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"Women of Our Nation": Gender and Christian Indian Communities in the United States and Mexico, 1753–1837

"Women of Our Nation": Gender and Christian Indian Communities in the United States and Mexico,... <p>abstract:</p><p>This article compares the experiences of indigenous women in Christian Indian communities across Mexico and the United States in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Focusing primarily on convents for indigenous nuns in Mexico and two Christian Indian tribes, Brothertown and Stockbridge, in the United States, it argues that women in Christian Indian communities leveraged the dual nature of their identities—as both indigenous and Christian—in order to gain recognition, authority, and autonomy within and beyond their communities. By becoming abbesses, schoolteachers, or simply "exemplary Christians," these women gained influence over colonial and national authorities on the basis of their Christian identity, while advocating for indigenous people and strengthening indigenous networks. They adapted to changing economic conditions and used creative strategies for fund-raising, thereby ensuring the financial stability of their communities. They also asserted new understandings of the relationship between ethnic identity and allegiance that diverged from the perspectives of colonial and national officials, as well as indigenous men. These broad similarities in indigenous women&apos;s responses to colonial and imperial rule in multiple locations suggest that gender and ethnicity, more than geopolitical context, shaped indigenous women&apos;s strategies for survival across the Americas.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal University of Pennsylvania Press

"Women of Our Nation": Gender and Christian Indian Communities in the United States and Mexico, 1753–1837

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © The McNeil Center for Early American Studies.
ISSN
1559-0895

Abstract

<p>abstract:</p><p>This article compares the experiences of indigenous women in Christian Indian communities across Mexico and the United States in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Focusing primarily on convents for indigenous nuns in Mexico and two Christian Indian tribes, Brothertown and Stockbridge, in the United States, it argues that women in Christian Indian communities leveraged the dual nature of their identities—as both indigenous and Christian—in order to gain recognition, authority, and autonomy within and beyond their communities. By becoming abbesses, schoolteachers, or simply "exemplary Christians," these women gained influence over colonial and national authorities on the basis of their Christian identity, while advocating for indigenous people and strengthening indigenous networks. They adapted to changing economic conditions and used creative strategies for fund-raising, thereby ensuring the financial stability of their communities. They also asserted new understandings of the relationship between ethnic identity and allegiance that diverged from the perspectives of colonial and national officials, as well as indigenous men. These broad similarities in indigenous women&apos;s responses to colonial and imperial rule in multiple locations suggest that gender and ethnicity, more than geopolitical context, shaped indigenous women&apos;s strategies for survival across the Americas.</p>

Journal

Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary JournalUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Oct 10, 2019

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