Michael L. ObergPeacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794

Oxford University Press, 2015

by Andrew Epstein on November 10, 2015

Michael L. Oberg

View on Amazon

On November 11, 2015, leaders and citizens of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy–Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora–will gather in the small lakeside city of Canandaigua, New York to commemorate the 221st anniversary of a monumental treaty.

Negotiated between the Confederacy and representatives of new federal government in the autumn of 1794, the Treaty of Canandaigua recognized the sovereign status of the Six Nations as separate polities with the right to the "free use and enjoyment" of their lands. While state and private actors would soon violate the accord, seizing ever more Haudenosaunee territory, the Canandaigua Treaty remains a binding expression of "peace and friendship" between the the Confederacy (commonly known as the Iroquois) and the United States.

Michael L. Oberg tells this remarkable story of intercultural diplomacy in Peacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794 (Oxford University Press, 2015). Distinguished Professor of History at SUNY-Geneseo, Oberg narrates the twists and turns of war, dispossession, and resilience that brought sixteen hundred Haudenosaunee delegates, including Red Jacket, Cornplanter, and Handsome Lake, to a council with Colonel Timothy Pickering, an official representative of President George Washington.

"Brother, we the Sachems of the Six Nations will now tell our minds," Red Jacket declared in 1794. "The business of this treaty is to brighten the Chain of Friendship between us and the fifteen fires." The Haudenosaunee continue that effort today.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Aileen Moreton-RobinsonThe White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty

October 22, 2015

Owning property. Being property. Becoming propertyless. These are three themes of white possession that structure Aileen Moreton-Robinson's brilliant new inquiry into the dynamics of race and Indigeneity in "postcolonizing" societies like Australia.The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) collects and expands over a decade of work that speaks to key […]

Read the full article →

Leonard CassutoThe Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It

September 22, 2015

The discontented graduate student is something of a cultural fixture in the U.S. Indeed theirs is a sorry lot. They work very hard, earn very little, and have very poor prospects. Nearly all of them want to become professors, but most of them won't. Indeed a disturbingly large minority of them won't even finish their degrees. It's little […]

Read the full article →

Bruce A. Bradley, Michael B. Collins, and Andrew HemmingsClovis Technology

September 12, 2015

13,000-years ago, the people of the first identifiable culture in North America were hunting mammoth and mastodon, bison, and anything else they could launch their darts and spears at, and undoubtedly, most assuredly, they themselves were being hunted by gigantic short-faced bears, America lions and saber-toothed cats. Thus, in order to survive life in the […]

Read the full article →

Natalia MolinaHow Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts

September 2, 2015

"America is a nation of immigrants." Either this common refrain, or its cousin the "melting pot" metaphor is repeated daily in conversations at various levels of U.S. society. Be it in the private or public realm, these notions promote a compelling image of national inclusivity that appears not to be limited to particular notions of […]

Read the full article →

Douglas BamforthThe Allen Site: A Paleoindian Camp in Southwestern Nebraska

August 25, 2015

It's the ultimate cold case: a mountain of 10,000-year old evidence excavated and stored in hundreds of boxes that sat unopened and nearly forgotten in the basement of a museum for nearly 60-years. The Allen Site: A Paleoindian Camp in Southwestern Nebraska  (University of New Mexico Press, 2007) by Douglas Bamforth is the site report […]

Read the full article →

Roxanne Dunbar-OrtizAn Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

August 17, 2015

When Howard Zinn published A People's History of the United States in 1980, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz was thrilled. "I used it as a text immediately," she remembers. Comrades in the anti-war movement, Zinn and Dunbar-Ortiz shared a belief that a radically different kind of history, freed from patriotic bluster, was desperately needed. But Dunbar-Ortiz was also […]

Read the full article →

Michael Ray FitzGeraldNative Americans on Network TV: Stereotypes, Myths, and the ‘Good Indian’

July 24, 2015

In his new book Native Americans on Network TV: Stereotypes, Myths, and the 'Good Indian' (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013), Michael Ray FitzGerald reviews how television represented Native Americans, including in both positive and negative stereotypes. He talks about these portrayals from early television shows to more recent characterizations.  

Read the full article →

Nancy ShoemakerNative American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Encounters and the Contingency of Race

May 18, 2015

For as long as Herman Melville's Moby Dick has been a staple of the American literary canon, one element often goes unnoticed. The ship commanded by the monomanacial Ahab on his quest to slay the great white whale is named the Pequod, just one letter of difference from Pequot, a Native nation living within what […]

Read the full article →

Andrew NeedhamPower Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest

April 26, 2015

Last month, VICE NEWS released a short documentary about the Navajo Nation called "Cursed by Coal." The images and stories confirm the title. "Seems like everything's just dying out here," says Navajo citizen Joe Allen. "It's because of the mine. Everything is being ruined. They don't care about people living on that land." About four […]

Read the full article →