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 line with an unlimited gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this thought on its head, exhibiting that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their such a lot basic realities--land as nationwide territory, govt, record-keeping, foreign alliances, gender, and the human physique. earlier than they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked via mountains and rivers, a actual global within which the solar rose and set on a daily basis, and a human physique with its personal specific form. in addition they shared of their skill to make feel of all of it and to invent new, summary rules according to the tangible and visual reports of way of life. targeting jap North the USA up throughout the finish of the Seven Years battle, 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 realization to the language utilized in cross-cultural dialog. ironically, the extra American Indians and Europeans got here to grasp one another, the extra they got here to determine one another as assorted. 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 an alternative built 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 tolerating 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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Additional info for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
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. So, were marked trees, painted posts, and stone heaps Indian claims to ter ritory? Implicitly they were, for they carried intensely felt meanings and thereby 28 A STRANGE LIKENESS connected people emotionally to that place. Warriors and hunters who left behind pictographic records of their deeds claimed the land by writing their personal histories on it.
William Bull described the naming ceremony performed for him when he treated with the Iroquois on behalf of Governor James Glen of South Carolina: They had agreed to give me a Name by which they and their children might know me, and that was Orrickh Wa Wawgah, which Mr. Conrad Weiser interpreted, One that lays fast hold of the Chain of Friendship, or rather, One who is an Assistant in the Public Council, Orrick signify ing publick Business. 31 For the Iroquois, the practice of naming the representative of a foreign nation ensured that dialogues of diplomacy were conducted state-to-state.
Enlightenment-era political theorists imagined Native Americans living in a state of nature, the antonym of European culture and artifice. 8 Indians who went to Europe provide us with the opportunity to reverse the ethnographic gaze and compare Indian chiefs and European kings face-to-face. 10 Other high-profile visits involved In dians from the Southeast. 1). 11 Cherokees came again in 1762, only three this time. 1 Isaac Basire engraving of the seven Cherokees who visited London in 1730 with Alexander Cuming.