Dr. Margaret Ellen Newell
The Influence of the Colonists’ Relations with American Indians
on American History and Identity
Native Americans shaped the colonial project in many ways. Indians made European colonization possible by supplying food, trade, technology, labor, and other resources — sometimes voluntarily, and sometimes involuntarily — that powered the North American economy. Indians incorporated Europeans into trade and military alliance networks that became essential to imperial power in North America. Indian affairs and wars dominated the affairs of colonial states and, later, of the U.S. government, for centuries. Indigenous actions influenced milestone events like the American Revolution, the Mexican-American War and the U.S. Civil War. Intercultural exchange was part of this story, and we will discuss mutual influences and cultural clashes.