Native Americans Gregory E. Dowd- the Indians Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1261 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Native Americans

Native Americans

Gregory E. Dowd- The Indians Great Awakening

In his The Indians Great Awakening, Gregory Evans Dowd recounts the struggle for resistance of a few American Indian tribes against the British- American expansion. Dowd gives an unique and very interesting interpretation of the events taking place during the mid- eighteenth during the colonization of the Native Americans. The particularity of his view lies in the fact that he sees the Indians' spiritual and political resistance to the Anglo-American expansion in terms of an "awakening" of their sense of unity as a people, in spite of the tribal division and the geographical or linguistic differences deriving from this.

Gregory Dowd's book, A Spirited Resistance. The North American Indian Struggle for Unity 1745-1815, was published in 1992 and appeared in the context of many other Native American history books which related the same events. Unlike most of the other texts of the same period however, Dowd's book gave a unique perspective of the events: it tried to reconstruct history from the point-of-view of the Native Americans, focusing on their own perception of the Anglo- American invasion, and relying for this description on specific Native American cultural, spiritual and political sources. Thus, Dowd's book endeavored to look at the British colonization from the inside, from the perspective of the Native Americans who faced it.

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The Indians Great Awakening presents the resistance of the Native Americans to the British colonization, and observes the double character of this movement: it is both a spiritual and a political resistance, or in other words, the political resistance is backed up by a spiritual regeneration of the Indians, who rediscover their traditional religions and rituals in their effort to preserve their identity in front of the colonists.

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Moreover, the nativistic movement has yet another character apart from the spiritual and the political ones, according to Dowd. The sudden awakening of the Indians is not a mere spiritual revival, but a finding of a sense of unity as a people. They Native Americans felt that they were a separate nation, and a separate race, as different from either the white or black people:

In its most important aspect, it was an awakening to the idea that, despite all the boundaries defined by politics, language, kinship and geography, Indians did indeed share much in the way of their past and their present. It was an awakening to the notion that Indians shared a conflict with Anglo-America, and that they, as Indians, could and must take hold of their destiny by regaining sacred power." (Kupperman 2000, 428)

Dowd supports this idea with examples of the visions and revelations that came from the prophets among the Native Americans. For instance, the Indians new awareness of their identity as a people is supported by their view of the divine creation of men and of the world. They began to see themselves as a separate nation, a separate race of people for which God intended other purposes than for the Europeans:

The people of this Delaware village asserted their identity. They drew distinctions that separated Indians from blacks and whites. The distinctions, they felt, were God given. Rejecting Presbyterian attempts to establish a mission among them they explained: ' God first made three men and three women, viz.- the Indian, the negro and the white man.' "(Kupperman 2000, 429)

Thus, Dowd pertinently interprets the new prophecies and visions of the Native leaders, as signs of the birth of a spirit if unity among the Indians. The colonization was, first of all, a threat of their sense of identity as a people and a separate race. Therefore, they react against this by going back to the roots of their identity and by giving it a religious justification. To this result, the best known prophets… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Native Americans Gregory E. Dowd- the Indians.  (2006, December 6).  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from

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"Native Americans Gregory E. Dowd- the Indians."  6 December 2006.  Web.  2 August 2021. <>.

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"Native Americans Gregory E. Dowd- the Indians."  December 6, 2006.  Accessed August 2, 2021.