Principal Chief of the Six Nations Indians.
Initiated in Lodge No. 417, 1776.
First Master of Lodge No. 11, Mohawk Village (near Brantford) in 1798.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been interested in learning more about the influence of Freemasonry on Aboriginal culture and Canadian History because of Kevin Annett’s crusade to bring down the Vatican English Royalty and it’s vestiges of Freemasonry. Kevin has accused certain RCMP officers of being Freemasons involved in the disappearance and murder of women at the Picton Farm. Freemasonry is described as a paternal organization where men of scientific minds and God-fearing countenances can meet and do good works. Without getting into the links to Illuminism and Freemasonry’s dark aspects, I thought it would be interesting to probe the link between the most famous Indian Freemason, Joseph Brant, and the rebellions that shaped America and Upper Canada. Brant was an instrumental historical figure who because of his initiation into a Freemasonic Lodge was afforded priviledges and protections allowed him to become a ‘civilized savage’ and a useful tool. In the end, Brant’s loyalist attitudes did little to secure land rights for his people as much as it led to his own personal prosperity. Below is a little history….
An Excerpt from The Masonic Trowel:
Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea (1742-1807), Principal Chief of the Six Nations Indians, had been initiated in Lodge No 417 on the English Register (Moderns), which met at “The Falcon,” Princes Street, Leicester Fields, London, in 1776, and served as the first Master of Lodge No 11, Mohawk Village (near Brantford), in 1798. And these are but a sample. About each of them, a lot more could obviously be said. People such as these will have played a pivotal role in the continued evolution of
From the MasonicDictionary.com:
A Mohawk Indian Chief, made a Freemason “and admitted to the Third Degree” at London, England, on April 26, 1776. This was in a Lodge of the Moderns, the Falcon, in Princess Street, Leicester Fields.
Brother Hawkins records that during the War of American Independence Brant was in command of some Indian troops on the British side, by whom Captain McKinsty, of the United States Army, had been captured. The Indians had tied their prisoner to a tree and were preparing to torture him, when he made the mystic appeal of a Freemason in the hour of danger. Brant interposed and rescued his American brother from his impending fate, took him to Quebec, and placed him in the hands of some English Freemasons, who returned him, uninjured, to the American outposts. Clavel has illustrated the occurrence on page 283 of his Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Masonnerie. Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea, to use his native name, was bom on the banks of the Ohio River in 1742 and was educated at Lebanon, Connecticut.
He was a member of Lodge No. 11 at the Mohawk village, about a mile and a half from Brantford, and was also affiliated with Barton Lodge No. 10 at Hamilton, Canada. Brother Robertson, History of Freemasonry in Canada, records (on page 687) that Brother Brant translated the Gospel of St. Mark into the Mohawk language and this was published in 1787.
– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
From the Committee on Masonic Education (.pdf)
Further history (earlyamerica.com)shows how Brant was instrumental in leading the Six Nations Tribes to oppose the rebellion uprising who outwardly remained a fierce Loyalist, but in whom his Indian nature could never be extinguished:”Brant and a number of young Mohawks were selected by Johnson to attend Moors Charity School for Indians at Lebanon, Connecticut–the school which in future years was to become Dartmouth College. Here he learned to speak and write English and studied Western history and literature. He is the only one of those chosen known to have derived any benefit from the educational process. He left school to serve under Sir William from 1755-1759 during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). After this, he became Sir William’s close companion and helped him run the Indian Department, administered by the British out of Quebec. He also became an interpreter for an Anglican missionary and helped translate the prayer book and Gospel of Mark into the Mohawk language.””About 1768 he married Christine, the daughter of an Oneida chief, whom he had met in school. Together, they settled on a farm near Canajoharie which Joseph had inherited. While here, Brant assisted in revising the Mohawk prayer book and translating the Acts of the Apostles into the Mohawk language. He also joined the Anglican Church, was a regular communicant, and evinced a great desire to bring Christianity to his people. His wife died of tuberculosis about 1771, leaving him with a son and a daughter. In 1773, he married his wife’ss sister, Susannah, who died a few months afterward, also of tuberculosis.”
