Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

First thanks go to my family — to Teresa for reading every word and to Antonio for being the happy genius of our household. I would also like to acknowledge the many scholars, students, and friends who have influenced my study of book history in Indian Country over the past seven years. This project began...

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Prologue

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pp. 1-4

Sometime between 1838 and 1841 in Rome, a young Native American man worked patiently on a manuscript entitled “Conversión de los Luiseños de Alta California.” The story was part of an assignment he had been given by his teacher, Giuseppe Caspar Mezzon Fanti (1774–1849), chief custodian...

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Introduction: Toward an Indian Bibliography

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pp. 5-19

In the opening pages of The Experiences of Five Christian Indians, Pequot author and activist William Apess (1798–1838) informed readers that he would soon be “publishing a book of 300 pages, 18 mo. in size, and there the reader will find particulars respecting my life.” The resulting work, A Son of the Forest (1831), became...

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1. The Coming of the Book to Indian Country

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pp. 21-45

From the very beginning, Native peoples and Europeans in British North America related to each other by and through the book. In early English contact literature, the figure of the book as an agent of conquest is ubiquitous, as are myriad fantasies about Native codex production and consumption...

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2. Being and Becoming Literate in the Eighteenth-Century Native Northeast

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pp. 46-72

In 1773, Mohegan missionary Joseph Johnson (1751–77) wrote in a letter meant for public circulation, “Be it known to all in general, that I am Properly an Illiterate man.” Johnson was apologizing in advance for his writing style to anyone who might one day happen upon his manuscripts. This was a man who read...

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3. New and Uncommon Means

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pp. 73-96

Christian missions continued to be the single most important source of print media in Indian Country during the nineteenth century. But unlike John Eliot and Eleazar Wheelock, the missionaries who fanned out across an ever-expanding territory to the west of the original thirteen states used what...

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4. Public Writing I: “To Feel Interest in Our Welfare”

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pp. 97-122

The period from 1774, when Samson Occom’s Several Hymns appeared in print, to 1871, when Spokane Garry returned to his school house on the Columbia Plateau, was notable for more than the influx of alphabetic literacy and print into Indian Country. For the same material practices that embodied...

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5. Public Writing II: The Cherokee, a “Reading and Intellectual People”

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pp. 123-149

Of all the native communities affected by the coming of print and alphabetic literacy to Indian Country, perhaps none has garnered more notoriety than the Cherokee. This is for good reason. Unique among indigenous nations, the Cherokee developed in 1821 a syllabic written form of the...

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6. Proprietary Authorship

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pp. 150-172

“Proprietary authorship” is a term that describes a special, social category of writing in which the creator has secured copyright, becoming “visible” in the public sphere as a political entity given legal rights by statute law. Such authorship emerged in America in the 1820s to offer “a radical...

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7. The Culture of Reprinting

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pp. 173-199

Proprietary authorship, though an essential tool for American Indian writers seeking intellectual sovereignty, was itself not a foundational structure in nineteenth-century American print culture. That honor went to the ad hoc local publishing practices of reprinting. Print historian Meredith McGill...

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8. Indigenous Illustration

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pp. 200-222

Pictorial illustration — a central feature of the printing revolution in nineteenth- century America — came more slowly to Indian Country than to the rest of North America. Its gradual and uneven dispersal in tribal communities was due in part to the complex technologies involved in producing...

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Epilogue: The View from Red Cloud’s Grave

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pp. 223-229

The preceding chapters have argued that books and writing played constitutive roles in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century tribal communities. From the northeastern woodlands to the Great Plains, alphabetic literacy and printed books became integral elements in emergent, transitional cultural formations...

Notes

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pp. 231-260

Bibliography

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pp. 261-275

Index

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pp. 277-282