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Handsome Lake

Handsome Lake, 1735?–1815, Seneca religious prophet; half-brother of Cornplanter. After a long illness he had a vision (c.1800) and began to preach new religious beliefs. His moral teachings showed a similarity to Christian ethics and had a profound effect among the Iroquois. He advocated giving up the nomadic Native American life in favor of agriculture, much to the disgust of Red Jacket. Though Christian missionaries opposed Handsome Lake's religion, it nevertheless persisted alongside Christianity.

See The Code of Handsome Lake (tr. by A. C. Parker, 1913, repr. 1968); A. Wallace, The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca (1969, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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