By José António Brandão, K. Janet Ritch
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Extra resources for Nation Iroquoise: A Seventeenth-Century Ethnography of the Iroquois
9 In short, although these clues narrow the limits of the search for authorship, identifying the author with certainty seems a remote possibility. Even if a likely individual could be found, and samples of his handwriting were extant, a comparative handwriting analysis could not be used to conﬁrm authorship because ‘‘Nation Iroquoise’’ is a scribe’s handiwork. The best that can be hoped for is to make a persuasive case for an individual after eliminating as many potential candidates as possible.
Unfortunately, tempting as it is to try to resolve two mysteries in one fell swoop, ‘‘Nation Iroquoise’’ is not Louvigny’s lost me´moire. There is little reason to question, if anyone still does, that Raudot wrote the Relation that has come to be attributed to him. A comparison of his handwriting in signed letters with that in the draft version of his manuscript removes all doubt. It is also clear that Margry was correct in concluding that Raudot based his work on material from Louvigny. 41 And Louvigny was well regarded by the Iroquois.
As well, although there are clearly set-off paragraphs, there are few sentences punctuated with commas or periods. Overall, however, it looks like a rewritten version of a report. Indeed, internal evidence suggests that the document in question was written in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century. 6 ‘‘Nation Iroquoise’’ is divided into ten unequal sections, each with a title written in large letters. Each section of the document deals with some aspect of Iroquois life or culture. ‘‘Nation Iroquoise’’ begins with a general geographic and topographic introduction to Iroquoia followed by sections on religion, types and processes of councils, councils concerning war, private war councils, mourning councils, Iroquois nature, Iroquois qualities, Iroquois superstitions, and Iroquois mourning rituals.
Nation Iroquoise: A Seventeenth-Century Ethnography of the Iroquois by José António Brandão, K. Janet Ritch