Cover image for Indians and English : facing off in early America
Title:
Indians and English : facing off in early America
Author:
Kupperman, Karen Ordahl, 1939-
Publication Information:
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 297 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780801431784

9780801482823
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In this vividly written book, prize-winning author Karen Ordahl Kupperman refocuses our understanding of encounters between English venturers and Algonquians all along the East Coast of North America in the early years of contact and settlement. All parties in these dramas were uncertain-hopeful and fearful-about the opportunity and challenge presented by new realities. Indians and English both believed they could control the developing relationship. Each group was curious about the other, and interpreted through their own standards and traditions. At the same time both came from societies in the process of unsettling change and hoped to derive important lessons by studying a profoundly different culture. These meetings and early relationships are recorded in a wide variety of sources. Native people maintained oral traditions about the encounters, and these were written down by English recorders at the time of contact and since; many are maintained to this day. English venturers, desperate to make readers at home understand how difficult and potentially rewarding their enterprise was, wrote constantly of their own experiences and observations and transmitted native lore. Kupperman analyzes all these sources in order to understand the true nature of these early years, when English venturers were so fearful and dependent on native aid and the shape of the future was uncertain. Building on the research in her highly regarded book Settling with the Indians, Kupperman argues convincingly that we must see both Indians and English as active participants in this unfolding drama.


Summary

In this vividly written book, prize-winning author Karen Ordahl Kupperman refocuses our understanding of encounters between English venturers and Algonquians all along the East Coast of North America in the early years of contact and settlement. All parties in these dramas were uncertain--hopeful and fearful--about the opportunity and challenge presented by new realities. Indians and English both believed they could control the developing relationship. Each group was curious about the other, and interpreted through their own standards and traditions. At the same time both came from societies in the process of unsettling change and hoped to derive important lessons by studying a profoundly different culture.These meetings and early relationships are recorded in a wide variety of sources. Native people maintained oral traditions about the encounters, and these were written down by English recorders at the time of contact and since; many are maintained to this day. English venturers, desperate to make readers at home understand how difficult and potentially rewarding their enterprise was, wrote constantly of their own experiences and observations and transmitted native lore. Kupperman analyzes all these sources in order to understand the true nature of these early years, when English venturers were so fearful and dependent on native aid and the shape of the future was uncertain.Building on the research in her highly regarded book Settling with the Indians, Kupperman argues convincingly that we must see both Indians and English as active participants in this unfolding drama.


Author Notes

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is Professor of History at New York University


Karen Ordahl Kupperman is Professor of History at New York University


Reviews 4

Library Journal Review

In Settling with the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580-1640, Kupperman contended that the confrontation was considerably more complex than scholars previously thought and urged them to examine how English colonists and Indians learned from one another's cultures and technologies. In her new book, Kupperman synthesizes two decades of research to strengthen her argument that the encounters were not simply a matter of a stronger, more complex culture acting upon a weaker, simpler one. On the contrary, in her view the otherwise self-confident English became somewhat more tentative in approaching the Indians, desperate to obtain stories and other information to explain the need for continued colonial settlement to a curious and skeptical audience back home. One drawback of this wide-ranging book is that it lacks a focus on a single region of America (although the Virginia colony provides many specific examples), but this exceedingly well-argued and well-presented work, with many interdisciplinary insights, will be an essential addition to major public libraries and academic libraries interested in maintaining research collections on cultural encounters.--Charles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Drawing upon a profound rereading of the sources she visited two decades ago, Kupperman has dramatically reconstructed her description of the interface between America's native residents and the English newcomers. Arguing for a dynamic balance between the cultures, she humanizes both as fully cognizant, social, and responsive, marked by mutual fear and curiosity. Her reinterpretation is nowhere seen more dramatically than if contrasted with the imagery of Bernard Sheehan's Savagism and Civility: Indians and Englishmen in Colonial Virginia (CH, Sep'80). However persuasive Kupperman may be, not all may follow her acceptance of oral tradition; others may be reluctant to rely heavily on the database drawn from John White's watercolors as interpreted by the De Bry workshop and elucidated by Thomas Harriot's research. White and Harriot are a singularly informative wilderness duet, but they too have cultural lenses tinted by their experiences (e.g., White's tattooed British ancestors). Readers should have at hand Kupperman's Settling with the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580-1640 (CH, Nov'80). The author has resilvered the mirror, reflecting images that will pique scholarly curiosity at every level. ; Marietta College


Library Journal Review

In Settling with the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580-1640, Kupperman contended that the confrontation was considerably more complex than scholars previously thought and urged them to examine how English colonists and Indians learned from one another's cultures and technologies. In her new book, Kupperman synthesizes two decades of research to strengthen her argument that the encounters were not simply a matter of a stronger, more complex culture acting upon a weaker, simpler one. On the contrary, in her view the otherwise self-confident English became somewhat more tentative in approaching the Indians, desperate to obtain stories and other information to explain the need for continued colonial settlement to a curious and skeptical audience back home. One drawback of this wide-ranging book is that it lacks a focus on a single region of America (although the Virginia colony provides many specific examples), but this exceedingly well-argued and well-presented work, with many interdisciplinary insights, will be an essential addition to major public libraries and academic libraries interested in maintaining research collections on cultural encounters.--Charles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Drawing upon a profound rereading of the sources she visited two decades ago, Kupperman has dramatically reconstructed her description of the interface between America's native residents and the English newcomers. Arguing for a dynamic balance between the cultures, she humanizes both as fully cognizant, social, and responsive, marked by mutual fear and curiosity. Her reinterpretation is nowhere seen more dramatically than if contrasted with the imagery of Bernard Sheehan's Savagism and Civility: Indians and Englishmen in Colonial Virginia (CH, Sep'80). However persuasive Kupperman may be, not all may follow her acceptance of oral tradition; others may be reluctant to rely heavily on the database drawn from John White's watercolors as interpreted by the De Bry workshop and elucidated by Thomas Harriot's research. White and Harriot are a singularly informative wilderness duet, but they too have cultural lenses tinted by their experiences (e.g., White's tattooed British ancestors). Readers should have at hand Kupperman's Settling with the Indians: The Meeting of English and Indian Cultures in America, 1580-1640 (CH, Nov'80). The author has resilvered the mirror, reflecting images that will pique scholarly curiosity at every level. ; Marietta College


Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
1 Mirror Imagesp. 16
2 Reading Indian Bodiesp. 41
3 Indian Politiesp. 77
4 The Names of Godp. 110
5 Village Lifep. 142
6 Incorporating the Otherp. 174
7 Resisting the Otherp. 212
Notesp. 241
Indexp. 291
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
1 Mirror Imagesp. 16
2 Reading Indian Bodiesp. 41
3 Indian Politiesp. 77
4 The Names of Godp. 110
5 Village Lifep. 142
6 Incorporating the Otherp. 174
7 Resisting the Otherp. 212
Notesp. 241
Indexp. 291