MARYBRANT

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MARY BRANT
.............. BIOGRAPHY ..............
Brant, Mary [Konwatsi'tsiaienni] (1736-1796) Mohawk Leader: Brant was reputed to have descended from powerful Mohawk chiefs, and was the sister of Joseph (Thayendanegea) Brant, a fierce leader of the Mohawk Iroquois. Among the matrilineal Iroquois of northern New York, Brant wielded a great deal of power. This influence was enhanced by her long-term common-law relationship with Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. During the Revolutionary War, she helped refugee loyalists and passed vital information to the British before the Battle of Oriskany, earning her the censure and harassment of the patriots. She was forced to move to Cayuga, but as head of a society of Six Nation matrons, she played a crucial role in keeping Native Americans loyal to the British. The British then convinced her to move to Niagara and then to Carleton Island, where she acted as a liaison between the British and the Native Americans, interceding on her people's behalf. After the Revolutionary War, a house was built for her in Kingston, and she was granted the largest government pension ever given to a Native American.