The Mohawk & The French & Indian War


Because my most recent release, BLACK EAGLE, is a story of the Mohawk, I thought we’d have a look at the Mohawk and the French & Indian War.

This is a post that I’m rerunning (excuse me).  The reason I’m rerunning it is that it is so closely associated with the book, BLACK EAGLE — the entire story takes place during (and about) The French & Indian War.  I’ll also be giving away a free e-book copy of BLACK EAGLE — a $5.50 value.

Truth is, during my research for this book, I found a little known point of history that I’d never known and have never seen it imparted in any history of the Mohawk.  I love these little known facts.abenaki-indians

This is really quite an important fact because it contributed to the downfall of the Mohawk Indians.  It’s a bit of history with an impact, if one views history (real history — not what one is taught in school) because if one can and should learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before, this would be a good bit of history to know.

The Mohawk Indians were Indians of the Northeastern part of America.  They were part of the Great Iroquois Confederation.  Known as the Keepers of the Eastern Door, they guarded the Iroquois Confederation for hundreds of years against  invasion from the East.Mohawk Haircut wes-studi-magua

They were known as united and invincible.  They stood shoulder to shoulder and brother to brother.  In 1666, they were attacked by the French, and part of the negotiations was to allow Jesuit missionaries to come in amongst their people.   Sometime around 1669, the Jesuit missionaries not only converted many of the people to their faith, but several years later, they took half of the Mohawk Nation and  took them north into Canada where they erected two missions close to Montreal.  On one hand, this seems harmless enough.  On another, it was not so smart…unless one was trying to destroy the Mohawks from within.

So what does this have to do with the French and Indian war.  When I was in school, I learned that the war was fought against the French and the Indians, who terrorized the colonists.  But here’s the little known history, that isn’t even touched upon in most written accounts of the Iroquois.

mohawkThe Mohawk Indians who were left in the Mohawk River Valley of upper State New York, were friends with and sided with the English during the French and Indian war.  However, the Mohawk Indians who had been taken into Canada, sided with the French.  This had the effect of pitting Mohawk brother against Mohawk brother, a thing the chiefs feared — and the founder of the Iroquois Confederacy warned against.  But it didn’t entirely destroy their power and their freedom…yet…

Soon after the French and Indian war came the Revolutionary War.  Most of the Iroquois Tribes sided with their allies, the English.  But because the Colonies were fighting for Freedom, and because the Mohawk treasured freedom, many of the Mohawks sided with the Colonists.  Again, Mohawk Brother was pitted against Mohawk Brother.

iroquois canoeThis, coming so close on the tail-end of the French and Indian War effectively destroyed the unity of the Mohawks, who for so long had guarded the Iroquois against invasion in the East.  Added onto this, the results of the Revolutionary War forced all of the Iroquois/Mohawk allies, as well as the enemies, of the Colonists to cede their lands to the Americans.

Interestingly, it was a corporation that took the lands of the Mohawk and Iroquois — at the time, I believe the corporation was headed by a man who was related to the President”s wife at the time of the undertaking.  It has been many years since I did this research, so please forgive me for not knowing the name of that corporation, or the name of the man or wife.

250px-Joseph_Brant_by_Gilbert_Stuart,_1786So if I were a teacher, what might I ask was the lesson to be learned from this account of the Mohawk?  What method of war was used upon them that eventually led to their downfall?

Wouldn’t it be the old trick of divide and conquer?  There is an old, old, old book written by Sun Tzu.  It is  a Chinese book entitled THE ART OF WAR, which goes into how to employ the technique of divide and conquer without a people even knowing they are at war.  This book is read the world over by those employed in the profession of war.  There are many other methods of “winning” a war without firing a shot that are detailed in that book, as well.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the blog today.  I find it interesting that this is such a little known bit of history, and yet is so major, that the idea that it is not known even in most history books, seems a little strange to me.  For how are we, as a people, to ever learn from our mistakes if we must search and gather fact after fact to even put this information down to paper?  And yet a very great nation of people — a people who treasured Freedom — failed.  We should know why, I think.