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CRONYN, BENJAMIN – Volume X (1871-1880)

d. at London, Ont., 21 Sept. 1871


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HOTSINOÑHYAHTAˀ (written Chenughiyata, Chinoniata, Kotsinoghyâtà, Otsinughyada, Rozinoghyata), Onondaga chief; fl. 1748–74. The name the Bunt, by which he was generally known to the British, may be a corruption of the German band, a cord or sinew, since that is the meaning of his Onondaga name.

Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ was acquainted with the British as early as 1748. He may have been Racsenagate, one of the Onondagas who in March 1751 (o.s.) agreed to deed a large piece of land near their village to William Johnson rather than sell it to the French as some of their nation had proposed. In the summer of 1756, when Johnson (now superintendent of northern Indians) accompanied a delegation of Six Nations sachems to a condolence council at Onondaga (near Syracuse, N.Y.), Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ received the mourners. Later that year he sent Johnson word that he was going to Canada and would report on his journey.

The meeting Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ attended at Montreal in December was a large one composed of high French officials and representatives of the domiciliated Indians living near Montreal and of the Ottawas and Potawatomis from the pays den haut. Governor Vaudreuil [Rigaud] had called the conference to solicit the neutrality or support of the native people in the war which had broken out between the French and British. Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ stressed the neutrality of the Six Nations and promised to burn the British forts in their villages. When he returned home in the spring of 1757 he sent Johnson word that the French were planning an attack on German Flats, a part of the Mohawk valley near the mouth of West Canada Creek. At a meeting with Johnson in June the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas emphasized their intention to remain neutral.

In the summer of 1758 Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ went to meet Paul-Joseph Le Moyne de Longueuil near Chouaguen (Oswego, N.Y.). He warned Longueuil, an adopted son of the Six Nations, that the British were assembling men and barges at Fort Bull (east of Oneida Lake) and that an attack on Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.) was rumoured – an attack which occurred a few weeks later. Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ) went to Canada in the autumn of 1758. On his return he advised Johnson that a French expedition was preparing to go against Fort Stanwix (Rome, N.Y.).

Johnson’s capture of Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) in July 1759 encouraged Iroquois participation on the British side in the war. Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ and his sons joined the forces gathered at Oswego (being rebuilt by the British) for an attack down the St Lawrence. The expedition was postponed, but Hotsinonhyahtaˀ returned the next year and accompanied Amherst and Johnson to Montreal.

In September 1762 Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ informed Johnson that “being very old” he needed help in managing the affairs of the Six Nations Confederacy. He asked that his two assistants be given identification papers so that they would be known at the various posts. In following years he attended numerous conferences with the British and privately advised Johnson on various occasions. The missionary Samuel Kirkland described him in 1765 as “a venerable old chief . . . [who] spoke like a Demosthenes.” In the autumn of 1768 Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ took part in the negotiations at Fort Stanwix in the course of which the Six Nations and their dependent tribes gave up a large amount of their land to the whites and agreed to a boundary line that was supposed to protect their remaining territory. The treaty was witnessed by one chief for each Iroquois nation; Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ signed for the Onondagas.

The old chief decided to retire in 1771, but Guy Johnson, Sir William’s deputy, persuaded him to withdraw his resignation. Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ now found walking difficult, and the Indian department accounts for 1771 and 1772 show the purchase of a bateau for him. In 1773 he accompanied Christian Daniel Claus, another deputy, to a conference at Canassadaga, the Iroquois village on Lac des Deux-Montagnes (Que.). The Six Nations at this time were concerned with reuniting to the Confederacy those who had separated themselves from it during the wars between Britain and France, and this objective may have prompted the old man to make the journey. In 1774 his resignation on account of his great age was announced, and his long career as a diplomat and politician came to a close.

in collaboration with Arthur Einhorn

Hamilton College Library (Clinton, N.Y.), Kirkland mss, journal of 1764–1765. Johnson papers (Sullivan et al.). “Mémoire du Canada,” ANQ Rapport, 1924–25, 142. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow). Graymont, Iroquois.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

in collaboration with Arthur Einhorn, “HOTSINOÑHYAHTAˀ,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 21, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hotsinonhyahta_4E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hotsinonhyahta_4E.html
Author of Article:   in collaboration with Arthur Einhorn
Title of Article:   HOTSINOÑHYAHTAˀ
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   September 21, 2023