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A Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Métis, and…
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A Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Métis, and Mining in the Western Great… (edição: 2004)

de Lucy Eldersveld Murphy (Autor)

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In A Gathering of Rivers, Lucy Eldersveld Murphy traces the histories of Indian, multiracial, and mining communities in the western Great Lakes region during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For a century the Winnebagos (Ho-Chunks), Mesquakies (Fox), and Sauks successfully confronted waves of French and British immigration by diversifying their economies and commercializing lead mining. Focusing on personal stories and detailed community histories, Murphy charts the changed economic forces at work in the region, connecting them to shifts in gender roles and intercultural relationships. She argues that French, British, and Native peoples forged cooperative social and economic bonds expressed partly by mixed-race marriages and the emergence of multiethnic communities at Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. Significantly, Native peoples in the western Great Lakes region were able to adapt successfully to the new frontier market economy until their lead mining operations became the envy of outsiders in the 1820s.… (mais)
Membro:jpbowes
Título:A Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Métis, and Mining in the Western Great Lakes, 1737-1832
Autores:Lucy Eldersveld Murphy (Autor)
Informação:University of Nebraska Press (2004), Edition: Illustrated, 233 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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A Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Metis, and Mining in the Western Great Lakes, 1737-1832 de Lucy Eldersveld Murphy

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Lucy Eldersveld Murphy in her book, Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Métis, and Mining in the Western Great Lakes, 1737-1832 investigates the experiences of the people, both native and immigrant, in the Fox-Wisconsin Region during the Fur Trade of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a professor of history at Ohio State University and coeditor of Midwestern Women: Work, Community, and Leadership at the Crossroads, Murphy gives her perspective on several different aspects of the region and its people, ranging from an inquiry into the conditions that allowed for individuals to cooperate early in this time period, to the economic variation between the major conflicts of the area (Fox Wars and Black Hawk War). In addition, Murphy attempts to tell the story of the roles women and gender play during this era; a time period that transforms from a seemingly peaceful accommodation of peoples and culture into an Anglo hegemony wrought with invasion, violence and ultimately complete removal.
Murphy is also intent on analyzing specific aspects of the Métis’ (persons of mixed European and Native American ethnicity) social and economic history. She explores the adaptability and creativity of Native American’s when confronted by alien people exploring and inhabiting their traditional homelands during the Fur Trade, the Lead Rush and finally the eventual immigration of the settlers that came to live there permanently as a result of American western expansion. Murphy also explores the influences of economy, government, social relation, gender, mutuality and hierarchy in both Native American communities as well as the ever-growing hybrid Creole communities.
Murphy begins her investigation with the Fur Trade and the relationships the French-Canadian trappers and the Native peoples of the area, the Sauks, Mesquakies, Winnebagos and others, developed. Throughout this section Murphy illustrates the Indian’s openness to trade and interact with the trappers. Murphy paints a picture of a developing cooperative for the reader. The Indians, with their established egalitarian societies and economic independence arrange marriages which, “allied…the French in the usual way by [Native women] marring a French army officer and fur trader” (28). The children of these marriages, Métis, not only shared the genes of two ethnicities, but would grow into a distinct culture all their own, the Creole.
In her second chapter, Creole Communities, Murphy describes the type of community that is developed out of this mixture of race and culture. She discusses the developing hierarchies of “elite” groups consisting of individuals that maintain lineage from leaders in the Indian tribes as well as French-Canadians decorated by European governments and militaries. She illustrates the adaptability of Native Americans through their adoption of dairy farming and the production of milk and butter, a custom completely foreign to Indians of the time. Murphy also discusses the traditionally Indian production of sugar that is continued by the Creole population as well as the existence of slaves from opposing tribes that were incorporated into their developing society. Murphy also gives the reader a glimpse of what is to come by briefly mentioning the advancing U. S. military into the western Great Lakes area, bringing with them a differing cultural and racial understanding.
