Joseph Brant/Thayendanegea and Religious Freedom

Color image of a detail of a painting of Joseph Brant/Thayendanegea, showing his face.  His black hair is in a scalp lock decorated with feathers and flowers, and he wears a black headband with silver rings.
Detail, Joseph Brant/Thayendanegea by Charles Willson Peale, from life, 1797

Independence National Historical Park

 
Religious freedom gave Brant the opportunity for political advancement. Born to Christian parents, the young Mohawk attended a charity school for native men. Brant skillfully used his fluency with both the Indian and the British cultures to position himself well in each. One of the markers of his British identity was his membership in the Anglican Church. James Boswell described Brant's 1776 visit to England noting "upon his tomahawk is carved the first letter of his Christian name, Joseph, and his Mohock [sic] appellation, thus Thayendaneken...he is engaged in the translation of the New Testament in the Mohock tongue."
 

Last updated: September 3, 2016

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