Native Nations Negotiating War and Peace in Early America

AHA Session 63
Saturday, January 4, 2020: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Nassau East (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
John W. Hall, University of Wisconsin–Madison
John W. Hall, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Session Abstract

This panel examines the diverse ways that Native nations negotiated diplomacy and violence in early North America. In "Two Sides of a Map," Nathan Braccio explores how Algonquian people used mapmaking as both a practical tool and cultural symbol while working alongside the English in the Pequot War (1636-1638). Aubrey Lauersdorf's "An Apalachee Revolt?" argues that violence in Apalachee territory in 1647 was less a rebellion against Spanish power than a boiling-over of political tensions within Apalachee society. Ian Tonat's "Pemoussa and Pechicamengoa" examines how negotiations over identity shaped Kickapoo, Mascouten, and Meskwaki people's diplomatic decisions during the Second Fox War (1728-1733).

Spanning the Northeast, Southeast, and Great Lakes regions, this panel emphasizes that war and peace in early America was profoundly shaped by local conditions–where the balance of power often rested in the favor of Native nations well into the eighteenth century. Centering the perspectives and decisions of these nations allows all three authors to explore the negotiations and conflicts that occurred within Native societies as they made foreign policy decisions in early North America. The presenters’ research also helps us rethink the meaning of war and diplomacy for Native nations, moving beyond understanding them within a European framework.

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