An Infinity of Nations
How the Native New World Shaped Early North America
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
Series: Early American Studies
Table of Contents
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Prologue: The Long Invisibility of the Native New World
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Eshkibagikoonzhe felt anger, betrayal, and a deep sense of disappointment. He sat behind a table in his home at Gaazagaskwaajimekaag (Leech Lake), an immense lake with nearly two hundred miles of shoreline. Five medals, several war clubs, tomahawks, spears, all splashed with red paint, lay on the table before him. ...
Part I. Discovery
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This book begins with a simple premise, that it is possible to write a history of Native North America in the seventeenth century. Of course, any history of Native peoples during this time period must also be a history of the encounter between the indigenous peoples of this continent and the European empires that brought ...
Chapter 1. Place and Belonging in Native North America
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In the spring of 1660 the Anishinaabeg converged on a central location below Gichigamiing (Lake Superior), the largest freshwater lake in North America. They came to a village at another smaller lake, Odaawaa Zaaga’igan (Ottawa Lake, which the French designated as Lac Courte Oreilles). This lake connected two important ...
Chapter 2. The Rituals of Possession and the Problems of Nation
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On June 14, 1671, Simon Francois Daumont le Sieur de St. Lusson claimed the interior of North America for the king of France. He voyaged west from Quebec to the Anishinaabe village that the French originally called Sainte Marie du Sault, under orders from the intendant of New France, and “summoned the surrounding peoples” ...
Part II. The New World
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The New World was born when the Atlantic World empires arrived in the Western Hemisphere. The discovery of North America in the early modern era did not, however, result in the conquest and dispossession of all of Native America. In fact, in North America, conquest, rapid depopulation, and total dispossession ...
Chapter 3. The Rebirth of Native Power and Identity
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By the last decades of the seventeenth century new peoples and things moved between the colonized east coast of North America and the indigenous western interior. The settler colonies on the coast developed as part of a larger Atlantic World. The European powers at the center of this world system claimed the western ...
Chapter 4. European Interlopers and the Politics of the Native New World
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In 1685 the governor of New France, Jacques-René de Brisay Denonville, prepared a memoir on the state of affairs in Canada for the court of Louis XIV. He delivered a dire warning. The English presence at Hudson’s Bay threatened the very existence of the colony. “For if their establishments continue as they have begun in the three ...
Part III. The Illusion of Empire
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Making sense of the relationships between European empires and the Native peoples of the Great Lakes and western interior of North America requires recognition of an important fact. Namely, the Native social formations within these overlapping territories were not, in spite of European claims, the subjects of European ...
Chapter 5. An Anishinaabe Warrior’s World
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The hybrid murder trial/condolence ritual staged by Du Lhut preserved the French alliance in the heart of the Great Lakes, but it did not extend the alliance into the west. In fact, Oumamens successfully co-opted the trial in order to stifle opposition to the Anishinaabe alliance with the Dakota among the doodemag of Anishinaabewaki. ...
Chapter 6. The Great Peace and Unraveling Alliances
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In the summer of 1701 the peoples of Anishinaabewaki gathered at Michilimackinac. They came together for an event that for many would be the most spectacular moment of their lives. A fleet of approximately two hundred canoes set off for New France. The warriors and ogimaag of Anishinaabewaki paddled through the waters ...
Part IV. Sovereignty: The Making of North America’s New Nations
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In the first half of the nineteenth century America was engaged in a national conversation about the place of Indian peoples in the republic. Did they belong in the United States? Could they leave the wilderness behind and make the transition to civil society? James Fenimore Cooper answered these questions in his novel of 1826 ...
Chapter 7. The Counterfactual History of Indian Assimilation
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In the early years of the republic, American political figures saw themselves as the creators of a new New World. This would be the era of republican nations. There was no place in this new and reimagined America for retrograde social formations, whether they be monarchial empires or Indian tribes. Within three decades ...
Epilogue: Louis Riel, Native Founding Father
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During the summer of 2002, I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, doing research for this book. Taking a break from the archives I decided to take a riverboat tour of the city. Winnipeg is located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and the trip takes tourists through the heart of the old city, which includes ...
Glossary of Native Terms
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The history of the Native New World needs to be considered in terms of indigenous politics, social categories, and where possible language and meaning. The latter can be problematic. Incorporating the Ojibwe language, Anishinaabemowin, into an English-language text presents a challenge. Until recently this was ...
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While writing this book I have benefited from the kindness and support of many people. This support has taken every form imaginable, from financial assistance and intellectual mentoring, to emotional encouragement. Scholarship, at its best, is a collaborative enterprise, and I have been fortunate to spend my time ...
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Early American Studies