For centuries the history of the Mohawk Valley has been shaped by the complex relationships among the valley’s native inhabitants, the Mohawk Indians, and its colonists, starting with the Dutch. In Mohawk Country collects for the first time the principal documentary narratives that reveal the full scope of this Mohawk-settler interaction. Some of the sources have never before been translated into English, and several have not been previously published. Of those works that had been published, nearly all are out of print.
The Mohawk location near Albany, New York put them at the center of transactions between the Iroquois and European colonists. (The Mohawk were one of the constituent nations within the League of the Iroquois.) These narratives-written by Dutch merchants, French Jesuit missionaries, English soldiers, romantic European travelers, and other literate observers-provide often biased but always fascinating accounts of the Mohawk and their valley. The reader is treated to over two centuries of history, starting with the arrival of the Dutch in the early seventeenth century to the planning of the Erie Canal in the early nineteenth century.
These records bring to life the rapid changes experienced by both the Mohawk and their European neighbors. Wars, catastrophic epidemics, and the diplomacy of nearly two centuries are all well represented in this volume. Fascinating cultural differences are also unearthed: the French, for example, dealt with the Mohawk much differently than the Dutch or the English. Just as importantly, these writings reveal—from the unique perspectives of the observer—the Mohawk’s struggle to retain their culture in the midst of evolving
political, social, and physical environments.
Dean R. Snow is professor and head of anthropology at Penn State University and a leading authority on Mohawk Valley archaeology. He is coeditor of Iroquois Medical Botany, published by Syracuse University Press.
Charles T. Gehring, an internationally known linguist, is the director of the New York State Library's New Netherland Project.
William A. Starna is professor of anthropology at SUNY College at Oneonta. Gehring and Starna edited and translated A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635, also published by Syracuse University Press.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
6 x 9, 432 pages, 10 maps