White People, Indians, and Highlanders: Tribal People and Colonial Encounters in Scotland and America

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In nineteenth century paintings, the proud Indian warrior and the Scottish Highland chief appear in similar ways—colorful and wild, righteous and warlike, the last of their kind. Earlier accounts depict both as barbarians, lacking in culture and in need of civilization. By the nineteenth century, intermarriage and cultural contact between the two—described during the Seven Years' War as cousins—was such that Cree, Mohawk, Cherokee, and Salish were often spoken with Gaelic accents.

In this imaginative work of imperial and tribal history, Colin Calloway examines why these two seemingly wildly disparate groups appear to have so much in common.

Both Highland clans and Native American societies underwent parallel experiences on the peripheries of Britain's empire, and often encountered one another on the frontier. Indeed, Highlanders and American Indians fought, traded, and lived together. Both groups were treated as tribal peoples—remnants of a barbaric past—and eventually forced from their ancestral lands as their traditional food sources—cattle in the Highlands and bison on the Great Plains—were decimated to make way for livestock farming. In a familiar pattern, the cultures that conquered them would later romanticize the very ways of life they had destroyed.

White People, Indians, and Highlanders illustrates how these groups alternately resisted and accommodated the cultural and economic assault of colonialism, before their eventual dispossession during the Highland Clearances and Indian Removals. What emerges is a finely-drawn portrait of how indigenous peoples with their own rich identities experienced cultural change, economic transformation, and demographic dislocation amidst the growing power of the British and American empires.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Calloway's book makes for thought-provoking reading for all students and scholars interested in the cultural impact of imperial expansion."—Troy Bickham, The American Historical Review

"Satisfying as a rigorous treatment of a historical question hitherto approached only in piecemeal manner, Calloway's book also elucidates how the descendants of those displaced by early modern empires have continued to find new ways of understanding their ancestors' experience."—John G. Reid, The Journal of American History

"Calloway's study offers a compelling historical portrait of two groups struggling to maintain their homeland and cultural identities amid the turmoil and confusion unleashed by Euroamerican imperialism."—Kevin T. Barksdale, Virginia Magazine of History & Biography

"White People, Indians, and Highlanders deserves a readership a readership interested in colonialism and ethnic identities on both sides of the Atlantic. With brilliant insights from the literatures and experiences of both Scottish and Native American studies, Calloway demonstrates the value of placing Native American and Scottish history in a much wider context than they normally appear."—Andrew K. Frank, Southwest Journal of Culture

"White People, Highlanders, and Indians is a welcome addition to studies of the colonial experience. Equally at home in the Highlands and in Indian Country, in the imperial capitals of London and Washington, D.C., Colin Calloway brings to light a fascinating, colorful world that sets side by side Gaelic and Iroquois, breech cloths and kilts, 'Removals' and 'Clearances,' even today's Highland festivals and Indian powwows. Among the book's virtues is its awareness that, while Highlanders and Indians are comparable in illuminating and important ways, their histories were also profoundly different—in illuminating and important ways."—James H. Merrell, Vassar College

"A fascinating study that successfully compares in an insightful and original way the experience of both Highland Scots and American Indians; accessible and perceptive, it makes a significant contribution to Atlantic and imperial history, as well to the remarkable story of these two peoples."—Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh

"In this fine study Colin Calloway has punctured many of the stereotypes that have often followed Scottish Highlanders and American Indians like persistent shadows. Calloway has thrust these peoples to the forefront of history by evoking the commonalities of their past and drawing their lives together through a pageant of stories that recall the tales of early storytellers, both Highlander and Indian, who once held forth on long winter nights."—Margaret Connell Szasz, author of Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans: Indigenous Education in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

"Calloway reminds us how much the past remains within the present; hence the identities claimed by Scots, Indians, and Indian Scots today have been forged by their colonial experiences, their uprooting, and their many encounters with each other from the seventeenth century forward."—Margaret Connell Szaz, Journal of British Studies

"By situating the story of Indians and Highlanders in teh larger Atlantic world of empire building, Calloway makes a tought-provoking case for his argument of similitude...A fine example of comparative and Atlantic world history." —Montana: The Magazine of Southern History

"An interesting and illuminating read." —Virginia Quarterly Review

"No specialist in early Indian history can approach Calloway's combination of diversity of subject matter, scholarly output, and quality...Calloway's discussion of the parallel and divergent colonial experiences of Indians and Scottish Highlanders and his treatment of the two peoples' many encounters in North America will be appreciated by anyone interested in empires and native peoples."-Joshua Piker, Journal of Social History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195340129
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/3/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin G. Calloway is Professor of History, Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies, and chair of the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College. His many books include The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America and One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark.

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Table of Contents

1. Cycles of Conquest and Colonization
2. Scots and Indians in a Changing World
3. Savage Peoples and Civilizing Powers
4. Warriors and Soldiers
5. Highland Traders and Indian Hunters
6. Highland Men and Indian Families
7. Clearances and Removals
8. Highland Settlers and Indian Lands
9. Empires, Myths, and New Traditions
Epilogue: History, Heritage, and Identity

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