An Oneida Indian Woman who could rightly be called the Mother of the Country
Researching and writing the George Washington’s Army and Me screenplay I was presented with a number of characters, which are highlighted in the book. None are more striking than the real life American Indian woman, Polly Copper.
Most Americans know that George Washington is considered the “Father of the Country” but very few know Polly Cooper, from the Oneida tribe and how she played a crucial role in our American Revolution. Through service and sacrifice to the American cause she can rightly be called, the Mother of the Country.
In the winter of 1777 the Oneida learned of the desperate situation of Washington’s starving and freezing men at Valley Forge and they decided to send help. Polly Cooper was the only woman to travel with 40 Oneida Warriors hundreds of miles south from Upstate New York to Washington’s winter encampment in Pennsylvania. It was a perilous journey across mountains and snow. But the tribe had an especially plentiful harvest that fall with more than enough food to share —exactly what Washington’s soldiers needed.
Polly stands out as she not only helped feed the men but also taught them how to cook and mended their wounds. What is truly extraordinary is when it came time for the 40 Warriors and Polly to return north —Polly decided to remain behind. Imagine having the choice to leave bleak, freezing Valley Forge but you decide to stay. That dedication is the definition of true service and sacrifice.
I know the entire production team including myself is proud to highlight Polly’s war-time service within the film and bring light to her accomplishments. Because of the Oneida’s assistance and especially Polly’s dedication the tribe have deservedly earned the moniker, “America’s First Ally.”
Robert Child, Director, Screenwriter