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Week 2

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Native North America and the Atlantic World

 

January 14: Native North America: Origins and Evolution

 

Pre-Columbian America was a complex world of diverse peoples with a dynamic history. For this class, we will consider how the peopling of the Americas has been studied and debated. The readings include texts by nineteenth-century writers trying to make sense of mounds and other material remains. In addition, texts from the 1990s and 2000s demonstrate how early peoples of the Americas are still a contested topic. The answers to the loaded question of who occupied the Americas first continues to have political implications.

 

Audio file: Context for today's class:http://youtu.be/F_dARCz1Lnc

 

Readings

 

 

 

Study Questions 

 

  1. How do we understand the peopling of the Americas? 
  2. Who is Kennewick Man? Why is his identity so important? What are the debates surrounding Kennewick Man?
  3. Do the debates about Kennewick Man have anything in common with nineteenth-century discussions of the mound builders? Do the nineteenth-century essays affect the way you think about the discussions surrounding the Kennewick man and the peopling of the Americas? If so, how?
  4. Was there an "urban America" before Europeans arrived?
  5. What does the timeline in the PDF "Native North America" suggest about pre-contact North America?

 

 

 

January 16: The Atlantic World comes to North America

 

This class focuses on early encounters between the English Pilgrims and Algonquian peoples. The first two texts introduce Squanto and provide an opportunity to consider popular narratives regarding English settlement in comparison to the historical evidence. The last two texts narrate King Philip's War (1675-1678), a deadly conflict between the Wampanoags and their allies against the English colonists and their Native allies, including the Mohegans.

 

Always be sure to consider how to evaluate the multi-faceted sources, keeping in mind who created these texts and why. Whose perspectives are included? How were these texts created? Who was the intended audience and what is the goal of the text?  These questions will add to our understanding of the texts and to our discussions of history.

 

William Bradford served as the governor of Plymouth Colony multiple times. Reverend Increase Mather was a Puritan scholar and theologian who believed the Puritans brought the King Philip's War upon themselves due to sinful behavior. William Apess, a Pequot and Methodist preacher, delivered his eulogy of King Philip (Metacomet) in Boston in 1836. Their texts need to be placed into context. For instance, keep in mind the 1830s was the era of Indian Removal in the United States.

 

Audio File: 

http://youtu.be/K2Vdv35A6_c

 

 

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Readings

 

  • Neal Salisbury, “Squanto, Last of the Patuxets,” in Struggle and Survival in Colonial America. [CTools]
  • William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1630-47). Read pp. 62-86, 176-177. Skim this text, and focus on Bradford's mentions of Squanto and the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Native peoples they encountered. 
  • Reverend Increase Mather, A Brief History of the Warr with the Indians in New-England (1676). Read pp. 69 (August 1) and pp.71-72 (Part of August 12).
  • William Apess, Eulogy on King Philip (1836). Start at [40], skip [48-49], read [50-57], skip [58-63], and read [64-66].

 

 

Study Questions 

 

  1. Before this week's readings, what stories about Squanto were you most familiar with? How do the readings compare with these stories? Do they confirm or challenge more familiar narratives?
  2. Instead of a symbol of Native-English cooperation, how does Salisbury characterize Squanto? What was his role in English relations with peoples like the Wampanoag and Narragansett? Was Squanto a product of the Atlantic World, a Native World, or both? Why do you think he helped the English?
  3. How does William Bradford  frame the founding of Plymouth Colony? How does he portray the Pilgrims relationship with Native peoples along this part of the east coast of North America? How did Native peoples react to English settlement? 
  4. What role did disease play in English colonization?  
  5. Increase Mather and William Apess both narrate King Philip's War. How does Mather portray King Philip (Metacomet) in comparison to Apess? What type of history lesson does Apess give his nineteenth-century listeners? Does Apess' text reveal more about King Philip or about Apess?

 

 

 

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