|Date(s):||April 16, 1790 to December 1, 1790|
|Location(s):||Ontario, New York|
|Tag(s):||Native Americans, Journal, Five Tribes, French|
|Course:||“U.S. History: 1812 - 1914,” Foothill College|
|Rating:||5 (1 votes)|
European settlers and the Native American tribes had always had barriers that prevented them from fully understanding each other. In 1768, a man named John Long had started keeping a journal where he planned to record the customs and languages of the various tribes across the land that would become the United States. By taking on this task, Americans and the Native tribes would be able to communicate with one another much more easily than before. Aside from simply recording specifics about the native tribes, he also took notes of what he did or what he saw while on his travels. By reviewing his observations, the reader can gain a better understanding of what the environment was like compared to the sheltered life of the cities, which contrasted greatly with the villages of the native tribes.
Long’s first visit to the Americas started with a companion missing for four days. His group encountered a Native American and tried to explain their distress to him. “Just as the captain proposed setting sail, an Indian came on board, to whom we endeavoured to communicate our distress. On this occasion, he seemed to understand us…” Although the Native American seemed to understand them, the language barrier seemed to prevent a complete understanding of what was wrong and why they needed help. One of Long’s records included a listing of the “Five and Six Nations” and what their purpose was. He explained that the Five Nations were rivals to the Adirondack tribe and were severely crippled after the Adirondack allied themselves with the French, who had settled in Quebec. A passage written by James H. Smith, gives a more detailed description of what life was like and the reasons war broke out between the Five Nations and the Adirondacks. “The Adirondacks formerly lived three hundred miles above Trois Rivers, where now the Utawawas are situated; at that time they employed themselves wholly in hunting, and the Five Nations made planting corn their business. By this means they became useful to each other, by exchanging corn for venison. The Adirondacks, however, valued themselves, as delighting in a more manly employment, and despised the Five Nations, in following business, which they thought only fit for women.” Further in Smith’s passage he writes that the Adirondacks took in some young men from the Five Nations to assist in hunting, but when the men of the Five Tribes out preformed the men of the Adirondacks, they were killed. The Adirondacks refused to offer a tribute to the families of the men that were murdered stating that the men of the Five Nations were, “…men not capable of taking any great revenge.” This provoked the Five Nations into the beginning of many wars with the Adirondacks. “The first engagement proved decisive in favour of the Adirondacks, owing entirely to the use of fire arms having been introduced among them by their new allies, which the Indians of the Five Nations had never before seen.” To balance this, another tribe had joined the Five Nations making them six tribes, however they decided to keep the name Five Nations. This empowered the Five Nations and gave them a better chance at combating old enemies that had once given them trouble. “This warfare continued until it culminated in the disastrous defeat and dispersion of the Adirondacks and their allies…in a terrible battle fought within sight of the French settlements at Quebec.” After recording the events of the Native tribes, Long returned to London and began work on a comprehensive guide listing various words and phrases that were translated from English to the languages of the Iroquois and the Chippeway. This guide spans roughly 100 pages; it has given many a way to overcome the hurdle of language between some of the Native American tribes.