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

"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

"Brilliant and sometimes personal meditations on empire, heritage, and identity."-Christina Snyder, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"By situating the story of Indians and Highlanders in the 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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199737826
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 632,835
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin G. Calloway is John Kimball Jr. 1943 Professor of History and Professor of Native American Studies, Dartmouth College. Author of The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America (OUP, 2006); One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark (University of Nebraska Press, 2003; winner of six 'best book' awards); First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History (Bedford/St. Martins, 1999, 2004); New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997); The American Revolution in Indian Country (Cambridge University Press, 1995); The Western Abenakis in Vermont (University of Oklahoma Press, 1990); The Abenaki (Chelsea House, 1989); and Crown and Calumet: British-Indian Relations, 1783-1815 (University of Oklahoma Press, 1997).

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Table of Contents

Ch 1: Cycles of Conquest and Colonization
Ch 2: Scots and Indians in a Changing World
Ch 3: Savage Peoples and Civilizing Powers
Ch4: Warriors and Soldiers
Ch 5: Highland Traders and Indian Hunters
Ch 6: Highland Men and Indian Families
Ch 7: Clearances and Removals
Ch 8: Highland Settlers and Indian Lands
Ch 9: Empires, Myths, and New Traditions
Epilogue: History, Heritage, and Identity

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