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Manifesting AmericaThe Imperial Construction of U.S. National Space$
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Mark Rifkin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387179.001.0001

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The Territoriality of Tradition

The Territoriality of Tradition

Treaties, Hunting Grounds, and Prophecy in Black Hawk’s Narrative

Chapter:
(p.75) 2 The Territoriality of Tradition
Source:
Manifesting America
Author(s):

Mark Rifkin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387179.003.0003

This chapter examines Life of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk (1833), demonstrating how the text challenges official U.S. accounts of native politics in the western Great Lakes. It shows how the exertion of U.S. authority in the region depended on breaking up longstanding patterns of diplomacy, warfare, and land use-described as trans-tribal networks-in order to create individual relations between the U.S. and each native people in which U.S. legal principles would serve as the de facto basis for negotiation. Narrated by a Sauk warrior after his defeat in the "war" that bears his name, the text consistently exposes the geopolitical assumptions underlying the documentary record of the treaty-system and its discourse of consent. The chapter closes with a discussion of the ways Black Hawk's narrative suggests longstanding shared regional principles displaced by the U.S. by invoking the memory of large-scale prior prophet movements in the region.

Keywords:   Black Hawk, Sauk, western Great Lakes, treaty-system, prophet movements

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