Native Acts


Native Acts

Indian Performance, 1603-1832

Edited by Joshua David Bellin and Laura L. Mielke
Afterword by Philip J. Deloria

344 pages


January 2012


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

January 2012


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Long before the Boston Tea Party, where colonists staged a revolutionary act by masquerading as Indians, people looked to Native Americans for the symbols, imagery, and acts that showed what it meant to be “American.” And for just as long, observers have largely overlooked the role that Native peoples themselves played in creating and enacting the Indian performances appropriated by European Americans. It is precisely this neglected notion of Native Americans “playing Indian” that Native Acts explores. These essays—by historians, literary critics, anthropologists, and folklorists—provide the first broadly based chronicle of the performance of “Indianness” by Natives in North America from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth century.

The authors’ careful and imaginative analysis of historical documents and performative traditions reveals an intricate history of intercultural exchange. In sum, Native Acts challenges any simple understanding of cultural “authenticity” even as it celebrates the dynamic role of performance in the American Indian pursuit of self-determination. In this collection, Indian peoples emerge as active, vocal, embodied participants in cultural encounters whose performance powerfully shaped the course of early American history.

Author Bio

Joshua David Bellin is a professor of English at La Roche College. He is the author of several books, most recently, Medicine Bundle: Indian Sacred Performance and American Literature, 1824–1932. Laura L. Mielke is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas and the author of Moving Encounters: Sympathy and the Indian Question in Antebellum Literature.


"This is an excellent collection of essays with a common foundation of recent scholarship and shared geographic and temporal limitations."—S.J. Blackstone, Choice

Table of Contents

Laura L. Mielke

1. Lying Inventions: Native Dissimulation in Early Colonial New England
Matt Cohen
2. The Deer Island Indians and Common Law Performance
Nan Goodman
3. Native Performances of Diplomacy and Religion in Early New France
John H. Pollack
4. Wendat Song and Carnival Noise in the Jesuit Relations
Olivia Bloechl
5. "I Wunnatuckquannum, This Is My Hand": Native Performance in Massachusett Language Indian Deeds
Stephanie Fitzgerald
6. In a Red Petticoat: Coosaponakeesa's Performance of Creek Sovereignty in Colonial Georgia
Caroline Wigginton
7. Playing John White: John Wompas and Racial Identity in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World
Jenny Hale Pulsipher
8. "This Wretched Scene of British Curiosity and Savage Debauchery": Performing Indian Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Britain 000
Timothy J. Shannon
9. Performing Indian Publics: Two Native Views of Diplomacy to the Western Nations in 1792
Phillip H. Round
10. Editing as Indian Performance: Elias Boudinot, Poetry, and the Cherokee Phoenix
Theresa Strouth Gaul

Philip J. Deloria


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