Now the woman who had that special Iroquois dream was an Iroquoian mother, a mother pregnant with an infant that would be her third son. In her dream she saw a broken rainbow. The rainbow extended from the home of an Indian agent to the Iroquois reservation named Tonawanda Seneca. She set out to find someone who could understand the meaning of her dream.
A dream interpreter told her that her dream spoke to her about the future of her unborn child. He told her that that child would one day become a great peacemaker. Time would show the veracity of that interpretation. Time would show that the broken rainbow foretold of the break-up of the union, the break-up that led to the Civil War.
Now the Iroquois dream that offered a clue to that break-up came well before the start of the Civil War. It came to a woman who was pregnant in 1828. Four months after having that dream, she gave birth to a son. She named her son Ely Parker.
Ely showed his potential early in life, when he was still a student at the reservation's Baptist school. Later Ely studied law. He did not, however, practice law in New York, because the law did not allow Native Americans to practice law in that state at that time. Instead Ely learned engineering skills while working on the Genesee Valley Canal.
Meanwhile Ely began to have contact with members of the New York government. When the Civil War broke out, Ely used those contacts to do a favor for the Iroquois people. He wrote to those contacts about the desire of young Native American men to serve in the Union forces.
With Ely's help, the government acted to change its recruitment policies. Soon Ely and other Iroquois young men were dressed in the blue uniform of the Union forces. Ely started out doing some engineering work for the northern military units. Eventually, Ely became a secretary for General Ulysses Grant.
When Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Ely Parker wrote out two full copies of the peace agreement. The prediction made by the interpreter of his mother's dream came true. Ely had helped to repair what his mother had seen as a break in a rainbow; he had helped to restore the union of the northern and southern states.
Lee continued to keep one foot in the Iroquois culture and one foot in the culture of the White man. In 1867 he married a White woman, Melanie Sawett. Ely asked General Grant to be the best man at that wedding.
Yet Ely never forgot the land where he grew up. Ely's heart was always with the Iroquois people. After Ely died in 1895, his friends and family arranged for his body to be returned to the reservation in New York.
Maybe some afternoon after a moderate rain a rainbow will form in the New York sky. Maybe that rain bow will form an arc over the gravesite of Ely Parker.