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Faith and Boundaries
Colonists, Christianity, and Community among the Wampanoag Indians of Martha's Vineyard, 1600–1871

£22.99

Part of Studies in North American Indian History

  • Date Published: September 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521706957

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  • It was indeed possible for Indians and Europeans to live peacefully in early America and for Indians to survive as distinct communities. Faith and Boundaries uses the story of Martha's Vineyard Wampanoags to examine how. On an island marked by centralized English authority, missionary commitment, and an Indian majority, the Wampanoags' adaptation to English culture, especially Christianity, checked violence while safeguarding their land, community, and ironically, even customs. Yet the colonists' exploitation of Indian land and labor exposed the limits of Christian fellowship and thus hardened racial division. The Wampanoags learned about race through this rising bar of civilization - every time they met demands to reform, colonists moved the bar higher until it rested on biological difference. Under the right circumstances, like those on Martha's Vineyard, religion could bridge wide difference between the peoples of early America, but its transcendent power was limited by the divisiveness of race.

    • Traces how Indians used Christianity to survive as a people and coexist with colonists
    • Indian centered view of Native community life, with a chronology that transcends usual historical categorization
    • Range of sources will expose graduate students and upperclassmen to methods of Indian history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'David J. Silverman's deeply researched and gracefully written study of the Christian Wampanoag Indians of Martha's Vineyard makes a significant contribution to the growing body of literature on the Indians of early America. … This elegantly written, exhaustively researched book deserves a wide readership and is sure to have a lasting impact on our understanding of the role of Christianity in early American Indian history.' The Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521706957
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Epenow's lessons
    1. 'Here comes the Englishman'
    2. To become all things to all men
    3. The Lord tests the righteous
    4. Deposing the Sachem to defend the Sachemship
    5. Leading values
    6. The costs of debt
    7. 'Newcomers and strangers'
    Conclusion: fencing in, fencing out.

  • Author

    David J. Silverman, George Washington University, Washington DC
    David J. Silverman is Associate Professor of History at the George Washington University. His several articles include 'Indians, Missionaries, and Religious Translation', which won the Lester J. Cappon award for best essay of 2005 in the William and Mary Quarterly. He completed this book as a Mellon Post-Dissertation Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society.

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