Oneida Hanyery and Joseph Brant
A Revolution (* an excerpt)
* Excerpted from “The Oriskany Battle of Oneida Hanyery and Mohawk Joseph Brant,” by Anthony Wonderly, Historian. Click here for the full text and end notes.
During the Revolutionary War the Oneidas bound themselves “to hold the Covenant Chain with the United States, and with them to be buried in the same, or to enjoy the fruits of victory and peace”. Choosing to ally with the fledgling United States, the Oneidas served the American cause with fidelity, effectiveness, and at terrible cost.
As the Oneidas expressed it:
“In the late war with the people on the other side of the great water and at a period when thick darkness overspread this country, your brothers the Oneidas stepped forth, and uninvited took up the hatchet in your defense. We fought by your side, our blood flowed together, and the bones of our warriors mingled with yours” (Hough 1861 1:124).
The war forced people to make life-and-death decisions carrying frightful risks for their loved ones. Many faced personal consequences, especially during the Battle of Oriskany on Aug. 6, 1777 – a bloody battle that pitted neighbors, families and nations in the Mohawk Valley against each other.
This exhibit at the Shako:wi Cultural Center puts a personal face on the war using these two native leaders.
• Hanyery lived in territory bordering the limits of white settlement
• Brant lived in the Mohawk Valley
• Both opposed each other before the Revolution
• Both brought their nation’s into a shooting war at Oriskany
• Both personified his nation’s involvement in the war
• Their meeting at Oriskany started a chain of events affecting the history of three nations: Oneida, Mohawk, and the United States.See also: The American Revolution Center
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