A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812
A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812 presents the story of John Norton, or Teyoninhokarawen, an important war chief and political figure among the Grand River Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) in Upper Canada. Norton saw more action during the conflict than almost anyone else, being present at the fall of Detroit, the capture of Fort Niagara, the battles of Queenston Heights, Fort George, Stoney Creek, Chippawa, and Lundy’s Lane, the blockades of Fort George and Fort Erie, as well as a large number of skirmishes and front-line patrols. His memoir describes the fighting, the stresses suffered by indigenous peoples, and the complex relationships between the Haudenosaunee and both their British allies and other First Nations communities.
Norton’s words, written in 1815 and 1816, provide nearly one-third of the book’s content, with the remainder consisting of Carl Benn’s introductions and annotations, which enable readers to understand Norton’s fascinating autobiography within its historical contexts. With the assistance of modern scholarship, A Mohawk Memoir presents an exceptional opportunity to explore the War of 1812 and native-newcomer issues through Teyoninhokarawen’s Mohawk perspectives from a period that produced few indigenous autobiographies, of which Norton’s is the most extensive, engaging, and reliable.