The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Northeast

The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Northeast

The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Northeast

The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Northeast

Synopsis

Descriptions of Indian peoples of the Northeast date to the Norse sagas, centuries before permanent European settlement, and the region has been the setting for a long history of contact, conflict, and accommodation between natives and newcomers. The focus of an extraordinarily vital field of scholarship, the Northeast is important both historically and theoretically: patterns of Indian-white relations that developed there would be replicated time and again over the course of American history. Today the Northeast remains the locus of cultural negotiation and controversy, with such subjects as federal recognition, gaming, land claims, and repatriation programs giving rise to debates directly informed by archeological and historical research of the region. The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Northeast is a concise and authoritative reference resource to the history and culture of the varied indigenous peoples of the region. Encompassing the very latest scholarship, this multifaceted volume is divided into four parts. Part I presents an overview of the cultures and histories of Northeastern Indian people and surveys the key scholarly questions and debates that shape this field. Part II serves as an encyclopedia, alphabetically listing important individuals and places of significant cultural or historic meaning. Part III is a chronology of the major events in the history of American Indians in the Northeast. The expertly selected resources in Part IV include annotated lists of tribes, bibliographies, museums and sites, published sources, Internet sites, and films that can be easily accessed by those wishing to learn more.

Excerpt

The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Northeast is an introduction to the broad field of scholarship concerning the Eastern Woodlands region and its indigenous peoples, as well as a guide to research on a number of more specialized topics within the same field. Many different native communities and polities have lived in this vast area, both now and in the past; their histories and cultures well repay closer investigation.

Since scholars from several disciplines have written about the native peoples of the Northeast, especially historians and the practitioners of an interdisciplinary approach known as ethnohistory, this volume also reviews their complementary and contrasting contributions to the scholarship on the region and its people.

Descriptions of native peoples of the Northeast date back to the Norse sagas, and several important historical sources for the study of their cultures and economies predate the European settlement of eastern North America by a century or more. Increasingly, scholars move the “contact period” for the region back in time, as linguistic and archaeological evidence show traffic in European goods along trade routes stretching from Newfoundland to North Carolina and westward to the Great Lakes as far back as the sixteenth century A.D. At the same time, the volume of scholarship about the Northeast and writings by native people themselves has increased dramatically in the past two decades, resulting in a large body of new work. While much of the historiography of the Northeast has been based on documentary sources, the data from languages and archaeology increasingly available for the Northeast require the skills of disciplines such as anthropology and lin-

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