Native Nations

A Millennium in North America

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Pub Date 09 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2024

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Description

A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights for sovereignty that continue today

“A feat of both scholarship and storytelling.”—Claudio Saunt, author of Unworthy Republic


Long before the colonization of North America, Indigenous Americans built diverse civilizations and adapted to a changing world in ways that reverberated globally. And, as award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal vividly recounts, when Europeans did arrive, no civilization came to a halt because of a few wandering explorers, even when the strangers came well armed.

A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. Then, following a period of climate change and instability, numerous smaller nations emerged, moving away from rather than toward urbanization. From this urban past, egalitarian government structures, diplomacy, and complex economies spread across North America. So, when Europeans showed up in the sixteenth century, they encountered societies they did not understand—those having developed differently from their own—and whose power they often underestimated.

For centuries afterward, Indigenous people maintained an upper hand and used Europeans in pursuit of their own interests. In Native Nations, we see how Mohawks closely controlled trade with the Dutch—and influenced global markets—and how Quapaws manipulated French colonists. Power dynamics shifted after the American Revolution, but Indigenous people continued to command much of the continent’s land and resources. Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa forged new alliances and encouraged a controversial new definition of Native identity to attempt to wall off U.S. ambitions. The Cherokees created institutions to assert their sovereignty on the global stage, and the Kiowas used their power in the west to regulate the passage of white settlers across their territory.

In this important addition to the growing tradition of North American history centered on Indigenous nations, Kathleen DuVal shows how the definitions of power and means of exerting it shifted over time, but the sovereignty and influence of Native peoples remained a constant—and will continue far into the future.
A magisterial history of Indigenous North America that places the power of Native nations at its center, telling their story from the rise of ancient cities more than a thousand years ago to fights...

Advance Praise

"Scores of Native nations defend their sovereignty within the United States - to the confusion of many Americans. In this sensible, lucid, and wide-ranging book, Kathleen Duval recounts a sobering yet remarkable history of survival despite sweeping efforts to destroy Native peoples. Resourceful and determined, Native Americans have endured by resisting while adapting - ultimately to the benefit of all who now share this continent."

—Alan Taylor, author of American Republics: A Continental History, 1783-1850

"Kathleen DuVal has crafted a masterful new narrative of Indigenous North America. Drawing from extensive research, DuVal weaves centuries of Native American history into crisp and engaging stories of Indigenous power, adaptation, and resilience. Throughout her chapters, DuVal keeps women, families, and Native commoners at the center of her stories, and so readers are treated to analysis that moves beyond the examination of lives of great men and showcases the myriad ways Native people from all walks of life shaped the continent. Most impressively, even as she unearths stories from hundreds of years ago, DuVal never loses sight of the critical significance of these pasts for contemporary Native communities and for the U.S writ large. A triumph."

—Elizabeth Ellis, author of The Great Power of Small Nations

“Demonstrating that Native peoples’ collective efforts to resist colonialism and racism often depended paradoxically on asserting their distinct national identities, Native Nations provides a new way of understanding the long sweep of Native American history. Based on prodigious research, reflecting the latest scholarship, and incorporating diverse perspectives, Kathleen DuVal’s engagingly written new book reveals how Indigenous peoples’ varied strategies of presence, resistance, and endurance fundamentally shaped the governmental and social structures of the United States as we know it today.”

—Daniel K. Richter, author of Before the Revolution: America’s Ancient Pasts


"Scores of Native nations defend their sovereignty within the United States - to the confusion of many Americans. In this sensible, lucid, and wide-ranging book, Kathleen Duval recounts a sobering...


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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780525511038
PRICE $38.00 (USD)
PAGES 752

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