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Seeing red : Indigenous land, American expansion, and the political economy of plunder in North America

Call Number

  • 305.897 W821 (CEN, OSH)

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Publication Information

Williamsburg, Virginia : Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture ; Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, [2022]

Physical Description

xv, 366 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


"Against long odds, the Anishinaabeg resisted removal, retaining thousands of acres of their homeland in what is now Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Their success rested partly on their roles as sellers of natural resources and buyers of trade goods, which made them key players in the political economy of plunder that drove white settlement and U.S. development in the Old Northwest. But, as Michael Witgen demonstrates, the credit for Native persistence rested with the Anishinaabeg themselves. Outnumbering white settlers well into the nineteenth century, they leveraged their political savvy to advance a dual citizenship that enabled mixed-race tribal members to lay claim to a place in U.S. civil society. Telling the stories of mixed-race traders and missionaries, tribal leaders and territorial governors, Witgen challenges our assumptions about the inevitability of U.S. expansion. Deeply researched and passionately written, Seeing Red will command attention from readers who are invested in the enduring issues of equality, equity, and national belonging at its core"--


"... I [author Michael John Witgen] use the term Anishinaabeg for the Great Lakes people also known as the Odawaag, Ojibweg, and Boodewaadamiig even though these same people most often are presented in historical sources as Ottawas, Chippewas, and Potawatomi and are written about generically as Algonquian"--Author's Note on terminology.

Contains appendix: "Summaries of select treaties between the United States and Indigenous nations in the Old Northwest, 1795-1855."


  • A nation of settlers
  • Indigenous homelands and American homesteads
  • The civilizing mission, women's labor, and the mixed-race families of the Old Northwest
  • Justice weighed in two scales
  • Indigenous land and black lives: the politics of exclusion and privilege in the Old Northwest.

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