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Week Three: The Native New World - Western Transformations

Page history last edited by mwitgen@... 9 years, 9 months ago



September 16: Encounters on the Great Plains: Indians, Empires, and Nation-States





Study Questions 


1. La Verendrye begins his journal by informing the Governor of New France that he seeks to increase the number of his children.  What does he mean by this?


2. How does La Verendrye use presents when he deals with Native peoples?


3. What is the purpose of La Verendrye's expedition?  What does he hope to find?


4. Explain the significance of the theft of La Verendrye's possessions.


5. How does La Verendrye communicate with the Mandan?  What is the significance of this style of communication?


6.  What impression do you get of the Native social world from Jonathan Carver's and Zebulon Pike's journals? What nations are in the Mississippi valley, and how do they relate to one another?


7. Explain what it means that Americans are seen as "neither Frenchmen nor Englishmen, but white Indians" (Pike, 141). What do racial and national identities mean in the world of the fur trade? 




September 18: The Rise of Indian Power in the Southwest




  • Juliana Barr, “Geographies of Power: Mapping Indian Borders in the Borderlands of the Early Southwest," William and Mary Quarterly, 68.1 (2011). (Ctools/Coursepack)
  • The Journal of Jean Cavelier. In HathiTrust Digital Library: university login needed. Read pp. 55 through 132. (The uneven-numbered pages have English text).
  • The Journey of Cabeza de Vaca. Read pp. 121  through 154.
  • Interactive map of Indian, French, English, and Spanish territorial boundaries 



Study Questions


1. How is the Spanish relationship with Native peoples different from the French relationship with Native peoples?


2. How were the Spanish Missions incorporated into Caddo Society?  How did the Caddo's reception of the Spanish compare with the Mandan's reception of the French? Did Spanish interactions with the Caddo differ from their interactions with other Indians they encountered as they traveled?


3. According to Barr how did Euro-American maps erase Indian Geography?  How does this impact the historical narrative of European/American expansion?  How is this linked to the mythology (as opposed to the history) of the American West?


4. What, according to Barr is the link between space and sovereignty among Native peoples.  Is this the same for the Karankawa as it is for the Caddo?


5. What impact did Apache and Comanche raiding have on Spanish settlement?  How did these raiding practices influence the relationship between Native peoples?  How did Apache and Comanche power influence Spanish imperial power, and how does this influence the way Americans understand the expansion of the U.S. into this region?


6. From Jean Cavelier's journal, what is your sense of the purpose (political, military, economic, etc.) of LaSalle's expedition that Cavelier took part in?


7. What circumstances led to the unsuccessful end of the expedition?


8. De Vaca's account is sketchy in terms of chronology and the locations. But in this sections on the Indians of Texas, what is your impression of how De Vaca describes Native power in this region? And how did DeVaca (and the Spanish) maintain relationships with them?



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