Monday, December 22, 2008

A Nation of Statesmen

There really isn't a complete and definitive history of the Stockbridge Mohicans, but A Nation of Statesmen by James Oberly (University of Oklahoma Press, 2005) is arguably the closest thing to it. The book's subtitle, The Political Culture of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, 1815-1972, is a tipoff that Oberly's focus is on politics and I agree that politics was a huge focus of the Stockbridge people - more than religion was - during that period of time. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Stockbridge Mohicans were bitterly divided into a "Citizen Party" and an "Indian Party" for generations. It is a conflict that has been addressed by others before. But Oberly, a professor at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, does a good job of fleshing out the bigger picture of how the Citizen Party leaders were allied with Democrats in Washington, while the Indian Party leaders were allied with Republican legislators.

Something that I haven't mentioned yet, is that between about 1895 and the mid-1930's, the Stockbridge Mohicans were not recognized as a political entity. But thanks to their political leaders, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community was the first Native nation to re-organize under the Indian Reorganization Act. A Nation of Statesmen also chronicles that remarkable piece of history.

You can compare these maps from Oberly's book to the ones in my post "Wisconsin's Past and Present."

Oberly's book also has appendices which contain documents such as relevant treaties, acts of Congress, etc.

No comments :