HISTORY OF RELATIONS WITH OUR BROTHERS
Dr. Robert Venables
Chief Irving Powless Jr and Dr. Robert Venables (retired professor of Native American Studies at Cornell) have formed a relationship over the past 30+ years. They would like to share information about the belt returned to the Onondaga’s last week.
Read more of Chief Powless Jr & Dr. Venables’ essays.
1763: Treaty of Paris, February 10, ends the French and Indian War. France transfers rights to Canada to Great Britain.1763: Proclamation Line, October 7. Despite this Royal decree from the government of King George III, white British subjects continually violate this international border by settling on lands west of the line along the Ohio River frontier.1768: Treaty of Fort Stanwix, October 24 through November 6. White British subjects immediately break the Treaty of Fort Stanwix by settling west of the new line, a line the Haudenosaunee assert is the final line – no further lands will be granted to the whites. 1774: January. White British subjects intensify their violations of the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix by continually moving west of the line along the Ohio River frontier, including the north side of the Ohio River in what is now the State of Ohio. This is a clear violation of the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. Virginia colonists are in the forefront of these violations. These illegal actions are encouraged by the Royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, and the resulting violence is called Lord Dunmore’s War. During the war, the whites under Lord Dunmore invade what is now the State of Ohio. Whites who violate the line are both conservatives and liberals and will soon become Loyalists as well as Patriots in 1775 during the American Revolution. The fact that Lord Dunmore is a British official who encourages the war is a clear violation of the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix because British officials are responsible for the whites’ obligations under the treaty.
1774: July 11. Sir William Johnson collapses and dies in Johnstown, New York, while speaking at a council with the Haudenosaunee held at Johnson Hall, Sir William’s mansion in the Mohawk River Valley. The Haudenosaunee delegates condole the Johnson family and thus do not make a decision regarding whether or not to aid the Senecas, Shawnees, and other Indian nations fighting along the western and southern Haudenosaunee borders with Virginia and Pennsylvania along the Ohio River frontier.
1774: September 5 to October 26. The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia to protest British laws but to also compromise with the Crown by finding ways to remain within the British Empire. Fifty-six representatives from twelve colonies including New York attend. Only the colony of Georgia fails to send representatives.
1774: October 10. On the Haudenosaunee western and southern borders with Virginia and Pennsylvania, white frontiersmen defeat the Shawnees as the white violations of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix continue. After April 1775, this frontier warfare merges with the American Revolution.
1774: October 14. During the First Continental Congress, the representatives issue the “Declaration and Resolves,” also known as the “Declaration of Rights,” defining the rights that the colonists believed were theirs and within the British Empire. The colonists are not yet seeking “independence.” Significantly, no rights are defined that protect Haudenosaunee and other Native American rights from violations by whites. Furthermore, the “Declaration and Resolves” defines British “subjects” as only the descendants of “our ancestors, who first settled these colonies.” Thus the colonists do not and cannot define Indian rights because the colonists do not regard Indians as “subjects” of the Crown and Great Britain.
1774: October 17. Whites and Shawnees sign a treaty at Camp Charlotte, in what is now the State of Ohio. This treaty violates the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix because, among other issues, it gives the whites access to the Ohio River without permission of the Haudenosaunee Grand Council.
1774: October 20. The Patriots support an embargo against British goods and thereby violate the Covenant Chain that has assured trade between the Haudenosaunee and the British for more than a hundred years. During their First Continental Congress, the representatives pass the “Continental Association,” an embargo of British goods. On January 23, 1775, Georgia adopted portions of this embargo. This embargo has a grave impact on the economy of the Haudenosaunee whose only functioning trade network is connected to British-held Canada.
1775: April 19. At Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, skirmishes break out between a British column of soldiers and Patriot militiamen.
1775: May 10. The “Second Continental Congress” of Patriots is convened in Philadelphia. This “Continental Congress” serves as the central government of the United States. Thus this is the Continental Congress that funds and directs the Sullivan Campaign of 1779 and all other military and diplomatic efforts of the Patriots until a national plan for government, the Articles of Confederation, are adopted in 1781. This Continental Congress is also the political organization that will declare independence in 1776.
1775, August 25. Council at Albany, New York. Patriot negotiators give assurances of peace with the Haudenosaunee in exchange for Haudenosaunee neutrality. The Patriots refer to both the Covenant Chain and the 1744 speech by Canasatego advocating a colonial union similar to the league of the Haudenosaunee. But the Patriots are unable to stop the violations of the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix on the Ohio frontier.
1775, October 10. Treaty of Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. Haudenosaunee agree to neutrality if Patriots cease violating the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix along the Virginia-Pennsylvania border. The Patriots do not comply with the treaty.
