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Conference with Indians at Fort Pitt



Fort Pitt, July 6, 1776

At a Meeting held this day at this place, present: Kiashura, a Mingo Chief, just returned from the treaty at Niagara; Captain Pipe, a Delaware Chief; the Shade, a Shawnees Chief, with several others, Shawnees and Delawares; likewise Major Trent, Major Ward, Captain Nevill, his officers, and a number of the inhabitants. After being seated, Kiashuta made the following speech:

"BROTHERS: Three months ago, I left this place to attend a treaty at Niagara, to be held between the commanding officer at that place, and Six Nations, Shawnees, Delawares, &c˙; but I was stopped near a month at Caughnawaga, as the commanding officer had sent word to the Indians not to assemble until he should hear from Detroit. While I was at Caughnawaga, eight hundred Indians of the Six Nations, hearing of my intention of going to the treaty, came to meet and go with me. Just as we arrived at a small village beyond Caughnawaga, they received a message from the commanding officer, acquainting them that the treaty was over; but they, notwithstanding, persisted in going. I received a message at the same time, inviting me to come, and assuring me that the Council fire was not entirely extinguished. Upon my arrival with the rest of the Indians, I informed the commanding officer that I had come a great distance to hear what he had to say, and desired that he would inform me; but he told me that he was not yet prepared to speak with me, which ended our conference."

Kiashuta then produced a belt of the wampum which was to be sent from the Six Nations to the Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, and Western Indians, acquainting them that they were determined to take no part in the present war between Great Britain and America, and desiring them to do the same.

N˙ B˙ — Kiashuta has the belt, and is ordered by the Six Nations to send it through the Indian country.

He then addressed himself to the Virginians and Pennsylvanians in the following manner:

"BROTHERS: We will not suffer either the English or the Americans to march an army through our country. Should either attempt it, we shall forewarn them three times from proceeding; but should they then persist, they must abide by the consequences. I am appointed by the Six Nations to the care of this country, that is, to the care of the Indians on the west side of the River Ohio; and I desire you will not think of an expedition against Detroit, for (I repeat it to you again) we will not suffer an army to march through our country." — A String.

Kiashuta again rose, and spoke as follows:

"BROTHERS: Should any mischief chance to be committed by any of our people, you must not blame the Nations, nor think it was done by the approbation of the Chiefs; for the Six Nations have strictly forbidden any of their young men or tributaries to molest any people on their waters; but if they are determined to go to war, let them go to Canada, and fight there." — A String.

Kiashuta then addressed himself to Captain Pipe, a Delaware Chief, desiring him to inform his Nation of what he had heard, and to request them to be strong, and join with the other Nations in keeping peace in his country. — A String.


He also recommended to the Shade, a Shawnees Chief, to do the same. He then desired the foregoing speech might be distributed through the country, to quiet the minds of the people, and convince them that the Six Nations and their adherents did not desire to live at variance with them.

To which Captain Nevill returned the following answer:

"BROTHER KIASHUTA: I am much obliged to you for your good speech on the present occasion. You may depend we shall not attempt to march an army through your country, without first acquainting you with it, unless we hear of a British army coming this course; in such case, we must make all possible speed to march and endeavour to stop them."

To which Kiashuta replied, there was not the least danger of that, as they should make it their business to prevent either an English or an American army from passing through their country.