Thomas S. Abler
A rare chronicle of the life of the Seneca Chief Warrior who guided his
people through a time of historic crisis.
"Often overshadowed by half-brother Handsome Lake, Cornplanter was an
important leader of the Seneca during an era that saw the waning of the
Iroquois Confederacy (the Seneca were one of the six Iroquois nations) as
white populations surged into their homelands. As eloquently described by
Abler, Cornplanter (c.1740-1836) first rose to prominence as an
Iroquois warrior fighting alongside the British in the American Revolution.
Following the conflict, he was involved in a number of peace treaty
negotiations with the United States that resulted in the loss of Seneca
lands. His role in the land cessions led to a decline of his standing among
his people. Special attention is paid to how Handsome Lake’s religious
revitalization movement caused a rift among the Seneca that found the
brothers on opposite sides. This excellent biography should be read
alongside Anthony F.C. Wallace’s Death and Rebirth of the Seneca.
Recommended for academic and public libraries."
The era following the American War of Independence was one of enormous conflict for the Allegany Senecas. As the most influential Seneca leader of his time, Cornplanter led his people in war and along an often troubled path to peace. This incisive biography traces his rise to prominence as a Seneca military leader during the American Revolution and his later diplomatic success in negotiations with the Federal government. The book also explores Cornplanter’s dealings with other Native American councils and with his own people. It explains how Senecas faced heavy pressure to sell their lands, and how they concurrently embraced a reformed and revitalized Iroquois religion, as inspired by Cornplanter’s visionary half-brother, Handsome Lake.
Thomas S. Abler skillfully weaves together previously discordant strands of the Chief Warrior’s life into a concise, animated, and enlightening portrait. Even as Cornplanter examines a critical period in American history, it gives us a multidimensional knowledge of politics and diplomacy from the Seneca point of view.
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Thomas S. Abler is professor of anthropology at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is author of Hinterland Warriors and Military Dress: European Empires and Exotic Uniforms and editor of Chainbreaker: The Revolutionary War Memoirs of Governor Blacksnake.
6 x 9, 200 pages, 4 black-and-white images, 7 genealogical charts, appendix, notes