Treaty of New York

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The Treaty of New York was a treaty signed in 1790 between leaders of the Creek people and Henry Knox, then Secretary of War for the United States, under president George Washington.

After a failed treaty attempt between the United States and the Creek Indians at Rock Landing, Georgia, in 1789, which Creek leader Alexander McGillivray abruptly ended and described his grievances in a letter to the United States commissioners, George Washington sent a special emissary, Colonel Marinus Willett to McGillvray, persuading him to come to New York City, then the capitol of the United States, to conduct a treaty with Washington and Henry Knox directly.

In the summer of 1787, twenty-seven Creek leaders led by Alexander McGillivray traveled to New York and signed a treaty on behalf of the "Upper, Middle, and Lower Creek and Seminole composing the Creek nation of Indians". Creek leaders ceded a significant portion of their hunting grounds, including land stretching to the Oconee River, to the United States and agreed to turn runaway slaves over to federal authorities, although the Creek leaders averred that convincing the Creek people to honor the new boundary lines or return African American slaves would be difficult at best.

The United States granted the Creeks the right to punish non-Indian trespassers in their territory but refused to allow the Creeks to punish non-Indians who committed crimes on Creek lands. For their part, the Creeks agreed to turn over Creek people accused of crimes to the U.S. courts. In a secret side agreement to the treaty, McGillivray received a commission as a brigadier in the U.S. Army and was granted permission to import goods through the Spanish port of Pensacola without paying American duties.

The Treaty of New York was the first treaty between the United States and Native Americans not held in Indian controlled lands.


Treaty of New York (also known as Treaty with the Seven Nations of Canada) was a treaty signed on May 31, 1790, between leaders of the First Nations comprising the Seven Nations of Canada and a delegation headed by Abraham Ogden for the United States.

See also[edit]


  • Ellis, Joseph J. "I Wish I'd Been There: The McGillivray Moment". Random House Inc: 2006.
  • Laurence M. Hauptman, Conspiracy of Interests: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State (2001).
  • Prucha, Francis Paul. "American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly". University of California Press: 1994.