Imperial Entanglements chronicles the history of the
Haudenosaunee Iroquois in the eighteenth century, a dramatic period
during which they became further entangled in a burgeoning market
economy, participated in imperial warfare, and encountered a waxing
British Empire. Rescuing the Seven Years' War era from the shadows
of the American Revolution and moving away from the political focus
that dominates Iroquois studies, historian Gail D. MacLeitch offers
a fresh examination of Iroquois experience in economic and cultural
terms. As land sellers, fur hunters, paid laborers, consumers, and
commercial farmers, the Iroquois helped to create a new economic
culture that connected the New York hinterland to a transatlantic
world of commerce. By doing so they exposed themselves to both
opportunities and risks.
As their economic practices changed, so too did Iroquois ways of
making sense of gender and ethnic differences. MacLeitch examines
the formation of new cultural identities as men and women
negotiated challenges to long-established gendered practices and
confronted and cocreated a new racialized discourses of difference.
On the frontiers of empire, Indians, as much as European settlers,
colonial officials, and imperial soldiers, directed the course of
events. However, as MacLeitch also demonstrates, imperial
entanglements with a rising British power intent on securing native
land, labor, and resources ultimately worked to diminish Iroquois
economic and political sovereignty.
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