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The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent (Early American Studies) Hardcover – March, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...a valuable contribution to colonial history and the history of the early republic... -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Spring 2007

...learned, engaging, and often provocative... -- William and Mary Quarterly, April 2007

...provides a useful antidote to our tendency to exaggerate the influence of European colonialism on indigenous societies. -- Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2007

DuVal teases out the story, with smart analysis and in close detail... -- Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Spring 2007

DuVal's great contribution...shows how powerfully a change in perspective can alter our perception of history. -- Common Place, January 2007

Duval's arguments are bold and her writing engaging. -- Journal of Southern History, November 2007

[This] book is an engagingly written, clearly argued effort... -- American Historical Review, June 2007

From the Publisher

Kathleen DuVal teaches history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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Product Details

  • Series: Early American Studies
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (March 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812239180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812239188
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,404,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathleen DuVal is a professor of early American history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (July 2015) and The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent (2006) and the co-editor of Interpreting a Continent: Voices from Early America (2009). She received her Ph.D. in American History from the University of California, Davis, in 2001. She lives with her family in Durham, North Carolina.

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Format: Paperback
Kathleen DuVal presents an excellent and exciting new thesis to the historiography of Native Americans in her book The Native Ground. While many argue that the Indians were simply rolled over by European powers or quickly crushed and assimilated by the US Army DuVal shows that the Indians retained quite a bit of sovereignty in parts of the country. Her study focuses on the Arkansas valley which goes through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi. She shows how the Osages, Chickasawas and Quapaws worked with Europeans and eachother to establish the rules of contact that would govern this region from the1500s to the 1830's. It was not until after the war of 1812 that a sizable presence of non-Indians was present in the valley which meant that up until that point the Indians made the rules. Rules of trade, peace and war were governed by Indian customs and not European ones. The traditional roles of balancing were not as necessary here given the Indians ability to be necessary for European control of the region by the end of the imperial era. It was a place where Europe was never able to dominate in the way it did other parts of the world creating a very unique case study. This is really cutting edge scholarship on native Americans and if you are looking for a book to show a different take on European/native relations than this is the one for you. Very well done, easy to read and thoroughly researched.
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The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent (Early American Studies)This heavily researched piece of non-fiction illuminates the intense geo-political issues in the Arkansas Valley between the native peoples of the region and the French, Spanish, English and, finally, the Americans. Although many of the sources are from the records of the occupying countries, the author does a masterful job of maintaining a balanced view, even a more native-centric point of view than the subject has suffered from in earlier history books. For the reader seeking to learn more about the interactions and relationships among the native peoples of the region and their relationships to outside invaders and occupiers, this is the book.
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Format: Paperback
A standout historical survey of Native American relations in the Arkansas Valley. Masterful storytelling and exhaustive research creates an amazingly compelling narrative and sparked, for me, a much greater appreciation Quapaw and Osage history. Throughout the book, the author gives a strong framework to seeing how various tribes negotiated power and held land for living and/or hunting. Diplomacy between nations, both Indian and European, figures prominently in Du Val's work and gives the reader an idea of how diplomacy differed between Quapaws, Osages, Cherokees, Spanish, French, and Anglo-Americans. Indispensable work for understanding the native histories directly West and East of the Mississippi River.
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We are just now getting away from the old myths, of the English occupying the promised land and the Indian as either noble savage or vicious foes of civilization, to a balanced view. This book reminds us that the indians were neither saints nor beasts, and that in many respects their cultures were well-adapted to their environments, that the English/French had much to learn from the “redman” in adjusting their culture to the new environment. It was not unlike the encounter between the Romans and the old Germans. The great difference was disease, which enormously reduced the Indian population and put them at a disadvantage in the contest for land between them and the newcomers. Had it not been for this, history would have taken a different turn. Powhatan showed that the Indians were capable of political organization, and that they could learn from the English just as the Germans learned from the Romans. This book centers on Virginia/Carolina. Anyone wanting to be informed should read it. My reservation has to do with the writing. S he is not to be blamed, and probably it is more a matter of my personal taste, but good writing comes hard and few of us --i ncluding most academics--can do it for the broad public. Still I thank her for her work. I learned very much and have a much better insight into events than I hasd before.
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Format: Paperback
I first encountered the work of Kathleen DuVal in my undergraduate course on American Indian History via this book. I am not surprised in the least to learn that she received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History. Her research is amazing and her writing is superb. I was enthralled immediately upon opening The Native Ground and read the book through in a night. To this day, I use her words to illustrate to my students the inadvertent destruction wrought by the expedition of Hernando De Soto and the immense differences that existed between the survivor’s accounts of his expedition and the arrival of the next Europeans a century later. I had not fully realized just how much damage De Soto’s trek through the Southeast United States caused.

Kathleen DuVal is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina. She earned her BA at Stanford in 1992 and her Ph.D at the University of California, Davis in 2001. Her research focuses on the North American borderlands and the relationships of the people on them. She has written three books and numerous articles, with The Native Ground being her first book. For a first attempt I thought it was outstanding. I live in Missouri and one look at an atlas shows no Indian reservations in the state. Back in the 80s when gambling on reservations began to become popular Missourians eager to gamble realized that as well. So a question was asked as to why there were none.

The answer is in DuVal’s book. The sheer racism of American settlers drove all Native Americans from the state. Even the mighty Osage found themselves removed from the domain they had built up as white settlers replaced them. DuVal’s book is a really a history of the Osage and Quapaw tribes in the Arkansas and Missouri areas until they were removed.
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