"In An Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters, Lawrence Hauptman provides a vivid portrayal of Oneida Chief Chapman Scanandoah whose life spanned some pivotal moments in Oneida history in addition to contemporary issues for Native peoples in the United States. This volume continues Hauptman’s impressive record of examining Iroquois history and its consequences for the Haudenosaunee today....It is Hauptman’s skill as historian and narrator that brings Chapman Scanandoah’s story to life."—American Indian Culture and Research Journal
"In this book, we have that very rare thing: the biography of a Native American figure who moved through what I have called ‘the many worlds of the Iroquois.’"—Michael Leroy Oberg, author of Peacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794
"Widely admired for combining meticulous research with deep sympathy for his subject, Hauptman is the foremost historian of recent Iroquois history. Now he has given us a work illuminating the notable life of Chapman Scanandoah. . . . This book casts new light on neglected chapters of the Oneida land claims story."—Anthony Wonderley, author of Oneida Iroquois Folklore, Myth, and History: New York Oral Narrative from the Notes of H. E. Allen and Others
"In this excellent little book, Laurence Hauptman recovers the extraordinary story of Oneida activist, inventor, sailor, and agronomist, Chapman Scanandoah. Scanandoah was used to being an outsider: first, as a Native American at the historically black Hampton Institute, then in the U.S. Navy, and finally as an Oneida on the Onondaga Reservation. His story offers us a unique perspective on America from the Gilded Age to the Cold War."—Karim M. Tiro, Ph.D., Professor and Chair Department of History, Xavier University
"Integrating Chapman Scanandoah into the broad history of the Hodinöhsö:ni, Laurence Hauptman has produced an important, scholarly, and fast-paced book that explores an Oneida patriot’s life in protecting the Iroquois as they responded to modernization and American society’s hostility to Six Nations aspirations."—Carl Benn, author of The Iroquois in the War of 1812
"In his previous In the Shadow of Kinzua...Laurence Hauptman documented the survival of the Seneca despite constant threats to their land and lives in the form of aggressive development projects in New York State. In this new book, he prevents a fascinating Oneida life from being lost to history while demonstrating once more how Native Americans have fought to retain what is left of their territories and traditions."—David Eller, Anthropology Review Database
"Laurence M. Hauptman’s new book An Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters: The Life of Chief Chapman Scanandoah, 1870–1953 tells the tale of a man who used his talents to excel in a changing world. Hauptman is well known for his books on Iroquois land claims and history."—Dawn Walschinski, Managing Editor, Kalihwiseks Newspaper
"Hauptman (emer., SUNY New Paltz), the dean of scholars of modern Iroquoian history, has written a short but moving biography that connects Scanandoah’s life to the struggles of Oneida and Hotinonshonni’ generally during the nadir of Native life in the US. Scanandoah was born to an Oneida elder and spent much of his life seeking to protect the remaining tiny Oneida territory in central New York. He gained strong scientific and engineering skills at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, enlisted in the US Navy for 15 years (including service in the Spanish-American War), and worked as an engineer for General Electric before returning home in 1916 to focus on Oneida concerns. During this period, he gained fame and patented several mechanical and chemical inventions. By the 1920s, Scanandoah had married an Onondaga woman and lived in that tribe’s homeland in New York. He served as an Oneida elder and a Hotinonshonni’ historian and, until his death, labored against New York’s efforts to terminate his tribe. This book is a welcome, enjoyable, useful volume in a series meant to reshape Americans' perceptions of Native history by providing alternatives to the many existing biographies of “celebrities” such as Sitting Bull and Geronimo....Highly recommended."—Choice
"The accomplishments of Chief Chapman Scanandoah demonstrate the ability of one person to make significant and long-lasting contributions through determination and perseverance….Complete with photos and a formidable bibliography, this narrative highlights the life of an extraordinary individual."—Andrew Villani, Marist College, The Hudson River Valley Review
Chief Chapman Scanandoah (1870–1953) was a decorated Navy veteran who served in the Spanish-American War, a skilled mechanic, and a prize-winning agronomist who helped develop the Iroquois Village at the New York State Fair. He was also a historian, linguist, philosopher, and early leader of the Oneida land claims movement. However, his fame among the Oneida people and among many of his Hodinöhsö:ni’ contemporaries today rests with his career as an inventor.
In the era of Thomas Edison, Scanandoah challenged the stereotypes of the day that too often portrayed Native Americans as primitive, pre-technological, and removed from modernity. In An Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters, Hauptman draws from Scanandoah’s own letters; his court, legislative, and congressional testimony; military records; and forty years of fieldwork experience to chronicle his remarkable life and understand the vital influence Scanandoah had on the fate of his people. Despite being away from his homeland for much of his life, Scanandoah fought tirelessly in federal courts to prevent the loss of the last remaining Oneida lands in New York State. Without Scanandoah and his extended Hanyoust family, Oneida existence in New York might have been permanently extinguished. Hauptman’s biography not only illuminates the extraordinary life of Scanandoah but also sheds new light on the struggle to maintain tribal identity in the face of an increasingly diminished homeland.
About the Author
Laurence M. Hauptman is SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History. He is the author of numerous books on the Iroquois, including Seven Generations of Iroquois Leadership: The Six Nations since 1800, which was awarded the Herbert Lehman book prize by the New York Academy of History, and In the Shadow of Kinzua: The Seneca Nation of Indians since World War II, which was awarded the annual book prize by the American Association for State and Local History.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
6 x 9, 240 pages, 31 black and white illustrations, 4 maps