By Nancy Shoemaker
The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is usually characterised as a chain of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings in line with an enormous gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this proposal on its head, exhibiting that Indians and Europeans shared universal ideals approximately their such a lot basic realities--land as nationwide territory, executive, record-keeping, overseas alliances, gender, and the human physique. sooner than they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a panorama marked by means of mountains and rivers, a actual international during which the sunlight rose and set each day, and a human physique with its personal designated form. additionally 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. targeting japanese North the USA up during the finish of the Seven Years battle, 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 assets, paying specific cognizance 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 varied. by way of the top of the 18th century, Shoemaker argues, they deserted an preliminary willingness to acknowledge in one another a typical humanity and as an alternative constructed new principles rooted within the conviction that, by means of customized and maybe even by means of nature, local americans 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
Among eastern Indians, that object was the council fire.
Bland and his party were lucky. Even if Indian guides were at hand, they had to be voluble enough, as Oyeocker apparently was, to entrust the story of that grave site to strangers. 69 When Europeans successfully prodded Indian companions to give an explanation, they most often heard about a military victory or defeat that marked that particular spot. The heaps were religious shrines but also historic markers. Like Rock Rogeo, some stone-heap memorials made their way into Euro pean records because they served as boundary markers in land disputes.
Europeans noticed unusually shaped natu ral creations and gave them names and meanings. Notable landmarks—rivers, bays, and mountains—helped travelers know where they were and where they were going. Any distinctive landscape feature could earn itself a name, often purely descriptive. 79 Europeans’ artificial marks identified paths and roads, sometimes in the form of milestones. Travelers carved their initials onto trees and rocks just to say they had been there or, with more deliberation, to claim possession.