Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790

Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790

by Jean M. O'Brien


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Despite popular belief, Native peoples did not simply disappear from colonial New England as the English extended their domination in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Rather, the Native peoples in such places as Natick, Massachusetts, creatively resisted colonialism, defended their lands, and rebuilt kin networks and community through the strategic use of English cultural practices and institutions. So why did New England settlers believe that the Native peoples had vanished? In this thoroughly researched and astutely argued study, historian Jean M. O’Brien reveals that, in the late eighteenth century, the Natick tribe experienced a process of “dispossession by degrees,” which rendered them invisible within the larger context of the colonial social order, thus enabling the construction of the myth of Indian extinction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803286191
Publisher: UNP - Nebraska Paperback
Publication date: 05/01/2003
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jean M. O’Brien is an associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota, where she is also affiliated with American studies, American Indian studies, and the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies.

Table of Contents

Prologue: 'My Land': Natick and the Narrative of Indian Extinction; Chapter 1: Peoples, Land, and Social Order; Chapter 2: The Sinews and the Flesh: Natick Comes Together, 1650-1675; Chapter 3: 'Friend Indians': Negotiating Colonial Rules, 1676-1700; Chapter 4: Divided In Their Desires; Chapter 5: Interlude: The Proprietary Families; Chapter 6: 'They Are So Frequently Shifting Their Place Of Residence': Natick Indians, 1741-1790; Conclusion.

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