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 enormous gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this suggestion on its head, exhibiting that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their so much 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 within which the sunlight rose and set each day, and a human physique with its personal exact 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 studies of lifestyle. targeting jap North the United States up during the finish of the Seven Years struggle, Shoemaker heavily reads incidents, letters, and recorded speeches from the Iroquois and Creek confederacies, the Cherokee country, and different local teams along British and French assets, paying specific recognition 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. via the tip 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 maybe even through nature, local american citizens 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 robust and eloquent interpretation questions long-standing assumptions, revealing the unusual likenesses one of the population of colonial North the United States.
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Extra resources for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
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. Of unique geological origins com pared to the surrounding rock formations, it overlooked the valley where the Oneidas lived. 47 For the Mohawks, who lived further east near Lake Champlain, Rock Rogeo marked the place where a Dutch trader had drowned years before.
Thus, early-modern European land privatization did not free individuals from the bonds of community; it did, however, cause the major difference in LAND 21 eighteenth-century Indian and European conceptions of land. The difference was twofold: private landholding added to the European penchant for scien tific measurement of land and led to subtle changes in conceptualizing national territory. 33 Those seeking to turn “commons” into privately held lands hired surveyors who measured pieces of the open fields, pastures, and wastes with poles or chains and plotted the distances and notable features of the landscape onto a survey map.
According to oral traditions recounting origins of the Iroquois Confederacy, when the Confederacy’s founder and lawgiver, Deganiwidah, formally named each of the allied nations, he chose place as a distinguishing feature of nationality. The Mohawk Nation, the first nation to enter the Confederacy, received a name that translates to mean “Flint People” or people of the “flinty place” (Kan-yengeh). ” 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.