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The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas

Book description

This book provides the first comprehensive history of the Native Peoples of North America from their arrival in the western hemisphere to the present. It describes how Native Peoples have dealt with the environmental diversity of North America and have responded to the different European colonial regimes and national governments that have established themselves in recent centuries. It also examines the development of a pan-Indian identity since the nineteenth century and provides a unique comparison not found in other histories of how Native Peoples have fared in Canada and the United States.

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  • 9 - The Great Plains from the arrival of the horse to 1885
    pp 1-56
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The mid-seventeenth through the late nineteenth centuries were times of tremendous change for the Native peoples of the Plains. The natives adapted new technologies to their own needs, elaborated and transformed their basic social and cultural institutions. Native societies were all affected by trade with Europeans, and Indian-Euro-American relations during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries were shaped by the trade. The introduction of the horse and the gun, as well as the slave trade, had far-reaching effects on the economic, political, and religious organization of Native Plains societies. Trade relations had enabled some Native peoples to prosper and expand even into the early nineteenth century. But the westward expansion of the United States and Canada and their citizens initiated a process of political subordination and economic dependency that eventually overtook all the Native peoples of the Plains.
  • 10 - The greater Southwest and California from the beginning of European settlement to the 1880s
    pp 57-116
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Early Spanish-Indian relations in America were in some ways fundamentally different from later Anglo-Indian relations. As a result, many Indian groups of the Greater Southwest survived centuries of European encroachment before the United States gained control over the Southwest in the 1850s. Others, like the Chumashes of California, lived in a world carefully balanced between sea and land. This chapter presents broader interactions between Native and European-American cultures in the region from the moment these peoples first discovered one another at the boundaries of their respective worlds. Observed through the eyes of most Europeans, the Native Indians appeared both savage and primitive. While Zacatecan mine owner Juan de Onate's colony was a part and parcel of imperial diplomacy in the New World, it also rode the edge of New Spain's mining and mission frontiers. From the outset, however, the relations between Onate's settlement and the Pueblo Indians were fraught with tension and hostility.
  • 11 - The Northwest from the beginning of trade with Europeans to the 1880s
    pp 117-182
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The experiences of the Native peoples of the Northwest were both similar to and different from those of other indigenous peoples of North America. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Northwest was touched by most of the major imperial systems of the world. Russia, Spain, Britain, and the United States of America each had a profound influence on the region's Native people. When Europeans first came to the Northwest they were stretched to the limit, as they grasped at the outer reaches of imperial expansion. The development of the fur trade in the early years was facilitated by the continued exploration of the coastline. James Cook's visit had been a reconnaissance, and other vessels followed to continue the work. Firearms, disease, and the consequent depopulation were all indicative of the down side of European contact.
  • 12 - The reservation period, 1880–1960
    pp 183-258
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Between 1880 and 1960, Canada and the United States defined Native homelands as "reserves" (Canada) or "reservations" (United States). This chapter describes the major struggles that occurred between 1880 and 1960 as Indian people in the continental United States and southern Canada worked to sustain and defend their reserves and the cultures they embodied. It identifies how the contentious relationship between the two nation states and Native peoples affected the evolving cultures of Indian America. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the combined efforts of government officials and private citizens were uniformly bent in the interest of reducing the size of the Indian land base and gaining access to Indian resources. In the realm of economics there were few steps taken toward a parallel re-creation of Native material existence. In the business world the assault of the late nineteenth century continued, as did the rising cost of participating in national economic life.
  • 13 - The Northern Interior, 1600 to modern times
    pp 259-328
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Northern Interior is the traditional homeland of Native peoples who spoke many dialects of two major linguistic families: Athapaskan speakers and Algonquian speakers. The groups were alike in that they were hunter-fisher-gatherers who lived beside lakes and rivers for most of the year. The establishment of the land-based fur trade with beaver as the dominant staple was a bonanza for the Indians. Beaver cloaks were their most important article of winter dress. Securing supplies of metal hatchets, knives, and projectile points for military purposes became a major concern of all groups living between Tadoussac and the Huron country, and the differential rates of acquisition shifted the balances of power among the various groups. The intense competition for the Indian's furs, particularly between 1795 and 1821, strongly affected most Native groups in the Northern Interior. Many of them suffered as a result.
  • 14 - The Arctic from Norse contact to modern times
    pp 329-400
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    First contacts between Norse and the ancestors of modern Inuit of the Thule culture are usually assigned to about the beginning of the thirteenth century. During the period of Norse occupation of Greenland and visits to North America, roughly AD 986 to 1450, there occurred a simultaneous set of changes in Arctic cultures which operated largely independently of any contacts with Europeans. The accounts of Martin Frobisher's three visits to the eastern Arctic provide the first historical descriptions of Inuit since the brief references of the Norse period. On the first voyage, of 1576, Inuit were encountered in southern Baffin Island. The nature of contact, a mixture of warfare and trade, set the stage for Inuit-European relations for some years to come. In 1721, Hans Egede and his small band of Norwegian Lutheran missionaries and their dependents arrived in Greenland, establishing the first European settlement since the Norse occupation.
  • 15 - The Native American Renaissance, 1960–1995
    pp 401-474
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521573931.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter deals with various aspects of the Native American presence in the United States, Canada, and to a lesser extent Greenland. It demonstrates that, from a comparative and historical point of view, the status of Native people is improving in significant ways in all three countries and that the term "Native Renaissance" can legitimately be applied to the recent progress of the descendants of the first Americans. The chapter focuses on the political, legal and economic Renaissance of the Native Indian population. Indians are economically less well-off than most other North Americans, but the gap between the Indian and the non-Indian population is closing. It is in the art field that evidence of a renaissance among Native Americans is perhaps most clearly evident to outsiders. Contemporary North American Native art is a powerful expression of Indian thought and feeling in a form that communicates directly with non-Natives.

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