John Tanner

John Tanner, "The Falcon," scout, interpreter, amateur ethnologist (b in Virginia c 1780; d at Sault Ste Marie, Ont 1846?). Son of a clergyman who migrated to Kentucky, Tanner was captured by Shawnee about 1789 and sold to the Ottawa.
John Tanner, "The Falcon," scout, interpreter, amateur ethnologist (b in Virginia c 1780; d at Sault Ste Marie, Ont 1846?). Son of a clergyman who migrated to Kentucky, Tanner was captured by Shawnee about 1789 and sold to the Ottawa.


John Tanner, "The Falcon," scout, interpreter, amateur ethnologist (b in Virginia c 1780; d at Sault Ste Marie, Ont 1846?). Son of a clergyman who migrated to Kentucky, Tanner was captured by Shawnee about 1789 and sold to the Ottawa. He grew up as an Indigenous person in the area W of Lk Superior, participating in wars against the Sioux. Later he showed up at the settlement founded by Lord Selkirk, remembering little English and hardly his name. Here he was employed as a guide and scout, while Selkirk helped him contact his relatives in Kentucky. A marginal man who drifted between white and Indigenous societies, Tanner settled at Sault Ste Marie. In 1830, with the aid of Dr Edwin James, Tanner wrote his Narrative, an account of 30 years with Indigenous people together with the first detailed descriptions of the Saulteaux and Cree. He spent his remaining years in trying circumstances and disappeared under suspicion, charged with murder.