By Nancy Shoemaker
The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is sometimes 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, 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. ahead of they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked by means of mountains and rivers, a actual global within which the solar rose and set each day, and a human physique with its personal special form. in addition they shared of their skill to make feel of all of it and to invent new, summary principles according to the tangible and visual studies of lifestyle. concentrating on jap North the US up throughout the finish of the Seven Years struggle, 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 cognizance to the language utilized in cross-cultural dialog. sarcastically, the extra American Indians and Europeans got here to grasp one another, the extra they got here to work out one another as assorted. through the top 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 principles rooted within the conviction that, by way of customized and maybe even by means of nature, local american citizens and Europeans have been peoples essentially at odds. In her research, Shoemaker unearths the 18th century roots of putting up with 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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Additional info for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
The act of remembering grounded individuals in a physical space and a human community. 41 In travel diaries, correspondence, and official reports, European writers noted occupied Indian villages, ancient ruins of Indian vil lages, council houses, planted corn fields, abandoned fields, footpaths, and burial mounds. They also came upon boundary markers and memorials. 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.
Colonial officials re corded their earliest land exchanges with Indians as “deeds” and introduced Indians to the possibility of buying and selling a piece of their nation as though international affairs could be conducted in the same way that individuals in their own cultural community contracted land sales. 39 Legitimate land exchanges could not cross the categories separating the first and second levels of property. In contrast to beaver fur, deer hides, and slaves, the market in which land exchanged hands stopped at a nation’s borders.
31 If eastern Indians’ in termingling of corn, beans, and squash in earthen heaps had looked even slightly more like the plowed furrows of Britain’s open fields, then maybe British colo nists would have recognized Indian planting fields as a kindred system for or ganizing labor and land resources. Or if domesticated livestock had roamed Indian hunting territories instead of wild game, then perhaps European colo nists would have called these spaces “commons” and been more observant of how Indian communities regulated their use.