The Tree That Bends
Discourse, Power, and the Survival of the Maskoki People
In this compelling and controversial volume, Patricia Riles Wickman rejects the myth that erases Native Americans from Florida through the agency of Spaniards and diseases. She also refutes the accompanying assumption that the area was an empty frontier at the time of American expansion. Through research in archives on both sides of the Atlantic and extensive oral history work with the Seminoles in Florida and Oklahoma, Wickman makes a convincing case against the perpetuation of this oversimplistic myth by presenting the Native American perspective.
In her investigation into the ethnohistory of cultural transformation, Wickman shatters current theories about the origins of the Native Americans encountered by the Spaniards and uses mission records and other early documents for support. She describes the genesis of those Native American groups known today as the Creeks, Miccosukees, and Seminoles -- or collectively as Maskoki -- and traces their common Mississippian cultural heritage through time, affirming the Native American claims to continuous habitation of the Southeast and particularly of La Florida. Wickman also describes in detail the dynamics of the cultural conflicts arising between the Native Americans and the early Spanish explorers before the 18th century.
This is an important cross-disciplinary work in which Wickman reveals the multicultural origins of Native Americans of Florida and the Southeast and explains how these peoples possessed the flexibility to survive the trauma of initial and continued contact. Their world was capable of incorporating new concepts and demands without being destroyed, and their descendants not only survive but also succeed as a discreteculture as a result.
360 pp ~ illustrated — ©1999