Senecas Embassy of Peace to the Cherokees

In the course of the long and fierce war between the Six Nations and the Cherokees, it happened, said Oliver Silverheels, that eight Senecas determined to go on an embassy of peace. Among them was Little Beard, the elder, and Jack Berry. They met some Cherokees on the confines of the Cherokee territories, to whom they imparted their object. Intelligence of this interview was sent for ward to their village, where the ambassadors were duly received, and after this preliminary reception, they were introduced to the ruling chiefs, and favorably received by the Cherokee council.

All but one of the Cherokee chiefs agreed to the terms of peace He also would consent, if, prior to the treaty, the eight Seneca delegates would first consent to go to war against their enemies, situated south of them. [Who their enemies were is not mentioned.] They consented, and set out with a war party. A fight ensued in which the leader of the Senecas, called Awl, was taken prisoner. The other seven escaped. The fate of Awl was decided in the enemies camp, where it was determined that he should be burned at the stake. Preparations were made for this purpose, but as they were about to bind him, he claimed the privilege of a warrior, to sing his death song and recite his exploits by striking the post. Pleased with the spirit of his request, and his noble air and words, his suit was granted, and they put a tomahawk into his hands, that he might go through the ceremony. He began by relating his exploits in the north. He recited his feats against the western Indians, adding, with the usual particularity, times and places, and the number of scalps taken. They were pleased and interested in these recitals, and quite forgot the prisoner, in the warrior. At last he came to the late battle, in which he was taken. He told how many of the Catabas, Apalaches, or Muscogees (if these were the tribes) he had killed. He kindled with redoubled ardor as he struck the post with his tomahawk, exclaiming, “so many of your own people, I have killed,” and suiting his actions to his words, “so many I will yet kill.” With this he struck down two men, bounded through the ring and ran. Consternation for a moment, prevented pursuit, which gave him a start. Being swift of foot he outran his pursuers, eluded them in the woods, and reached the Cherokee camp, where he found and joined his sevens companions.

They concluded the peace, and returned in safety to the Senecas country.

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe. Notes on the Iroquois: Or, Contributions to American History, Antiquities, and General Ethnology. E. H. Pease & Company. 1847.

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