A History of Indian Literature. Vol. I. by Maurice Winternitz

By Maurice Winternitz

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Game was disappearing fast and they needed to claim new hunting grounds or starve. Moreover, the Ojibwes had long been a commercial nation; trading ties with the French had become an established part of their livelihood. They could not afford to alienate their commercial partners by allying themselves with the hostile Dakotas. 32 Because the Ojibwes eventually came to claim the contested territory of northern Minnesota, history has portrayed them as victors who drove the [ 33 ] dakota and Ojibwe villages and trading hubs, ca.

They created maps that carved Indian country into fixed tribal fiefdoms and tried to identify leaders of each “national” unit with whom they could parlay. 3 As a result, the French often blundered in their ambassadorial efforts. Nonetheless, within the limits of their understanding they employed diplomatic protocols in all matters connected with the trade. They were careful to receive permission from local bands before setting up trading posts and prohibited whites from infringing on Native trapping rights.

51 But since only one side left written records of the encounter, and those records were colored sometimes by selfinterest, sometimes by failures of memory, and almost always by an imperfect understanding of Indian culture, european misperceptions have become reified as undisputed fact. Thus, it is not surprising that the history of the era was written as one of conquest rather than negotiation. However, with a reconstructed view of the world as it looked through Indian eyes, historical “facts” often bear some reinterpretation.

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