Gathering Together The Shawnee People Through Diaspora and Nationhood, 1600 - 1870 Sami Lakomaki

The Lamar Series in Western History
Publication date:
02 Sep 2014
416 pages: 234 x 156 x 30mm
12 b&w illustrations

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Weaving Indian and Euro-American histories together in this groundbreaking book, Sami Lakomaki places the Shawnee people, and Native peoples in general, firmly at the center of American history. The book covers nearly three centuries, from the years leading up to the Shawnees' first European contacts to the post--Civil War era, and demonstrates vividly how the interactions between Natives and newcomers transformed the political realities and ideas of both groups. Examining Shawnee society and politics in new depth, and introducing not only charismatic warriors like Blue Jacket and Tecumseh but also other leaders and thinkers, Lakomaki explores the Shawnee people's debates and strategies for coping with colonial invasion. The author refutes the deep-seated notion that only European colonists created new nations in America, showing that the Shawnees, too, were engaged in nation building. With a sharpened focus on the creativity and power of Native political thought, Lakomaki provides an array of insights into Indian as well as American history.

Sami Lakomaki is a university lecturer at the University of Oulu. He lives in Oulu, Finland.

"Gathering Together is an exciting new work that, happily, lends itself to course adoptions at the graduate and undergraduate level."—Joshua S. Haynes, Journal of American History 

Erudite and compassionate, Gathering Together not only presents an absorbing new history of the Shawnee people; it invites us to rethink central themes—mobility, belonging, and nationhood—in American history.”—Pekka Hämäläinen, author of The Comanche Empire

“This sensitive, sophisticated account follows the Shawnee from early contact in the eastern woodlands through the late nineteenth century on the Great Plains. ‘Indian history’ specialists need to read it; anybody with a serious interest in how North America changed over that long period and across that huge space will gain from it.”—Edward Countryman, co-editor of Contested Spaces of Early America

“Probing centuries of internal debates that shaped Shawnee migrations and politics, this intensely researched and immensely rewarding study of nation-building demolishes the simplistic dichotomies that have characterized descriptions of Indian factionalism.”—Stephen Aron, author of The American West: A Very Short Introduction

?Writing outstanding ethnohistory is a rare achievement. And such a rarity is found in Sami Lakomaki?s tracing of Shawnee nation-building for over 300 years. Gathering Together truly represents ethnohistory at its very best.??John R. Wunder, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Superbly researched, cogently argued, well written—a masterful study of the Shawnee sense of nationhood through diaspora and coalescence that offers new insights into the evolution of Native American political structures. Top-flight scholarship.”—R. David Edmunds, University of Texas at Dallas

?Lakom„ki?s book is distinctive in its consistently Shawnee-centered focus, its linking of diaspora and nationhood, and its attention to what was going on within Shawnee society. An excellent piece of work, it should become essential reading for historians of Native America.??Colin Calloway, Dartmouth College

?There are very, very few scholars in early Indian history who are able to work simultaneously at the local and the national level.ÿ Lakom„ki is one of them; he is truly able to make intra-Shawnee politics come alive here, and that is no small accomplishment.??Joshua Piker, University of Oklahoma

Won an Honorable Mention for the 2014 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE) in the U.S. History category.

“A compelling reinterpretation of the Shawnees that offers much clarity to their “wanderings” and (re-)gatherings.  Lakomäki convincingly argues that the dispersion of Shawnees into numerous small groupings was a deliberate survival strategy in the wake of indigenous and Euroamerican intrusions and disruptions.  Highly recommended.”—CHOICE

"Sami Lakomaki makes a significant contribution. . . by placing the words, ideas, and actions of the Shawnee people at the forefront of an important trajectory in Native American and U.S. history. . . . This study is especially strong in providing a new and challenging framework that cannot be dismissed."—Dawn G. Marsh, Western Historical Quarterly