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By Nancy Shoemaker

The connection among American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is sometimes characterised as a chain of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings in line with an unlimited gulf of distinction. Nancy Shoemaker turns this idea on its head, exhibiting 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 through mountains and rivers, a actual global during which the sunlight rose and set each day, and a human physique with its personal particular 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 jap North the US up throughout the finish of the Seven Years conflict, 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 awareness 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 determine one another as assorted. via the tip of the 18th century, Shoemaker argues, they deserted an preliminary willingness to acknowledge in one another a standard humanity and in its place constructed new rules rooted within the conviction that, via 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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Extra info for A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America

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Natural marks” were places with unusual or distinguishing features. Among eastern Indians, “natural marks” sometimes served mundane functions by iden­ tifying meeting places or turning points for travelers and at other times bore a larger significance. In either case, naming places made landmarks out of the natural environment. A topic of antiquarian fascination, Indian place-names have been collected, translated into English, traced back in time, inserted in poetry, and quibbled over. This remarkable amount of data, covering nearly every locality east of the Mississippi, consists mainly of alphabetized lists, rarely organized by a typology or analyzed to reveal underlying patterns.

The strategy most apparent in the records of Indian-European diplomacy was to bestow titles of office on individuals, often in a public ceremony. Some British and French titles, such as that of the nobility, were honorific while other titles— governor, intendant, superintendent of Indian Affairs—came with a set of charges from the community. Monarchs entered office in a coronation cer­ emony; most of the European men officiating at Indian councils carried a writ­ ten commission, signed and sealed, as evidence of their public authority.

75 Indeed, by 1798, those places had become historic. 76 Compared to Indians, Europeans were not necessarily more commercial in their attitudes toward land. Europeans saw their own lands, back in Europe, as a repository of history and an affirmation of identity. Eighteenth-century British tourists writing about Great Britain informed readers of the historic interest of each place. 77 Europeans described America in terms of its economic potential because they had no historic attachment to the places they visited.

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