The World’s Famous Orations.
America: I. (1761–1837). 1906.
The Cayuga Chief Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson on the Empire State
Have we, the first holders of this prosperous region, no longer a share in that history? Glad were your forefathers to sit down upon the threshhold of the Long House. Rich did they then hold themselves in getting the mere sweepings from its door. Had our forefathers spurned you from it, when the French were thundering at the opposite end to cut a passage through and drive you into the sea, whatever has been the fate of other Indians, the Iroquois might still have been a nation; and I, too, might have had—a country!
There was a prophet of our race in early times who said that the day would come when troubles would fall upon the Indians so that they would knock their heads together. When that time came they were to search for a large palm-tree and shelter their heads beneath its shade, letting their bodies be buried at its roots, and cause that tree to flourish and become a fitting monument of the Iroquois race. That time has now come; we are in trouble and distress—we knock our heads together in agony, and we desire to find the palm-tree that we may lie down and die beneath it. We wish that palm-tree to be the State of New York, that it may be the monument of the Iroquois.