Fabulous piece of work. Will be a great legacy for you personally and an excellent resource for anyone researching native diplomacy."
–Gavin Watt


In Their Own Words - Native-American Voices from the American Revolution
by Alan Fitzpatrick

In Their Own Words is a unique collection of nearly one hundred and fifty never-before published original documents containing the speeches of 18th century Native-American orators who spoke in dozens of councils with white men, both British and American, during the years of the American Revolution. Painstakingly transcribed from the Sir Frederick Haldimand Papers In Their Own Words bookcollection housed in the British Library and on loan from copies held in the National Archives of Canada, this collection of Native-American speeches is arranged in chronological order from the beginning of the war until its end in 1784, re-creating an unbroken record of what was said by an 18th century indigenous people who had no means of recording themselves.

Each document reveals a written account of what was spoken by both village and war chiefs at a particular time and place in the many councils held with both the British and Americans during the war years. The reason these speeches exist at all in archives is that the white officers attending the councils had with them at the time both a translator who could speak the language of the tribe attending the council and, more importantly, a white man who was able to write in English the words spoken by the native orator as quickly as they were translated by the person present who could speak the language. Consequently, these speeches together comprise an unbroken record of what 18th century Indian orators said at councils held at Fort Detroit, Fort Niagara, Fort Pitt, Montreal, and Quebec City, as well as Indian villages throughout the Ohio Country during the war.

Egouishawey, War Chief of the Ottawas

It is from these transcribed speeches that we hear, for the first time, the collective voices of a lost indigenous people, who were caught up in a white man’s war between British government and American rebellion for control of North America. Both sides rebuked the Indian desire for neutrality, and both sides demanded the allegiance of the Indians to help them defeat the other. In the process of choosing sides, the woodland Indian tribes sealed their fate that promised the destruction of their culture, their way of life, and their very existence. Faced with these daunting challenges to their survival during a war not of their own making that they were forced to partake in, from the lips of these Native-American orators we hear their innermost thoughts revealed, their fears of entanglement, their honor to past treaties, their anger at the intransigence of white men, their grieving for their dead in battle, their demand for food and clothing, their pain at the loss of their ancestral lands, their anguish at the loss of all that was once a proud and mighty people, and their pleas of a vanquished race that wished not to be forgotten by their great white Father.

Together, this collection of 18th century Native-American voices from the American Revolution serves as a unique, never-before heard, poignant and heart-rending testament of an indigenous people lost in the turbulence of American history, harkening back to another time, now gone.

Click here to read the full review article published in the Wheeling News Register. Used by permission from the Wheeling News Register.

In Their Own Words Native-American Voices from the American Revolution
by Alan Fitzpatrick

$19.95, plus shipping and handling
ISBN 978-0-615-29758-3
© 2009 Alan Fitzpatrick
Background image study by Cecy Rose for cover of In Their Own Words by Alan Fitzpatrick