Transformation Through the Different Other: A Rendezvous of Giving and Receiving

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Types of Data collected The owner does not provide a list of Personal Data types collected. Mode and place of processing the Data Methods of processing The Data Controller processes the Data of Users in a proper manner and shall take appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, modification, or unauthorized destruction of the Data. Ninigret then made it his life mission to revenge this murder on Uncas regardless of who tried to stop him, including the English.

Firearms would prove critical to his ambition. It is common to deride early modern firearms as slow to load, inaccurate and undependable in wet weather. Indians had a more favourable opinion of these weapons, particularly of the flintlock muskets that became available at the beginning of the s. Older matchlocks operated by lowering a lit wick into a pan of gunpowder. Flintlocks were still cumbersome.

They required about 25 seconds to load, and were accurate only to about yards. Yet Indians did not intend to use the weapon in open-field, pitched battles.

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Rather, they wanted flintlocks to fire on human or animal targets from ambush at close range. After firing, they would rush in with hand weapons. The manner in which Native peoples used guns is critical to understanding their demand for them. Indians valued the flintlock less for the terror it instilled than for its power. Unlike arrows, which needed a clear path to their target, bullets could pass through the camouflage of tall grasses and even thickets without being diverted. Whereas arrows shot from long distances could be dodged, musket balls could not.

The damage inflicted by a bullet wound was far greater than that of an arrow. Killing an enemy with an arrow required hitting a vital organ. By contrast, when a lead ball struck its victim, it carried roughly six times more kinetic energy than an arrow, expanded to the size of a large fist, and left behind a medical disaster. A direct hit dropped an enemy or deer in its tracks. What this approach sacrificed in terms of accuracy and force, it compensated for in the large, cloud-shaped area covered by the blast, which could disable more than one person at a time.

Though Indians continued to use bows and arrows, hatchets and clubs alongside muskets, they could not mistake that warriors with guns routinely won victories over those without them. For this reason, the opening of colonial markets set off Indian arms races throughout Native America. N ew England presented Ninigret with as favourable a gun market as anywhere else on the continent. Among the English alone there were five different colonies competing for the Indian trade. The French and especially the Dutch, the premier arms producer of Europe, were also accessible trading partners. The Dutch manufactured light, short, durable guns specifically for the Native American market.

The craggy coastline was ideal for smuggling, and most of Indian country was so remote from colonial centres that magistrates could do little to police the arms trade even when they wanted to. Gunsmithing was an essential part of Indian-colonial relations. Diplomacy often involved colonial governments providing Indians with free gun repairs, including sending smiths to live in Indian villages. A handful of Natives developed their own gunsmithing skills after apprenticing under English masters. More generally, Indian men learned to cast musket balls from cheap bar lead and to make minor repairs to flintlock firing mechanisms and gun barrels.

Led by Ninigret, the Narragansetts built up a formidable arsenal in their quest to exact revenge on Uncas and the Mohegans. The puritan colonies demanded Ninigret to pay for the damages, but instead he warned them to quit protecting Uncas or else he would call on Mohawk gunmen for support. To counter English support for Uncas, Ninigret turned to the Dutch for guns.

Afterward, Ninigret was said to have called on other Indians to join him and the Dutch in a strike against the New England colonies and the Mohegans.

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Many feared that a great war was brewing. Shortly after his return from New Netherland which he admitted visiting , Ninigret led his warriors on four consecutive raids against Long Island Indians that the English counted as protectorates. He even burned one of his Native prisoners at the stake within sight of an English town. Ninigret had signalled his readiness for war. They forced themselves at gunpoint into his house and then finally riddled his home with bullets from 11 guns. Ninigret could afford to ignore English threats. But that was not to be.

Ninigret also lost his valuable alliance with the Mohawks. Ninigret had been the likeliest candidate to lead an intertribal anticolonial resistance but, after the defeat of his Dutch allies, that possibility was gone. The sachem distanced his Niantic community from the uprising by calling in his warriors from abroad, delivering colonial authorities to a number of Wampanoag heads, and proposing a grand peace plan.

