“History as Archaeology”

The Conference on Iroquois Research held their annual meeting last weekend in Albany New York. This conference is an invaluable opportunity for native and non-native scholars, academics, and independent researchers to meet each other and hear presentations on all aspects of Iroquois Studies. I had a great time! Below is the powerpoint for my presentation on “History as Archaeology, the “Schedule of Propositions of the Indians and answers thereto from government …” which is an introduction to the Schedule of Propositions notes on the first two Minute Books of the Commissioners.

history-as-archaeology – as a PDF: should open on your computer.

history-as-archaeology – as a Powerpoint: should download to your computer.


Schedule of Propositions made by the Indians … 1677-1714

Click on the links below to download my transcription of the collection of notes entitled Schedule of propositions made by the Indians and answers given to them. These notes were taken in the nineteenth century, probably by British government officials. They cover portions of the first two volumes of the Albany Indian Commissioners’ Record Books for the period from 1677-1714. The original volumes are lost, so these notes provide information not available elsewhere.

The notes are now held by Library and Archives Canada. You can view their descriptive record here. The online images are available here.

You can also view the transcription directly online by hovering your cursor over Schedule of Propositions… in the menu at the bottom of the image at the top of the page, then clicking on the portion you want to see.

The transcription is divided into three parts, organized by date.

Part I provides only a rough outline or index of the first portion of the lost Volume I of the Albany Indian Commissioners records, covering 1677-1704. It has very little detail, in part because many entries were in Dutch, which the note takers could not speak, misidentifying it as “Indian.”


Part II, which contains more detailed notes on 1705-1706, the last portion of Volume I, includes much material not available elsewhere. By this time more of the AIC records were in English.


Part III includes notes for 1705-1706, the first seven years of Volume II of the AIC records, with a lot of detail and information not available elsewhere.


For an introduction to these materials, see this post containing the slides from a talk that I gave about them in October 2016.

1677 December 20: Propositions made by the Oneidas at Albany

Source: New York State Archives: A1894,  New York (Colony) Council Papers 26-161.

Transcribed 9-7-2016 by Ann Hunter.

The Schedule of Propositions says this begins on p. 2 of Volume I of the Minutes of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs.

The document is damaged. Material in brackets is my best guess for what it said before the damage occurred.

See S of P 28149 [0006], Richter 46-47, Colden 24-25, DRCHNY 13:516.

Propositions made by ye Oneydes to ye Commander & Commissaries of Albanie Colonie [of] Renselaerswyck &c. in ye. Court house of Albanie this 20th day of December 1677

[Translated] by [Arnout] Cornelise Viele

The Sachims are






They say Brethren —

1st       Our Young Indians have a while agoe by a misunderstanding taken a Mahikander Boy Prisoner at [Claverack] being in ye Governr. Genls Government where it is not free for us to doe [in yr house] & whereas ye Gov: Genl. did [advertise us] (by a maquese who Brought 9 hand of white Zewt. as a Letter) that we should deliver up [said young Mahicander] who was already [become a part in our] Castle to Remain there, we [illeg] that, [illeg.] order, & doe deliver him [illeg.] to you (who Represent [illeg.]) Gov: Genl. Wee were here we [illeg.] 4 Monthes agoe to see & speak wt. his honr. ye. gov. genl. but had no occasion to doe ye Same, and now we heare he is gone to England [hole in mss.] [nevert]helesse we obey his Comma[nd to] bring iyr this young Indian [hole in mss.] 3 Layss.

And if soo bee ye maquese might chance to say that they were ye occasion of this our obedience, believe them not for we only doe obey the Gov: Genl. herein

2          Doe Say That there is a Covenant made here Lately, betwixt Collonel Coursey authorized from Maryland & us that we use no hostility one against another: but Live in Love & friendship (as ye Covenant is betwixt the Gov: Genl. & us,) but there happend something after the makeing of this Covenant [illeg] Some Sinnekes & Oneydes were [out] against there enemies (but quite ignorant of foresaid Covenant, being gone [hole in mss.] before the Same was made) [hole in mss.] were fallen upon behind virginis by ye. Susquehannes (Indyans of Maryland) who Shott upon them [&] wounded two, one throw the arm, and another throw ye Shoulder, whereupon they Likeways fell upon the Susquenannes and killed four & took six Prisoners, and being come home it was thougt good by ye Sinnekes Sachims to send home the 5 which there Poeple had taken Prisoners wt Presents, ye better to keep the Covenant which was made, and ye 6th is wt us at Liberty and goes out a hunting

This is that which the Sinnekes desired us to acquaint you withall, & doe give a bever (being sent from ye. Sinnekes) which they call there Letter, & another Bever as a letter for to desire that ye news be sent to them of maryland

This is a true Coppy

Translated & Compaired

By me

Robt. Livingston Secr.