The centerpiece of New York State’s 150th anniversary of the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 was a pageant, the “Pageant of Decision.” Major General John Sullivan’s Revolutionary War expedition was designed to eliminate the threat posed by Iroquois allied with the British. It was a genocidal operation that involved the destruction of over forty Indian villages. This article explores the motivations and tactics of state officials as they endeavored to engage the public in this past in pageant form. The pageant was widely popular, and served the state in fixing the expedition as the end point in settler-Indian relations in New York, removing from view decades of expropriations of Indian land that occurred well after Sullivan’s troops left.

This content is only available via PDF.