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Potomac Books


Siege and Survival, Siege and Survival, 0803213301, 0-8032-1330-1, 978-0-8032-1330-2, 9780803213302, David R. M. Beck, , Siege and Survival, 0803205821, 0-8032-0582-1, 978-0-8032-0582-6, 9780803205826, David R. M. Beck

Siege and Survival
History of the Menominee Indians, 1634-1856
David R. M. Beck

2002. 294 pp.
Illus., maps
$49.95 s

The Menominee Indians, or "wild rice people," have lived for thousands of years in the region that is now called Wisconsin and are the oldest Native American community that still lives there. But the Menominee's struggle for survival and rights to their land has been long and hard.
David R. M. Beck draws on interviews with tribal members, stories recorded by earlier researchers, and exhaustive archival research to give us a full account of the Menominee's early history. Beginning in the seventeenth century, the Menominee's traditional way of life was intensely pressured by a succession of outsiders. Native nations attacked other Native nations, forcing their dislocation, and Europeans introduced the fur trade to the area, disrupting the traditional economy and way of life. In the nineteenth century Anglo-Americans poured into the Old Northwest and surrounded the Menominee; as a result the Menominee people were confined to a reservation in 1854.
Beck examines these crucial early events from an ethnohistorical perspective, adding Menominee voices to the story and showing how numerous individuals and leaders in the trading era and later worked diligently to survive. The story is a complicated one: some Menominees encouraged radical cultural change, while others—as well as some non-Menominees—aided the community in its struggle to maintain traditions. Beck provides the most complete written history to date of this enduring Indian nation.

David R. M. Beck is a professor of Native American studies at the University of Montana. He is the author of The Chicago American Indian Community, 1893–1988: Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Sources in Chicago.

"Using interviews and incisive ethnohistorical techniques, Beck has crafted the best interpretive study of the Menominees from earliest French contact through the beginning years of reservation life. . . . [A] well-documented and emotionally moving account."—Choice

"Beck's account is a straightforward one. . . . Frontier history reads differently when told from a Menominee persepective, and Beck does a wonderful job of explaining the social, political, and economic activities of Menominee leaders and tribal members by situating them within the context of their own customs, traditions, and worldview."—Michael J. Sherfy, Michigan Historical Review

“I recommend the greater part of this book not only as a generally reliable guide to post-contact pre-1856 Menominee history but as a decidedly engaging one as well.”—Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“Beck has written a comprehensive history of the Menominee people that replaces outdated earlier efforts, which by itself represents a valuable addition to the corpus of ethnohistorical writing on the Old Northwest. The book’s strength lies in the solid implementation of historical method in telling the story of Euroamerican colonialism from a Native perspective.”—Ingo W. Schröder, Anthropos

2002 WHS Book Award, sponsored by the Wisconsin Historical Society, winner

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