Page of Richter, Daniel K. Page of

Download 44.77 Kb.
Size44.77 Kb.

Page of Richter, Daniel K. Page of

Daniel K. Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001).
Ibidem KW: Early American Comps

Ibidem Annotation: In this book,

Daniel K. Richter is Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History and the Richard S. Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. His research and teaching focus on Colonial North America and on Native American history before 1800. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and taught previously at Dickinson College and the University of East Anglia. He is the author of The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), which won the 1993 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians and the 1993 Ray Allen Billington Prize, Organization of American Historians, and was selected a 1994 Choice Outstanding Academic Book. His Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (Harvard University Press 2001) won the 2001-02 Louis Gottschalk Prize in Eighteenth-Century History and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Richter is also co-editor (with James Merrell) of Beyond the Covenant Chain: The Iroquois and their Neighbors in Indian North America, 1600-1800 (Penn State University Press, 2003) and (with William Pencak) Friends and Enemies in Penn's Woods: Indians, Colonists, and the Racial Construction of Pennsylvania (Penn State University Press, 2004). [From his Penn web address but no CV].
Intent: What is the intent of the work?

The intent of this work is to change our traditional thoughts on Native American interaction with colonists.
Thesis: What is the main argument?

Richter argues that the story of European-American domination over Indians from their initially contact is bunk. Both coexisted and made limited inroads each others cultures until the Pontiacs War and the Paxton Boys (right before the American Revolution) marked an inciting of racial based tendencies that made division between Indians and Americans permanent.
Historiography: What is it dealing with? What is it using?

Begins with discussion of anthropology and archeology of early Native Americans then gets into reinterpretation of events. While people describe Bacon’s Rebellion and King Philips rebellion as resistance the story is still cooperation and coexistence, a la counter Jill Lepore The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity and Edmund Morgan American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia . Here the view is that the racialized and competitive world by the 17th century. The racialized world story really plays into Patrick.Griffin’s American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier in that Pontiac and Paxton Boys potentially divisive and racially defines the United States.
Why is the contribution important?

This is important because it changes our timeline of Native American relations.
Strengths and Weaknesses

The strength and the weakness of this work is its broad view. It changes the view of Native American relations through a long synthetic view of colonization. In theory the same thing could have been accomplished through burrowing in on Paxton and Pontiac; however, it would have been challenged in that NA-US relations was not the state he claims in his study (off in its framing). Changing this framing is essential.
In the “Prologue: Early America as Indian Country,” Daniel Richter describes the importance of looking east from Indian Country. The thought for the project came from visiting the Gateway Arch. From the Arch can see, courthouse where Dred Scott was. For a vast amount of time, Eastern North America was Indian Country. A few centuries earlier, St. Louis would have been the cultural center of North American Native Americans (NA). Coosa and Etowah in GA, Moundville in AL, Natchez in MS all highly stratified with division between elite and commoners, artisans, trading networks and elaborate mortuary rituals (Richter:3). These Mississippian societies flourished between 900 and 1350. Norse connections helped to establish agriculture connection without really contact. In the Little Ice Age, this put the cultures into tailspin. Losing agriculture tribes had to split up for survival. This meant that the split into Muskogean (Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaws), Souian, Iriquois (Cherokee, Tuscaroras) and (Iriquous, Hurons, Susquehannocks), and Algonquin around the Great Lakes. “Indian country was decentralized and diverse, but not disconnected.” (Richter:6) Trade proceeded along rivers. Goods often seen as gifts from gods, as oppossed to commodities. Do not really know but could have been like 2 million in the area east of Mississippi.

Still we tend to be Euro-centric in our narrative. Initially Europeans added to the diversity with not really asserting self overtop (Richter:8). The following chapters about how we might develop east-ward facing narratives. “Facing east on our past, seeing early America as Indian country, tracing our histories truly native to the continent, we might find ways to focus more productively on our future.” (Richter:10)
In “Chapter 1: Imagining a Distant World,” Daniel Richter outlines the major issues of accounting history of NAs during initial contacts. Can only get at view from later oral accounts translated by Europeans. Holds that the main thing occuring was a shift in civilization during and after contact. It was exacerbated by contact but most likely driven by defiencies in production, infighting, etc. Carl Becker held that history is an imaginative creation. Early America requires construction. All you have is oral traditions written by Europeans. Need to peirce the darkness of this hear-say. Cabot’s route to Newfoundland. Then down the Atlantic Coast. Fishermen followed increasingly (Richter:15). ‘Welcome or unwelcome, the travelers left behind weapons, tools, jewelry, and clothing that fell into the hands of Indian people.” (Richter:18) This helped to fuel discussion of wild world far away.

