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Justice in a New WorldNegotiating Legal Intelligibility in British, Iberian, and Indigenous America$
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Brian P. Owensby and Richard J. Ross

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479850129

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479850129.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

“Since We Came out of This Ground”

“Since We Came out of This Ground”

Iroquois Legal Arguments at the Treaty of Lancaster

(p.118) 4 “Since We Came out of This Ground”
Justice in a New World

Craig Yirush

NYU Press

Over time, Natives and settlers not only came to appreciate the political implications of treaties but also learned to manipulate each other’s legal concepts. Craig Yirush shows the Iroquois’ skill at sequentially deploying indigenous and English concepts during negotiations with delegates from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland in 1744. The Iroquois defended their claims to land in Maryland and Virginia by invoking their conquest of it and their long possession (prescription). Arguments from conquest and prescription, familiar in European colonial discourses, constituted part of the settlers’ case at the treaty negotiations. The Iroquois reworked these arguments to their own advantage, mixing them with appeals rooted in Native legal and rhetorical traditions. Switching between Native and English legal ideas was at once a mechanism for gaining advantages in negotiations, defending interests, outmaneuvering rivals, and enriching intermediaries.

Keywords:   treaty negotiations, Iroquois, legal concepts, rhetorical traditions, legal ideas, colonial discourse

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