To Do Good to My Indian Brethren

The Writings of Joseph Johnson, 1751-1776
The letters and diaries of an early Native American leader


This book brings together the writings of Joseph Johnson, a Mohegan Indian preacher, schoolteacher, and leader of the movement to relocate eastern Christian Indians to "Brotherton" in upper New York state.

Johnson's diaries, written between 1771 and 1773, document daily life in the Indian Christian communities of Mohegan and Farmington, Connecticut, with a remarkable richness and intimacy. His letters— to his teacher, Eleazar Wheelock, and other white benefactors, as well as to his fellow Native Americans—reveal both an uncommon talent for diplomacy and a powerful vision of Indian solidarity.

Commentary by Laura J. Murray illuminates the meaning of Johnson's writings in their historical context. One essay traces the cultural changes and political conflicts at Mohegan in the generations before Johnson's; other essays illuminate the rhetorical challenges Johnson faced as a literate Indian in the eighteenth century.

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