During our Ohio Society of the Sons of the American Revolution which was held in Bolivar Ohio and part of our multiple day Fort Laurens Tomb Guarding and Memorial Service we were honored to have a speaker present to us.
The author was Alan Fitzpatrick who has focused on finding the truth about the Native American culture prior to, during and after the American Revolutionary War.
Alan presented to our group dressed in Native American clothing and wore war paint typical of the Delaware and Wyandot Indian tribes which were present around Fort Laurens in the 1770’s.
Alan’s message was tell “the rest of the story” about the lives of the American Indian around the times of the 1770’s. Alan’s message was that most of the way of life of the American Indian was told through the eyes of the white men, and frequently misstated.
He has completed and continues to perform research and detective work on the realities of Native American life. He emphasized that the Native Americans were being forced from their land and often made choices either of which were good outcomes for them.
Fitzpatrick said more than 1,200 white captives never came home after peace was made with Native Americans. Fitzpatrick has released ten books on topics regarding the Native Americans.
Early on Fitzpatrick located a trove of 42,000 + letters which were part of British archives. These archives gave Alan much information where he was able to learn about experiences with Native Americans in pure form. He was amazed that information from these personal experiences were kept secret and has concluded that they were kept secret because of racial prejudice against the Indians.
Alan went on to share that the Native American tribes were maternal organizations where the women shared power and were the key decision makers for everyday life.
He also shared the realities of the Native Americans practice of taking prisoners, assessing the potential of the new captives to be assimilated into Native American life, or determine if the captive had some ransom value to be traded for something that the tribe needed. One of Fitzpatrick’s books addresses the reasons why over 1200 white captives stayed with their Native American captives.
The books that Alan Fitzpatrick has written have a common theme “My point was to attempt to tell their story, which is a true story, through their eyes, because we know so little about native people,” he explained. “It’s allowed me to tell the story of white captives, bringing in their day-to-day way of life, and how they saw the world. Traditional Native Americans don’t see the world the same way we do.”
Fitzpatrick’s suite of books include “Wilderness War on the Ohio: The Untold Story of the Savage Battle for British and Indian Control of the Ohio Country During the American Revolution,” “In Their Own Words: Native-American Voices from the American Revolution” and “Place of the Skull: The Untold Story of Wheeling’s Earliest History.”
This presentation by Alan was very thought provoking and he did a terrific job of explaining the everyday life of the Native American and how they coped with the ultimate loss of their lands at the hand of the white settlers moving west.
We were grateful for his contribution to our meeting.
Don Miller, President of the Ohio Society of the Sons of the American Revolution presented Alan with a Certificate of Appreciation.