1776: July 2. The Second Continental Congress voted for “Independence.” All thirteen colonies have representatives present, including Georgia that had not sent delegates to the First Continental Congress. Some delegates such as John Dickinson of Pennsylvania do not vote for independence. John Adams, the representative of Massachusetts, believed July 2 would be the date Americans would celebrate as the day independence was declared. Among the reasons for rebellion against King George III is item number seven:
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
“New appropriations of Lands” are, of course, Indian lands, and thus the Patriots are complaining that the King has refused to violate the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix.
1776. July 4. Two days after independence was actually passed, a formal and carefully penned document declaring independence was dated “July 4” and was signed by the delegates, including those from New York. Most of the signatures were in place by August 2, but the last signature was added in November by Mathew Thornton of New Hampshire, who wasn’t even a delegate when independence was declared. Thornton wanted to demonstrate his personal defiance of King George III because at that time, November, the Patriot cause was not going well.
1776: July 6. Conference at Fort Pitt. Again the Haudenosaunee agree to neutrality on the condition that the Patriots cease violating the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. Again, the Patriots do not enforce the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix.
1776: July 9. By this date, Oneidas, Stockbridges, and Brothertons have already met with General George Washington in New York City. News of the Declaration of Independence arrives in New York City from Philadelphia and is read publicly in Bowling Green in lower Manhattan. General George Washington and his army are preparing to fight a battle with the British who had landed on Staten Island on July 2.
1776: July 10. New York colony is transformed into an independent state. On July 10, the “Provincial Congress” – meaning the legislature of the “province” of New York colony – renames itself as “the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York.”
1776: August 27. Washington loses the Battle of Long Island and takes up a defensive position on Brooklyn Heights. Washington’s army retreats across the East River to Manhattan on the night of August 29-30.
1776: September 15. The British occupy New York City after crossing the East River from Long Island at about 34th Street and defeating Washington in what is now the area of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue – the New York Public Library. New York City remains a major British military and naval base until November 25, 1783, when the British withdrew from the city at the end of the war.
1777: March and April. Secret aid from France reaches Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
1777: April 20. First New York State Constitution. While each state was preparing its own state constitution to regulate local state affairs, the first New York State Constitution is approved by New York State representatives meeting in Kingston, New York (the old capital of New York City is occupied by the British army and navy).
1777: June 14. The Second Continental Congress creates the national flag known as the Stars and Stripes – “thirteen stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be thirteen stars white in a blue field.”
1777. August 6. The Battle of Oriskany took place east of the 1768 line. The battle is a Patriot defeat, but subsequent histories in the United States have transformed it into a Patriot victory. When ambushed by British, Loyalist, and Haudenosaunee forces, Patriot militiamen from the Mohawk Valley were attempting to relieve Fort Stanwix that was being besieged by an invading British army under Colonel Barry St. Leger. After the battle, St. Leger realized that a second Patriot army was marching towards him, and he abandoned the siege and withdrew to Oswego on August 22. Oneidas and Tuscaroras fought on the Patriot side. Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas fought on the British side.
1777. October 17. At Saratoga, General John Burgoyne and his army of British and German soldiers surrender after battles on September 19 (Freeman’s Farm) and October 7 (Bemis Heights). Oneidas and Tuscaroras fought on the Patriot side.
1777: December. Valley Forge in Pennsylvania is the winter headquarters of the Patriot army under General George Washington.
1777: December 17. France officially recognizes the independence of the United States.
1778: February 6. France and the United States agree to a military alliance.
1778: Raids and counter-raids along the Haudenosaunee borders with New York and Pennsylvania are carried out by Patriot forces and forces of Loyalists and Haudenosaunee warriors allied with the Crown. The major events are:
September German Flats is attacked by Loyalists and Crown-allied Haudenosaunee
October: Onaquaga and Unadilla are destroyed by a Patriot army. Three Patriot soldiers rape the wife of an Oneida chief, Joseph. This attack forces neutral and pro-British Oneidas to actively support the British.
November: Patriots attack Indian towns in the area around Sandusky, Ohio. The towns include Seneca men, women, and children.
1779: June 21. Spain enters the war on the side of France and the United States, but formally state\s that Spain will withhold any recognition of United States independence until the war is over and a formal peace is established (see “1783”).
1779: April 21. The towns of Onondaga are brutally attacked by Patriot forces under Goose Van Schaick. This is the first prong of a three-pronged attack planned by General George Washington against the Haudenosaunee. This campaign became generally known in the histories of the Haudenosaunee and United States as the “Sullivan Campaign.”
1779: August 11 through September 30. The second prong of General George Washington’s campaign against the Haudenosaunee continues under the primary leadership of General John Sullivan. Sullivan’s army destroys forty towns within the Cayuga and Seneca nations.