De Soto in May 1539 landing in FL. De Soto cuts his way through Florida moving from cheifdom helping selves to women and supplies as moved through. In Mabila (AL), De Soto runs into ambush as his men enter a fortified city for sleep. The sows that they brought and left become ‘razorbacks.’ As NAs recovered from the attacks they attempted to make sense of the attack. (Richter:26)

Cartier in the Gaspe Peninsula (mouth of St. Lawrence). By 1543, French abandon Canada altogether for 40 years (Richter:33).

While no documentary evidence exists of this, it is clear. Most of great cheifdoms failed in Southeast for more decentralized Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws. In North, Iriqous and Hurons derived from the Iriquoan language (Richter:33). Some of these civilizations were in decline beforehand and surely these incursions had their impact, yet it is clear that a plague followed that decimated society (Richter:34). This plague is certainly clear where Europeans remained with solid contact. Not as clear in eastern North America. With limited accounts of it, “we must consider the role of disease problematic for most of sixteenth-century eastern North America.” (Richter:35) Material culture and wealth of European connections also fought over. Not really sure how NAs redrew the map.

Important to remember that “Indian country had its own historical dynamics, its own patterns of population movements, conquests, and political and cultural change that had been going on for centuries.” (Richter:39) These newcombers not actual actors but helped to exacerbate conflict.

In “Chapter 2: Confronting a Material New World,” Daniel Richter holds that with European contact, NA cultures went through profound changes, particularly economic, ecological, and epidemiological. “As the sixteenth century gave way to the seventeenth, rumors yielded to firsthand experience.” (Richter:41) Europeans “less significant than the powerful material forces that thier arrival unleashed.” (Richter:41) Drastic economic, ecological, and epidemiological changes taking place with the connections.

300 Hugenots moved to Jacksonville in 1564. Spain in St. Augustine. Imports of cultural goods (fit to cultural niches). As late as 1600s, “the Native people valued material goods from Europe primarily as raw materials to be fashioned into familiar kinds of objects and as markers of priveged status earned by those with access to them.” (Richter:43) Axes and copper kettle divided and formed into other goods. Only once Europeans began to bring large amounts of goods did they remain the same. These new goods improved both life (work) and aesteticism. Only then do you see a grafting of materials on to rituals. Firearms not rally good for getting beaver (destroyed pelts). Trapped or crushed. Iron bladed clubs and hatchets more important than guns initially. Fur trade becomes and essential thing that various groups will fight over. “The forces of economic change unleashed by European colonization interacted with Native American practics to produce a new world that neither colonists nor Indians could previously have imagined.” (Richter:53)

Environment. Beaver destroyed. Beaver dams essential in creating resevoirs. Loosening them created fertile land to settle and farm. NA’s conception of ownership limited to exploitation of resource once stopped using land up for grabs. Corn beans squash. North America not blessed with an animal that could be easily exploited. “The arrival of European farmers - with their roaming livestock, their concepts of fixed property, and their single-crop plow agriculture-combined with the ecological impact of the fur trade transformed utterly the material environment of much of eastern North America and make traditional patters of live impossible anywhere in the vicinity of European settlements.” (Richter:59) A type of informal enclosure happened.

Disease. With establishment of Roanoake, Natives began to die in droves. Odds on surving nearly 50%. Diseases would tend to spread through kinship and economic connections. Disease often thought of as a result of a hostile act. Often times, what resulted was raids to re-establish populations (Richter:66).

NA’s not passive. “The profound economic, environmental, and epidemological constraints they faced make their efforts to rebuild Indian country more, not less significant.” (Richter:67 - 68)
In “Chapter 3: Living with Europeans,” Daniel Richter argues that stories of individual NAs in the 17th century counteract our common view of seperate Indians and Europeans. They existed in a world of constant contact between the two. Easier to reconstruct abstract forces than it is individuals. Individuals only fragmentary.

