By Nancy Shoemaker
The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is usually characterised as a chain of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings in keeping with an unlimited gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this proposal on its head, displaying that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their such a lot primary realities--land as nationwide territory, executive, record-keeping, overseas alliances, gender, and the human physique. sooner than they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked via mountains and rivers, a actual global within which the sunlight rose and set each day, and a human physique with its personal specific form. additionally they shared of their skill to make feel of all of it and to invent new, summary rules in line with the tangible and visual stories of way of life. concentrating on japanese North the US up during the finish of the Seven Years warfare, Shoemaker heavily reads incidents, letters, and recorded speeches from the Iroquois and Creek confederacies, the Cherokee state, and different local teams along British and French assets, paying specific realization to the language utilized in cross-cultural dialog. ironically, the extra American Indians and Europeans got here to understand one another, the extra they got here to determine one another as varied. by means of the top of the 18th century, Shoemaker argues, they deserted an preliminary willingness to acknowledge in one another a standard humanity and in its place constructed new rules rooted within the conviction that, by means of customized and even perhaps through nature, local american citizens and Europeans have been peoples essentially at odds. In her research, Shoemaker finds the 18th century roots of putting up with stereotypes Indians built approximately Europeans, in addition to stereotypes Europeans created approximately Indians. This strong and eloquent interpretation questions long-standing assumptions, revealing the unusual likenesses one of the population of colonial North the USA.
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Extra info for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
The Senecas were to be the “people of the big mountain,” and the Onondagas were “the people of the big hill,” a name they kept even after moving their central village downhill and several miles to the west. 45 The Oneida stone was one of many Iroquois sites noted for the occurrence of tragic or miraculous phenomena, which constituted another means by which natural landmarks connected people to stories about themselves and their past. The Oneidas, “people of the upright stone,” vested their identity as a distinct people in this rock with a supernatural aura.
Towns and cities—especially those located in the East, where Indians had already been vanquished—celebrated the Indian heritage of their communities by publishing their local histories, building imposing stone memo rials, tracing the origins of Indian place-names in the vicinity, and inviting a few Indians, in traditional costumes, to share the stage at Fourth of July celebrations. 32 A STRANGE LIKENESS Even the bones of Indian dead became the stuff of national mythmaking as local, non-Indian community leaders erected gravestones and claimed the bodies of dead Indians as part of their own history.
In the early nineteenth century, as the United States government pressed Indi ans in the East to move westward, officials attempted to reassure Indians that they would find a sufficient livelihood in their new lands: that there were riv ers and springs and that the hunting would prove plentiful. However, govern ment officials and Americans in general had little regard for the emotional pangs removal would bring for the Indians’ loss of a landscape that was evocative of their collective past and the repository of the graves of their ancestors.
A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America by Nancy Shoemaker