Camouflage Tactics and Indian Non-Removal in the American South
‘In 1830, the US Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Statesmen envisaged a radical spatial solution that would cement American power in the South; in less than a decade, they proclaimed victory, having moved 65,000 Indigenous Southerners to Indian Territory. Two centuries later, historians stress its tragedy, but still see removal as a pivot that transformed Indigenous South into Cotton Kingdom. This paper tells a different story. From Appalachia down to the Gulf, members of the Five Tribes devised various means to resist deportation. One of the most effective – though least studied – was a strategy I call “camouflage tactics,” in which individuals made themselves illegible or invisible to outsiders. Camouflage encompassed a spectrum of action. By blurring their identity as removeable Indians, hundreds of Indigenous Southerners successfully avoided westward deportation. In doing so, they sustained an enduring Indigenous South, subverted US policymakers’ ambitions for a complete removal, and challenged American claims to sovereignty over the region in the decades beyond.’
Date: 23 October 2019, 16:00 (Wednesday, 2nd week, Michaelmas 2019)
Venue: Rothermere American Institute, 1A South Parks Road OX1 3UB
Venue Details: Seminar Room 1
Speaker: Jane Dinwoodie (Cambridge)
Organising department: Rothermere American Institute
Part of: Oxford Early American Republic Seminar
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Laura Spence