Smithsonian

Scarrooyady, an Iroquois leader, at a 1753 treaty

Scarrooyady’s proclamation to colonist traders is indicative of the attitude that many Native Americans took to the introduction of alcohol by colonists into Native tribes. Native Americans, who had not been previously exposed to rum, rapidly developed addictions, which led to dependencies on colonist traders. Many Natives saw the introduction of alcohol, as well as gunpowder, as extremely detrimental to their continued existence.

Your traders now bring us scare any Thing but Rum and Flour. They bring us little Powder and Lead, or other valuable Goods. The rum ruins us. We beg you would prevent its coming in such Quantities, by regulating the Traders. . . . We desire it be forbidden, and none sold in the Indian Country.

Credit: Scarrooyady, an Iroquois leader, at a 1753 treaty.