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This title in other editions

Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution

by

Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Prologue:

 

THE REVOLUTIONS

JUBILEE, THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE,

AND SELECTIVE HISTORICAL MEMORY

 

Not yet twenty years old, the Marquis de Lafayette, a starry-eyed member of the French nobility who had volunteered his services for the rebel cause, sailed to North America for the first time in 1777. For this young idealist, the American Revolution represented an opportunity to strike a blow for human liberty, fulfill his desire for personal glory, and secure a measure of revenge against his nations archrival, Great Britain. The Continental Congress, after much wrangling, had commissioned him a major general, hoping this appointment would further strengthen ties with France and become another reason for that nation to join the rebellious American patriots in a formal military alliance.

 

George Washington took an instant liking to Lafayette, whose full name was Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier. Despite Lafayettes youth and inexperience, Washington came to respect his abilities and soon entrusted him with important command responsibilities. Some of these assignments brought Lafayette into contact with members of the Oneida Indian nation, who were also informally allied with and fighting on the side of the American rebels.

 

In January 1824, nearly forty-one years after the American Revolution officially ended, President James Monroe invited Lafayette to return to his second home, the nation he had helped forge. As part of a number of fiftieth anniversary-related activities, the president, an aging Revolutionary War veteran himself, believed that Lafayette and the peoples of the United States should have one last opportunity to see each other before the ever-relentless sands of time completely swept away the hallowed Revolutionary generation.1

 

Always garrulous and charming in his persona but with a tincture of vanity thrown in, Lafayette gladly accepted Monroes invitation. With a small coterie of traveling companions, including his son, George Washington Motier de Lafayette, the marquis arrived in New York City in mid-August 1824 and began a tour that took him through all twenty-four states before he sailed home to France in September 1825.

 

Everywhere Lafayette went, large, enthusiastic crowds welcomed him. On his first day in New York City, some thirty thousand people turned out to see the aging hero. So it was at all his appearances. Crowds cheered him, politicians coddled him, old friends hugged and cried with him. Three former presidents whom he had known long ago—John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison—hosted him. Congress voted him the lavish sum of two hundred thousand dollars to recognize his personal sacrifices in fighting to secure Americas liberty and independence.2

 

Once more, it seemed, Lafayette had arrived when the American people needed him. Divisive politics, especially over slavery, were pulling the young American nation apart. As the last living Continental Army major general, Lafayette allowed citizens north and south to put their differences aside, even if only for a few moments, and harken back to what some viewed as more purposeful times. In that spirit of selective nostalgia, the marquiss tour became a celebration of what the young republic had managed to accomplish, of the sacrifices of Lafayette and his comrades in arms.3

 

For the people of Utica, New York, and other towns in the western Mohawk Valley, Lafayettes visit to their region was a great honor. Even though the citizens of Utica would have only a few hours with him, they were anxious to show off their vibrant young community. They appointed a blue-ribbon committee to plan a celebration, particularly to ensure wide exposure to civic leaders, veterans, and private citizens.4

 

On the morning of June 10, 1825, a large contingent from Utica greeted the French hero at the small hamlet of Oriskany, a short distance to the northwest and the site of an Oneida village destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Stepping into an open carriage, the smiling Lafayette took his seat next to committee chairman Judge Nathan Williams. Following them in a lengthy procession in carriages and on horseback were prominent guests, blue-ribbon committee members, militiamen, and private citizens. People lined the route to offer welcoming cheers and then joined the convoy. When the marquis reached Uticas boundary, the reverberating sounds of a twenty-four-gun salute echoed through the community. The cavalcade turned onto Lafayette Street, where an assemblage of soldiers, including Revolutionary War veterans, grandly saluted the marquis. On a bridge over the Erie Canal, the local populace had constructed an arch with a flag that read, lafayette, the apostle of liberty, we hail thee—welcome!5

 

The column halted in front of the Shepard Hotel, where the mayor of Utica delivered some effusive remarks. Lafayette responded with his usual grace. Then he greeted “an immense number of gentlemen of the county of Oneida and the vicinity,” and “in one of the most solemn and affecting scenes,” some Revolutionary War veterans stepped forward to speak with him. A few the old general recognized. The men eventually yielded so that the women would have a chance to meet this legendary hero.6

 

While Lafayette mingled with the citizens of Utica, a thought kept bothering him. Some persons were missing. He had visited Rome, then Oriskany, and now Utica, but he had not seen any of his Oneida Indian comrades from the days of the conflict, even though these towns were in the locale of what had once been the Oneida homeland. Finally, Lafayette wondered aloud to his hosts. He wanted to know if any Oneidas still resided in the area and if he might have the opportunity to visit with them.

 

Lafayettes request caught his hosts by surprise. Many of them were too young to know the Revolution intimately, even if they had heard stories about the Oneidas fighting in conjunction with the rebels during the war. The aging veterans, however, knew better, but by virtue of their selective memories about events long since past, they had more or less divested their minds of Oneida involvement, let alone contributions. The marquis had not.7

 

Lafayette asked if someone among his large throng of Utica admirers could take action so that he might spend at least a few moments conversing with these forgotten allies . . .

