PDF/EPUB Gregory Evans Dowd Ç A Spirited Resistance The North American Indian Struggle Ç

In the early 1800s when once powerful North American Indian peoples were being driven west across the Mississippi a Shawnee prophet collapsed into a deep sleep When he awoke he told friends and family of his ascension to Indian heaven where his grandfather had given him a warning Beware of the religion of the white man every Indian who embraces it is obliged to take the road to the white man's heaven; and yet no red man is permitted to enter there but will have to wander about forever without a resting placeThe events leading to this vision are the subject of A Spirited Resistance the poignant story of the Indian movement to challenge Anglo American expansionism Departing from the traditional confines of the history of American Indians Gregory Evans Dowd carefully draws on ethnographic sources to recapture the beliefs thoughts and actions of four principal Indian nations—Delaware Shawnee Cherokee and Creek The result is a sensitive portrayal of the militant Indians—often led by prophets—who came to conceive of themselves as a united people and launched an intertribal campaign to resist the Anglo American forcesDowd also uncovers the Native American opposition to the movement for unity That opposition he finds was usually the result of divisions within Indian communities rather than intertribal rivalry In fact Dowd argues intertribal enmity had little to do with the ultimate failure of the Indian struggle; it was division within Indian communities colonial influence on Indian government and the sheer force of the Anglo American campaign that brought the Indian resistance movement to an end An evocative history of long frustration and ultimate failure A Spirited Resistance tells of a creative people whose insights magic and ritual add a much needed dimension to our understanding of the American Indian

10 thoughts on “A Spirited Resistance The North American Indian Struggle for Unity 1745 1815 The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science

  1. says:

    Gripping and richly detailed account of how pan Indian ideology arose among the First Nations of eastern North America in the eighteenth century Gregory Dowd shows how First Peoples grappled with uestions of resisting accommodating or remaining neutral toward the Europeans and Americans By the War of 1812 the US defeated the revolts that pan Indianism inspired but Native political consciousness had changed Dowd shows the centrality of religion in inspiring political resistance

  2. says:

    Dowd writes a great transnational longue durée look at the influence of prophets and Indian religious narratives often shared nearly wholesale between different nations on politics and warfare from 1745 to 1816 A bit dated now with little female representation but still groundbreaking

  3. says:

    Dowd's A Spirited Resistance provides some examples of considering history that didn't happenFor every account of history that happened there might be a complementary book of history that didn't happenIt's important to emphasize that people and groups in the past continually faced decision options and critical choices and conflicting imperatives to act as we do now People and groups in the past continually made uniue decisions in the face of uncertainties and competing exigencies as we do nowThe history of an individual or a group is a distinct track forward in time of decisions and choices and events some discretionary some imperative some unavoidably random This process continues through a welter of known and unknown alternatives This ever changing process of life is uniue in retrospect but it is increasingly incomprehensibly variable and complex as we consider the prospects for the future at any point in timeThus the history that happened is one of the possible histories that could have happened It never was inevitable There is difficulty enough in reconstructing analyzing and understanding the actual history that happened The discovery and illumination of the course of history however well done is profoundly insufficient for the student of historyAny possible speculative scenario of historical events is a history that didn't happen Any version of the history that didn't happen is potentially a compelling object of interest and there are limitless different versions There is an effectively boundless scope of interest in such histories and a wide range of probabilities that they might have occurredTo be clear popular accounts of so called alternative history or what if? history are not suitable exemplars of this theme An historical treatment that focuses on a single arbitrary what if? scenario for a known historical event or extended historical process is of course a history that didn't happen but it is a special case For example a speculative presentation of The South Won The Civil War can be entertaining overall even instructive in detail but it is flawed The author has the benefit of hindsight and cannot avoid using it Of necessity the author must repeatedly expansively and arbitrarily choose alternative versions of what actually happened; the probability of occurrence of such a single massively multi variable alternative actually is vanishing small Why bother writing or reading it? One may imagine that simultaneous nasty influenza outbreaks might have sidelined all the generals in both camps on July 2 in Gettysburg The probability of such a scenario is vanishingly small This scenario may be entertaining but it does not merit serious consideration It is imaginable but it adds little to our understanding of history The popular what if? approach to history is almost always arbitrary eccentrically narrow and overwhelmingly improbableA structured exploratory consideration of history that didn't happen could be useful Such a structured approach for example could include• examination of the knowledge values and motivation of historical actors;• identification of realistic feasible alternative decisions and reactions that might have occurred at specific points in time or throughout an event in process;• analysis of decision factors that were considered or ignored by the historical actorsThis approach envisions a retrospective presentation of history that illuminates reasonably feasible alternative courses of action and clarifies possible explanations of why the actors did not make such decisions or pursue such courses of action This concept does not assume and generally would avoid any attempt to prove that any particular alternative decision or action would have been better or should have been chosen The point of this essentially objective reconsideration of history is to clarify the motives and expectations of the actors and to gain a broader and deeper appreciation—in analytical contexts framed by hindsight—of what they thought was happening what they wanted to happen and what they thought was possible or probable all without the benefit of foresightA poignant example is Jared Diamond's uestion in Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed It includes a chapter on the almost complete deforestation of Easter Island and the cultural decline of its people who had depended on the trees for canoes construction material and fuel Diamond asks What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it? p 114 By extension what did the rest of the Easter Islanders say while he was doing it? Of course with hindsight it's obvious that cutting down the last tree was not a good move Was it obvious in the 17th century on Easter Island? It would be interesting to attempt to reconstruct the ax man's knowledge values and motive could he have not known it was the last tree? Was he concerned about preserving his essential environment? Did Easter Islanders desire a tree less landscape? Was the last tree worth a million bucks? Forward thinking environmentally sensitized Easter Islanders could have started planning earlier to figure out how to conserve a minimum number of trees or develop substitutes for transportation construction and fuel What are some possible elaborations about why that didn't happen? Was any such attempt actually made? Was tree cutting strictly a commercial activity? Were there any socialreligiouscultural imperatives regarding tree cutting? Was that ax wielding Easter Islander a hero or a villain?Now back to Dowd and “A Spirited Resistance” Apparently a fundamental constraint to the success of the 18th century pan Indian prophets on the East Coast was the persistent obstruction of many neutral or accommodationist chiefs who rejected their prophets' call for both violent and spiritual resistance to the Anglo American authorities and settlers These neutral chiefs sought to co exist in relative peace with the Europeans This internal division among the Native Americans and the longevity of the ill fated nativist movement suggests many uestionsIn hindsight it seems at least superficially that the ultimate dominance of the Europeans was inevitable Did none of the chiefs in the late 18th century recognize this imperative? What arguments did both the nativist and neutral leaders use in their private councils to minimize their prospects for failure? How did their knowledge values and motives sustain their doomed objectives for decades? Is it possible that the prophets might have been substantially successful if no internal Indian strife had existed?Dowd says the inter tribal and intra tribal conflicts in leadership actually bolstered the motivation of the nativists who argued that the neutral chiefs' failure to respect Indian cultural and spiritual values was partly to blame for the degradation of their culture and way of life Did the neutral chiefs make the same criticism of the prophets? By implication Dowd suggests that most nativist and accommodationist chiefs were doing their honorable best for their people This viewpoint should be challenged; can it be confirmed? What was the motivation of the prophets and nativist chiefs? Did Tenskwatawa share personal attributes with Martin Luther King? with Billy Graham? with Elmer Gantry?What primary military political economic and cultural factors were important to the neutral chiefs and to the prophets? Was their strife righteously motivated and conscientiously implemented? How much of it if any was simply opportunistic localized internal wrangling for political power and personal prestige? Did the warriors and the people and the clans who actively supported the chiefs fully understand the implications of their commitments? Did the warriors follow Tecumseh for glory or for their informed vision of a better future? Did any Indian chiefs believe there was a third version of doing the right thing?More on my website

