In Mohawk Country

Charles T. Gehring, Dean R. Snow, William A. Starna
Grade Levels:
College, University
Iroquois, Mohawk, Oneida, Woodland
Book Type:
Syracuse University Press

Sale price$31.95


In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives about a Native People is a collection of 38 documentary narratives by European travellers, priests, soldiers, and traders from 1635 to 1810. The collection was compiled by archaeologist Dean Snow, anthropologist William Starna, and linguist Charles Gehring as source material to assist the Mohawk Valley Project. Most of the narratives have been published but are now out of print. The collection begins with a brief background to the Mohawk Valley Project and the reason for compiling the narratives. The authors note that while the selections contain the biases of the writers these narratives can add to the understanding of the Mohawks and their contact with Europeans over a two century period. The travellers, traders, priests, and soldiers each have their particular reasons for documenting their travels through the Mohawk territory. Each traveller writes about events that interest him. Some write about the location of Mohawk villages, cultural practices, the landscape, flora and fauna, and the morals of the people they encounter. Unfortunately the authors only provide basic background information about each selection and when the original was first published. They do not provide commentary about the significance of the narrative. The lack of an index adds to the problems for users of the collection. In spite of these limitations the collection makes interesting reading for anyone interested in European travellers' accounts of the Mohawk people of New York. The book contains several maps and a bibliography. Accounts include such well-known narratives as A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635 by Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert; A Short Account of the Mohawk Indians, 1644 by Johannes Megapolensis, Jr.; Voyages of Pierre Esprit Radisson, 1651-1654 by Pierre Esprit Radisson; Observations of Wentworth Greenhalgh in a Journey from Albany to the Indians Westward, 1677 by Wentworth Greenhalgh; A Journey to Onondaga, 1750 by Christian Daniel Claus and Conrad Weiser; and Dr. Belknap's Tour to Oneida, 1796 by Jeremy Belknap. The final accounts from 1796 to 1810 describe the immense change that has come to the Mohawk Valley following the American Revolution and overwhelming presence of European settlers in the Mohawk's original territory. The final entry describes the countryside just prior to the construction of the Erie Canal. Overall this is a valuable resource for historians and others interested in the Mohawk Valley.

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