Contested Territories

Contested Territories: Native Americans and Non-Natives in the Lower Great Lakes, 1700-1850

Charles Beatty-Medina
Melissa Rinehart
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Contested Territories
    Book Description:

    A remarkable multifaceted history,Contested Territoriesexamines a region that played an essential role in America's post-revolutionary expansion-the Lower Great Lakes region, once known as the Northwest Territory. As French, English, and finally American settlers moved westward and intersected with Native American communities, the ethnogeography of the region changed drastically, necessitating interactions that were not always peaceful. Using ethnohistorical methodologies, the seven essays presented here explore rapidly changing cultural dynamics in the region and reconstruct in engaging detail the political organization, economy, diplomacy, subsistence methods, religion, and kinship practices in play. With a focus on resistance, changing worldviews, and early forms of self-determination among Native Americans,Contested Territoriesdemonstrates the continuous interplay between actor and agency during an important era in American history.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-341-8
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)

    Few geographical areas of North America experienced the dynamism of Indian-European interaction that the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes offered prior to the mid-nineteenth century. Here was the land marked by native spiritual revitalization movements and prophets such as Neolin (the Delaware Prophet) and Tenskwatawa (the Shawnee Prophet) and their nascent pan-Indian movements. Here too were the great conflicts enacted during the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War); Pontiac’s Rebellion; Lord Dunmore’s War, the American Revolution; the multi-tribal wars against the United States in the 1790s led by chiefs such as Little Turtle (Miami), Blackhoof and Blue Jacket...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxxii)

    The Lower Great Lakes region occupies a critical, if often underrecognized, place in the history of America’s post-Revolutionary westward expansion. During the eighteenth century and through the first half of the nineteenth century, areas that presently make up the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and southern Michigan, in addition to parts of Pennsylvania and New York, served numerous Native American communities. Wedged between the western frontier, the Upper Great Lakes, and the Eastern Seaboard of North America, most of this great swath of middle land made up what the U.S. Congress of the Confederation called the “Territory Northwest of the...

  6. A Year at Niagara: Negotiating Coexistence in the Eastern Great Lakes, 1763–1764
    (pp. 1-34)

    In early September 1763, the British garrison of Fort Niagara felt lucky. They had been spared the fates of Fort Michilimackinac and many smaller western forts that had been overtaken or destroyed in the Indian rebellion that would soon be named after the Odawa leader Pontiac. Niagara lay within the nominal country of the Senecas, and some of them had become disaffected with the British regime. Many of the westernmost Senecas living in the Genesee River area, often called Chenussios by their contemporaries,¹ had joined in the rebellion and may have played a role in fomenting the uprising in the...

  7. “Foolish Young Men” and the Contested Ohio Country, 1783–1795
    (pp. 35-54)

    In the years following the American Revolution, violence between Native Americans and frontier settlers spiraled into reciprocal and uncontained depredations. Although many Native American leaders and the government of the United States strove for peace, uncontrolled and unsanctioned men, both Indian and American, committed serious depredations against each other. My work builds on studies by scholars such as Richard Slotkin, Richard Drinnon, James Merrell, and Colin Calloway, as well as the recent scholarship presented in Daniel P. Barr’s edited workThe Boundaries Between Us: Natives and Newcomers along the Frontier of the Old Northwest Territory(2006), Patrick Griffin’sAmerican Leviathan:...

  8. Native American–French Interactions in Eighteenth-Century Southwest Michigan: The View from Fort St. Joseph
    (pp. 55-80)

    A pervasive trend in historical scholarship has been a move away from broad metanarratives to more detailed examinations of concrete historical moments and contexts to better understand the nuances of events and processes at the local scale.¹ In the Americas, empirical studies have shown that historical outcomes were predicated upon the nature of empire, and the groups encountered in the changing circumstances of colonialism.² Considerable attention has been paid to the consequences of colonial encounters, particularly for indigenous groups who were often decimated by disease and warfare and subjugated politically, economically, and socially. While Europeans undeniably had a deleterious impact...

  9. Old Friends in New Territories: Delawares and Quakers in the Old Northwest Territory
    (pp. 81-110)

    The Delawares and Quakers shared a unique history of alliance and mutual acceptance that began from their earliest diplomatic exchanges in the Delaware River valley at the end of the seventeenth century and remained intertwined throughout the eighteenth century in the Lower Great Lakes region.¹ The Delawares, Algonquian-speaking peoples, lived throughout the drainages and tributaries of the Delaware and lower Hudson Rivers. The Quakers, a Protestant sect, were largely responsible for the English colonization of the Delaware peoples’ ancestral lands.² Delaware leadership throughout southeastern Pennsylvania successfully negotiated and protected their homelands as Susquehannock, Dutch, Swedish, and English interests all sought...

  10. Delawares in Eastern Ohio after the Treaty of Greenville: The Goshen Mission in Context
    (pp. 111-136)

    Clearing “high timber and thick underwood,” a group of Native Americans began the hard work of building a town “on a level, high ground” west of the Tuscarawas River in autumn 1798. This town lay within the Old Northwest Territory, but soon, in 1803, would be part of the new state of Ohio, in an area west of Steubenville and south of present-day Canton. A fair amount of information is available about this town, called Goshen, because it was a Moravian Christian mission and, as such, was the subject of detailed missionary record keeping, in both English and German languages....

  11. Miami Resistance and Resilience during the Removal Era
    (pp. 137-166)

    The Indian Removal Era marks a painful period for Native Americans with ancestral homelands east of the Mississippi River. Over sixty Native communities, or approximately 50,000 Native Americans from different linguistic families of the eastern Woodlands cultural region, were intentionally relocated or removed during the 1830s and 1840s, and many of these communities were removed more than once. Twenty-five Native communities alone signed removal treaties between 1825 and 1843. This forced migration to the “Great American Desert” affected community cohesion and made a permanent imprint on tribal histories.¹ Although historical parlance often memorializes these removals, such as with the Cherokee...

  12. The Politics of Indian Removal on the Wyandot Reserve, 1817–1843
    (pp. 167-194)

    In October 1831, James Gardiner, the United States Indian agent assigned to negotiate a removal treaty with the Wyandots of Ohio, accompanied William Walker Jr. and an expedition of Wyandot leaders to Cincinnati and watched them depart on a steamboat heading west. The Indian agent had met tribal leaders over the previous months at the “Grand Reserve”—a 150,000-acre reservation in the central part of the state that Gardiner desperately wanted to place in the hands of white settlers—and negotiated the skeletal works of a treaty. Although he was confident that a final agreement could be reached, the Wyandots...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 195-214)
  14. Contributors
    (pp. 215-216)
  15. Index
    (pp. 217-223)