1779: August 11 through September 16. The third prong of General George Washington’s campaign against the Haudenosaunee is launched by General Daniel Brodhead and his Patriot troops. They move northward from Pittsburgh and destroy Seneca towns and settlements that total 130 longhouses as well as at least five hundred acres of corn.
1779: By October, the Patriot troops that had invaded Haudenosaunee country have all withdrawn. No Patriot garrison is west of the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix line. Claims after the war that the Haudenosaunee are “conquered” is false because no lands that were invaded in 1779 were then occupied by any of the Patriot forces.
1780: February 1. New York cedes all of its land claims from the present state of Ohio and westward to the United States, even though the Articles of Confederation have not yet been ratified and thus there is no formal government to accept the cession.
1781: March 1. The Articles of Confederation, first presented to the states by the Second Continental Congress in November 1777, are finally ratified by all the states after squabbling that had continued since November 1777 over whether or not to support the Articles. The Articles of Confederation serve as the structure of the central government of the thirteen United States until the U.S. Constitution replaced it in 1789 (see “1787” and “1789”).
1780-1781: Responding to the 1779 assaults of George Washington’s armies under Van Schaick, Sullivan, and Brodhead, Crown-allied Haudenosaunee and their Loyalist allies counterattack all along on the New York frontier, with little response from exhausted Patriots.
1781: August 30 to October 19. In Virginia, the Battle of Yorktown ends when British General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrenders to the combined Patriot and French armies under General George Washington and France’s General Comte de Rochambaeu.
1781-1782: The Military Tract. New York State promises Haudenosaunee lands to Patriot soldiers as payment for their services. Negotiations by whites within the Legislature of the State of New York lead to the establishment of the “Military Tract” which New York State intends to use to pay its veterans. No Haudenosaunee are present during these negotiations.
1782: April 12. Peace talks began in Paris between England, France, Spain, and the United States. No Haudenosaunee or other American Indians are represented.
1782: April 19. The Netherlands recognizes the independence of the United States.
1782: October 8. The Netherlands signs a treaty of commerce and friendship with the United States.
1783: December 30. Treaty of Paris. Great Britain recognizes the independence of the United States. When the war ends, the Haudenosaunee frontier with New York is in the same place it was in 1768. Thus whites only occupy the same lands east of Fort Stanwix that they had occupied under the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. But their hold on these lands is far weaker than before the war. The white population is basically concentrated around forts and fortified houses. The white settlements along the Haudenosaunee frontier with Pennsylvania are also weaker than before the war. However, west of Pittsburgh, the Patriots defeated the Indians of the Great Lakes, and white settlers are invading the lands of the eastern Ohio River Valley including what is now Ohio and Kentucky.
1783-1795: Although Spain recognized the independence of the United States as a result of the Treaty of Paris, Spain refused to recognize the southern and western boundaries claimed by the United States regarding the Mississippi River as the western boundary of the United States; United States claims to free navigation of the Mississippi River; and the 31st Parallel (basically, the line that is now the northern border of Florida). These issues were not resolved until 1795 in the Treaty of San Lorenzo.
1784: October 25. Grand River lands in Ontario are defined as Haudenosaunee lands by Governor Frederick Haldimand.
1784: October 22. Treaty of Fort Stanwix with U.S., New York, and Pennsylvania.
1785: First New York Treaty with the Oneidas
1786: Summer: the Grand Council rejects the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. This is why the 1789 Treaty of Fort Harmar is necessary.
1786: November 30. At Hartford, Connecticut, delegates from New York and Massachusetts agree to settle their rival claims to thirteen million acres Haudenosaunee lands, including lands within the territories of Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. No Haudenosaunee is present. The delegates assign Massachusetts ten townships around present-day Binghamton plus six million acres in Cayuga and Seneca territories. The negotiators agree that once the lands that Massachusetts claims are sold, the white purchasers will be under New York State sovereignty.
1787: May 25 to September 17. In Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention meets to define a new government of the United States to replace the Articles of Confederation.
1788: June 21. As provided by the terms of the new United States Constitution, the Constitution becomes the official structure of the United States when a ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified it. The following demonstrates how fragmented the “United” States are. Thus the difficulties among the nations within the Haudenosaunee after the Revolutionary War are not unique. The following states have still not ratified the Constitution and thus are still “outside” the United States: Virginia (see June 25, 1788), New York (see July 26, 1788), North Carolina (see November 21, 1789), Rhode Island (see May 29, 1790), and Vermont (see March 4, 1791). 1788: June 25. Virginia fears being left out of the new government and this caused Virginia to ratify the Constitution on June 25.
1788: July 26. New York State, now very isolated, ratified the Constitution rather than risk being an independent republic surrounded by the “United States.”
1788: September 12. At Fort Stanwix, Onondaga Treaty with NY State’s Governor George Clinton, who as an “Antifederalist” was opposed to the U.S. Constitution.
