By Nancy Shoemaker
The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is usually characterised as a sequence of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings in keeping with an unlimited gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this inspiration on its head, displaying that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their so much basic realities--land as nationwide territory, govt, record-keeping, overseas alliances, gender, and the human physique. prior to they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked through mountains and rivers, a actual global within which the sunlight rose and set on a daily basis, and a human physique with its personal special form. in addition they shared of their skill to make experience of all of it and to invent new, summary principles in line with the tangible and visual stories of everyday life. targeting jap North the USA up in the course of 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 assets, paying specific consciousness to the language utilized in cross-cultural dialog. satirically, 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 way 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 built new rules rooted within the conviction that, via customized and maybe even by way of nature, local americans and Europeans have been peoples essentially at odds. In her research, Shoemaker finds the 18th century roots of tolerating 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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Additional info for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
The heaps were religious shrines but also historic markers. Like Rock Rogeo, some stone-heap memorials made their way into Euro pean records because they served as boundary markers in land disputes. 70 Robert Livingston’s patent for Livingston Manor, bought from the Mahican Indians, listed as a boundmark “a Place Called by the Natives Wawanaquassick where the Heapes of Stones Lye . . ”72 What the Mahicans and Mohegans actually thought about these heaps is mired in vehement British legal defenses resting on the premise that Indians were the original owners of lands transferred into British hands.
Among eastern Indians, “natural marks” sometimes served mundane functions by iden tifying meeting places or turning points for travelers and at other times bore a larger significance. In either case, naming places made landmarks out of the natural environment. A topic of antiquarian fascination, Indian place-names have been collected, translated into English, traced back in time, inserted in poetry, and quibbled over. This remarkable amount of data, covering nearly every locality east of the Mississippi, consists mainly of alphabetized lists, rarely organized by a typology or analyzed to reveal underlying patterns.
If accompanied by an Indian guide, they heard stories along the way about past battles, accidental drownings, the origins of lakes and mountains, and other historic events from the ancient past or from more recent times. Indians used both “natural marks” and “artificial marks” to make their environments home. “Natural marks” were places with unusual or distinguishing features. Among eastern Indians, “natural marks” sometimes served mundane functions by iden tifying meeting places or turning points for travelers and at other times bore a larger significance.
A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America by Nancy Shoemaker