In Part II of her text Murphy discusses the lead (galena) that is being mined by the Natives of the area. Here Murphy seems to skirt an interesting perspective that is discussed more thoroughly in Daniel Richter’s book, Facing East From Indian Country. Murphy argues that, “The French colonial presence increased both the Native and French demand for lead….French traders…bought lead…in exchange for trade goods….[yet] traders sold Indians a product that consumed lead: the gun” (81). This occurrence of supply and demand is an example of Richter’s argument that shortly after first contact with Europeans, it became almost impossible for Indians to live as they once did. Richter argues that the Native people became as dependent on the Europeans as they were on the Indians. The inclusion of this type of perspective, especially with consideration to the discussion of Creole society being created out of a “mixing” of culture would have been greatly beneficial to Murphy’s work.
The chapter entitled The Lead Rush, is the defining factor of change and the end of Native accommodation for Murphy. As Murphy explains it, the Lead Rush was the first major introduction of Anglos into the western Great Lakes area. They were drawn there by the promise of wealth through the mining and production of lead. Murphy claims that the Anglo lead minors were predominantly males with either money to invest into the mining process, young adventures from the western frontier looking for independence or riffraff from the outskirts of the American territory (115-16). What these individuals brought with them, besides the desire to strike it rich, were new understandings of gender roles, values, government policies and communication. With these immigrants came the development of racism and prejudice not only toward the Native Americans but also against the Creole people. In addition, women’s roles within the communities began to change, as well as attitudes towards blacks that also immigrated into the area. Murphy argues that these Anglo lead rushers had no intention of staying in the area permanently and therefore lacked efforts to assimilate with the established cultures. Unfortunately for the permanent residents of the area, this was only a preamble of what was to come.
In a personal narrative written by a citizen of the Fox-Wisconsin region, “family, travels, hunting, and war honors continued to be important to Native men in the region” (138). Murphy argues that much of the cultural and social traditions of the Native peoples remained (or at least was attempted to be preserved) after the arrival of Anglos in the area, and that Indians continued to interact with the Anglos through trade. “Indian purchases continued to be primarily clothing, hunting equipment, and nonessential items for adornment….[still] Indians in the nineteenth century did buy some food from whites” (140). The white influence and pressure was too much, and after failed resistance the Natives were forced from their lands and pushed further west into presents day Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Murphy’s book gives an in-depth account of the experiences and social/cultural structures of the Native and Métis people of the western Great Lakes region. She successfully expounds on the various factors of social understandings that the Indians possessed and how those traditions were assimilated into Métis culture and eventually disregarded by Anglo and later American society. By using a myriad of source material, “Memoirs, travel accounts, government agents’ official correspondence, personal letters, speeches and even oral histories recorded in the nineteenth century” she gives the reader Indian, Métis, French-Canadian and Anglo perspectives (175). By combining these sources into a single narrative Murphy has created a rich story full of valuable understandings and new interpretations. Her unique approach to the subject matter through the investigation of specific aspects of a culture and society, gender, economic and hierarchical, gives the reader the opportunity to think critically about issues that are too often seemingly ignored. ( )
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In A Gathering of Rivers, Lucy Eldersveld Murphy traces the histories of Indian, multiracial, and mining communities in the western Great Lakes region during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For a century the Winnebagos (Ho-Chunks), Mesquakies (Fox), and Sauks successfully confronted waves of French and British immigration by diversifying their economies and commercializing lead mining. Focusing on personal stories and detailed community histories, Murphy charts the changed economic forces at work in the region, connecting them to shifts in gender roles and intercultural relationships. She argues that French, British, and Native peoples forged cooperative social and economic bonds expressed partly by mixed-race marriages and the emergence of multiethnic communities at Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. Significantly, Native peoples in the western Great Lakes region were able to adapt successfully to the new frontier market economy until their lead mining operations became the envy of outsiders in the 1820s.

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