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Seneca Women
to the US Delegation 

Seneca Women

1791

 

Brother, the Great Ruler has spared us until another day to talk together; for since you came here from General Washington, you and our uncles, the sachems, have been counseling together. Moreover, your sisters, the women, have taken the same into great consideration, because you and our sachems have said so much about it. Now, that is the reason we have come to say something to you, and to tell you that the Great Ruler hath preserved you, and that you ought to hear and listen to what we women shall speak, as well as the sachems; for we are the owners of this land, AND IT IS OURS! It is we that plant it for our and their use. Hear us, therefore, for we speak things that concern us and our children; and you must not think hard of us while our men shall say more to you, for we have told them.

[The women designated Red Jacket to continue the speech, as follows:]

Brothers from Pennsylvania: You that are sent from General Washington and by the thirteen fires; you have been sitting side by side with us every day, and the Great Ruler has appointed us another pleasant day to meet again.

Now, listen, brothers; you know it has been the request of our head warriors that we are left to answer for our women, who are to conclude what ought to be done by both sachems and warriors. So hear what is their conclusion.

The business you come on is very troublesome, and we have been a long time considering it; and now the elder of our women have said that our sachems and warriors must help you, for the good of them and their children, and you tell us the Americans are strong for peace.

Now, all that has been done for you has been done by our women; the rest will be a hard task for us; for the people at the setting sun are bad people, and you have come in too much haste for such great matters of importance. And now, brothers, you must look when it is light in the morning, until the setting sun, and you must reach your neck over the land to take in all the light you can to show the danger. And these are the words of our women to you, and the sachems and warriors who shall go with you. Now, brothers from Pennsylvania and from General Washington, I have told you all I was directed. Make your minds easy, and let us throw all care on the mercy of the Great Keeper, in hopes that he will assist us.

 

 

Source: Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs, by Norman B. Wood (Aurora, IL: American Indian Historical Publishing Co.) 1906, pp. 247-248.