An Infinity of Nations explores the formation and
development of a Native New World in North America. Until the
middle of the nineteenth century, indigenous peoples controlled the
vast majority of the continent while European colonies of the
Atlantic World were largely confined to the eastern seaboard. To be
sure, Native North America experienced far-reaching and radical
change following contact with the peoples, things, and ideas that
flowed inland following the creation of European colonies on North
American soil. Most of the continent's indigenous peoples, however,
were not conquered, assimilated, or even socially incorporated into
the settlements and political regimes of this Atlantic New World.
Instead, Native peoples forged a New World of their own. This
history, the evolution of a distinctly Native New World, is a
foundational story that remains largely untold in histories of
Through imaginative use of both Native language and European
documents, historian Michael Witgen recreates the world of the
indigenous peoples who ruled the western interior of North America.
The Anishinaabe and Dakota peoples of the Great Lakes and Northern
Great Plains dominated the politics and political economy of these
interconnected regions, which were pivotal to the fur trade and the
emergent world economy. Moving between cycles of alliance and
competition, and between peace and violence, the Anishinaabeg and
Dakota carved out a place for Native peoples in modern North
America, ensuring not only that they would survive as independent
and distinct Native peoples but also that they would be a part of
the new community of nations who made the New World.
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