Joseph Brant

Overview

The story of Thayendanegea, the Mohawk war chief who was given the English name Joseph Brant by the famous soldier and Indian administrator Colonel William Johnson, is one of the most inspiring and heart-wrenching in North American history.

Born in a hunting camp on the banks of the Ohio River in 1742, Brant grew up in the good-natured Colonel’s house with his sister molly, Johnson’s second wife. He went to boarding school in Connecticut and at a young age adopted the Anglican faith. After Johnson’s death, in memory of the excellent treatment he and his people had received from the British under Johnson’s administration, Brant rallied the Six Nations Indians to stand by King George III against the American Rebels. When the British lost the war and the Six Nations discovered they had to forfeit their ancient hunting grounds, Brant led his people to the Six Nations Reserve in the valley of the Grand River.

Brant soon realized he would have to become an astute politician in order to deal with the untrustworthy new government in British North America, as well as unscrupulous Americans and Loyalists who coveted the Six Nations’ landholdings. The author tells of his unceasing efforts to protect the rights of his people – trips to London (where he was lionized by society, introduced to his Great White Father and had his portrait painted by Romney), a conference with President Washington in 1982, and repeated appeals to the Governors of Upper Canada. Brant’s labours, despite minor triumphs, were poorly paid. Treaties, solemnly made, were, equally solemnly, broken, sometimes, the very next day. The author captures the nobility of Brant’s spirit, however, as he strove to give the native population of North America a strong, independent voice in the future of the continent.

Reviews

A fascinating historical account of a famous Indian leader and the events surrounding his life.

... an entertaining, balanced story, easy to read yet comprehensive.

The (St. Catherines) Standard

... an action packed, well researched book.

The Windsor Star

A book for all ages.

About the Author

Helen Caister Robinson

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Helen Caister Robinson photo

Helen Caister Robinson

Helen Caister Robinson is an active member of the Canadian Authors Association, the Toronto Women's Press Club, the Writers' Union, Canscaip (the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers), and the Big Sisters' Association. Her numerous articles include contributions to the Canadian Children's Annual, Canada, and Your Home. Mrs.