On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, a Pequot / Edition 1

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This book brings together all of the known writings of William Apess, a Native American of mixed Pequot and white parentage who fought for the United States in the War of 1812, became a Methodist minister in 1829, and championed the rights of the Mashpee tribe on Cape Cod in the 1830s. Apess's A Son of the Forest, originally published in 1829, was the first extended autobiography by an American Indian. Readable and engaging, it is not only a rare statement by a Native American, but also an unusually full document in the history of New England native peoples. Another piece in the collection, The Experiences of Five Christian Indians of the Pequo[d] Tribe (1833), concludes with an eloquent and unprecedented attack on Euro-American racism entitled "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man." Also included are Apess's account of the "Mashpee Revolt" of 1833-34, when the Native Americans of Mashpee petitioned the government of Massachusetts for the right to elect their own representatives, and his Eulogy on King Philip, an address delivered in Boston in 1836 to mark the 160th anniversary of King Philip's War. In his extensive introduction to the volume, Barry O'Connell reconstructs the story of Apess's life, situates him in the context of early nineteenth-century Pequot society, and interprets his writings both as a literary act and as an expression of emerging Native American politics.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
O'Connell, a professor of English at Amherst Collegesince there's also UMass Amherst , has performed a real service in compiling and editing the complete works of Apess. A member of the Pequot tribe of Massachusetts, Apess became, in 1829, one of the first Native Americans to write and publish an autobiography. Further, he did so with only six years of formal education. A Son of the Forest tells the story of Apess's early life (he was scarcely 30 when he wrote it) and of his conversion to Christianity in 1818. Eleven years later, he was ordained a Methodist minister. O'Connell notes as especially remarkable that Apess, unlike many of his contemporaries and their white tutors (who saw Christianity as a way to speed the Native Americans's cultural assimilation), used his Christianity to better assert his Indianness. Nowhere is this more evident than in his ``Eulogy on King Philip'' and ``The Indians: The Ten Lost Tribes,'' which are at once impassioned pleas on behalf of Native Americans and fierce denunciations of white colonialization. O'Connell provides an extensive and invaluable introduction and footnotes to aid the reader in the recovery of this important Native American figure. (May)
Library Journal
Editor O'Connell (English, Amherst Coll. ) has gathered together the complete 19th-century writings of Apess, a mixed blood of Pequot and white descent. A Textual Afterword discusses difficulties with different texts and explains the dearth of editorial notes. A brief Bibliographical Essay covers works by and on Apess, on Pequots and other New England Native Americans, and on general autobiographical and literary studies. But the essay emphasizes the works of Apess, an interesting man of deep Christian convictions who fought for the United States in the War of 1812 and then focused the nation's attention on the plight of the Mashpee Indians. This scholarly work, first in a new series, is recommended for research and Native American collections.-- Patricia A. Clark, Los Angeles P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870237706
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 2/26/1992
  • Series: Native Americans of the Northeast Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 552,071
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

1 A Son of the Forest (1831) 1
2 The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ: A Sermon and The Indians: The Ten Lost Tribes (1831) 99
3 The Experiences of Five Christian Indians of the Pequot Tribe (1833) 117
4 Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Ma[r]shpee Tribe; or, The Pretended Riot Explained (1835) 163
5 Eulogy on King Philip, as Pronounced at the Odeon, in Federal Street, Boston (1836) 275
Textual Afterword 311
Bibliographic Essay 325
Index 331
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