Discover the legends and laws of the Iroquois and Tuscarora Nations as told by a Tuscarora Chief in Legends, Traditions and Laws, of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, and History of the Tuscarora Indians. Before Europeans settled New York in the 1600's, the then Five Nations of the Iroquois lived under a constitution that went on to greatly influence the young American nation. This book is written by Chief Elias Johnson, known as Lone Pine Tree, for the purpose of defending Native American character and explaining the customs of the Six Nations
Chief Johnson was born on the Tuscarora reservation in upstate New York. He writes forcefully to defend Native Americans from the perception that they were barbarous, untrustworthy savages. He writes that the Americans sometimes acted as though Native Americans are "scarcely human." He ably refutes the accusation that natives indiscriminately killed and scalped settlers. Reading the Native American perspective on these early arguments between settlers and natives is a refreshing change. To further illustrate his points, Chief Johnson tells the story of Mary Jemmison, a white woman who was kidnapped as a child and went to live among the Iroquois. Despite the inauspicious beginning, Jemmison did not want to return to white life, having married and had children with a Native American man, and re-marrying another Iroquois after her first husband died.
A lively chapter concerns the Iroquois and Tuscarora creation stories, which feature several monsters that the early Native Americans had to overcome. This includes stone giants, flying head monsters, giant mosquitoes and mammoth bears. It is these tales that give absorbing insights into Native American culture.
Legends, Traditions and Laws, of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, and History of the Tuscarora Indians also reprints many of legal documents and treaties with the U.S. Government. At the time Chief Johnson was writing, the tribes still believed they could encourage the government to uphold the treaties and recognize their rights. Reading historical observations from a Native American point of view makes this a unique, entertaining and informative book for all readers.