A Mohawk Memoir

SKU: 9781487523268

Carl Benn
Grade Levels:
College, University
Cherokee, Iroquois, Mohawk
Book Type:
University of Toronto Press
Copyright Date:

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In A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812, John Norton – Teyoninhokarawen, historian Carl Benn introduces, annotates, and edits part of John Norton’s memoir. John Norton was born of a Cherokee man and a Scottish woman in 1770 and adopted by the Mohawks in the 1790s. He was an influential diplomat and political figure within and beyond Indigenous society taking leadership and war chief positions among the Six Nations of the Grand River north of Lake Erie. He also wrote one of the most extensive autobiographies from the war of 1812 with detailed descriptions of Indigenous involvement in the events of 1812 to 1814. This is the focus of this book and only part of the 1000 page manuscript written by Norton. In providing such detailed and annotated research using the Champlain Society’s Journal of Major John Norton, 1816, as a base text and a microfilmed copy of the original, Benn shows Teyoninhokarawen’s life and the events of the War of 1812 on the Canadian front, and the First Nations during a formative period in the history of North America. Beginning with an introduction comprising details about the memoir and editorial decisions, Benn reviews the Haudenosaunee to the 1790s and John Norton’s early life and transformation into Mohawk leader, Teyoninhokarawen, and his service to the Six Nations of the Grand River and Views on Haudenosaunee Society and Independence. Benn then begins the exploration of the Memoir through Uncertainties, Diplomacy, and the Outbreak of War, 1811-12. The Memoir then moves to Opening Moves, Disunion, and the Capture of Detroit, 1812; Niagara and Victory at Queenston Heights, 1812; Ambiguity and Frustration on the Detroit Front, 1813; The Fall of Fort George, Desperate Moments, and the Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813; the Blockade of Fort George, Intrigue, and the Capture of Fort Niagara, 1813; Quebec, Burlington, and the Battle of Chippawa, 1814; and, Discredit, Battles at Lundy’s Lane and Fort Eerie, Murders, and the Defence of Grand River, 1814. Two maps, The Iroquois/Haudenosaunee Lower Great Lakes, 1912-15 and Six Nations Iroquois/Haudenosaunee Grand River Lands, 1812-15 are included. Two appendices, Six Nations population figures on the Grand River 1811 and 1814 and John Norton’s spelling of Native Names Where It Differed from Current Practice, provide additional information. This is an important contribution to the literature about the Six Nations diplomatic, political and military efforts. Includes abbreviations, bibliography and index.

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