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Notes on the Iroquois
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In giving a more permanent form to the original edition of this document, a more convenient reference title has been prefixed to it.
The Iroquois nation, whose statistics and history, past and present, are brought into discussion in the following report, stand out prominently in the fore ground of our own history. They have sustained themselves, for more than three centuries and a half, against the intruding and progressive races of Europe. During the period of the planting of the colonies, their military exploits gave them a name and a reputation which are coeval with Europe. These events are intermingled, more or less, with the history of each of the colonies, and impart to them much of their interest. But while we have made an extraordinary progress in population and resources, and gone far to build up a nationality, and commenced a national literature, very little, if any, progress has been made in clearing up and narrowing the boundaries of historical mystery, which shroud the Indian Period prior to 1492. This forms, indeed, the true period of American Ethnology.
It was a desideratum in American statistics, that a complete census of one of these primary stocks, who had lived in our neighborhood all this time, and still preserved their nationality, should be taken. This task New York executed in 1845. It appeared desirable to the agent appointed to carry the act of the legislature, embracing this feature, into effect, that the opportunity should not be lost of making some notes of the kind here indicated; and it is in this feature, indeed, if any thing, in the report now presented, that it aspires to the character of research, though it be intended only to shadow forth outlines to be filled up hereafter.
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