Guyasuta: The Life and Legend of a Seneca Chief

Explore the story of an Indian leader’s allyship with George Washington just before the French & Indian War began. The Fort Pitt Museum’s new exhibition, Guyasuta: The Life and Legend of a Seneca Chief, showcases thought-provoking materials on the Seneca leader’s command and how he sought peace at a turning point in history.

The story begins as George Washington arrives at the Ohio River village of Logstown in 1753 and seeks to assert British interests in the region, enlisting the help of four Senecas, including a young hunter named Guyasuta.

But as conflict erupts between the British and French, Guyasuta plans to continue his people’s fight for sovereignty, regardless of which empire prevails. He initiates peace treaties between the Ohio Country tribes and the British, and even as battles continue, he maintains peace among the tribes and protects the Seneca and their interests.

In the fall of 1770, Guyasuta again meets George Washington, this time on the waters of the Ohio River that now separated the lands of the Ohio Country tribes from the ever-expanding colonial American frontier. With their days as warriors seemingly behind them, they reminisce, discuss land and trade, and part on friendly terms. In the following decade, another great war, and its threat to Native land and sovereignty, would soon divide them again.

Learn how this story of putting aside differences is not only a Pittsburgh story, but an American story in Guyasuta: The Life and Legend of a Seneca Chief.

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Exhibit Must-Sees:

  • Bronze maquette for local sculptor Jim West’s Point of View sculpture
  • Video interviews featuring sculptor Jim West
  • 18th-century American Indian war club and pipe tomahawk
  • Paintings by artist Nat Youngblood showing some of Guyasuta’s major engagements in present-day Western Pennsylvania
  • 18th-century peace medals issued to American Indians
  • French and British trade guns of the type used by American Indians in the Ohio Country

Point of View sculpture on Mt. Washington, courtesy of Jim West.