Required and recommended readings to get you started on the research into your campus’ native heritage are listed below. 

When approaching any reading, look for answers to the following questions:

  • What question is the author trying to answer?
  • How does the author consider himself or herself different from others who have written on the topic?
  • What is the logic of the author’s argument?
  • What evidence does the author present?
  • Are you convinced?

As we read together, begin to think about parallels between readings, reminders of past readings, connections to ideas from other classes or from “real life.”  Bring factual questions to class, where we can clarify them together. 

Allan Greer’s 2018 book, Property and Dispossession: Native, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America (Cambridge University Press) accomplished what many thought impossible: he examines the transfer of property from Native Americans to three types of imperial institutions that controlled North America–the Spanish, the French and the British.  Our course covers territory that moved from Indian to Spanish, Indian to French, and Indian to British hands, so this book will get us all up to speed on what the rest are working on.  Well, there was a little Russian influence near Sonoma State, but you can’t have everything in one book…

And that is why three additional readings are assigned for each regional location, as follows:

Truman State in Missouri:

The State Historical Society of Missouri has made publicly available the following story of conflict at Kirksville, MO:  Dorothy J. Caldwell (1970). “The Big Neck Affair: Tragedy and Farce on the Missouri Frontier” in the Missouri Historical Review, Vol. 64, Issue 4, pp. 391-412. 

Read Chapter 2 from Stephen Aron,  (2009) American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.  Though chapter 2 is available on our google drive, this is an excellent book, so find out if your library has it. 

Anson, Bert (1964) “Variations of the Indian Conflict: The Effects of the Emigrant Indian Removal Policy, 1830-1854.” in the Missouri Historical Review, Volum 59, Issue 1, pp. 64-89.


Read the introduction and first chapter from the following: *Morrissey, Robert Michael (2015), Empire by Collaboration: Indians, Colonists, and Governments in Colonial Illinois Country, pp. 110-138.

Greg Olson, The Ioway of Missouri, 2008.

Sonoma State in California: 

*Lightfoot, Kent (2005). “Native Agency in the Ross Colony” in Indians, Missionaries and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers. Berkeley: UC Press, pp. 154-180.

*Silliman, Stephen W. (2004). Chapter 3: “Revisiting History: Native Americans at Rancho Petaluma” from Lost Laborers in Colonial California: Native americans and the Archaeology of Rancho Petaluma. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, pp. 60-79.

*Schneider, Tsim (2017), “Native Americans in the Rancho Era” in Robert Senkewicz (editor), Many and Brilliant Lights: Treasures from the Santa Barbara Mission Archive Library, p. 91.  

*Madley, Benjamin (2016), Chapter 4: “Turning Point: The Killing Campaigns of December 1849-May 1850” in American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe. New Haven: Yale University Press. 

Recommended :

John Johnson (2006), “On the ethnolinguistic identity of the Napa Tribe: The Implications of Chief Costancio Occaye’s Narratives as Recorded by Lorenzo G. Yates.” in Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 193-204. This has a stunning map of pre-contact native peoples around Sonoma, with native myths.

Duggan, M.C. (2016), “With and Without an Empire: Financing for California Missions Before and After 1810” in Pacific Historical Review (second half deals with Russian/Spanish/Native conflict in Bay Area 1810-1825).

Keene State in New Hampshire:

Lisa Brooks (2018), Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. New Haven: Yale University Press.  This book has a companion website with maps. Dr. Brooks is of Abenaki heritage and teaches at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Ernie Hebert (2000), The Old AmericanUniversity Press of New England.  Excerpts from an award-winning fictional novel based on archival research about conflict  between Abenaki and Nathan Blake in Keene, for whom Blake House at Keene State is named.

SUNY Geneseo in New York:

Daniel Richter, “The Iroquois in the World on the Turtle’s Back,” in: The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The People of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization, North Carolina UP: Chapel Hill and London, 1992.

Robert S. Grumet, “The Transappalachian Region,” in Historic Contact: Indian People and Colonists in Today’s Northeastern United State in the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Century, Oklahoma UP: Norman and London, 1995.

John Johnsen, Bartosz Hlebowicz, and Harry Schüler, “Land and Language: The Struggle for National, Territorial, and Linguistic Integrity of the Oneida People,” Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 11:1 (2012).

U Farmington in Maine:

David L. Ghere, “The ‘Disappearance’ of the Abenaki in Western Maine: Political Organization and Ethnocentric Assumptions,” American Indian Quarterly, 17:2 (1993), 193ff.

Jean M. O’Brien, “Indians Can Never Be Modern,” in: Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out Of Existence in New England, Minnesota UP: Minneapolis and London, 2010, xi-xxvi

Robert S. Grumet, “The North Atlantic Region: An Overview of the Region,” and “Eastern Abenaki Country,” in Historic Contact: Indian People and Colonists in Today’s Northeastern United State in the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Century, Oklahoma UP: Norman and London, 1995

One thought on “Reading”

  1. “People in more than one foraging society around the world often speak of the land owning the people rather than the people owning the land” (p. 51). If the land owns the people, then we would never leave a certain space. It’s almost the opposite of the way we view the people-land relationship today, with so many people on the move.

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