CHRONICLE OF THE REVOLUTION
Joseph Brant & Native Americans
Joseph Brant
 Joseph Brant
 
Native Americans were more familiar to colonists than is properly understood. Settlers of European descent found it completely unremarkable to see Indians in the streets of colonial America. Native Americans were tailors, gun-stockers, carpenters, whalers -- people fully integrated into the colonial economy.

George Washington knew many Indians from his military experience, as well as from his days as a surveyor. Thomas Jefferson was an admirer of Indians and wrote extensively about them in his Notes on the State of Virginia.

None of which prevented colonists from continually encroaching on native people's lands.

During the Revolutionary War many Indians sided with, and fought alongside, the Americans. But most ended up with the British, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that King George III had attempted to protect Indian lands from American settlers, who were pushing deeper and deeper into Indian territory.

Perhaps the most well-known Native American of the period was Joseph Brant, called Thayendanegea by his own Mohawk people. Brant was educated at a missionary school in Connecticut and was connected through marriage to Sir William Johnson, the British superintendent of Indian Affairs in the years prior to the Revolution.

Brant remained loyal to the British during the war. He became a leader of Indian forces in a number of critical Revolutionary War fights. In 1779, a Continental Army led by General John Sullivan swept through Pennsylvania and upstate New York, burning Indian villages. The force ultimately defeated Brant and his Mohawks, who retreated to Canada. The six tribes of the Iroquois Confederation, including the Mohawk, were split irrevocably by the Revolution.

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