Famous Native American Freemasons: Exploring the History

The history of Native Americans and Freemasonry is a complex one, with many leaders of the revolutionary era in the Northeast using it as a means of power play. Joseph Brant (1743-180) and Ely S. are two famous examples of this. In the Van Gorden-Williams Library Archives, there is a large collection of Grand Lodge proceedings, including several from Grand Lodges established in the western United States before statehood.

In the 19th century, middle-class white Masons were drawn to the wisdom of Native Americans in their search for primitive truth. At the same time, modernizing Indians looked to Freemasonry as a way to find their place in middle-class American society. Building on this historiography, the seventh chapter explores how Native Americans adapted Masonic ideals and practices to preserve their identity and accommodate themselves to American society. Older approaches to Native American history have seen Masonry as part of a larger “civilizational process” that focused on the assimilation of native tribes into white society. Today, there are many famous Native American members of Freemasonry, including Chief Joseph Brant, Chief Ely S., and Chief John Ross. These leaders used Freemasonry as a way to gain power and influence in their respective communities.

They also used it as a way to preserve their culture and identity in the face of assimilation. The history of Native Americans and Freemasonry is an important one that should not be forgotten. It is a reminder that even in times of great adversity, people can come together and use their shared values to create something greater than themselves.

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