloquence is moving these people. this guy with his hand over his heart. this guy concentrating and leaning on the shoulder of the fellow in front of him. this guy writing it all down. what's he writing down? there is no interpreter there. but clearly they are being moved. benjamin franklin, thomas
jefferson, the enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century believed that native american societies were younger than european societies. the western hemisphere was created later than the eastern hemisphere. so native americans were closer to the origin of creation in time than europeans. what does the creation story tell us? it tells us up until the tower of babble everyone spoke the same language and then god in order to punish the hue brus of humanity divided it up into different languaging. according to that all languages descended from a common route. native americans were younger than europeans, their languages were literally closer to that common root than european languages. people like jefferson and franklin believe you should study languages for this purpose. they would help you understand the origins of human language around the globe. they also believed that that very first language, that natural language, was hardwired into us.
if you heard it being spoken, even though you couldn't comprehend mentally, it would still move you. that's what's fascinating with this native american oratory, that even though you can't understand the words, the gesture, the cadence, the movement of the speaker, there is an emotional wallop that it is packing that is being communicated. so that is speeches as a source of fascination and interest among these folks. i can pause for a minute and answer any questions if anyone has a question. all right, i want to talk about another type of exchange that went on at these treaty conferences. that is the exchange of objection. the ways that europeans and indians communicated without necessarily making speeches and sharing words. rituals of exchange.
we mentioned wampum belts and i just wanted to go back a little bit to talk about them in terms of their design. you did a reading for today based on a treaty conference. and you saw that when johnson or one of his indian contemporaries were making a speech, they were punctuated by wampum strings or belts. so these became devices not just for offering condolences, but also devices to make your meaning clear to an audience that perhaps did not speak the same language you did. generally speaking the larger the belt the more important the point was that you're making. in the johnson document you will see reference to a large belt or a belt of this many strings versus a belt of that many strings.
those physical descriptions became very important because the wampum carried its own message. so here you see some of these wampum belts and their designs. this one using the contrast between the purple and the white to emphasize two paths or two roads. native americans would interpret them as you go your way, we'll go mine. we'll trade and communicate, but we each have our own path to follow. in is a wampum belt that has human figures that are linking arms. holding hands like paper cut out dolls. and again that image of linkage. human figures, a chain, or geometric designs like diamonds or reg tangles is meant to emphasize a certain party, a certain alliance. it is not a design that emphasizes hierarchy. i am better than you are. it says we're all equal partners
in this particular alliance. so wampum worked that way. so this is a black wampum belt. purple or black symbolizes war and the white has been used to form the image of a hatchet. one of the other common idioms of american english that arises out of this diplomacy is taking up the hatchet or burying the hatchet. whenever you are making amends with somebody you have fought with, we are going to bury the hatchet. that's where this comes from. often times the symbolism of the hatchet was meant to symbolize i want you to go to war with me against a common enemy, or it is time to make peace. let us bury the hatchet, renew trade, and that sort of thing. the wampum belts could be accepted. they could be -- the other side might say, no thanks, but we are going to think about that before we accept that belt.
in other cases they were kicked away or thrown into the dust. that was a way of expressing extreme anger was to not only refuse the wampum belt, but to abuse it in some physical way. other types of exchange that went on here. food, drink, and tobacco. these were items that were very important to how these treaty negotiations began and how they ended. when indians traveled to a town like lancaster or eastern pennsylvania for a treaty conference they expected to be treated with by their colonial hosts. that would involve, often times toasts when they arrived. it would involve a feast at some point during the course of the proceedings and it would involve provisions for their families while they were encamped on the edge of town and all this stuff was going down. that's why this stuff was so expensive for colonial governments. colonial governors were always on the clock, let's get this thing moving.
