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June 2 1812: Oneida Petition


On June 2, 1812, the Chiefs and Warriors of the Oneida write to President Madison  because they have heard "great talk of war."[1] The Oneida are a Native American nation and one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy living in upstate New York. The Oneida remind the President that they had fought on the side of the colonists at the time of the American Revolution. "As Children of our forefathers who fought and Bled in the Cause of freedom," the Oneida write, asking now for commissions from Congress. Their concerns are prompted by the fact that the "the Indians in Canada have their Commissions to fight against us and there is talk of some of our Indians going to Canada." The petition of the Oneida nation is reproduced below:
From the Chiefs and Warriors of the Oneida Nation
June 2, 1812
We your humble Children of the Oneida Nation of Indians in Council Convened having heard great talk of war and knowing that the Indians in Canada have their Commissions to fight against us and there is talk of some of our indians going to Canada (we therefore as Children of our forefathers who fought and Bled in the Cause of freedom and had Commissions under our former Congress) do present our names to your Excellency for Commissions if your Honor should Deem us worthy of your Notice &c. we feel ourselves anxious to have some of our men Commissioned so that we can turn out in Case of emergency with our brethren the white People and the unanimous Voice of our Council is that we have Zacheus P. Gillet as our leader to have the Commission of Colonel and the others names to have Commissions as follows. Resolved that Zacheus P. Gillet be Colonel & Cornilius Dorlader—Captain Lewis Denny Jnr. Major Jacob Smith 1st. Lieutenant Adam skanindo Capt Peter Skanindo 2nd Lieut Isaac Webster 1st Lieutenant Daniel Onoghongeghta  Moses Skanindo & Lieut and Ensign Rodowick Ranays and we as true Patriots will Prove ourselves worthy of the honor and trust imposed on us. Respected father we hope we may find grace and favor in your sight and that you will be so good as to give us an answer that Respects our Commissions and send it to our Colonel at the oneida in the Oneida County as soon as may be Convenient so that we may Organize ourselves as we had in duty aught to do and in duty bound your Petitioners as in duty bound will Ever pray. N. B. we find Our People will not rest at ease if there is war1 and if we have our Commissions Soon our Brethren will Stay with us and be faithful and true to your honor and the united States for there has been some depredation Committed already &c. this from your faithful & true Children & humble servants, the Chiefs sachems, warriors Chiefs and warriors war Committee of the Oneida Nation RC 

Notes
1. The above is taken from the The Papers of James Madison Digital Edition, J. C. A. Stagg, editor. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2010. Canonic URL: http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/founders/JSMN-03-04-02-0469 [accessed 31 Dec 2011] Original source: Presidential Series, Volume 4 (5 November 1811–9 July 1812 and supplement 5 March 1809–19 October 1811)



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