Treaties in Historical Context

Document 3: Great Peace of Montreal (1701)

 


Editor’s Note: This literal translation reflects the language of the period. To correct for unacceptable and | or misleading translation, the proper terminology is included in parentheses.

RATIFICATION OF THE PEACE

Made in the month of September last between the colony of Canada, the savages [Indigenous people] its allies, and the Iroquois in a general assembly of the chiefs of each of these nations convened by Monsieur the Chevalier de Callière, governor and lieutenant-general for the King in New France, at Montreal on August 4, 1701.

As only the deputies of the Huron [Wendat] and the Odawa were here last year when I made peace with the Iroquois [Haudenosaunee] for myself and all my allies, I deemed it necessary to send the Sieur de Courtemanche and the Reverend Father Enjalran to all the other nations, my allies, who were absent, to inform them of what had happened and to invite them to send each one’s chiefs with the Iroquois prisoners they held in order to hear my words all together.

After all the above nations had heard what Monsieur the Chevalier de Callière had said to them, they answered as follows:

The Chief of the Kiskakons:
My father, knowing that you would ask me for the Iroquois prisoners, I did not want to fail to bring them to you. Here are four, whom I present to you to do with as you please. It is with this porcelain [wampum] that I unbound them, and here is a pipe that I present to the Iroquois for us to smoke together when we meet one another. I rejoice that you have unified the earth which was in confusion, and I willingly subscribe to everything you have done.

The Iroquois:
Here we are assembled, our father, as you wished it. Last year you planted a tree of peace, and you gave it roots and leaves so that we would be sheltered by it. At present we hope that everyone will hear what you say, so that no one will disturb this tree. For our part, we assure you by these four necklaces [wampum belt] that we will follow everything that you have settled. We present to you two prisoners who are here, and we will deliver to you the others that we have. We also hope, now that the doors are open to peace, that the rest of our own will be returned to us.

The Huron:
Here we are as you requested. We present to you twelve prisoners, of whom five wish to return with us; for the other seven, you will do with them as you please. We thank you for the peace which you have obtained for us, and we ratify it with joy.

Chichicatalo, Chief of the Miami:
I have obeyed you, my father, by bringing you eight Iroquois prisoners to do with as you please. If I had had canoes, I would have brought you more of them. Although I do not see any of my people here who are with the Iroquois, I will bring those who remain with me if you wish it, or I will open the doors for them so that they may return.

Onanguice, on behalf of the Sauk:
I am of a single body with you, my father. Here is an Iroquois prisoner I took during the war: permit me, in presenting him to you, to give him a pipe to take to the Iroquois and smoke when we meet. I thank you for returning light to the sun, which had been darkened since the war.

Onanguice, Chief of the Potawatomi:
I will not make you a long speech, my father; I no longer have any more than two prisoners, whom I place at your two sides to do with as you please. Here is a pipe that I give you, for you to keep or to give to these two prisoners to smoke at home. I am always ready to obey you until death.

Miskouensa, Chief of the Outagami [Meskwaki]:
I have no prisoners to deliver to you, my father, but I thank you for the beautiful daylight that you are giving to the whole earth through peace. For my part, I will never lose that brightness….

The People of the Rapids:
You are aware, you other Iroquois, that we are attached to our father, we who live with him and are in his bosom. You sent us a necklace [wampum belt] three years ago to invite us to give you peace; we sent you one in response. We give you this one again to tell you that we worked at it; we ask only that it endure, with you having done on your side what is necessary for that.

The People of the Mountain:
You have assembled here, our father, all of the nations to make a mound of axes and to put them in the earth along with yours. For myself, who did not have another one, I rejoice in what you are doing today, and I invite the Iroquois to see us as their brothers.