Self-determination and survival: these were the factors that drove the actions of Indigenous peoples of eighteenth century colonial frontiers. Yet the ways in which they navigated the wars of their time were far more diverse than standard histories of the American Revolution typically confer. Though a close read of Atiatonharónkwen Louis Cook’s involvement—from childhood to retirement—in the European conflicts within Haudenosaunee Territories, Melissane Schrems asks readers of this blog post to consider what a more accurate telling of our complex, suppressed, Indigenous history could be.
“Land, Liberty, and Loss” by Alan Taylor, below, is the eponymous leading essay for HNY’s newest initiative, a scholar-guided, multi-part exploration of our nation’s founding and how its history—or, more pointedly, misapprehensions of that history—often serves as an obstacle to full democratic and civic flourishing. The project is grounded in the historical and ongoing intersections between racial justice, including the centuries-long deprivations endured by Indigenous and Native Americans, and the evolution of the American landscape. “Land, Liberty, and Loss” is meant to prompt reflection on assumptions about the human connectedness between the natural and built environments, and to allow us to reconsider in a holistic sense how the Revolution that resulted in the United States connects to or disrupts indigenous histories, our use of natural resources, political development, and national expansion.