Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Indian Empires

Pekka Hämäläinen wrote Indigenous Continent, about North American Indian powers and how they interacted with each other and the Europeans.
Hämäläinen insists that their warfare was “measured, tactical,” that their use of torture was “political spectacle,” that their captives were actually adoptees, that their switching of sides in wartime and the Iroquois’ selling out of distant client tribes such as the Delaware was a “principled plasticity.” This could almost be an expert on European history talking about the Plantagenets, the Hapsburgs, or Rome.

I haven't seen it yet (I'm still reading Tower of Skulls). Has anybody read it? Empire of the Summer Moon was fascinating.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It is certainly true that people want their warfare to have been measured and tactical and their torture Not Real Torture. That was true of the belief in Neolithic European warfare as well, but the evidence seriously undermined that claim.

It is worth noting that even after the arrival of Europeans and their diseases, there was still a lot of natives killing natives, sometimes as punishment for cooperating with the colonists and adopting their ways. At least in New England. I admit I don't know about other places.