Catalogue


Red brethren [electronic resource] : the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the problem of race in early America /
David J. Silverman.
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2010.
description
xii, 279 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0801444772 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780801444777 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2010.
isbn
0801444772 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780801444777 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
All one Indian -- Converging paths -- Betrayals -- Out from under the burdens -- Exodus -- Cursed -- Red brethren -- More than they know how to endure -- Indians or citizens, white men or red? -- Epilogue: "Extinction" and a "common ancestor."
catalogue key
11953400
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [219]-270) and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter
New England Indians created the multitribal Brothertown and Stockbridge communities during the eighteenth century with the intent of using Christianity and civilized reforms to cope with white expansion. In Red Brethren, David J. Silverman considers the stories of these communities, led first by Samson Occom, and argues that Indians in early America were racial thinkers in their own right and that indigenous people rallied together as Indians not only in the context of violent resistance but also in campaigns to adjust peacefully to white dominion. All too often, the Indians discovered that their many concessions to white demands earned them no relief. In the era of the American Revolution, the pressure of white settlements forced the Brothertowns and Stockbridges from New England to Oneida country in upstate New York. During the early nineteenth century, whites forced these Indians from Oneida country, too. The Stockbridge leaders John and Austin Quinney responded by negotiating the migration of the communities to Wisconsin. Tired of moving, in the 1830s and 1840s, the Brothertowns and Stockbridges became some of the first Indians to accept U.S. citizenship, which they called "becoming white," in the hope that this status would enable them to remain as Indians in Wisconsin. Even then, whites would not leave them alone. Red Brethren traces the evolution of Indian ideas about race under this relentless pressure. In the early seventeenth century, indigenous people did not conceive of themselves as Indian. They sharpened their sense of Indian identity as they realized that Christianity would not bridge their many differences with whites, and as they fought to keep blacks out of their communities. The stories of Brothertown and Stockbridge shed light on the dynamism of Indians' own racial history and the place of Indians in the racial history of early America.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2010-10-01:
Silverman (history, George Washington Univ.; Faith and Boundaries: Colonists, Christianity, and Community Among the Wampanoag Indians of Martha's Vineyard, 1600-1871) explores the history of Brothertown and Stockbridge, two Native American communities established in the 1780s in New York. The inhabitants originally hailed from New England and had adopted Christianity in the early 18th century, believing that their conversion would allow them to become equal to whites through cultural accommodation. Never truly accepted because of their ethnicity, the Native Americans developed racial attitudes of their own toward Africans. Despite becoming "civilized," the residents of the two towns were forced to migrate to Wisconsin in the 1820s. Efforts were soon underway to seize their lands by forcing them to Kansas. In response, the Brothertown people renounced their native identity and, in their own eyes, became white through U.S. citizenship in 1839. They quickly rediscovered that they continued to carry an inescapable racial stigma. VERDICT For academic readers interested in the construction of race, this highly recommended work should be read alongside Nancy Shoemaker's A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America. For a different perspective on Brothertown, see Brad D.E. Jarvis's The Brothertown Nation of Indians.-John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2011-08-01:
Silverman (George Washington Univ.) describes the formation of these Christian Indian communities and examines how they "came to interpret their struggles with colonialism racially." He begins with Native encounters with New England colonists in the 17th century, emphasizing how even Indians who embraced Christianity were "ghettoized." He then traces the development in the mid-18th century of a Native Christian network that resulted in the establishment of Brothertown and Stockbridge among the Oneidas in the 1780s. When land-hungry New Yorkers immediately besieged them, many became convinced that God had cursed them as a race in the present for their ancestors' "sins." Most decided they had to move west and live among their uncivilized "Red Brethren." It took several decades and many struggles--with other tribes and the US government--to finally settle in Wisconsin, and once there they were threatened with removal. Brothertown chose US citizenship and land division in severalty, while Stockbridge floundered, unable to agree on a response. This is the best work on these Christian Indian communities and a notable contribution to the growing literature on the emergence of race in America. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. R. Mandell Truman State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"David J. Silverman's new book is that rare thing: a superbly researched work of scholarship and a thoroughly engaging story. In Red Brethren, Silverman tackles the subject of the origins and development of American racism within a surprising context, the 'Christian Indian Movement' of the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians. Several of the chief actors in the book left substantial papers, and Silverman mines them to bring these people to life. In particular, Silverman paints a moving portrait of Samson Occom, whose journey from enthusiasm to despair forms the core of this book. Red Brethren challenges the trope of Christianity as a tool of colonial subjugation. In Silverman's telling, Indians creatively applied Christian beliefs to their quest for political independence and cultural revitalization, a striking counterpart to contemporary nativist movements. But, like those secular movements, the Christian Indians' quest for a unified community ultimately fell prey to white expansion and racism. This is a thoughtful, beautifully crafted, heartbreaking book."-Jenny Hale Pulsipher, author of Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest of Authority in Colonial New England
