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Whose War Was It?: African American Heritage Claims and the Second Seminole War

Whose War Was It?: African American Heritage Claims and the Second Seminole War Whose War Was It? African American Heritage Claims and the Second Seminole War C. S. Monaco Clearly, blacks and Seminoles cooperated during the resistance, and some blacks acted as interpreters, messengers, and even advisors to Seminole leaders. From those facts, however, an unsupportable logical leap precedes the conclusion that interpreting, advising, carrying messages, and knowing about white men equate with ruling. Susan A. Miller, "Seminoles and Africans under Seminole Law"1 Contentious heritage claims based on rival notions of agency and empowerment during the Second Seminole War (1835­42) have surfaced from a group of scholars and from amateur historians who promote the unorthodox idea that African Americans, rather than Indigenous people, constituted the real "backbone" of military resistance.2 Competing claims often accompany memories of war, as victors and losers inevitably bring opposing versions of dramatic events that inflict death and suffering on a massive scale. In this case, however, rival assertions have arisen from the same side that fought and died together in the Florida wilderness in a long but ultimately ill-fated effort to thwart removal efforts by the United States Army. Historian Larry Rivers has recently inverted the standard paradigm of Seminole tragic heroes (Osceola being the most http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Indian Quarterly University of Nebraska Press

Whose War Was It?: African American Heritage Claims and the Second Seminole War

The American Indian Quarterly , Volume 41 (1) – Mar 26, 2017

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Nebraska Press.
ISSN
1534-1828
Publisher site
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Abstract

Whose War Was It? African American Heritage Claims and the Second Seminole War C. S. Monaco Clearly, blacks and Seminoles cooperated during the resistance, and some blacks acted as interpreters, messengers, and even advisors to Seminole leaders. From those facts, however, an unsupportable logical leap precedes the conclusion that interpreting, advising, carrying messages, and knowing about white men equate with ruling. Susan A. Miller, "Seminoles and Africans under Seminole Law"1 Contentious heritage claims based on rival notions of agency and empowerment during the Second Seminole War (1835­42) have surfaced from a group of scholars and from amateur historians who promote the unorthodox idea that African Americans, rather than Indigenous people, constituted the real "backbone" of military resistance.2 Competing claims often accompany memories of war, as victors and losers inevitably bring opposing versions of dramatic events that inflict death and suffering on a massive scale. In this case, however, rival assertions have arisen from the same side that fought and died together in the Florida wilderness in a long but ultimately ill-fated effort to thwart removal efforts by the United States Army. Historian Larry Rivers has recently inverted the standard paradigm of Seminole tragic heroes (Osceola being the most

Journal

The American Indian QuarterlyUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Mar 26, 2017

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