American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley
Social and Economic Histories
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Native peoples inhabiting the Lower Mississippi Valley confronted increasing domination by colonial powers, disastrous reductions in population, and threatened marginalization by a new cotton economy. Their strategies of resistance and adaptation to these changes are brought to light in this perceptive study.
An introductory overview of the historiography of Native peoples in the early Southeast examines how the study of Native-colonial relations has changed over the last century. Usner reevaluates the Natchez Indians’ ill-fated relations with the French, following with an insightful look at the cultural effects of Native population losses from disease and warfare during the eighteenth century. Drawing on his reconceptualization of the “middle ground” of Indian-colonial relations as a “frontier exchange economy,” Usner next examines in detail the social and economic relations the Native peoples forged even in the face of colonial domination and demographic decline. He reveals how Natives adapted to the cotton economy, which displaced their familiar social and economic networks of interaction with outsiders. Finally, Usner offers an intriguing excursion into cultural criticism, assessing the effects of popular images of Natives from this region.
Daniel H. Usner Jr. is a professor of history at Cornell University. He is the author of Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley before 1783.
256 pp ~ illustrated — ©1998