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The Haudenosaunee and the Origins of the Erie Canal: Ditches, Defense, and Dispossession


The creation of the Erie Canal is considered to be one of the great engineering feats of the nineteenth century. Until the publication of Laurence M. Hauptman’s Conspiracy of Interests: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State (1999), no historian previously had examined the devastating effect of the canal era on Indigenous peoples in the Empire State. In this talk, Hauptman, the author of numerous books on the Haudenosaunee, will focus on the half century before the opening of the Erie Canal, specifically on state canal policies on three of the Six Nations. He will show that even before the establishment of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company in the 1790s, the Erie Canal’s predecessor, state politicians in Albany, transportation interests, and speculators were working hand-in-hand at separating the Haudenosaunee from their extensive territories. Join the Erie Canal Museum and Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center for this free virtual discussion on October 8th at 11AM on Zoom. A Zoom webinar link will be sent to you the week of the presentation. This program was funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Registration required.