“Brothertown” was the name given a multitribal Christian settlement of English-speaking native peoples that was founded in the late eighteenth century. In this essay I explore the give-and-take of social identity from the perspective of written correspondence between Brothertown Indians and outsiders, both Indian and Euroamerican. I focus specifically on the name Brothertown, tracing its emergence and transformation through time and assessing its importance in the unfolding of Brothertown history. Shifting uses of the name speak to social identity as negotiated between authors and addressees, while broader considerations of the name within the politics of colonial North America reveal the centrality of ethnonymy and other modes of reference in shaping colonial interactions.

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