This book tells the gripping story of American Indians' attempts to wrestle with the ongoing realities of colonialism between the 1670s and 1820. Using religion as a primary lens, this book explores the complex and interesting world of eighteenth-century southern New England co-created by Indians and colonists. By tracing the religious and cultural engagement of American Indians in Connecticut, Rhode Island, western Massachusetts, and Long Island, New York, this narrative pulls back the curtain on the often overlooked, dynamic interactions between Natives and whites in this time period. Far from passively sliding into the cultural and physical landscape after King Philip's War, Native individuals and communities actively tapped into transatlantic structures of power to protect their land rights, welcomed educational opportunities for their children, and even joined local white churches during the First Great Awakening (1740s). Religion repeatedly stood at the center of these points of cultural engagement, often in hotly contested ways.
Although these Native groups had successfully resisted evangelization in the seventeenth century, by the eighteenth century they showed an increasing interest in education and religion. Their sporadic participation in the First Great Awakening marked a continuation of prior forms of cultural engagement. More surprisingly, however, in the decades after the Awakening, Native individuals and sub-groups asserted their religious and cultural autonomy to even greater degrees by leaving English churches and forming their own Indian Separate churches. In the realm of education, too, Native increasingly took control, preferring local reservation schools and demanding Indian teachers whenever possible. In the 1780s, two small group of Christian Indians moved to New York and founded new Christian Indian settlements, called Brothertown and New Stockbridge. But the majority of New England Natives-even those who affiliated with Christianity-chose to remain in New England, continuing to assert their own autonomous existence through leasing land, farming, and working on and off the reservations.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc