There are many famous Indian chiefs in U.S. history, like Chief Joseph, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and Black Hawk. This is the story of another chief who became a famous warrior. He was Thayendanegea, also known as Joseph Brant. Born in 1742, before America was even a nation yet, he was a Mohawk, one of the Six Nations, or tribes, that made up the Iroquois confederation. His fighting career began as a 15-year-old in the French and Indian War; by 1772 he had become a chief.
A few years later, the Six Nations held a meeting. They had heard rumors of the colonists preparing to fight the mighty Great Britain. The discussion was about whether the Iroquois should remain neutral or - if not - which side they should fight on. Many, especially the young braves, were eager to fight. Some speakers urged that they join the colonists. While they were arguing, one older chief stood up. “I have seen war,” he said. “It is harsh. Before we risk dividing brothers over a disagree-ment with Britain, we should consider carefully.”
While he was still speaking, Brant interrupted him. As everyone listened in surprised silence, he urged the Iroquois, and his own Mohawks in particular, to fight for the British. The colonists could not possibly defeat the mighty British Empire. After Brant's passionate speech, the old chief's fears were realized. For the first time in history, the Six Nations were split. The Mohawks, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca sided with the British; the Tuscarora and Oneida with the Americans. Brant himself led many effective battles and raids against the patriots, becoming a feared leader. His fame grew, with even the King of England granting him an audience. After the British were defeated, Brant settled in Canada and later became friends with George Washington, the man he had been fighting against.
Before Joseph Brant died in 1807, he couldn't have imagined that the 13 colonies that he thought could never defeat Britain would one day become a nation many times larger and even more powerful than the British Empire itself.