Natives and Newcomers
The Cultural Origins of North America
In the past thirty years historians have come to realize that the shape and temper of early America was determined as much by its Indian natives as it was by its European colonizers. Although native populations sharply declined as a result of disease, war, and dispossession, they invariably forced the colonists to accommodate and adapt many of their practices, technologies, and values.
No one has done more to discover and recount this story than James Axtell, one of America's premier prolific ethnohistorians. Natives and Newcomers is a collection of fifteen of his best and most influential essays, available for the first time in one volume. Unlike most readers, this book is written by one person, in one voice, and covers all facets of Indian-European relations. In accessible and often witty prose, Axtell describes the major encounters between Indians and Europeans-first contacts, communications, epidemics, trade and gift-giving, social and sexual mingling, work, cultural and religious conversions, military clashes-and probes their short- and long-term consequences for both cultures. Each essay is based on a wide variety of primary sources, including maps, museum artifacts, archaeological sites, pictures (many of which are reproduced), traders' account books, and oral traditions. The result is a book that shows how encounters between Indians and Europeans ultimately led to the birth of a distinctly American identity. Natives and Newcomers is an essential text for undergraduate and graduate courses in Colonial American history and Native American history.