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Posted January 22, 2009
With regard to the beginnings of the city of Seattle, the local Native Americans were not part of what was called the 'Vanishing Race' of Native Americans from the westward growth of America. Native Americans played a large, vital, and conspicuous role in the founding and early growth of Seattle. Thrush, an assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia, makes the point that the role of Native Americans regarding other cities is worth looking into as well. In Seattle, Native American men and women provided the large majority of the manual labor in such work as sawmills and fishing and many started small businesses. By intermarriage, some Native Americans, particularly women, assumed prominent and influential positions in the community. The other side of the Native Americans' experience with Seattle is their being supplanted as more and more whites came to Seattle in the latter years of the 19th century. Subject to discrimination, racism, oppression, and demonization, the Native Americans lost their position in the city's economy and social structure. They were, for instance, labeled as 'hostile,' and said to be unable to adjust to urban life the women were considered prostitutes. In recent years, the fundamental role of local Native Americans in Seattle's origins and the impression this had on the character of the city are being given their due. Numbers of Native Americans, showing an entrepreneurial spirit and media savvy equal to any big-city dweller, are finding places in today's Seattle. Thrush writes the full story of the changing social relationship of Native Americans to Seattle. Central to his perspective--noted in the 'Foreword'--is the false, unsubstantiated dichotomy between 'civilized' and 'uncivilized' peoples. Following the text is an 'Atlas of Indigenous Seattle' containing maps and Native American terms evidencing the prevalence of the Native Americans through the Puget Sound area, how much they had developed this area already through use of its resources, and the place of the Native American culture in the origins and development of Seattle.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.