Architects of the Mohawk alliance
Mary and Joseph Brant, Mohawk brother and sister, were a bridge between
the Iroquois and British worlds in eighteenth-century North America. Mary
(or “Molly”), through marriage to a British official, and Joseph, through
education, gained solid positions in colonial society.
As ambassadors of the Iroquois, they defended Mohawk interests; as people
of influence within their Aboriginal nation, they built support for the embattled British.
The Mohawks ultimately paid for that loyalty. American independence in 1783
robbed them of their Mohawk Valley homeland and turned them into Loyalist refugees. Joseph Brant spent the rest of his life attempting — and failing — to create a new Iroquois state in Canada.
The whole Matter is that the Officers at Niagara are so haughty and
proud, not knowing or considering that the King’s Interest is so nearly connected with that of the Indians.
Mary Brant, 1781
I always looked upon these engagements, or covenants, between
the King and the Indian nations, as a sacred thing.
Joseph Brant, 1783