  4. says:

    I remember having a hard time staying interested in this book The topic is not my favorite in history

  5. says:

    Indigenous resistance

  6. says:

    Gregory Dowd provides an interesting look at how native Americans banded together against Europeans and the United States in his book A Spirited Resistance This book tracks the major gatherings and prophets that met to try and unify Indians across familial and tribal lines While many were not successful there was inter regional collaboration which provided a new dimension to Indian affairs One of the uniue aspects of this book is that it shows the European classification of each tribe as a nation may not have been necessary as the Indians began to redefine their own place in society While the book places the majority of the reasons for pan indianism as religious it is very clear that they were primarily realpolitik calculations They would be almost entirely realpolitik calculations expect for the almost unexplainable fact that they continued to fight with bows and arrows despite the access to guns Dowd tracks the major events well in this book and if you are starting out looking at Indians and the government than this is a very good place to start While it is not ideal for looking at individual tribes see my other reviews for books on tribes portrayed in the book it does provide an excellent view of how the Indians found common ground with one anotherThe book is easy to read and covers a wide range of years in a short amount of pages If you are looking at the correlation of disparate tribes coming together than this will help tremendously in gaining an understanding of how culturally different peoples come together It tracks tribes from the great lakes to the gulf coast and is truly an amazing feat given what is necessary to understand all of these groups Overall I think attention could have been paid to other explanations than religion which is why the book is a four out of five Still very interesting and well worth a read

  7. says:

    I have been looking forward to reading this book for a long time but it didn't uite live up to my expectations Dowd's thesis is innovative interesting and provides a vital perspective to the field but there were characters and groups of people in this book than a Russian novel and I found it hard to follow a trajectory without getting consumed by the minutia I may be slightly prejudiced but I feel my adviser's book which came out the year before this one had much the same idea and followed a far cohesive trajectory because he stuck with only the Muskogee Creek people thus I would reccommend his book in conjunction if not substitution of this one Joel Martin Sacred Revolt The Muskogees' Struggle for a New World His book is the depth to Dowd's breadth

  8. says:

    Considering that Daniel Richter has compared the complexity of Indian politics in the colonial period to post Einsteinian physics it is especially headache inducing that Dowd writes such confusing sentences where he is often too vague using terms like nativist and accommodationist to refer to whether one sided with the British or the French or the United States in a way that shifts throughout the book but isn't really addressed or how he uses phrases like the Shawnee prophet to refer to both Tecumseh and a number of other prophets making it difficult to decipher which one he means I was relieved to see that other people had the same issue when I read the scholarly reviews

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  10. says:

    Recommended for extensive coverage of subject matter