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Encyclopedia > Handsome Lake

Handsome Lake (173510 August 1815) was a Seneca religious leader of the Iroquois people. Before his emergence as a prophet, Handsome Lake fought in Pontiac's Rebellion (against the British) and the American Revolutionary War (against the Americans). After struggling with alcoholism and an apparently near-fatal illness in 1799, Handsome Lake began professing instructions he had been given in a series of three visions. Events 16 April - The London premiere of Alcina by George Frideric Handel, his first the first Italian opera for the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. ... August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1815 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The Seneca are a Native American people, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois League. ... The Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee, also known as the League of Peace and Power) is a group of First Nations/Native Americans. ... Pontiacs Rebellion was a war launched in 1763 by Native Americans (American Indians) who were dissatisfied with British rule in the Great Lakes region and the Ohio Country after the British victory in the French and Indian War. ... The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen North American colonies. ... 1799 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


Handsome Lake's teachings were both a revival of traditional religious practices as well as a program of cultural adaptation to the realities of reservation life in the United States. While he encouraged the adoption of certain customs of white Americans, such as European-style farming and housing, Handsome Lake also urged his followers to continue to practice traditional American Indian ceremonies. He encouraged Christian-style confessions of sin and urged Native Americans to stay away from alcohol. In addition to his moral instructions, Handsome Lake delivered a series of prophecies about the end of the world and the signs that would signal it. In 1802 Handsome Lake traveled to Washington D.C. with a delegation of Iroquois representatives to speak with President Thomas Jefferson about land issues and other matters. President Jefferson's approval of Handsome Lake's teachings was an important early endorsement of the prophet's religious movement. BIA map of Indian reservations in the continental United States. ... For other uses, see White (disambiguation). ... Native Americans (also Indians, Aboriginal Peoples, American Indians, First Nations, Alaskan Natives, or Indigenous Peoples of America) are the indigenous inhabitants of The Americas prior to the European colonization, and their modern descendants. ... A Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. ... 1802 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the third (1801–1809) President of the United States and an American statesman, ambassador to France, political philosopher, agriculturalist, horticulturist, land owner, architect, archaeologist, slaveowner, author, inventor, and founder of the University of Virginia. ...


Handsome Lake had a good relationship with the Quakers who lived among the Seneca and encouraged them to become farmers, since the Quakers were religious pluralists who agreed with a number of Handsome Lake's teachings, especially his stance against alcohol. Similarly, Handsome Lake did not discourage Indians who chose to embrace Christianity. Christian missionaries among the Seneca after Handsome Lake's lifetime, who (unlike the Quakers) actively sought to convert the Indians to Christianity, were less tolerant of the religion of Handsome Lake's followers. The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, or Friends, is a religious community founded in England in the 17th century. ... Religious pluralism is the belief that one can overcome religious differences between different religions, and denominational conflicts within the same religion. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament writings of his early followers. ... A missionary is a propagator of religion, often an evangelist or other representative of a religious community who works among those outside of that community. ...


Handsome Lake gained a wide following, aided by the prominence of his half-brother Cornplanter, an influential Seneca leader. However, Handsome Lake was disliked and dismissed by Red Jacket, who led a rival faction of Senecas. Handsome Lake encountered controversy when he accused a number of American Indian women of witchcraft; several of these women were executed by Handsome Lake's followers. When an accused witch was killed in 1809, Handsome Lake fell out of favor with Cornplanter and the Quakers, although he still retained a circle of loyal followers. Chief Cornplanter portrait by F. Bertoli, 1796 Gaiäntwakê generally known as Cornplanter was a Seneca chief. ... Red Jacket (known as Otetiani in his youth and Segoyewatha after 1780) (c. ... 1809 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


In the last years of his life, Handsome Lake advised against Iroquois involvement in the War of 1812. However, by this time many Senecas including Cornplanter considered the United States to be their country, and so they enlisted in the war. The War of 1812 was a conflict fought in North America between the United States and Great Britain from 1812 to 1815. ...


Handsome Lake's teachings, known as The Code of Handsome Lake, eventually became the foundation of the Longhouse religion, which is still followed today.


References

  • Montour, Ted. "Handsome Lake", online article in the Encyclopedia of North American Indians
  • Wallace, Anthony F. C. The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca. New York: Knopf, 1969.

External link

  • Text of letter from Thomas Jefferson to Handsome Lake

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Code Of Handsome Lake (1926 words)
Despite the striking similarities between Handsome Lake's portrayal of the dispute between the Creator and the Tormentor and the punishment of the wicked in a kind of 'hell', and corresponding teachings in Christianity, Parker states that Handsome Lake's portrayal is here a "typical example of Iroquois philosophy.
Handsome Lake's people, the Seneca, were members of a six nation confederacy called the 'Iroquois,' which by the eighteenth century had been reduced to poverty with much loss of land, whilst its culture was in ruins.
It has been suggested that Handsome Lake aided the adaptation of traditional Iroquois belief to the realities of reservation life, and even that he might be responsible for the Iroquois' survival in the nineteenth century, in part, by rendering agricultural work acceptable to men (Snow:1996 p.162).
The My Hero Project - Handsome Lake (1565 words)
Handsome Lake said he had been visited by four spiritual messengers who gave him instructions on how the people were supposed to live - to be thankful and continue the thanksgiving ceremonies, to respect other humans and everything in the natural world, to honor the family and refrain from abuse of spouses.
Apparently during the 1790s he received the title Handsome Lake (Ganeodiyo, the name traditionally borne by one of the sachems chosen to represent the Seneca at the national Iroquois council), and in that capacity he signed the treaty of Big Tree (1797), by which the Iroquois of New York were left with eleven reservations.
Handsome Lake's influence was strongest among the Senecas, Onondagas, and Oneidas of New York, although it spread to the Wyandots and Iroquois of the Sandusky in Ohio, whom he visited in 1806.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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