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A Treatise on the Six-Nation Indians   By: (1851-1919)

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This file was produced from images generously made available by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.

A TREATISE ON THE SIX NATION INDIANS By J. B. MACKENZIE

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It has seemed to me that it was not quite ingenuous in myself to attribute to the Indian writer in question (Rev. Peter Jones), the reflection on his countrymen, obviously conveyed in my expression, "discovering in him such in dwelling monsters as revenge, mercilessness, implacability."

That writer's position, more fairly apprehended, is this: That, while confessing these to be blots on the Indian nature, in the abstract, he yet seeks to fasten them on many whites as well.

A TREATISE ON THE SIX NATION INDIANS BY J. B. MACKENZIE

PREFACE.

The little production presented in these pages was designed for, and has been used as, a lecture; and I have wished to preserve, without emendation, the form and character of the lecture, as it was delivered.

J. B. M.

A TREATISE ON THE SIX NATION INDIANS

INTRODUCTORY

As knowledge of the traditions, manners, and national traits of the Indians, composing, originally, the six distinct and independent tribes of the Mohawks, Tuscaroras, Onondagas, Senecas, Oneidas, and Cayugas; tribes now merged in, and known as, the Six Nations, possibly, does not extend beyond the immediate district in which they have effected a lodgment, I have laid upon myself the task of tracing their history from the date of their settlement in the County of Brant, entering, at the same time, upon such accessory treatment as would seem to be naturally suggested or embraced by the plan I have set before me. As the essay, therefore, proposes to deal, mainly, with the contemporary history of the Indian, little will be said of his accepted beliefs, at an earlier epoch, or of the then current practices built upon, and enjoined by, his traditionary faith. Frequent visits to the Indian's Reservation, on the south bank of the Grand River, have put me in the way of acquiring oral data, which shall subserve my intention; and I shall prosecute my attempt with the greater hope of reaping a fair measure of success, since I have fortified my position with gleanings (bearing, however, solely on minor matters of fact) from some few published records, which have to do with the history of the Indian, generally, and have been the fruitful labour of authors of repute and standing, native as well as white. Should the issue of failure attend upon my effort, I shall be disposed to ascribe it to some not obscure reason connected with literary style and execution, rather than to the fact of there not having been adequate material at hand for the purpose.

THE INDIAN'S CONDITIONS OF SETTLEMENT.

The conditions which govern the Indian's occupation of his Reserve are, probably, so well known, that any extended reference under this head will be needless.

He ceded the whole of his land to the Government, this comprising, originally, a tract which pursued the entire length of the Grand River, and, accepting it as the radiating point, extended up from either side of the river for a distance of six miles, to embrace an area of that extent. The Government required the proprietary right to the land, in the event of their either desiring to maintain public highways through it themselves, or that they might be in a position to sanction, or acquiesce in, its use or expropriation by Railway Corporations, for the running of their roads; or for other national or general purposes. The surrender on the part of the Indian was not, however, an absolute one, there having been a reservation that he should have a Reservation, of adequate extent, and the fruit of the tilling of which he should enjoy as an inviolable privilege... Continue reading book >>




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