A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America

Paperback | August 24, 2006

byNancy Shoemaker

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The histories told about American Indian and European encounters on the frontiers of North America are usually about cultural conflict. This book takes a different tack by looking at how much Indians and Europeans had in common. In six chapters, this book compares Indian and European ideasabout land, government, recordkeeping, international alliances, gender, and the human body. Focusing on eastern North America in the 18th century, up through the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, each chapter discusses how Indians and Europeans shared some core beliefs and practices.Paradoxically, the more American Indians and Europeans came to know each other, the more they came to see each other as different, so different indeed that they appeared to be each other's opposite. European colonists thought Indians a primitive people, laudable perhaps for their simplicity but notdestined to possess and rule over North America. Simultaneously, Indians came to view Europeans as their antithesis, equally despicable for their insatiable greed and love of money. Thus, even though American Indians and Europeans started the 18th century with ideas in common, they ended thecentury convinced of their intractable differences. The 18th century was a crucial moment in American history, as British colonists and their Anglo-American successors rapidly pushed westward, sometimes making peace and sometimes making war with the powerful Indian nations-the Iroquois and Creekconfederacies, Cherokee nation, and other Native peoples-standing between them and the west. But the 18th century also left an important legacy in the world of ideas, as Indians and Europeans abandoned an initial willingness to recognize in each other a common humanity so as to instead develop newideas rooted in the conviction that, by custom and perhaps even by nature, Native Americans and Europeans were peoples fundamentally at odds.

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The histories told about American Indian and European encounters on the frontiers of North America are usually about cultural conflict. This book takes a different tack by looking at how much Indians and Europeans had in common. In six chapters, this book compares Indian and European ideasabout land, government, recordkeeping, interna...

Nancy Shoemaker is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She is the author of American Indian Population Recovery in the Twentieth Century and editor of Negotiators of Change: Historical Perspectives on Native American Women, Clearing a Path: Theorizing the Past in Native American Studies, and America...

other books by Nancy Shoemaker

Native American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Encounters and the Contingency of Race
Native American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Enco...

Kobo ebook|Apr 27 2015

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.71 inPublished:August 24, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195307100

ISBN - 13:9780195307108

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"Nancy Shoemaker, in this rich and engaging study of the records of eighteenth-century Indian treaties and treaty councils, gives us a history in which Native Americans and Europeans both do the talking. Meeting upon the treaty ground, Europeans and Indians not only noticed, but expoundedupon, the things they shared with one another: from bodies to families, from the distributing of power to the consecrating of landscapes. But these very commonalities, far from providing for agreement, actually served as points of departure for hardening ideas about difference, which was increasingseen as a matter of race. The very understandings that Europeans and Native Americans most shared made all the more intractable their deteriorating relations."--Gregory Evans Dowd, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor