"A SPIRITED RESISTANCE: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815" by Gregory Evans Dowd

"A SPIRITED RESISTANCE: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fresh and thorough review of the role of prophets and religion in Native American relations with Europeans and Americans during a critical period of contact. Reassessing conventional wisdom about Indian prophets and the basis for native uprisings against the colonists--a wisdom that viewed nativism as a retrograde, isolated phenomenon arising sporadically throughout the 18th and 19th centuries--Dowd (History/Univ. of Notre Dame) concentrates on linking the messages carried in the prophecies. What emerges is a solid portrait of a pan-Indian imperative that waxed and waned in the colonial era and beyond. With the Shawnee, Delaware, Creek, and Cherokee serving as the basis for analysis here, the experiences and contexts of prophets ranging from the Delaware Neolin in the 1760's to Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatawa in the early 1800's make clear that the visions of these figures were closely associated with the more secular intentions of warriors and chiefs. The pan-Indian movement, however, with its rejection of everything whites had to offer--especially Christianity and alcohol--was never embraced wholeheartedly by Native Americans, and dissension in the ranks plus steady encroachment on tribal lands by settlers and their unrelenting racism--which resulted in the slaughter of countless friendly as well as hostile Indians--kept any possibility of a unified challenge to the invaders from bearing fruit. Persuasive and provocative, and a fitting contribution to the commemoration of the Columbus legacy.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1992
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press