"David J. Silverman's Red Brethren is much more than an excellent study of how indigenous Americans coped with conquest and colonization. It is also a meditation on the perplexing meaning of 'race' and a compelling portrait of the intersection of religion, identity, and society in early America."-Peter C. Mancall, author of Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson
"David Silverman's Red Brethren is a welcome addition to a growing historiography concerning race in early America. Covering two hundred years, from the middle of the seventeenth century through the 1850s, the book traces the interrelated stories of Brothertown and Stockbridge, two Christian Indian communities that migrated repeatedly, eventually settling in Wisconsin, in order to escape the pressures of Anglo-American expansion. The story that Silverman tells may at first appear to be one of cultural assimilation, for he describes Native peoples converting to Christianity, abandoning traditional subsistence cycles in order to embrace market agriculture, transforming communal land holdings into privately held lots, and even accepting federal citizenship by the mid-nineteenth century. But Silverman in fact illustrates how these actions reflected strategies of resistance in a world that increasingly defined Native peoples as inherently inferior. In essence, Silverman explores how Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians redefined racial ideologies meant to marginalize them while attempting to defend their own self-determination. The result is a wonderfully well-researched, readable, and insightful relation of American Indian history. Red Brethren is an excellent book that offers historical context for understanding the ways in which race undermined tribal sovereignty, unity, and land ownership. Its rich research in primary and secondary sources makes it useful for the expert scholar, and its readable narrative assures that it should find a place in both the undergraduate classroom and on the avocational historian's bookshelf."-Brad Jarvis, New England Quarterly
"In this compelling book David J. Silverman examines two multitribal Christian native groups, the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians. Silverman's narrative spans two centuries and half a continent as he follows his subjects from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century, from greater Long Island Sound to western Massachusetts, central New York, and finally the lakeshore of Wisconsin. In doing so, he draws from sizeable caches of native-authored sermons, journals, and letters. This is not a study of postcontact Indian ethnogenesis nor is it a story of native conversion or migration, though it covers each of these topics quite well. Instead the argument centers on these Indians' roles in creating and opposing emerging American notions of race. . . . Silverman sensitively explores how allegations of racial betrayal and impurity surfaced in disputes between Christian groups and their native neighbors, and between the groups' Indian and Afro-Indian members. This crisply written and thoughtful book is rich with vivid quotations from Indian sources that attest to Silverman's prodigious research. Red Brethren delivers on its promise of 'a deeply human lesson about the dark power of race in the history of America' (p. 9)."-Andrew Lipman, Journal of American History
"In this deeply researched and beautifully written book, David J. Silverman tells the history of the Brothertown community and elegantly expresses the dilemma of race as Indians in America faced it on a daily basis over several centuries. Promised independence and survival if they adopted the trappings of civilization-Christianity, plow agriculture, and European-style clothing, houses, and manners-they discovered that these were false promises and that, in the end, their racial difference as Indians mattered most to the Euroamericans who surrounded them, no matter where they attempted to root their community."-Nancy Shoemaker, author of A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America
"Red Brethren is a pathbreaking and important book. Without soft-pedaling or minimizing the record of Euroamerican greed and duplicity, David J. Silverman demonstrates that many Indians were able to assimilate Christianity and make it their own mode of reaffirming their communities and taking control of their own destinies. Silverman makes clear that this was neither an easy nor a triumphant process; one of this book's admirable qualities is its elucidation of the effects of the factions that rent Indian groups and the way alcohol destroyed lives and plans. Silverman replaces the traditional story of early Indian defiance followed by inevitable defeat and degradation with a story in which Indians assimilate new cultural tools and continue their struggle to carve out a place for themselves in the emerging American order."-Karen Kupperman, Silver Professor, New York University, author of The Jamestown Project
"Silverman's Red Brethren is deeply researched and well narrated; it tells a robust and nuanced story because of its attention to developments among the Oneidas and Stockbridges as well as the Brothertowns. It is deft in its critical examination of the internal conflicts that bedeviled these Native communities or set them against each other. Red Brethren offers tribal history, but it pushes beyond the older historiography of Indian history and Indian-white relations to examine fresh questions, including potentially the place of Indians within the larger narrative of American history. . . . Red Brethren shows that there's much more to be learned about American identity and principles and how they have been contorted by the problem of race."-Matthew Dennis, Journal of the Early Republic
"This is the best work on these Christian Indian communities and a notable contribution to the growing literature on the emergence of race in America. Highly recommended."-D. R. Mandell, Choice
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, October 2010
Choice, August 2011
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Red Brethren' follows the experiences of two communities of Christian Native Americans as they were forced relentlessly westwards during the 18th & 19th centuries, drawing conclusions about the development of Native American ideas about race.
