By Nancy Shoemaker
The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is sometimes characterised as a chain of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings in accordance with an unlimited gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this idea on its head, displaying that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their such a lot primary realities--land as nationwide territory, govt, record-keeping, overseas alliances, gender, and the human physique. ahead of they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked via mountains and rivers, a actual international within which the solar rose and set on a daily basis, and a human physique with its personal particular form. additionally they shared of their skill to make experience of all of it and to invent new, summary rules in response to the tangible and visual reports of way of life. concentrating on jap North the United States up during the finish of the Seven Years battle, 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 resources, paying specific recognition to the language utilized in cross-cultural dialog. mockingly, the extra American Indians and Europeans got here to grasp one another, the extra they got here to determine one another as diverse. by means of the tip of the 18th century, Shoemaker argues, they deserted an preliminary willingness to acknowledge in one another a typical humanity and as a substitute built new rules rooted within the conviction that, by way of customized and even perhaps via 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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Extra resources for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
52 Located in between the Mohawks and the Abenakis, Rock Rogeo and the flint quarry perhaps belonged to neither nation or to both. Such fluctua tions and disputes surrounded most claims to territory, and created most of the records documenting where people believed their territory began and ended. Europeans traveling in the Northeast, often missionaries curious about In dian divinities, described many mythological figures whom Natives connected to points on the landscape. Like Odzihozo’s living presence on Lake Champlain, other mythological beings had formed places with distinctive characteristics and still occupied those places.
Surveyors defined the Caughnawaga Indians’ land boundaries “by stones being put in the Ground with his Britannick Majestys Coat of Arms,” and they divided New York and Canada with “Monuments of Stone wth. ”82 Artificial and natural marks fulfilled many purposes: they identified routes for travelers, they created a sentimental or nationalistic bond between people and land, and they served as boundaries defining an individual’s land and the land belonging to a town, colony, or nation. For Europeans, marked trees, small piles of stones, and stakes served as surveyors’ marks whereas for Indians these same devices constituted memorials, mnemonics that recalled events, agree ments, or people that were meaningful to an individual or, more often, to a group of people.
In addition, Tomachachi being afterward ask’d what he observed at Court, reply’d, They carry’d him thro a great many houses (by which he meant rooms) to make him believe the Kings Palace consisted of many, but he was Surprised to find he return’d by the Same Stairs he went up, by which he found it was Still but One house. He observed we knew many things his Country men did not, but doubted if we were happier. 16 Given the provenance of this remark in one of the most reliable sources on the Georgia colony, we can trust it as authentic even though Tomochichi’s critique of British excess makes him sound just like a noble savage of European imagi nation.
A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America by Nancy Shoemaker