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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Winner of the 2008 Washington State Book Award for History/Biography

In traditional scholarship, Native Americans have been conspicuously absent from urban history. Indians appear at the time of contact, are involved in fighting or treaties, and then seem to vanish, usually onto reservations. In Native Seattle, Coll Thrush explodes the commonly accepted notion that Indians and cities-and thus Indian and urban histories-are mutually exclusive, that Indians and cities cannot coexist, and that one must necessarily be eclipsed by the other. Native people and places played a vital part in the founding of Seattle and in what the city is today, just as urban changes transformed what it meant to be Native.

On the urban indigenous frontier of the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s, Indians were central to town life. Native Americans literally made Seattle possible through their labor and their participation, even as they were made scapegoats for urban disorder. As late as 1880, Seattle was still very much a Native place. Between the 1880s and the 1930s, however, Seattle's urban and Indian histories were transformed as the town turned into a metropolis. Massive changes in the urban environment dramatically affected indigenous people's abilities to survive in traditional places. The movement of Native people and their material culture to Seattle from all across the region inspired new identities both for the migrants and for the city itself. As boosters, historians, and pioneers tried to explain Seattle's historical trajectory, they told stories about Indians: as hostile enemies, as exotic Others, and as noble symbols of a vanished wilderness. But by the beginning of World War II, a new multitribal urban Native community had begun to take shape in Seattle, even as it was overshadowed by the city's appropriation of Indian images to understand and sell itself.

After World War II, more changes in the city, combined with the agency of Native people, led to a new visibility and authority for Indians in Seattle. The descendants of Seattle's indigenous peoples capitalized on broader historical revisionism to claim new authority over urban places and narratives. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Native people have returned to the center of civic life, not as contrived symbols of a whitewashed past but on their own terms.

In Seattle, the strands of urban and Indian history have always been intertwined. Including an atlas of indigenous Seattle created with linguist Nile Thompson, Native Seattle is a new kind of urban Indian history, a book with implications that reach far beyond the region.

Coll Thrush is assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia.

"Coll Thrush quite brilliantly weaves together accounts of the lived experiences of Native peoples in Seattle with the very different ways in which those experiences came to be recorded in white folklore and place-names and in the environmental fabric of Seattle's cultural landscapes. The result is a tour de force." — from the Foreword by William Cronon

"This is the best book, by far, that I have ever read about Indians and cities. Thrush's excavation and analysis are deep and wide-ranging, his narrative impassioned and engaging. A fantastic contribution." — Ned Blackhawk, author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West

"This book is a concerted effort to mobilize a new telling of history in order to reject what is essentially an ideological narrative of the past. Indian people, Thrush argues, were not simply part of the prehistory of the city, destined to give way before modernity. They were, in fact, active co-participants in its development. Well written and argued, this book forces readers to understand Seattle-and perhaps, by extension, other cities-in whole new ways." — Philip Deloria, author of Playing Indian and Indians in Unexpected Places

Book News Annotation:

Challenging the myth of the vanishing race, Thrush (history, U. of British Columbia) describes how Native Americans were important to the founding of Seattle from the 1800s to the twenty-first century. He argues against the idea that urban and Native histories are separate and recounts the founding of Seattle as a complex historical process that the native inhabitants helped to shape. He then looks at the role of the Duwamish in the creation of the urban frontier of Puget Sound and two important periods of change: the 1880s and the 1930s. Topical chapters examine the experiences of local indigenous people through various urban transformations, the influence of Native migrants to the city, and non-Indians use of Native imagery to tell Seattle's story. Final chapters cover the post-war period and the multiethnic, pan-Indian urban community and the resurgence of local tribes. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Native Seattle is about the experiences of Native people in Seattle between the city's founding and the present day, as well as about the importance of Indian symbols in the city's self-image. It focuses on three kinds of Native American history: the experiences of local indigenous communities on whose land Seattle grew, accounts of Native migrants to the city and the development of a multitribal urban Indian community, and the role Indians--both real and imagined--have played in civic narratives.

