Print: "The brave old Hendrick the great SACHEM
or Chief of the Mohawk Indians..."
"The brave old Hendrick the great SACHEM or Chief of the Mohawk Indians,
one of the Six Nations now in Alliance with, & Subject to the King of Great Britain,"
London, England, ca. 1740. Acc. #2001-761.
Too often, Native Americans during the Revolutionary War period are portrayed as savages. In this ca. 1740 print, Tiyonaga, later named King Hendrick by the English, is portrayed in a much different light. He is shown wearing ornate European clothing, including a shirt, a gold-trimmed coat and waistcoat, and a cocked hat. He holds an ax in his right hand and what appears to be a wampum belt in his left hand. Other notable features include a facial scar on his left cheek and a tattoo on his left temple.
Many years earlier, in 1710, Tiyonaga had been one of four Mohawk leaders to travel to England for an audience with Queen Anne. It was during this visit that he was dubbed "King Hendrick " and his portrait was painted by court painter John Verelst. The Verelst portrait of the youthful Tiyonaga was later engraved by John Simon and produced as a print titled "Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperour of the Six Nations."
King Hendrick was a Mohawk leader and a major figure in colonial affairs. He advocated peace between the Six Nations and Great Britain and advised colonial leaders at the Albany Congress (1754) on the principles of Iroquois government. He was perhaps the most important individual link in a chain of alliances that saved the New York frontier and probably all of New England from French invasion during the initial stages of the French and Indian War (1754–1763). He remained on friendly terms with white settlers in the colonies while also acting as an advocate for Indian rights. Tiyonaga was killed during what was known as "the bloody morning scout," which took place a few hours before the battle of Lake George on September 8, 1755.
Written by Dee Albrinck, elementary school teacher, Hebron, Kentucky, and Ted Green, assistant professor, Multidisciplinary Studies, Webster University School of Education, St. Louis, Missouri.