He took these actions not out of any warmth for the English, but realpolitik. He knew that, without the Mohawks, the campaign against the English was doomed. Initially, the warring Indians had the upper hand. They devastated English military forces and more than a dozen towns by employing their firearms expertly in ambushes and dawn-light strikes. Each victory netted them untold amounts of military plunder for use in the next strike.

At least two Native gunsmiths and probably some captive English smiths served the Indian resistance.

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The most important sites for the warring Indians to replenish their arsenals were along the Hudson River. The Mohawks wanted guns. The New York Governor Edmund Andros prohibited any trade with Indian militants, but arms dealers could operate through Native middlemen.

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An Indian who spied for the English told that the warring Indians were able to acquire Dutch gunpowder from the neutral Mohicans, Wappingers, and Paugussetts. In February , hundreds of Mohawk gunmen fell on the Hoosick rendezvous, driving the warring Indians back into the heart of New England where English soldiers and their Native allies awaited.

The Mohawks kept up the pressure into the summer with raids against militant camps in the upper Connecticut River Valley and even farther east. Like the Narragansetts, the Mohawks wanted guns. Within a few months, the warring Indians were nearly out of gunpowder. English victories grew increasingly lopsided.

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For instance, in July , the Connecticut Major John Talcott, at the head of colonial soldiers and allied Mohegans and Pequots, clashed with the Narragansetts at Nipsachuck in northern Rhode Island. In less than three hours, the English and their Native allies killed or captured of the enemy while suffering just two casualties. Two days later, this same army killed 67 Narragansetts and captured 27 on Warwick Neck, with no losses. By late summer , the conflict in southern New England was essentially over.

As soon as this new phase of Anglo-colonial dominance began, in the fall of , Ninigret died. But the story is easy to get wrong. After decades of steady access to a dynamic gun market supplied by multiple colonies, empires and Indian middlemen, anti-colonial Indian warriors had grown dependent on firearms. When the war began, they had ample martial stores.

They were also more skilled with firearms than their English counterparts.

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Colonists felt the deadly effects throughout the first months of the conflict. The warring Indians were dependent on guns, powder and shot. But they were not dependent on the English. Rather, it was the Mohawks, whose interest in protecting relations with New York led them to drive away the New England Indians from the Hudson River arms markets. This was doubly unfortunate for the anti-English Indians. Deprived of access to the arms trade, and driven back from the Hudson River Valley by the Mohawks, they found a reinforced enemy awaiting them, including hundreds of Wampanoags. These Wampanoags had switched sides in exchange for their lives and for munitions from the English, to protect themselves from the Mohawks.

For indigenous people all across North America, European colonisation meant more than withering in the face of epidemic diseases and European technological superiority. It also meant the opportunity for Indians to adopt firearms, to transform their ways of war, to change intertribal relations, to engage in colonial diplomacy, and to try new economies.

They sought to empower themselves, not in accordance with some general pan-Indian identity, but as particular communities, tribes and confederacies. They almost always saw their own rise as predicated on the exploitation of other indigenous people. Thus, the spread of guns meant the spread of awful gun violence. The availability of guns gave rise to societies of predatory Indian gunmen who terrorised entire regions. Attempting to counter the threat, weaker indigenous societies allied with each other and with colonial powers.

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Worse still, while Native people turned their guns on each other, colonial societies grew stronger and stronger. Eventually, they became the greatest danger to Indian life. Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, many other Native societies would face similar dilemmas. There is so much to learn about the world through the study of Native America. For instance, one realises that this supposedly New World was, in fact, quite old, full of ancient, complex societies of remarkable diversity.

The myth of the noble savage, which has sprung back to life in New Age religious circles, shatters as one confronts indigenous people in three-dimensional form. They possessed all the ambition, jealousy, violence and Machiavellian spirit that one would expect to find among any other human population.