New Publication: Onondaga and Empire; An Iroquoian People in an Imperial Era

Just released! The NYSM has published the latest volume in the Bulletin Series entitled, Onondaga and Empire; An Iroquoian People in an Imperial Era. As author James W. Bradley notes, the publication “continues the story of the Onondaga, central nation in the League of the Five Nations, also known as the Haudenosaunee, and how they responded to the challenges of interacting with Europeans during the last half of the 17th century. By 1650, the Onondaga had experienced more than a century of contact with European traders and settlers. During this time, they learned how to integrate the strange new materials brought by Europeans – iron axes, brass kettles, firearms – into their own culture in order to better meet their needs.

As interactions with Europeans intensified between 1650 and the peace treaties of 1701, the Onondaga focus shifted from assimilating material objects to understanding alien European concepts and values such as sin, property ownership, and the demands of imperial agents. By learning to utilize these ideas for their own purposes, the Onondaga were able to lead the Five Nations to solutions –wampum belts, new diplomatic protocols, and an expansion of the League into a Confederacy – that would maintain their sovereignty and protect their culture in a rapidly changing world."

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About the author:  

James W. Bradley is an archaeologist and historian with a particular interest in the Native peoples of northeastern North America. He received his Ph.D. from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 1979 and served on the staff of the Massachusetts Historical Commission in Boston from 1979 to 1990. From 1990 to 2001 he was director of the Robert

S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, MA. Between 1998 and 2003, he also served as a member of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee. In 2001, he founded ArchLink, a small consulting firm focused on linking archaeology with education and preservation. He has been a Senior Research Associate at the New York State Museum since 2005. Bradley is an active scholar and has received numerous awards for his publications and partnerships.