Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest

Date(s) - 09/18/18
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Newberry Library

Hosted by
Newberry Library

Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest

Tue, September 18, 2018 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792, by Susan Sleeper-Smith, recovers the agrarian village world Indian women created in the lush lands of the Ohio Valley.

By the late eighteenth century, Montreal silversmiths were sending their best work to Wabash Indian villages, Ohio Indian women were setting the fashions for Indigenous clothing, and European visitors were marveling at the sturdy homes and generous hospitality of trading entrepôts such as Miamitown. Confederacy, agrarian abundance, and nascent urbanity were, however, both too much and not enough. Kentucky settlers and American leaders—like George Washington and Henry Knox—coveted Indian lands and targeted the Indian women who worked them. Americans took women and children hostage to coerce male warriors to come to the treaty table to cede their homelands. Appalachian squatters, aspiring land barons, and ambitious generals invaded this settled agrarian world, burned crops, looted towns, and erased evidence of Ohio Indian achievement. This book restores the Ohio River valley as Native space.

After the talk, Sleeper-Smith will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase.

Susan Sleeper-Smith is professor of history at Michigan State University. She is author of Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes and editor or co-editor of several essay volumes, including Rethinking the Fur Trade: Cultures of Exchange in an Atlantic World, Contesting Knowledge: Museums and Indigenous Perspectives, and New Faces of the Fur Trade.