To Intermix with Our White Brothers: Indian Mixed Bloods in the United States from Earliest Times to the Indian Removals

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To Intermix with Our White Brothers: Indian Mixed Bloods in the United States from Earliest Times to the Indian Removals. By Thomas N. Ingersoll. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005. Pp. xxi, 450. Acknowledgments, note on terminology, illustrations, table, notes, bibliography, index. $39.95.)

While the role of mixed bloods in the tragic drama played out between the United States and Indian nations from the constitutional era through the removal period would be difficult to minimize, it is equally hard to describe accurately. Cherokee historian Henry D. Reese, or White Horse, commented on their importance to his people when he characterized them as "leading men" who guided the people through some of the tribe's most difficult times. "It is a mistake to suppose that they were ragamuffins, or a low class of white men," writes Reese, who then goes on to describe them as educated and "real gentlemen." Others, however, had different opinions. Ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan looked at mixedblood leaders of Indian groups and saw the offspring of "the lowest and basest" whites, bad influences on the impressionable savages. Observers with opinions similar to Morgan's influenced government officials and public opinion, furnishing ammunition for the racist proponents of removal. Ingersoll traces the varying perceptions of the mixed bloods, to use his term, from white contact through the early nineteenth century and seeks to identify their influence among both indigenous peoples and whites, assess their impact on government Indian policy, and determine their social position among the shifting demographics of American society. He examines mixed blood-white relations among the various European peoples who settled in present-day America, including the Russians, Spanish, French, and English and considers the cultural factors that characterized their relationships with natives. His study is far ranging, considering economic, social, political, cultural, racial, and gender issues and examining official records, observers' comments, and popular culture. …