Synopsis:

In traditional scholarship, Native Americans have been conspicuously absent from urban history. Indians appear at the time of contact, are involved in fighting or treaties, and then seem to vanish, usually onto reservations. In Native Seattle, Coll Thrush explodes the commonly accepted notion that Indians and cities-and thus Indian and urban histories-are mutually exclusive, that Indians and cities cannot coexist, and that one must necessarily be eclipsed by the other. Native people and places played a vital part in the founding of Seattle and in what the city is today, just as urban changes transformed what it meant to be Native. On the urban indigenous frontier of the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s, Indians were central to town life. Native Americans literally made Seattle possible through their labor and their participation, even as they were made scapegoats for urban disorder. As late as 1880, Seattle was still very much a Native place. Between the 1880s and the 1930s, however, Seattle's urban and Indian histories were transformed as the town turned into a metropolis. Massive changes in the urban environment dramatically affected indigenous people's abilities to survive in traditional places. The movement of Native people and their material culture to Seattle from all across the region inspired new identities both for the migrants and for the city itself. As boosters, historians, and pioneers tried to explain Seattle's historical trajectory, they told stories about Indians: as hostile enemies, as exotic Others, and as noble symbols of a vanished wilderness. But by the beginning of World War II, a new multitribal urban Native community had begun to take shape in Seattle, even as it was overshadowed by the city's appropriation of Indian images to understand and sell itself. After World War II, more changes in the city, combined with the agency of Native people, led to a new visibility and authority for Indians in Seattle. The descendants of Seattle's indigenous peoples capitalized on broader historical revisionism to claim new authority over urban places and narratives. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Native people have returned to the center of civic life, not as contrived symbols of a whitewashed past but on their own terms. In Seattle, the strands of urban and Indian history have always been intertwined. Including an atlas of indigenous Seattle created with linguist Nile Thompson, Native Seattle is a new kind of urban Indian history, a book with implications that reach far beyond the region.

About the Author

Coll Thrush is assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780295987002
Author:
Thrush, Coll
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Author:
Thrush, Coll-Peter
Author:
Cronon, William
Subject:
Native American
Subject:
Antiquities
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - Native American Studies
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Pacific Northwest
Subject:
Native American Studies
Subject:
Western history; Native American studies; environmental history
Subject:
Seattle (Wash.) History.
Subject:
Seattle (Wash.) Antiquities.
Subject:
Native American-General Native American Studies
Subject:
Western History
Subject:
Environmental History
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
376
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Native American » Pacific Northwest
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » History
History and Social Science » World History » General

Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place Used Hardcover
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Product details 376 pages University of Washington Press - English 9780295987002 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Native Seattle is about the experiences of Native people in Seattle between the city's founding and the present day, as well as about the importance of Indian symbols in the city's self-image. It focuses on three kinds of Native American history: the experiences of local indigenous communities on whose land Seattle grew, accounts of Native migrants to the city and the development of a multitribal urban Indian community, and the role Indians--both real and imagined--have played in civic narratives.
"Synopsis" by , In traditional scholarship, Native Americans have been conspicuously absent from urban history. Indians appear at the time of contact, are involved in fighting or treaties, and then seem to vanish, usually onto reservations. In Native Seattle, Coll Thrush explodes the commonly accepted notion that Indians and cities-and thus Indian and urban histories-are mutually exclusive, that Indians and cities cannot coexist, and that one must necessarily be eclipsed by the other. Native people and places played a vital part in the founding of Seattle and in what the city is today, just as urban changes transformed what it meant to be Native. On the urban indigenous frontier of the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s, Indians were central to town life. Native Americans literally made Seattle possible through their labor and their participation, even as they were made scapegoats for urban disorder. As late as 1880, Seattle was still very much a Native place. Between the 1880s and the 1930s, however, Seattle's urban and Indian histories were transformed as the town turned into a metropolis. Massive changes in the urban environment dramatically affected indigenous people's abilities to survive in traditional places. The movement of Native people and their material culture to Seattle from all across the region inspired new identities both for the migrants and for the city itself. As boosters, historians, and pioneers tried to explain Seattle's historical trajectory, they told stories about Indians: as hostile enemies, as exotic Others, and as noble symbols of a vanished wilderness. But by the beginning of World War II, a new multitribal urban Native community had begun to take shape in Seattle, even as it was overshadowed by the city's appropriation of Indian images to understand and sell itself. After World War II, more changes in the city, combined with the agency of Native people, led to a new visibility and authority for Indians in Seattle. The descendants of Seattle's indigenous peoples capitalized on broader historical revisionism to claim new authority over urban places and narratives. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Native people have returned to the center of civic life, not as contrived symbols of a whitewashed past but on their own terms. In Seattle, the strands of urban and Indian history have always been intertwined. Including an atlas of indigenous Seattle created with linguist Nile Thompson, Native Seattle is a new kind of urban Indian history, a book with implications that reach far beyond the region.
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