Letters Home from the Brothertown "Boys"
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This book is about the educated Brothertown Indian men who fought in the Civil War and wrote letters home telling of “this horrible war”. American Indians, who despite the guarantees from the United States, found that same government continually stripping them of their lands. And, still, they rushed to volunteer their services to defend the Union.The Brothertown Indian Nation is unique from many other tribes in that they are an amalgamated group. They are made up of remnants of the coastal tribes who made the first contact with the whites. As a result of the Great Awakening, a religious movement in New England during the 1740’s, many Indian people in southern New England converted to Christianity, including the Mohegan, Pequot, Narragansett, Montauk, Tunxis, and Niantic. As these people tried to live Christian lives in New England, they found it difficult to resist the pressures from whites around them who encouraged them to abuse alcohol, give up farming and sell their lands. By the 1700’s, the tribes were poverty stricken, decimated by wars and disease.A small group of young Natives, educated at Eleazer Wheelock’s Indian Charity School in Lebanon, Connecticut, became the impetus for forming a new community where they might live amicably together. On November 7, 1784 the band of Christian New England Indians settled on lands given to them by the Oneida Nation in New York and called their “Town by the Name of Brotherton, in Indian “ Eeyam qittoowauconnuck.”However, by the early 1800’s, they began to feel the demands from white settlers for more land. In the end, they left their New York homelands for less coveted lands in Wisconsin. The tribe was hardly settled in its new location, having been pressured out of New York and pushed off its land at Kaukauna, when a new threat appeared. The federal government entered into negotiations with the tribes in New York and Wisconsin to exchange their land in Wisconsin for land in Indian Territory. Andrew Jackson, called “Sharp Knife” by the Indians, had long fought the Indians of the southeast. He believed that the Indians and white settlers could never learn to live together peacefully. His solution to this was to renege on all of the treaties made between tribes and the federal government, which had granted the Indians their lands forever, and to move all Indians west of the Mississippi River. The tribe’s one, and possibly only, protection against this was to secure land in the same manner as the property of non-Indians—through private ownership. By a perversity of law, as long as the land was held in trust by the federal government, common and inalienable, it was subject to loss by government action. In an effort to remain on the new lands in Wisconsin the Brothertown headmen requested a Congressional Act that would divide the lands into individually owned plots and grant Brothertown tribal members United States citizenship. They were officially granted citizenship in 1839.These letters tell the story of all those young men who left the small Indian community at Brothertown, Wisconsin, to fight in the war of the rebellion. These men heard the call of Lincoln for volunteers to put down the rebellion and preserve the constitution and the Union. Stories told by the “Brothertown boys” in their letters sent home by the soldiers away from their tribal community for the first time in their lives. The loyalty of the Brothertown people has never been questioned, from the first introduction to the colonists, to the present. Although of a peaceful nature, these Christian Indians, were ever ready to fight on the side of the Colonies and states. The rolls of all the later Colonial wars contain the names of soldiers from whom they can prove a lineal descent. Their great-grandfathers fought in the Revolution, and so many of them perished that it was the death blow to their ancient tribal strength. In the war of 1812 their grandsires were engaged, and they themselves, out of their diminished numbers,
Published: AuthorHouseBooks on
ISBN: 9781463405427
List price: $24.99
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