As channels of print distribution and production widened in the early nineteenth century, Native Americans employed print as a means of expressing their pasts and thus their historical claims to territories coveted by the United States. In this essay, Radus shows how the nature of print in this period was at times incommensurate with the values and practices of Native historiography. Through an analysis of Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations (1827), Radus argues that Cusick, a Tuscarora historian, used various rhetorical and narrative techniques to alter the conventions of print so that the medium better conformed to the ideals of Haudenosaunee history telling. Sketches at once archives a history of Haudenosaunee territorial possession and subverts the presumption that printed texts afford access to any authoritative sense of the Haudenosaunee past. Cusick thereby assents to print modernity even as he refashions its premises in accord with his timely support for his nation’s territorial sovereignty.
Daniel M. Radus; Printing Native History in David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations. American Literature 1 June 2014; 86 (2): 217–243. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2646910
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