1788: September 22. At Fort Stanwix, the Second New York State Treaty with the Oneidas.
1788: November 21. North Carolina ratifies the Constitution. Only Rhode Island and Vermont remain isolated.
1789: January 7. Under the new U.S. Constitution, George Washington was elected President.
1789: January 9. Treaty of Fort Harmar affirms the terms of the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix
1789: February 25. in Albany, the first New York State treaty with the Cayugas
1789: March 4. At the new capital of New York City, a few members from the House of Representatives and the Senate hold their first meetings to begin organizing the new government.
1789: April 1. The House of Representatives met with only 30 of its 59 members present.
1789: April 6. The Senate met with only 9 of its 22 members present.
1789: April 30. George Washington was inaugurated President in New York City.
1789: May 29. Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution.
1789: September 25. The amendments that became known as “The Bill of Rights” were submitted to the states for ratification.
1789: November 21. North Carolina ratifies the Constitution and joined the United States.
1790: May 29. Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution and joins the United States.
1790: June 15. The Onondagas ratify the 1788 New York State treaty, although no location is given in the documents.
1790: July 22. Trade and Intercourse Act was passed, including the provision
“That no sale of lands made by any Indians, or any nation or tribe of Indians within the United States, shall be valid to any person or persons, or to any state, whether having the right of pre-emption to such lands or not, unless the same shall be made and duly executed at some public treaty, held under the authority of the United States.”
1791: March 4. Vermont admitted to the United States.
1791: November 4. St. Clair’s Defeat. In Ohio, Arthur St. Clair’s army is defeated by an alliance of Great Lakes Indian nations.
1791: December 15. The Bill of Rights – the first ten amendments to the Constitution – were ratified.
1792: March 5. President Washington persuades Congress to approve a professional army intended to defeat the Great Lakes Indians. This army is called “the Legion of America” and is expected to conquer the Indians just as Roman Legions had conquered George Washington’s Northern European ancestors.
1793: March 1. U.S. amends and strengthens Trade and Intercourse Act.
1793: November 18. At Onondaga, Second New York State Treaty with the Onondagas.
1794: August 20. The Legion of America under General Anthony Wayne defeats the Great Lakes Indian alliance at Fallen Timbers in northwestern Ohio.
1794: November 11. Treaty of Canandaigua
1794: November 19. Jay’s Treaty was signed in London. Negotiated by John Jay of New York, this treaty granted First Nations the right to cross borders freely. Britain also agreed to withdraw from forts including Oswego and Niagara by 1796. But the fact that Britain maintained forts at Oswego and Niagara in Haudenosaunee territory until
1796 demonstrates the inability of the State of New York to enforce its claims of sovereignty.
1795: August 3. The Great Lakes Indian nations, including the Ohio Senecas who are counted by the United States as residents among the Delawares, sign the Treaty of Greenville in Ohio after being defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The treaty defines the term “Indian country” for the first time by including the rights of Indian nations to control whites in their territory. Article Six of the Treaty of Greenville stated:
If any citizen of the United States, or any other white person or persons, shall presume to settle upon the lands now relinquished by the United States, such citizen or other person shall be out of the protection of the United States; and the Indian tribe, on whose land the settlement shall be made, may drive off the settler, or punish him in such manner as they shall think fit.
1795: July 28. at Cayuga Ferry, Third Onondaga Treaty with New York State.
1812: War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain (including Canada) involves Haudenosaunee on both sides of Lake Ontario.
1815: Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812. The treaty restores all Indian rights that existed before 1811.
Senator Rufus King from New York, during the Senate debate over the Treaty of Ghent, noted that “the sovereignty of the United States is not absolute.”
1817: February 25. In Albany, the Fourth Onondaga Treaty with New York State.
1921-1922: Oneidas begin their removal to Wisconsin.
1822: February 11. In Albany, the Fifth Onondaga Treaty with New York State.
1822: December 12. U.S. recognizes Mexico as independent from Spain.
1823: The Doctrine of Discovery is formally recognized and endorsed by Chief Justice John Marshall and the United States Supreme Court in Johnson and Graham’s Lessee v. M’Intosh.
1829: February 28. In Albany, the Sixth Onondaga Treaty with New York State.
1829: March 4. Andrew Jackson is inaugurated President of the U.S.
1930: Removal Act.
1831: “Domestic dependent nations” is the definition given to Indian nations by Chief Justice John Marshall in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia.
1832: Interpretations of treaties. Chief Justice John Marshall noted in Worcester v. Georgia that the terms of a treaty
“must, we think, be taken in the sense which it was most obviously used.”
Concurring, Justice John McLean noted:
“How the words of the treaty were understood by this unlettered people, rather than their critical meaning, should form the rule of construction.”