The era following the American War of Independence was one of enormous conflict for the Allegany Senecas. As the most influential Seneca leader of his time, Cornplanter led his people in war and along an often troubled path to peace. This incisive biography traces his rise to prominence as a Seneca military leader during the American Revolution and his later diplomatic success in negotiations with the Federal government. The book also explores Cornplanter's dealings with other Native American councils and with his own people. It explains how Senecas faced heavy pressure to sell their lands, and how they concurrently embraced a reformed and revitalized Iroquois religion, as inspired by Cornplanter's visionary half-brother, Handsome Lake. Thomas S. Abler skillfully weaves together previously discordant strands of the Chief Warrior's life into a concise, animated, and enlightening portrait. Even as Cornplanter examines a critical period in American history, it gives us a multidimensional knowledge of politics and diplomacy from the Seneca point of view.
Thomas S. Abler is professor of anthropology at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is author of Hinterland Warriors and Military Dress: European Empires and Exotic Uniforms and editor of Chainbreaker. The Revolutionary War Memoirs of Governor Blacksnake.