Review Of Facing East From Indian Country By Daniel Richter

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Facing East from Indian Country by Daniel Richter is--without question--one of the most effective studies of Native American history. Richter’s previous book, The Ordeal of the Longhouse, which viewed the European invasion of northeastern America from the perspective of the Iroquois peoples of modern New York a similar awareness of early American history. Facing East challenges the instilled perspective of westward expansion from the early sixteenth century well into the nineteenth. By viewing the early European-Indian encounter through the eyes of the Native Americans, this revolutionary examination intends to “turn familiar tales inside out, to show how old documents might be read in fresh ways...and to outline stories of North America” …show more content…

Richter makes this distant historical period relevant by frequent references to the present. The overarching theme of the book is important because it allows readers to consider the different possibilities on our timeline of Native American relations. Richter puts together a series of essays on Indian and English relations in different regions and times of early America and uses personal speculation to introduce specific examples. For each expansive issue such as contact, material and cultural exchange, local and imperial authority, and the crash of Indian power, he reconstructs familiar stories of Pocahontas, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Metacom (or King Philip). Thus, bringing an Indian perspective to mainly European-focused versions. One may counter this quite controversial technique. These re-enactments of explanations are how Richter reasonably devised the Indians’ point of view. However, chapter-by-chapter, this stylistic approach laces together diverse material into a single narrative thread. At the same time, Richter argues that the neither group, Europeans or Indians, dominated one another from their initial contact. Indians responded to the arrival of Europeans with curiosity. In addition, they had a willingness to exchange materials and ideas. With a desire to focus on the Indians’ perspective, Richter initiates his Pulitzer-nominated narrative with a question: how would early American history look if the …show more content…

Richter remarkably illustrates large points about the value Indians attached to European goods, and keeps human actors at the forefront of his story. The last two chapters deal with the period between 1700 and 1815. In dealing with the eighteenth century, chapter five takes readers into an emphasized explanation for the racial division. As a result of the social construction, the failure of mutual coexistence arose. By this point, it is almost certain to understand that the British and Natives “moved along parallel paths in a single, even more consolidated, transatlantic imperial world” (151). Despite their diversity, both groups of people had a quest for land and riches, and began seeing the world in terms of “red” versus “white.” As a result of the Seven Years’ War when French and Spanish were expelled from the eastern half of the continent, this parallel balance clashed. Referring back to the central area that the Indians had landed in during the dispute between the imperial forces was replaced with a new frontier. Both Indians and Anglo-Americans wanted to exterminate the other from their lives. The last chapter examines the tensed racial views. Groups like Pennsylvania’s Paxton Boys ruthlessly encouraged the removal Indians. Unfortunately, racial divisions grew, and an attempt by the Indian people to integrate Europeans into their paths ended in increasing violence. Of all the chapters, Richter

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