Indian Lands and Imperial Authorities

The Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth-Century Ohio River Valley
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

5:30 - 6:30 pm

B-91

Susan Sleeper-Smith, Michigan State University

Europeans misunderstood Indian identity and misrepresented the ethnically diverse villages of the thousand mile-long Ohio River valley in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Ethnicity was complex, villages diverse, and intermarriage commonplace. Villages were united by bonds of kinship, and tribal boundaries were rarely defined.

This paper contends that this was an agrarian village world and refutes the notion that this region was torn asunder by warfare.Europeans lived in an Indian world and although they did change the demographics of this region, they did so in ways that outside imperial powers failed to fully comprehend. This paper establishes a new interpretative framework for understanding the interplay of Indigenous and European powers in this region.

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