"This excellent biography should be read alongside Anthony F. C. Wallace’s Death and Rebirth of the Seneca. Recommended for academic and public libraries."—Library Journal
The era following the American War of Independence was one of enormous conflict for the Allegany Senecas. There was then no Seneca leader more influential than Chief Warrior Cornplanter. Yet there has been no definitive treatment of his life–until now. Complex and passionate, yet wise, 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 tells 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 multi-dimensional knowledge of politics and diplomacy from the Seneca point of view. Thoroughly researched and clearly written, this is an ideal companion for students and aficionados of the American Revolution and early nationhood, the Iroquois, and New York State history.
Thomas S. Abler is professor of anthropology at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors