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‘‘Our Line’’ The Shawnees, the United States, and Competing Borders on the Great Lakes ‘‘Borderlands,’’ 1795–1832

‘‘Our Line’’ The Shawnees, the United States, and Competing Borders on the Great Lakes... ``Our Line'' The Shawnees, the United States, and Competing Borders on the Great Lakes ``Borderlands,'' 1795­1832 ¨ SAMI LAKOMAKI In February 1807 a delegation of Shawnee Indians traveled from their town of Wapakoneta, in what is now northern Ohio, to Washington where they asked President Thomas Jefferson for a piece of land around their settlement to be ``laid off separately'' for their people. The headmen carefully detailed where they wished their borders--what they called ``our line''--to run and asked Jefferson to give them ``a strong writing'' that would prove their right to the territory these boundaries encompassed (see Figure 1). The Shawnees' request is puzzling, for the land they asked for was located in the Indian Country, beyond the reach of American officials. Moreover, the chiefs' desire for a bounded territory goes against the dominant scholarly image of the Shawnees as ``the greatest Travellers in America.'' Historians typically portray the Shawnees as a diasporic people whose survival in the colonial world ``depended on geographic mobility.'' Consequently, borders have played little role in narratives of Shawnee history, as they have more generally in Native American history. Breaking from this tradition, this essay explores how the diasporic Shawnees envisioned and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

‘‘Our Line’’ The Shawnees, the United States, and Competing Borders on the Great Lakes ‘‘Borderlands,’’ 1795–1832

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 34 (4) – Nov 24, 2014

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
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Abstract

``Our Line'' The Shawnees, the United States, and Competing Borders on the Great Lakes ``Borderlands,'' 1795­1832 ¨ SAMI LAKOMAKI In February 1807 a delegation of Shawnee Indians traveled from their town of Wapakoneta, in what is now northern Ohio, to Washington where they asked President Thomas Jefferson for a piece of land around their settlement to be ``laid off separately'' for their people. The headmen carefully detailed where they wished their borders--what they called ``our line''--to run and asked Jefferson to give them ``a strong writing'' that would prove their right to the territory these boundaries encompassed (see Figure 1). The Shawnees' request is puzzling, for the land they asked for was located in the Indian Country, beyond the reach of American officials. Moreover, the chiefs' desire for a bounded territory goes against the dominant scholarly image of the Shawnees as ``the greatest Travellers in America.'' Historians typically portray the Shawnees as a diasporic people whose survival in the colonial world ``depended on geographic mobility.'' Consequently, borders have played little role in narratives of Shawnee history, as they have more generally in Native American history. Breaking from this tradition, this essay explores how the diasporic Shawnees envisioned and

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 24, 2014

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