Onondaga Chief Canassatego

On Colonizing Education

delivered in 1744, Pennsylvania on behalf of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio.]

We know you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in these colleges. And the maintenance of our young men, while with you, would very expensive to you. We're convinced, therefore, that you mean to do us good by your proposal, and we thank you heartily. But you who are so wise must know that different nations have different conceptions of things. And you will not, therefore, take it amiss if our ideas of this kind of education happens not to be the same with yours.

We have had some experience of it. Several of our young people were formerly brought up in the colleges of the northern province. They were instructed in all your sciences. But when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly, and therefore were neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor councilors. They were totally good for nothing.

We are, however, not the less obliged for your kind offer, though we decline accepting. To show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them.


Audio Source: Deloria Jr., Vine and Junaluska, Arthur (Speakers). (1976). Great American Indian Speeches, Vol. 1 (Phonographic Disc). New York: Caedmon.

Transcription Note: Text version above transcribed from the audio performance by Deloria.

Further Info: http://www2.marianopolis.edu/quebechistory/encyclopedia/BenjaminFranklinonIndians.htm

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