A Different Kind of Race: How Native Racial Practice Affected Kinship in the Borderlands of the Old Northwest, 1778-1813
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Benjamin H. Johnson
Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Rachel Buff, Cary Miller
Early America, Native Americans, Ohio River Valley, Race
This thesis discusses changes in native racial practice in the Ohio River Valley and lower Great Lakes from 1778-1813. In this region, Native peoples altered their identities and racial practices in order to navigate an environment where Euro-Americans threatened their way of life and their land. They cultivated a pan-Indian identity in order to fight against westward expansion, making the isolation of "others" a typical function of kinship practices. While recognizing the racial hierarchy of whites, Native peoples created their own racial thought and practices, integrating their beliefs into their kinship structures, daily lives, and identities. As pan-Indianism evolved, "white" took on a new and racial significance for Native peoples. Through this process, they reinvented their kinship practices and the option for whites to have social and cultural hybridity grew more and more rare. The transformation of non-Indians from potential kin to "other" becomes evident through an examination of interactions between Native peoples and Euro-Americans, including both their language and treatment of white captives, allowing for an analysis of the evolving role of race and racial practices in this borderland.
Smith, Alexis Helen, "A Different Kind of Race: How Native Racial Practice Affected Kinship in the Borderlands of the Old Northwest, 1778-1813" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 763.