Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Trade Rather Than One-Sided Gift-Giving in Native- British Relations

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Trade Rather Than One-Sided Gift-Giving in Native- British Relations

Article excerpt

Trade Rather Than One-Sided Gift-Giving in Native- British Relations

Jessica Yirush Stern. The Lives in Objects: Native Americans, British Colonists, and Cultures of Labor and Exchange in the Southeast. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, February 20, 2017. ISBN: 978-1- 4696-3148-6. $29.95. 268pp. 6.125X9.25". 7 illustrations.

Jessica Stern presents an alternative story of the trade relationship between Native Americans and the British, explaining that both sides mixed giftgiving and commercial trade, rather than Native Americans being the unfairly treated party that gave gifts without gaining anything in return. The "Introduction" opens with an example of one exchange that began in 1716 when a Cherokee man was prevented from making a trade in Charles Town, South Carolina after an official oath taken after the Yamasee War, but the exchange still took place when the Governor Robert Daniel carried out a giftgiving ceremony where the two parties exchanged ten beaver skins for a gun. This is an example of how giftgiving could be a two-way stream with both parties giving gifts of equal value as they would in any trade of goods, only the exchange is marked as a way to honor and show mutual respect for the other party. …

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