Tribal Peoples and Colonial Encounters in Scotland and America

Published on December 19, 2013 by Amy

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Tribal Peoples and Colonial Encounters in Scotland and America
Tribal Peoples and Colonial Encounters in Scotland and America

In 19th century paintings, the proud Indian warrior and the Scottish highland chief are portrayed in similar ways-colorful and wild, righteous and warlike, the last of their breeds. In 17th and 18th century accounts, they are both presented as barbarians, in need of English language,religion, and civilization. During the Seven Years’ War, the Cherokees and Highland troops were said to be “cousins.” By the 19th century, one could hear Cree, Mohawk, Cherokee, and Salish spoken with Gaelic accents. Colin Calloway, in this imaginative work of imperial history, looks at why these two peoples have so much in common. A comparative approach to the American Indians and Scottish Highlanders, this book examines the experiences of clans and tribal societies, which underwent parallel experiences on theperipheries of Britain’s empire (in Britain, the United States, and Canada) and what happened when they encountered one another on the frontier. Pushed out of their ancestral lands, their traditional food sources-cattle in the Highlands and bison on the Great Plains-were decimated to make way forlivestock farming. Chapters of this book will explore the storied landscapes, communal land-holding practices, and deep spiritual connections to place they shared; families and clans; Christian missionary activities among both Highlanders and Indians; and the forced removals of both peoples fromtheir ancestral lands. Eventually, the conquering cultures would romanticize the indigenous peoples whose tribal ways of life they destroyed, in art and literature by such authors as Sir Walter Scott and James Fenimore Cooper. In North America, the groups often came together through the fur anddeerskin industries and intermarried, and this book examines their relationships in the context of relations with colonial powers. Today, both groups continue to celebrate the survival of their heritages in pow-wows and Highland festivals, and growing numbers of Indians apply for membership in Scottish clan societies. A scholar of American Indians, who is of Scottish Highlander heritage, Calloway is known for his work on the relationships between Indians and colonists in North America. In this book, he complicates the notion of British power by differentiating between the English and Scottish Highlanders, whothe English co-opted into serving in their military forces in North America. What one gains is a more finely-tuned understanding of how indigenous peoples with their own rich identities experienced cultural change, economic transformation, and demographic dislocation amidst the growing power of the British empire.

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