George Washington is one of America’s best-known historical figures but history has largely overlooked his relationships with Native Americans. Join Colin Calloway, author of “The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, to learn more about these complex relationships at an author talk and book signing at the Jesup Memorial Library on Friday, July 19 at 7 p.m. The Abbe Museum is a co-sponsor of this event.
In “The Indian World of George Washington” Calloway reveals the full extent and complexity of the relationships between the man who rose to become the nation's most powerful figure and those whose power declined in almost equal degree during his lifetime. While Washington presented himself as the “great father” to Indian people, the Iroquois called him “Town Destroyer.” “The Indian World of George Washington” spans decades covering Washington’s interactions with Indians as a surveyor of Indian lands, to his career again both the British and the French to his presidency. Calloway explores how Washington knew that the fate of the Americas and “the future he envisioned would be realized at the expense of the people who lived there.” Calloway highlights the many Indian leaders Washington dealt with including Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Guyasuta, Attakullakulla, Bloody Fellow, Joseph Brant, Cornplanter, Red Jacket and Little Turtle along with the tribes they represented—the Iroquois Confederacy, Lenape, Miami, Creek, Delaware. Throughout the book, Calloway reveals how central their role truly was in Washington's, and therefore the nation's, foundational narrative.
Kirkus Reviews writes that the book is “an expansive history...a detailed, impressively researched history of white-Indian relations during Washington's lifetime. Insightful and illuminating.” David Preston, author of “Braddock’s Defeat” writes, “Calloway demonstrates how profoundly George Washington's life was interwoven with the Indian world of North America. This book will forever change our understanding of the first president and the very meaning of the new nation he helped to create.” And, the Wall Street journal called the book “an essential new entry in the literature of George Washington and the early Republic.”
Calloway has B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Leeds. He served two years as editor/assistant director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He joined the faculty of Dartmouth College in 1995 and is currently serving his fifth three-year term as chair of the Native American Studies Program. He was President of the American Society for Ethnohistory and has been given awards by the Missisquoi Nation of Abenakis and the Native American Students at Dartmouth. He won the American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. “The Indian World of George Washington,” was a National Book Award finalist in 2018, received the Journal of the American Revolution Book of the Year Award, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Excellence in American History Book Award. It is also a finalist for the George Washington Prize. He is the author of more than ten books on Native American history, including “The American Revolution in Indian Country,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books. For more information on the talk, contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245.