Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans

My cousin Dan sells lithographs and merchandise related to the Revolutionary War, French & Indian War, and Mountain Man fur trade period as a side business at Mountain Gull Trading.

This lithograph, War Dance by Robert Griffing, has always fascinated me. Who would have thought Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans would have major respect for each other? But they did, and for good reason too

Throughout the French and Indian War, English authorities negotiated with the Native Americans for their military assistance. While not as successful in this as their French counterparts, the English did enjoy some success, due partly to the presence of the Scottish Highlanders, whom the Indians viewed as being similar to them. Both cultures were tremendous warriors and lovers of a battle, both had great respect for the orator and Chieftain, and both clan and tribe held tightly to their ancient traditions. Their similarities in temperament and philosophy sometimes led the English to refer to the Scots as “cousins to the Indian.”

Preparing for battle had its own Highland custom – the Sword Dance. Here Robert Griffing shows a soldier of the 42nd Highland Regiment within the walls of Fort Ticonderoga seeking a prophecy by engaging in an ancient Highland tradition. According to clan tradition, if a dancer touched the swords beneath his feet during the dance, it would foretell doom in the coming battle. In this print a piper is providing the music. An Iroquois warrior watches, awaiting the results. An amused and approving smile is upon the face of a tribal headman as he keeps time with his drum.

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