 

Excerpted from Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution by Joseph T. Glatthaar, James Kirby Martin. Copyright © 2006 by Joseph T. Glatthaar and James Kirby Martin. Published in October 2006 by Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780809046003
Author:
Glatthaar, Joseph T
Publisher:
Hill & Wang
Author:
Martin, James Kirby
Author:
Glatthaar, Joseph T.
Subject:
Native American
Subject:
United States - Revolutionary War
Subject:
General History
Subject:
US History-Revolution and Constitution Era
Subject:
United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
The Oneida Indians a
Publication Date:
20071031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illu
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Native American » Northeast
History and Social Science » US History » Revolution and Constitution Era

Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 448 pages Hill & Wang - English 9780809046003 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Combining compelling narrative and grand historical sweep, Forgotten Allies offers a vivid account of the Oneida Indians, forgotten heroes of the American Revolution who risked their homeland, their culture, and their lives to join in a war that gave birth to a new nation at the expense of their own. Revealing for the first time the full sacrifice of the Oneidas in securing independence, Forgotten Allies offers poignant insights about Oneida culture and how it changed and adjusted in the wake of nearly two centuries of contact with European-American colonists. It depicts the resolve of an Indian nation that fought alongside the revolutionaries as their valuable allies, only to be erased from America's collective historical memory. Beautifully written, Forgotten Allies recaptures these lost memories and makes certain that the Oneidas' incredible story is finally told in its entirety, thereby deepening and enriching our understanding of the American experience. Joseph Glatthaar is the Alan Stephenson Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the author or editor of six books. James Kirby Martin is the Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Houston, and the author or editor of eleven books. Combining poignant detail and grand historical sweep, Forgotten Allies offers a vivid account of the American Revolution's forgotten heroes, the Oneida Indians who risked their homeland, their culture, and their lives to join a war that gave birth to a new nation at the expense of their own.

Revealing for the first time the full sacrifice of the Oneidas in securing American independence, Forgotten Allies also provides insights into Oneida culture and how it was shaped and molded throughout many years of contact with the American colonists. It depicts the valor and determination of an Indian nation that fought with all the resolve of the revolutionaries as their valuable ally, only to be erased from America's collective historical memory. Beautifully written, Forgotten Allies makes certain that the Oneidas' incredible story is finally told in its entirety, while also enriching our understanding of the colonial era and the American Revolution. A vividly revealing chronicle of the Oneidas' thankless role in the American Revolution . . . Assiduously researched . . . Glatthaar and Martin] closely examine the relationship between American Indians and Euro-Americans and the Oneida Indians' military aid to the rebels. Along the way they also elucidate the tribal customs, politics and military tactics of the Oneidas.--Chris Patsilelis, Houston Chronicle

This richly detailed account by Joseph T. Glatthaar and James Kirby Martin joins the work of Laurence M. Hauptman, Barbara Graymont, Jack Campisi, and others to make a significant contribution to the understanding of the Oneidas in particular and the Iroquois in general during this important period of their histories . . . Documenting and recognizing these 'forgotten allies' is one of the most important elements of Glatthaar and Martin's work.--Gerald F. Reid, The Journal of American History

Joseph T. Glatthaar and James Kirby Martin have made a signal contribution to Native American history and the history of the American Revolution in this detailed study of the Oneidas, one of the Iroquois Six Nations . . . This book is rich in detail and sweeping in its contextualization of the Oneidas' revolutionary experience.--Gary B. Nash, University of California Los Angeles, American Historical Review

In Forgotten Allies, we learn of the long-standing relationship between the Oneidas, the foundation of the Six Nations, and the English Americans who interacted with them . . . The account of the many council fires and ceremonial deliberation of which position to adopt provides great insight to a remarkable, courtly life among the Indians of upstate New York . . . Forgotten Allies is an ennobling story about a noble people who as a nation and a leader of nations helped the British defeat the French and then helped British Americans defeat their own king's army. In reading this history of the Oneidas we learn much about the cultural tapestry that has made this continent a rich and prosperous land.--Michael L. Ramsey, The Roanoke Times

A vividly revealing chronicle of the Oneidas' thankless role in the American Revolution . . . Assiduously researched . . . Glatthaar and Martin] closely examine the relationship between American Indians and Euro-Americans and the Oneida Indians' military aid to the rebels. Along the way they also elucidate the tribal customs, politics and military tactics of the Oneidas.--Chris Patsilelis, Houston Chronicle

Forgotten Allies is a brilliant history of the Oneida Indian Nation and its complex participation in the American Revolution.--Jack Leustig, producer, director, writer, of the award-winning CBS television documentary 500 Nations

Two accomplished historians tell the sad, neglected, yet fascinating story, rich in detail and well written, of the Oneida, one major Indian group who backed the 'winning' side in the American Revolution.--John Shy, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Michigan, and author A People Numerous and Armed

This is a book that will surprise and delight anyone interested in American history. It reveals in vivid, scrupulously researched detail a hitherto unknown side of the War for Independence.--Thomas Fleming, author of Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge

Magnificent reading Forgotten Allies represents the very best kind of American history. The book is truly worthy of our Oneida grandfathers and grandmother, who fought alongside the patriots in the American Revolution, and their descendents, who have lived with the consequences of the decision to remain loyal to the cause of liberty. Professors Glatthaar and Martin have helped r

"Synopsis" by ,
Combining compelling narrative and grand historical sweep, Forgotten Allies offers a vivid account of the Oneida Indians, forgotten heroes of the American Revolution who risked their homeland, their culture, and their lives to join in a war that gave birth to a new nation at the expense of their own. Revealing for the first time the full sacrifice of the Oneidas in securing independence, Forgotten Allies offers poignant insights about Oneida culture and how it changed and adjusted in the wake of nearly two centuries of contact with European-American colonists. It depicts the resolve of an Indian nation that fought alongside the revolutionaries as their valuable allies, only to be erased from America's collective historical memory. Beautifully written, Forgotten Allies recaptures these lost memories and makes certain that the Oneidas' incredible story is finally told in its entirety, thereby deepening and enriching our understanding of the American experience.
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