Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 11
- Grade: 6
Joseph Brant was a promising but undistinguished Mohawk warrior living in upper New York State. He became an innovative, influential leader and spokesperson for First Nations, whose support for Britain during the American Revolution led to their resettlement in Upper Canada along the Grand River. Their descendants live today on the large Six Nations Reserve alongside the Grand, south of Brantford in southwestern Ontario.
This new, illustrated biography of Brant reflects recent research into the political, social and cultural background of his life. Author James Paxton rejects the interpretation of earlier biographers, who depicted Brant as a man who belonged neither to the "Indian" or the "white" world. Paxton shows that Brant was fully Mohawk, with Iroquoian values that stressed the interdependence of people. He stands as the product of a unique, multicultural 18th-century community in the Mohawk Valley, New York.
Using skill and diplomacy and his dense network of relationships and alliances, Brant attempted to ensure the ongoing social, economic and political autonomy of the Six Nations in their new Canadian territory.
The events of Brant's day impinge directly on our own. It would be hard to imagine the standoff at Caledonia had Brant not led the Six Nations to the Grand River area and then invited Loyalists to settle among them. Yet, in 1784, Mohawks and Loyalists envisioned a different sort of community, one bound by history, common interest and shared practices. At a time when First Nations' claims against the government promise to become more numerous and confrontational, this book encourages us to consider the inclusive and multicultural legacy of Joseph Brant.
About the author
JAMES PAXTON received a PhD at Queen's University in Kingston, and now teaches American history at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He researches and writes on various aspects of First Nations' and British North American history. He divides his time between Toronto and Bethlehem.
"This is a good addition to the material about Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant... Not a simple biography, this is a presentation of how world events affected Brant and his family, tribe, neighbours and enemies. Full-colour illustrations appear on almost every page, enriching the text and showing fascinating details."
Joseph Brant and His World: 18th Century Mohawk Warrior and StatesmanDetailing the life of Mohawk Joseph Brant, recognized spokesperson for the Six Nations of the Grand River area, this book reviews the struggle of the Mohawk of the Ohio River Valley throughout the 1700s and Brant’s negotiation of a new homeland for his people at the end of the American Revolution. Brant’s ability to read and write in English and his Anglican faith allowed him to move seamlessly between the Mohawk and English cultures. Renowned for his battlefield successes and influence with British officials, Brant is most remembered for his land sale negotiations of the Grand River Valley, creating a significant annuity for the Six Nations people.
Paxton teaches American history at Moravian College in Pennsylvania.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2009-2010.