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OTTROWANA (Adrawanah, Atterwana, Dyaderowane, Gatrowani), Cayuga chief; fl. 1746–74 in what is now upper New York state.

Ottrowana was known to the British as early as 1746, and he probably led one or more of the raiding parties fitted out by New York’s colonel of the Six Nations, William Johnson, to attack Canada during the War of the Austrian Succession. He also supplied Johnson with intelligence such as the news he brought in 1747 that the Hurons had requested the Six Nations’ permission to destroy the French Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.). After hostilities between Britain and France formally closed in 1748, Ottrowana continued to provide information on French activities. In 1751 he reported that he had been at Cataraqui (Kingston, Ont.) “where they were building a large Ship, which was to have three Masts, and that some there told him when fitted was designed to come & take this Place [Oswego]. That he Saw there Six Cannon, designed for Said purpose, three Yards long with a Wide Bore . . . .” War resumed in the mid 1750s and Governor Vaudreuil [Rigaud] invited the leaders of the Six Nations to meet with him in Montreal. At a conference with those who arrived in the summer of 1756, he denounced Iroquois diplomatic practice. “You pretend to be friends of the French and of the English, in order to obtain what you want from both sides, which makes you invent lies that an upright man would never think of,” he said. The delegation privately advised the western Indians who had come to Montreal to assist the French in the war that “as they could not know yet how matters might turn out,” they should go home and stay neutral. Ottrowana is not known to have attended the conference, but he reported on it to Johnson, warning him that the French had said they would attack Fort Johnson (near Amsterdam, N.Y.) in the autumn.

Early in 1758 the French appear to have made a special effort to win the friendship of the Six Nations and their dependent tribes. Daniel-Marie Chabert de Joncaire de Clausonne set out from Montreal in the spring with a large quantity of trade goods and presents and a dozen blacksmiths who were to live in the Indian villages. It was rumoured that the French intended to win over the leaders who were most pro-British, and Ottrowana was one of those specifically invited to a meeting at the Seneca village of Chenussio (Geneseo, N.Y.). A few months later he sent Johnson word of a French army assembling at Chouaguen (Oswego). In February 1759 he and several other Cayuga chiefs went to Johnson’s residence to apologize for the murder of an Englishman by one of their young men. With the close of the war, information on his activities becomes even more scant. He was present at Fort Stanwix (Rome, N.Y.) in 1768, when a treaty was signed relinquishing a large amount of land and establishing a boundary line between whites and Indians. Along with Hotsinoñhyahtaˀ, Teyohaqueande, and others, he attended the condolence council at Johnson Hall (Johnstown, N.Y.) following Sir William’s death in 1774.

It is difficult to estimate the influence Ottrowana exercised among his people. Johnson called him “one of the leadingest men in Cajuga,” but his assessment may have been coloured by optimism, since Ottrowana seems to have been genuinely pro-British. The intelligence he supplied was not always correct, but the rumours were usually based on plans under active consideration by the French. When he had firsthand knowledge, his information was exact. His political judgement, on the other hand, may be questioned. Once the French were no longer in Quebec competing for their services, the Six Nations’ bargaining position was substantially weakened and their lands were more than ever coveted by the British colonists.

in collaboration

Bougainville, “Journal” (A.-E. Gosselin), ANQ Rapport, 192324, 319. Johnson papers (Sullivan et al.) NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow). [J.-G.-C. Plantavit de Margon, Chevalier de La Pause], “Relation des affaires du Canada depuis l’automne dernière 57 . . . ,” ANQ Rapport, 193233, 34750.

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Cite This Article

in collaboration, “OTTROWANA,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 10, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/ottrowana_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/ottrowana_4E.html
Author of Article:   in collaboration
Title of Article:   OTTROWANA
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   June 10, 2023