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Book Reviews 337 The Canadian Iroquois and the Seven Years' War. D. PETER MACLEOD. Toronto: Dundurn Press/Canadian War Museum 1996. Pp. 248, illus. $2 9·99 This brief, pioneering study offers a new perspective on the familiar events of the Seven Years' War. The Canadian Iroquois had settled in the four communities of Akwesasne (St Regis), Kanawake (Caughnawaga ), Kanesetake (Oka), and Oswegatchie (La Presentation) at various times within the previous ninety years. Peter Macleod reveals how much and, at times, how little can be reliably recovered about their involvement in the war that eventually conquered New France but did not conquer them. Fashionable multicultural apologies and warnings introduce the reader to a respectful, consciously antidotal, and often partisan account. It is particularly discouraging that Macleod feels the need to say 'they were people. Real people with human feelings and human failings, and possessed of private lives' (emphasis in original, l). Perhaps this statement derives from his frustration in trying to learn more than is possible about individuals, though he has much of interest to say about a few people who should be more widely known. Atiatonharongwen, born in Saratoga, New York, in 1740 ofan African-American father and an Abenaki mother, was captured with his parents in the Canadian raid on that town five years later. Family memories suggest that Kanawake warriors among the raiders saved the boy from his father's fate - enslavement in New France. Atiatonharongwen became a respected Kanawake warrior who fought for New France on the Ohio frontier. A brave Oswegatchie warrior, Ohquandageghte, is celebrated for singlehandedly attacking and disarming an eleven-man garrison at German Flats in 1758 and, with the help of two companions, taking all of them prisoner. This account is not a history of the Canadian Iroquois as victims. Macleod clearly describes Amerindian military objectives, and his theme demonstrates how these goals were adhered to throughout the war. The attack on Fort Bull is explored particularly effectively as a demonstration ofthis 'parallel warfare,' which occasionally worked well with French ambitions but, at other times, caused major problems. As an ethnohistorian, Macleod reveals an admirable anthropological sensitivity and understanding towards the Canadian Iroquois, a sensitivity he seldom reveals towards that other tribe, the French. Much of this book is a qmventional narrative of major battles, derived predominantly from French sources and accompanied by some 338 The Canadian Historical Review intriguing judgments, with emphasis on the contribution of the Canadian Iroquois. More frequently, Macleod discusses the entire 'Seven Nations' together, combining the four Iroquois communities with the St Lawrence valley settlements of Abenaki, Algonquin, Nipissing , and Huron. Although this vagueness is sometimes a consequence of his sources, Macleod could have been more specific. For example, an estimate of the populations of each community, even ifderived only from the largest number of warriors counted at any time during the conflict, would be useful. The author uses the surviving documents on diplomatic relations among these communities, but scholarship on the Abenaki could have been exploited more fully. Perhaps MacLeod's future work will explain the people and protocols of the ritualized negotiations among the four Iroquois settlements and the intertribal communities. Where were the council fires? Who spoke for whom? To what extent did Six Nations' conventions apply? Did the Canadian governors treat the Seven Nations as a united group? Were the Abenaki , like the Ohio valley Amerindians, pushed into an anglicized 'Iroquois empire' after I759? Until he provides greater detail, MacLeod 's claims about Canadian Iroquois unity, independence, and autonomy in this period must be regarded as tentative. Non-specialists familiar with the general context will be interested in MacLeod's last chapter, on how the Amerindians of the St Lawrence valley avoided defeat in I76o and came to support the British during 'Pontiac's War.' British interests, Six Nations' influence, and Seven Nations' diplomatic skills all contributed to the Treaty of Kanawake of September I76o. Macleod is too brief here, but his endnotes will introduce the curious to the primary sources from which a fuller analysis can be constructed. This readable and thought-provoking supplement to existing literature prompts further inquiry. It immediately invites more detailed work from this perspective to test claims...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 337-338
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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