Facing East from Indian Country by Dr. Daniel K. Richter
A Native History of Early America

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In the beginning, North America was Indian country. But only in the beginning. After the opening act of the great national drama, Native Americans yielded to the westward rush of European settlers.

Or so the story usually goes. Yet, for three centuries after Columbus, Native people controlled most of eastern North America and profoundly shaped its destiny. In Facing East from Indian Country, Daniel K. Richter keeps Native people center-stage throughout the story of the origins of the United States.

Viewed from Indian country, the sixteenth century was an era in which Native people discovered Europeans and struggled to make sense of a new world. Well into the seventeenth century, the most profound challenges to Indian life came less from the arrival of a relative handful of European colonists than from the biological, economic, and environmental forces the newcomers unleashed. Drawing upon their own traditions, Indian communities reinvented themselves and carved out a place in a world dominated by transatlantic European empires. In 1776, however, when some of Britain's colonists rebelled against that imperial world, they overturned the system that had made Euro-American and Native coexistence possible. Eastern North America only ceased to be an Indian country because the revolutionaries denied the continent's first peoples a place in the nation they were creating.

In rediscovering early America as Indian country, Richter employs the historian's craft to challenge cherished assumptions about times and places we thought we knew well, revealing Native American experiences at the core of the nation's birth and identity.


About Dr. Daniel K. Richter

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Daniel K. Richter is Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History and the Richard S. Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the award-winning Facing East from Indian Country (Harvard).
Published April 30, 2003 by Harvard University Press. 336 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Most of them, descendants of larger groups that had been fragmented by disease and other forces before and immediately after the arrival of the whites, had tried to “incorporate European objects and ideas into Indian country on Indian terms.” Thus their cultures, altered by the introduction of al...

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Publishers Weekly

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After explaining the vast scope of Native American culture—probably more then two million native people lived east of the Mississippi in 1492 in villages that were "decentralized and diverse, but not disconnected"—Richter reconstructs the Native American experience of the European.

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London Review of Books

Richter enlists Cronkite (in this case travelling incognito) because he faces a big problem with the premise that governs his book: that there were views from Indian Country of eastern North America which can be recovered by modern historians.

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