By Nancy Shoemaker
The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is sometimes characterised as a sequence of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings in line with an enormous gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this inspiration on its head, exhibiting that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their such a lot basic realities--land as nationwide territory, executive, record-keeping, overseas alliances, gender, and the human physique. prior to they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked via mountains and rivers, a actual global during which the sunlight rose and set on a daily basis, and a human physique with its personal detailed form. additionally they shared of their skill to make feel of all of it and to invent new, summary rules in accordance with the tangible and visual reports of way of life. targeting jap North the United States up throughout the finish of the Seven Years warfare, Shoemaker heavily reads incidents, letters, and recorded speeches from the Iroquois and Creek confederacies, the Cherokee kingdom, and different local teams along British and French resources, paying specific cognizance to the language utilized in cross-cultural dialog. mockingly, the extra American Indians and Europeans got here to understand one another, the extra they got here to work out one another as diversified. 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 as an alternative constructed new rules rooted within the conviction that, by way of customized and even perhaps by way of nature, local americans and Europeans have been peoples essentially at odds. In her research, Shoemaker finds the 18th century roots of putting up with stereotypes Indians constructed 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 US.
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Extra info for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
LAND 19 Thus, planting fields were held in common; town officers distributed rights to sections or strips and also organized the community’s labor. In all eastern Indian economies, women performed the daily agricultural labor, but at some point in the growing season, entire towns worked together in the fields. ”25 Of the Creek fields he saw, William Bartram described how when it came time to harvest, one man would call the entire town to work the fields, “each gathering the produce of his own proper lot” but setting aside some of it for the “King’s Crib .
Both Indians and Europeans organized themselves as distinct communities of people who au thorized or accepted the power of certain individuals to make decisions and speak for them. And to realize themselves as nations, they created visible, tan gible symbols to stand for abstract national identities. To constitute individuals as incarnations of the public will, Indians and Europeans used strategies that were alike in intent but different in form. The strategy most apparent in the records of Indian-European diplomacy was to bestow titles of office on individuals, often in a public ceremony.
Moreover, by associating Europeans with cul ture and Indians with nature, these two starkly contrasting monuments pre sented Europeans and Indians as essentially different. The greatest meaning land may hold for its inhabitants is in its 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.