Pocahontas. Pocahontas in 4 seperate accounts. Suggests most likely a nickname for playful one or mischeavious girl. While a daughter of Powhatan no indication that he was her favorite. No real story of meeting John Smith (stories did not come out until after she was famous). No way to really sort out John Rolfe but most likely the marraige was not concensual since English and NAs battled constantly (Richter:75). Pocahontas most likely fielding a diplomatic role representative of cooperation not taken.

Tekakwitha story in 1680 Saint Lawrence Roman Catholicism. This story helped to “resolve the moral contadictions raised by the European colonization of North America and the dispossession of its Native inhabitants.” (Richter:81) Also helped to bridge the gaps of religion. This conversion indicates that in fact the gap not as large as initially thought. “She symbolizes one of the many ways in which Native Americans tried to come to grips with the challenges of the seventeenth century by incorporating people, things, and ideas from Europe inot a world still of their own making.” (Richter:90)

King Philip. Often told as a story of savage who futily resisted civilization. NE was all over the place with religion. At this time 60,000 colonists. Some NA’s appropriated Christianity. His story like the Pocahontas and Tekawitha. It was not rebellion more aptly described as fighting for cooperation (joint European and NA cultural exchange) that they had previously prospered under (Richter:105).

Chesapeake just like NE. Nathaniel Bacon. Doeg Indians attempt to take English hog. This rose into massive retribution between Natives and Colonists. These stories all counter that Indians were oppossed to English and were marginialized. “Each of them sought cooperation rather than conflict, coexistence on shared regional patches of ground rather than arm’s -length contact across distant frontiers.” (Richter:108 - 109) Not all colonial history was to be told by English-speakers.
In “Chapter 4: Native Voices in an Colonial World,” Daniel Richter describes the sources for hearing NA voices in the seventeenth century. Within their voice there still is an appeal to coexistence, although narratives in NE tended to indicate the losing of power by NAs. Native voices much harder to hear. Two bodies of documents good for recovering Natives: Puritan Conversions and Negotiations. Both written in English and account in detail. each “reveals Indian people trying to adapt traditional ideals of human relationships based on reciprocity and mutual respect to a situation in which Europeans were becoming a dominant force in eastern North America.” (Richter:111)

John Eliot and Thomas Mayhew 1652. Native voices in conversion coverd by trouble of translation. Also theological and rhetorical conventions play within the translations (Richter:118). How they fit into the ten stages of conversion by William Perkins. In mention the commandments that NAs broke a sense of what was going on in their mind. Altogether this shows how NAs made sense of the integration to European society.

1679 diplomatic incursions. These also tended to be formulaic. Yet this tends to indicate the personal expectations on the role of government. “From a position of relative equality, the treaty speeches of accommodationist orators attempted to mobilize European political might - particularly in its newly centralized imperial form - to protect the independence and enhance strength of the Mohawks and their fellow Iroquois.” (Richter:150) The conversion narratives come from a position of relative weakness. These can be uses to articulate NA’s vision of society.
In “Chapter 5: Native Peoples in an Imperial World,” Daniel Richter holds how the mid-18th century was still a world of joint cooperation. Only as Colonists asserted more autonomy would this joint occupied space become increasingly restricted for Indians. “As the seventeenth century gave way to the eighteenth, the struggle to define terms for coexistence with powerful European colonial neighbors preoccupied Indian people everywhere.” (Richter:151) A begrudging coexistence occurred between 1720s and 1750s. Yet British Americans developed a certain degree of political stability early on. This allowed rapid development supported by Irish and Germans moving on to the hinterlands. Seven Years War allowed colonists more autonomy. “in Indian country, too, the British victory the Seven Years’ War changed everything by demolishing the transatlantic frameworkd that had allowed Native people and Europeans to coexist.” (Richter:154) This meant they were parrallel stories.

French and Indian war not good name since the breakup not always clear. Iriquous in late 17th fight for New York but NY not really powerful, Iriquois surrender to New France. Direct conflict with European powers proved increasingly suicidal, so needed to negotiate diplomacy. Ohio country tended to be depopulated by NAs because of wars, etc., colonists began to move that way (Richter:168). To keep this western East North America from spinning out of control, NAS relied on negotiation (Richter:171).

