The Treaty Almost Nobody Remembers (Re: Indians)





Last November, in front of the Ontario County Court House in Canandigua, NY, a group of Americans celebrated the 211th anniversary of a treaty that few people know about. It was signed by Timothy Pickering, agent for the United States, President George Washington and 50 chiefs and warriors of the Iroquois Confederacy. The treaty marked a shift from the language of conquest to the language of diplomacy and mutual recognition. After the Revolution, the American government regarded the four Iroquois tribes who sided with the British (Mohawks, Senecas, Cayugas and Onondagas) as defeated peoples, with no rights. This policy led to more bloodshed and bitterness and the Americans decided to reverse their course. Now each year, representatives of both sides meet to recognize that they come from separate governments, with separate lands. Among the speakers was Congressman John "Randy" Kuhl, who called for renewed federal commitment to the treaty. As Peter Jemison, a faithkeeper with the Seneca Nation, put it, "we are here to continue to polish the chain of peace and friendship."



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