and the indians were always like, you know, we kind of like it here. aren't we going to have a feast tonight? and that was the indians way of drawing out the proceedings, making it more expensive for the colonial governor, making him more pliable and more willing to hear their complaints and perhaps bend to their will. there's often times this image we have of these treaties where rum was flowing freely and colonists were using liquor to cheat indians and land and trade and so forth. alcohol was part of the gifting that went on at these but for the most part, with the emphasis on things being open, in the public, there was not abuse. it was more commonly used in the context of hospitality, offering a toast at the beginning,
offering a toast at the end. at the lancaster treaty in 1744, the pennsylvania governor calls for a toast to the indians. the first toast, he has them pour out -- he has these small, kind of cordial glasses brought out. he has rum poured out in a very small amount. and they toast and that's it. and then the next day they come back, the indians kind of make their closing speech and the governor calls for a toast again. only this time he has them bring out big wine glasses and he has the wine glasses filled with rum. he said those glasses you had yesterday were our french glasses. now we're giving you a toast in our english glasses, the idea being the french are cheap and the french don't supply you with the goods and the hospitality that we do. and now this toast symbolizes our much superior regard for you. that's an example of how alcohol might be used in this context. another way in which kind of connections were made across the council fire, the exchange of names, native
americans would give names to colonial governors that would admit them into these alliances and those names would pass from one colonial governor to the next. the new york governor was the corlier, he was that dutch trader i introduced you to last week, who drowned in lake champlaign. but of after that, subsequently, the governor was named corvelier. in pennsylvania, the governor was named onus. that was the name they had given to william penn. it was a pun. william penn's name, p-e-n-n meant pen like pen in your hand. onus meant feather, quill. they were saying his name in our language, onus, is pen. and so every subsequent colonial governor of pennsylvania was
known as onus in these negotiations. in maryland, at the treaty of lancaster in 1774 is given the name tokerry hogan, the honored place in between. they are between the government of pennsylvania and between the government of virginia. all right? of course, when these names happened, there was an expectation that there would be presents offered in response, you know. so the colonial delegation of maryland hosts a feast for the indians in exchange for this name. it's all about this reciprocity. that has to be learned. conrad wisener is there to tap them on the shoulder. hey, they just gave you a name, you better pony up here. at one point at the treaty of lancaster sits down with the colonial delegates, who are about to have a dinner in the courthouse with the indians and says we've got to go over etiquette issues here, guys, and tells them the proper way to
interact with these native american dinner guests that they're going to be having. so that kind of emphasis on not just, you know, talking to the indians, but also learning to engage with them in the social way, is very, very important. let's wrap up here by talking a little bit about the outcome of these treaties, what kind of artifacts they produce. so the colonial secretary would be jotting down notes. if an agreement was reached, especially when it came to land, a land session, native americans would have their names written out by the secretary and then they would write these sort of pictographs next to their names, representing usually these are clan totems, a chief of a particular clan within that particular nation. so, that was a big objective of
the colonial governors, get the indians to sign a document. signature on the document means they agreed to this land session, they agreed to these points we addressed. in some cases, not all, but in some cases those treaties were published. colonial printers like benjamin franklin published these. franklin published this one in 1945, so a year after the treaty at llancaster. these were not best sellers of their day. i'm not going to sit here and tell you people gather around franklin's print shop waiting for the next indian treaty to come out. they did circulate. and often times editors gave glosses to try to explain the rituals that were described here. so they did become kind of a guide for people who were interested in understanding the rules, the protocol of native american diplomacy. in the case of the treaty of lancaster, which did circulate in london, the chief iroquois
speaker gave famous speeches at the treaty of lancaster, so famous that in 1755 when a london novelist was writing a novel, he made him a character, had him coming over to london and falling in love with an english girl. he had been dead for five years by then. but his figure had become, you know, familiar enough to readers in london that he could serve this purpose in a romance novel. for the native americans themselves, of course, there was this distrust of what castatigo at lancaster called called pen and ink work, pointing to the colonial secretary, saying we know the guy writing that stuff down isn't necessarily serving our interests. and they knew, especially when it came to land purchases and whatnot, that often times what was written down did not reflect what they thought had actually occurred at the treaty conference.
so wampum belts were archived. wampum belts became the equivalent of the printed treaty or the manuscript treaty for the native americans. they were kept. they could be brought back out at subsequent treaties as evidence of what had happened. they would be used by native american speakers to remind europeans of commitments they had made at previous treaties. this belt signifies what you agreed to at lancaster in 1774, -- in 1744, easton in 1763. and, you know, into the 19th century, they were kept as a way of kind of preserving for the native americans the history of these diplomatic relationships that had their origins in the colonial period. today, the unique nature of native americans in the united states, the fact that they had this kind of semi sovereign status that separates them from
the states in which they live is a legacy of this treaty making that occurred in the colonial era and in the revolutionary era. it was recognition that indians operated a separate sovereign nations who met in these diplomatic situations to, you know, negotiate and conduct their own affairs in their best interest. when native americans today claim a special relationship with the federal government that's distinct from relationships with state governments, they're basing those claims on treaties that were signed in the 19th, 18th centuries, some even predate back. for our purposes in the federal government, the federal government's supreme court is interested in treaties signed after 1776, right? you get the idea. treaty making is at the core of native claims to sovereignty to this day in the united states. any questions before we wrap up?
IN COLLECTIONSCSPAN3 Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on