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The relationship between American Indians and Europeans on America's frontiers is typically characterized as a series of cultural conflicts and misunderstandings based on a vast gulf of difference. Nancy Shoemaker turns this notion on its head, showing that Indians and Europeans shared common beliefs about their most fundamental realities-land as national territory, government, record-keeping, international alliances, gender, and the human body. Before they even met, Europeans and Indians shared perceptions of a landscape marked by mountains and rivers, a physical world in which the sun rose and set every day, and a human body with its own distinctive shape. They also shared in their ability to make sense of it all and to invent new, abstract ideas based on the tangible and visible experiences of daily life. Focusing on eastern North America up through the end of the Seven Years War, Shoemaker closely reads incidents, letters, and recorded speeches from the Iroquois and Creek confederacies, the Cherokee Nation, and other Native groups alongside British and French sources, paying particular attention to the language used in cross-cultural conversation. Paradoxically, the more American Indians and Europeans came to know each other, the more they came to see each other as different. By the end of the 18th century, Shoemaker argues, they abandoned an initial willingness to recognize in each other a common humanity and instead developed new ideas rooted in the conviction that, by custom and perhaps even by nature, Native Americans and Europeans were peoples fundamentally at odds. In her analysis, Shoemaker reveals the 18th century roots of enduring stereotypes Indians developed about Europeans, as well as stereotypes Europeans created about Indians. This powerful and eloquent interpretation questions long-standing assumptions, revealing the strange likenesses among the inhabitants of colonial North America.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195307108
ISBN-10: 0195307100
Format: Paperback
(236mm x 157mm x 17mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 25-May-2006
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Nancy Shoemaker

Nancy Shoemaker is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut- Storrs. She is the author of American Indian Population Recovery in the Twentieth Century and editor of Negotiators of Change: Historical Perspectives on Native American Women, Clearing a Path: Theorizing the Past in Native American Studies, and American Indians.

Books By Author Nancy Shoemaker

Clearing a Path by Nancy Shoemaker

Clearing a Path

Hardback, November 2001
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American Indians by Nancy Shoemaker

American Indians

Paperback, October 2000
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Negotiators of Change by Nancy Shoemaker

Negotiators of Change

Paperback, April 1995
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Personal Identity by Nancy Shoemaker

Personal Identity

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