Northwest New York“Brant was well received in England, and was admitted to the best society. His own education and his close association with educated men and his naturally easy and graceful manner facilitated his reception, and as he was an “Indian King” he was too valuable a person to be neglected. The members of the British cabinet and the nobility fawned over him; gave him expensive presents; invited him to their great estates, and arranged to have his portrait painted by famous artists like Reynolds, Romney, and others. Among his particular friends was the English diarist Boswell. He received official assurances that the Indian Loyalists would be utilized to a greater extent in the American conflict than that indicated by Carleton. Also during this trip Brant received the Masonic degrees in either Falcon Lodge or Hirams Cliftonian Lodge in London in April 1776. He had the distinction of having his Masonic apron given to him from the hand of King George III.””Brant returned from England in time to see some action in the Battle of Long Island in August 1776. He then departed for his homeland, traveling by night to elude the Americans guarding the Hudson highlands and the area around Albany. He told the young Iroquois braves of his trip to England and of the strength and friendship of the British. He denounced the Iroquois 1775 decision to remain neutral and called the Americans the enemy of all Indians. A tradition says that he promised each of his warriors an opportunity “to feast on a Bostonian and to drink his blood”. The speech was received with wild enthusiasm and Brant departed on a tour of regional Iroquois villages to similarly stir up support for the British cause.””Brant was certainly not dissuaded or criticized by the British or the Tories for his efforts. In fact, the intent of the British with respect to the use of Indians in the Revolutionary War was aptly expressed in the following poetic example of Gen. John Burgoyne, Deputy of the British forces in Canada, and taken from the Introduction to Burgoynes Orderly Book, page xxii:
Area of Operations
“About 1782, Brant married for the third time to Catherine Croghan, daughter of an Irishman and a Mohawk. He discouraged further Indian warfare, but kept his commission in the British army. He was awarded a tract of 675,000 acres on the Grand River in Ontario to which he led 1,843 Mohawk and other Indian Loyalists in 1784 where they settled and established the Grand River Reservation for the Mohawk.””He became affiliated with Lodge No. 11 at the Mohawk village at Grand River of which he was the first Master (presiding officer); he later affiliated as well with Barton Lodge No.10 at Hamilton, Ontario. In later years, the town of Brantford, Ontario, on the Grand River was named for him.””Due to some legal difficulties with the title to the Reservation land, Brant again went to England in 1785, where he was again well received. At this time, he was able to obtain compensation for Mohawk losses in the U.S. War for Independence and received funds for the first Episcopal Church in Upper Canada, but failed to obtain firm title to the Reservation, whose legality remains in question today (5). On being presented to the King, he declined to bend his knee or kiss his hand, saying,” I bow to no man for I am considered a prince among my own people. But I will gladly shake your hand.” (5) However, he added he would willingly kiss the hand of the Queen. Again, he sustained himself well in the best circles of the British metropolis, and became a friend and companion of the Prince of Wales. Another objective of his visit was to find out whether the Indians could rely on the support of Great Britain if a general war between the Indians and the United States should erupt. The British government declined comment on so delicate a matter, and referred him to the governor of Canada. Brant returned home to Canada in 1786.””The United States government sought his aid in securing an end to the wars with the Indians in the North- west Territories newly ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris, and he went alone to Philadelphia in 1792 for a meeting with President Washington and his cabinet; and he claimed to have received 1000 guineas down payment, plus the offer of an ultimate reward of 20,000 pounds for arranging ” a peace with the Ohio Indians”. He assured the United States he would help, but upon his return home he changed his mind and actually worked to foment unrest and rebellion among the Ohio valley Indians against the Americans, traveling in the American West to promote an all-Indian confederacy to resist land cessions. Following this, he devoted the remainder of his life to the interests and moral improvement of his tribe, continuing his missionary work and translations of Bible passages into the Mohawk language.””Brant constructed for himself a spacious dwelling in Canada, where he lived in handsome style with a host of slaves, as many as the aristocratic Virginians who would later rule the United States. His clothes were of the finest material, and in his luxurious home elaborate meals were served on crisp Irish linen. At home, he was a hospitable and convivial man, treating those who visited him kindly and courteously. His children were all well educated and his sons Joseph and Jacob were sent to Dartmouth. Unhappily, in 1795, his oldest son, Isaac, made a drunken assault on his father, who drew his dagger and inflicted a mortal wound. The case came before the Council of Sachems and Warriors, which exonerated Brant on the grounds of self-defense. Also, throughout his life, Brant maintained friendly relations with the English, and favored the introduction of agriculture and the useful arts among his tribe. (15)”
“What more, then, can be said about this remarkable individual, who was at ease drinking tea from fragile china cups, but could also hurl a tomahawk with deadly accuracy? We know that he was well educated; his compositions are highly respectable in point of thought and style, far beyond many of the farmers he had fought against. Perhaps it would have been impossible for Brant to have supported the American cause; he being too vain and too closely allied with the British Lords of the Mohawk valley to consider casting his lot with the humble farmers who spoke of freedom. For Brant, they had the stink of manure and earth about them; he was more familiar with buckled shoes and cologne. It is hard to imagine any other native American, though, who profited so greatly from the Revolutionary War. (15)”
“Brant died on November 24, 1807, at the age of nearly sixty-five years, at his own house on Grand River, Ontario, and was buried by the side of the Episcopal church he had built there. In 1850 Freemasons restored his tomb and placed an inscription on it, and a bronze statue of him was unveiled at Brantford in 1886. His last words, uttered to his adopted nephew, were: ” Have pity on the poor Indians; if you can get any influence with the great, endeavor to do them all the good you can.” (4)
Is it a coincidence that Kevin has aligned himself with Mohawk elders is also at war with Freemasonry? If Freemasonry is seen by Kevin as loyal to the Crown and it’s colonial institutions in Canada (Hey, did you know that most of the Fathers of Confederation were Freemasons?) then it makes sense that he would be against Freemasonry. He seems less interested in Brant’s Freemasonic beginnings and Anglican influence on the Mohawk nation and in Canadian history. There can be no doubt that Brant was a formidable force in the formation of Canada and the US and there can be no doubt that his Freemasonic allegiance helped influence key players in political and military circles. But Brant, like many other Indian Freemasons like him may have been useful tools in the rebellions in Canada and the U.S. and it is true, that for Brants sacrifice he was made prosperous, indeed a ‘lord of the land’. The question is to what degree that Freemasonry continues to be an influence in modern Aboriginal Affairs. That, however, is a question for another blog post….