Back to what you’d expect

I have to think anyone who is reading this blog has been wondering, “Where are the Indians?” lately. Well, you knew I had to come back to them at some point this summer, and here we are.

The Calloway book is part of a series of relatively short and approachable books that privilege narrative–I’ve read Brenda Child’s book on Ojibwe women, and Timothy Pauketat’s on Cahokia, while Timothy Shannon’s on Iroquois diplomacy and Jeff Ostler’s on the Lakota and the Black Hills are still on my shelf unread. Calloway’s book is fine, but not earth-shattering–a decent introduction to a couple of centuries of Shawnee history, and their almost-constant participation in some wide-ranging developments involving Indian-British/American relations. It’s certainly not Calloway’s best, but it’s a good reminder how traveled and active the Shawnee were.

Snyder’s book I’ve wanted to read for a while, and I picked it up in the spring before lending it to a student writing his thesis on Indian slavery in South Carolina. Once he returned it I had my chance, and lugged it along on a visit to California. Snyder has done incredible research to put together this book on the evolution of Indian slavery (enslaved Indians and Indian slave-owning) in the southeast. Lots of it was somewhat familiar to me, but I am not as entrenched in the literature for this region (much of it produced by a collection of scholars I’ve heard jokingly referred to as “the Southeastern Mafia”), and so there was a ton of new material as well. Despite the breadth and depth, this strikes me as pretty approachable, and I may assign it before long. Really a fantastic read.

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