Main Description
New England Indians created the multitribal Brothertown and Stockbridge communities during the eighteenth century with the intent of using Christianity and civilized reforms to cope with white expansion. In Red Brethren, David J. Silverman considers the stories of these communities and argues that Indians in early America were racial thinkers in their own right and that indigenous people rallied together as Indians not only in the context of violent resistance but also in campaigns to adjust peacefully to white dominion. All too often, the Indians discovered that their many concessions to white demands earned them no relief. In the era of the American Revolution, the pressure of white settlements forced the Brothertowns and Stockbridges from New England to Oneida country in upstate New York. During the early nineteenth century, whites forced these Indians from Oneida country, too, until they finally wound up in Wisconsin. Tired of moving, in the 1830s and 1840s, the Brothertowns and Stockbridges became some of the first Indians to accept U.S. citizenship, which they called "becoming white," in the hope that this status would enable them to remain as Indians in Wisconsin. Even then, whites would not leave them alone. Red Brethren traces the evolution of Indian ideas about race under this relentless pressure. In the early seventeenth century, indigenous people did not conceive of themselves as Indian. They sharpened their sense of Indian identity as they realized that Christianity would not bridge their many differences with whites, and as they fought to keep blacks out of their communities. The stories of Brothertown and Stockbridge shed light on the dynamism of Indians' own racial history and the place of Indians in the racial history of early America.
Main Description
New England Indians created the multitribal Brothertown and Stockbridge communities during the eighteenth century with the intent of using Christianity and civilized reforms to cope with white expansion. In Red Brethren, David J. Silverman considers the stories of these communities, led first by Samson Occom, and argues that Indians in early America were racial thinkers in their own right and that indigenous people rallied together as Indians not only in the context of violent resistance but also in campaigns to adjust peacefully to white dominion. All too often, the Indians discovered that their many concessions to white demands earned them no relief. In the era of the American Revolution, the pressure of white settlements forced the Brothertowns and Stockbridges from New England to Oneida country in upstate New York. During the early nineteenth century, whites forced these Indians from Oneida country, too. The Stockbridge leaders John and Austin Quinney responded by negotiating the migration of the communities to Wisconsin. Tired of moving, in the 1830s and 1840s, the Brothertowns and Stockbridges became some of the first Indians to accept U.S. citizenship, which they called "becoming white," in the hope that this status would enable them to remain as Indians in Wisconsin. Even then, whites would not leave them alone. Red Brethren traces the evolution of Indian ideas about race under this relentless pressure. In the early seventeenth century, indigenous people did not conceive of themselves as Indian. They sharpened their sense of Indian identity as they realized that Christianity would not bridge their many differences with whites, and as they fought to keep blacks out of their communities. The stories of Brothertown and Stockbridge shed light on the dynamism of Indians' own racial history and the place of Indians in the racial history of early America.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Abbreviationsp. xi
Prologue: That Overwhelming Tide of Fatep. 1
All One Indianp. 11
Converging Pathsp. 30
Betrayalsp. 70
Out from Under the Burdensp. 89
Exodusp. 107
Cursedp. 125
Red Brethrenp. 149
More Than They Know How to Endurep. 171
Indians or Citizens, White Men or Red?p. 184
Epilogue: ôExtinctionö and a ôCommon Ancestoröp. 211
Notesp. 219
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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