SOME BOOKS OF ESSAYS ARE MADE BY THEIR AUTHORS OR PUB- lishers; others make themselves. This collection virtually made itself as I explored the intercultural history of colonial North America during the past decade. Although the ten essays included here were written over a ten-year period, eight were written in the past five years, two especially for this volume. They show, I think, a consistency of method and focus as well as a commonality of subject.
The method and focus are provided by ethnohistory, a common-law marriage of history and anthropology that remains unconsecrated by the constituent disciplines but is increasingly resorted to by their practitioners who face certain kinds of problems and questions. Originally, ethnohistory was shaped by anthropologists who needed to answer historical questions about the many western and midwestern Indian tribes who were pressing land claims before the Indian Claims Commission after its creation in 1946. The applications of ethnohistory spread unevenly to the study of eastern tribes as well, but were accelerated after 1971 when the Native American Rights Fund was founded to represent Indian tribes in legal actions and again after 1975 when the tribes