John Norton (1770–1831?) was one of the most important Iroquois leaders in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the author of a thousand-page manuscript on First Nations history, a journey he made to the Cherokee country, and his adventures in the War of 1812. However, that text and his other writings have received comparatively little attention from scholars despite the rich opportunities these documents hold for exploring the indigenous world of his day. Much of the neglect stems from a reluctance to accept him as a “real” native person because he was born in Scotland and was an adopted Mohawk and because people have doubted his claim that his father was a Cherokee. This article clarifies Norton's claim to a Cherokee connection and concludes that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the probability that his father was a Cherokee; thus it invites scholars to look at Norton's work anew in their quest to understand the First Nations world of the latter 1700s and early 1800s.
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Carl Benn; Missed Opportunities and the Problem of Mohawk Chief John Norton's Cherokee Ancestry. Ethnohistory 1 April 2012; 59 (2): 261–291. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-1536885
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