Iroquois Fruit Trees and Myths

My reading of a book on the Revolutionary War covered the Indian attacks by the Iroquois, the 5 and then 6 tribe confederation that included the Mohawks. The Indian and European rules of conduct in war would lead to misunderstandings that would paint the Indians as savages. The Indians believed that captives were kept and assimilated into the tribe in order to replace the fallen warriors involved in the raid. Needless, to say this does not jive with the idea of taking prisoners of war and exchanging them.


George Washington had ordered General John Sullivan to attack the villages of the Iroquois and take captives to use for exchange. He failed to take captives and was actually engaged in very little combat. What he did to is destroy the towns completely. He destroyed their wood homes and their crops. What he did also, something the Indians had never done to the colonists, was to destroy their mature fruit orchards. This act drove the Indians north to the British and when the war ended most of them followed their leaders to resettle in Canada under British rule.


I am tying this into a sermon about our fruitfulness: Tree of Life or Tree of Death.


This led to a discussion between Joan and I about the small pox blankets myth. Here is an article that documents the letters where the idea was discussed. Just in case you want to know.

About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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