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Red Brethren

The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America
Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America. Cornell Univ. Oct. 2010. c.296p. illus. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 9780801444777. $35. HIST
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Silverman (history, George Washington Univ.; Faith and Boundaries: Colonists, Christianity, and Community Among the Wampanoag Indians of Martha's Vineyard, 1600–1871) explores the history of Brothertown and Stockbridge, two Native American communities established in the 1780s in New York. The inhabitants originally hailed from New England and had adopted Christianity in the early 18th century, believing that their conversion would allow them to become equal to whites through cultural accommodation. Never truly accepted because of their ethnicity, the Native Americans developed racial attitudes of their own toward Africans. Despite becoming "civilized," the residents of the two towns were forced to migrate to Wisconsin in the 1820s. Efforts were soon underway to seize their lands by forcing them to Kansas. In response, the Brothertown people renounced their native identity and, in their own eyes, became white through U.S. citizenship in 1839. They quickly rediscovered that they continued to carry an inescapable racial stigma.
VERDICT For academic readers interested in the construction of race, this highly recommended work should be read alongside Nancy Shoemaker's A Strange Likeness: Becoming Red and White in Eighteenth-Century North America. For a different perspective on Brothertown, see Brad D.E. Jarvis's The Brothertown Nation of Indians.

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