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By Amy E. Den Ouden

Via targeting the complicated cultural and political aspects of local resistance to encroachment on reservation lands through the eighteenth century in southern New England, past Conquest reconceptualizes indigenous histories and debates over homeland rights. As Amy E. Den Ouden demonstrates, Mohegans, Pequots, and Niantics residing on reservations in New London County, Connecticut—where the most important indigenous inhabitants within the colony resided—were below siege by way of colonists who hired a number of capability to expropriate reserved lands. Natives have been additionally subjected to the regulations of a colonial executive that sought to strictly keep an eye on them and that undermined place of birth rights via depicting reservation populations as culturally and politically illegitimate. even if colonial strategies of rule occasionally incited inner disputes between local men and women, reservation groups and their leaders engaged in refined and occasionally overt acts of resistance to dispossession, therefore demonstrating the facility of historic recognition, cultural connections to land, and ties to neighborhood kinfolk. The Mohegans, for instance, boldly challenged colonial authority and its land encroachment guidelines in 1736 through keeping a “great dance,” within which they publicly affirmed the management of Mahomet and, with the aid in their Pequot and Niantic allies, articulated their reason to proceed their felony case opposed to the colony. Beyond Conquest demonstrates how the present Euroamerican scrutiny and denial of neighborhood Indian identities is a convention with an extended heritage in southern New England, one associated with colonial notions of cultural—and eventually “racial”—illegitimacy that emerged within the context of eighteenth-century disputes concerning fatherland rights.

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Extra info for Beyond conquest: Native peoples and the struggle for history in New England

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Many historians and most members of the general public seem to share the not-so-sneaking suspicion that ‘real Indians’ steadfastly resist European expansion and oppose cultural change. ” (Calloway 1996:4). As Calloway’s commentary suggests, there is an important connection between Euro-American notions of Indianness and the obfuscation of Native resistance after the period of military conquest. Euro-American scholars have cast King Philip’s War (1675–76) as “the last great stand of the Indians” (Bradshaw 1935:52) and “the last Indian challenge” (Selesky 1990:16) in southern New England.

Concerned with identifying what are deemed original cultural “traits” and practices, and with assessing the extent to which Native societies have been able to “adapt” to the presence of purportedly more complex, dynamic European cultures, the idea of acculturation assumes the existence of a pristine “Indian culture” (and a “pure” Indian identity) prior to colonization. 24 The acculturation model thus seeks ultimately to distinguish what it deems authentic cultural forms or traditions from those that have been introduced by Europeans.

That colonial officials reported only conspiracy in the “great dance” is no surprise: not all forms of resistance, or their significance to those who engage in them, will be visible or meaningful to those in power. 0pt P ——— Normal P PgEnds: [22], (22 Dilemmas of Conquest 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 whose necks their feet rest – but also the modes of cultural survival and invention favored by the powerless are disguised or maintained almost like habit or reflex” (O’Connell 1991:91).

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