Madam Sacho: How One Iroquois Woman Survived the American Revolution

General George Washington gave the orders to destroy towns and take prisoners in Sullivan’s Campaign, but her story lives on. Soldiers called her many things: “a very old Squaw,” “helpless impotent wretch,” “antediluvian hag.” Only one recorded anything like a name: “Madam Sacho.” Yet we would not even know that much about her if, in[…]

Native Americans, the Stamp Act, and the American Revolution

In the years after the French and Indian War, Britain’s strategies to keep its Native American alliances sometimes backfired. John Trumbull’s painting Declaration of Independence is a classic depiction of history being made. From John Adams to Benjamin Franklin, all the key players appear to be in attendance. But are they? In depicting only well-to-do[…]

Transnational Debts: The Cultural Memory of Navajo Code Talkers in World War II

Their experiences and memories—in oral histories, interviews, as well as in fiction and film—challenge the narrative of a glorious nation in unison. Even 70 years after it ended, World War II continues to endure in the global imagination. In the United States, images of the “Good War” prevail, and memories of the soldiers have been[…]

How the Forced Removal of the Southeast’s Indians Turned Native Lands into Slave Plantations

“Alabama Fever” triggered a takeover by cotton planters of America’s oldest indigenous region. The Old South wasn’t really that old. Plantations appeared in many areas of the Deep South only a few decades before the Civil War. Before that, the South was Indian country. The South’s long and rich Indigenous history is unknown to many[…]

The Lumbee: Indigenous Peoples of North Carolina in Baltimore

A folklorist is working to preserve the history of a unique, urban community of the Lumbee. A few years ago, I invited a group of students to go on a short walking tour of the Lumbee Indian community of East Baltimore. Lumbee are indigenous to North Carolina but have been present in Baltimore since at[…]

Why the Myth of the “Savage Indian” Persists

Iconic children’s books and popular media that Gen Xers grew up with are riddled with damaging Native stereotypes—but things may finally be shifting. Peter Pan, the beloved children’s classic, is sure to stun modern readers with its descriptions of “redskins” carrying “tomahawks and knives,” their naked bodies glistening with oil. “Strung around them are scalps,[…]

Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830

The 1830 Indian Removal Act led to the displacement of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Cherokee tribes of the Southeast. By Dr. P. Scott CorbettProfessor of HistoryVentura College Introduction Pro-Jackson newspapers touted the president as a champion of opening land for white settlement and moving native inhabitants beyond the boundaries of “American civilization.” In this[…]

Warriors of the Rainbow: The Birth of an Environmental Mythology

How did Greenpeace develop this affinity with Native Americans? The German branch of Greenpeace announced itself to the world in June 1981 when two activists climbed a smokestack in Hamburg and festooned it with a banner which read: Erst wenn der letzte Baum gefällt, der letzte Fluss vergiftet und der letzte Fisch gefangen ist, werdet[…]

Church, State, and Competing Ideologies Regarding the Indian Removal Act of 1830

Controversies surrounding the 1830 Indian Removal Act reflected the Early Republic’s problem of church and state. “I most sincerely desire that the historian, who shall write a hundred years hence, may be enabled to say… Georgia has not repeatedly, within a few years past, threatened to take the lands of Indians by force,” wrote Jeremiah[…]

On Native Ground: Indigenous Presences and Southern Narratives of Captivity, Removal, and Repossession

How contemporary southeastern Native writers work to repossess homelands that they rearticulate not as “the South” but as Native ground. Overview This essay argues that mainstream, familiar concepts of a bordered South and a recognizable southernness, however permeable and flexible, are mostly dysfunctional when it comes to American Indian literatures. “Native southern ground” can nevertheless[…]

Native Americans and the Origin of Abraham Lincoln’s Views on Race

Native Americans influenced the formation of Abraham Lincoln’s racial ideology. December of 1862 was a grisly month of a grisly year. Abraham Lincoln received dire reports from the horrifying battle at Fredricksburg, Virginia, and he had an eye on the scene unfolding on the windswept prairie of Mankato, Minnesota. In that far-flung corner of the[…]

African and Native Americans in Colonial and Revolutionary Times

Ideas about racial and cultural identity, even among indigenous people, have changed significantly over time. Joseph Louis Cook and Pierre Bonga One such person is Joseph Louis Cook, the son of an African-American father and an Abenaki mother who had both been taken captive by the Iroquois. Cook himself was raised in the Mohawk community[…]