While some negotiated others rearranged into new groups. Catawaba nation. There was less autonomy in these groups as were under direct British control. Native Americans often tied to Europe through an empire of goods. While goods still integral, Native Americans were no longer decultured by trade. “in that transatlantic world, Indians were producers as well as consumers.” (Richter:177) Price of furs (deer and beaver) boomed undercutting NAs participation there. “missionaries, traders, governors, warriors, interpreters, and the individual Indian people with whom they worked maintained some fo the ties between the parrallel worlds of Native and European North Americans.” (Richter:183) In Ohio country, it was clear who NAs would sign with (French). Along the St. Lawerence divided differently. After war, “European-Americans would deliberately erase that past [shared past] from their memories as they constructed a new future in which Indian nations - and the empires made room for them - had no place.” (Richter:188)
In “Chapter 6: Seperate Creations,” Daniel Richter discusses how Pontiac and Paxton boys led to racially militated world, ensuring that future relations would be nothing but battling. “The end of the imperial world that had made the coexistence of Indians and European colonials possible ushed in the beginning of a revolutionary era.” (Richter:188) In this period a White and Indian war for independence. Pontiacs War and Revolution. As Seven Years war ended, Pontiac comes on to the seen. Pontiac sees that alliance with French or English will lead to problems. What Pontiac advised to do is drive British out (Richter:199). Pontiac regrouped in OH; Paxton Boys in PA. Purging Colonies of Indian groups, even if peaceful. “Although neither succeeded in acheiving its bloody goals, the crusades of 1763 crystallized long-simmering haterds inot explicit new doctrines of racial unity and racial antagonism.” (Richter:206) Indian hating contniued amongs those that moved west (Richter:213). With all of the turmoil at the time there was little hope for peaceful coexistence at any time.

In the Revolution, there was concern over crown’s Native American policy, despite the fact that there was nothing completely given between the powers. No NAs were able to achieve perfect neutrality but few allied either way (Richter:221). When negotiating the Treaty of Paris in 1783, British completely ignored their Indian alliances. “Yet, for all the efforts made to restore the old diplomatic form, the new Father had even less ability to mediate successfully between his Indian Children and the White population than had his British predecessor.” (Richter:226) In the years proceeding, Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh leading the same type of agression as Pontiac. No surprise that Jackson and Harrison were the most succesful leaders in their era.

In the “Epilogue: Eulogy from Indian Country,” Daniel Richter holds that William Apess’s Eulogy on King Philip is the story that counters the story of Pilgrim vision and that he violence of the Revolution helped to develop a racialized view of society. Eulogy on King Philip delivered by Wiliam Apess he does a couple of things compares Philip with Father of Country, cruelty to Indians, and calls the American Revolution (Richter:238). William coming from mixed ancestry. Took part in the Maspee Revolt. But his Eulogy as the shining acheivement. Took exception to Daniel Webster’s Pilgrims as seeds of liberty. Appes purpose was to invert vision of Pilgrims (Richter:244). War resulted between NAs and Pilgrims, only when Metacom could not restrain his youth from retribution (Richter:246). This narrative did not end in the NE but also as Cherokee forced West and Seminoles fought in Florida.

The idea of starting the nation anew could be displace NA’s but it could not remove it from the past. White Americans still appropriated these NAs. “Yet somehwo the very violence with which they revolted against an empire that suggested White and Indian people might live beside each other, the very violence with which they rejected their own recent history, exposes the reality of the threat they faced: the racialized world the revolutionaries created was no the only one that might have been.” (Richter:253)


James Axtell “Review: [untitled],” The American Historical Review 107, 3 (Jun. 2002), 872.

This is part of the new generation of ethnohistory of Native Americans. This is still not quite history from NA’s views. It was not until the French and Indian Wars that view of Indians defending the West pervaded. Only with the Revolution, that revolutionaries created racialized world.
David J. Silverman “Review: [untitled],” Pacific Historical Review 72, 1 (Feb. 2003), 150 - 152.

As the work is very synthetic it tends to limit its recapturing of Indians viewpoint. The main methodological problem with this type of work is can only get at 16th and 17th century NA’s through colonists. So requires hypothesizing how NA’s may have accounted their own stories. Before the French and Indian War, NA’s pressed from all sides by powers, only after does West develop.
Steven W. Hackel, “Review: [untitled],” Reviews in American History 31, 2 (Jun. 2003), 184 - 191.

This work is more broadly concieved than Richter’s first work on Native Americans in the NE. After the wars in the 17th century, there was a realization that confrontation was bad. Ricther sometimes seems to come down too harsh on the Spanish.

Download 44.77 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page