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From The University of Minnesota Press
The Common Pot
The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast
By Lisa Brooks
352 pp. / 11 b&w photos, 16 maps / 6 x 9 / 2008 / Indigenous Americas Series
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Literary critics frequently portray early Native American writers either as individuals caught between two worlds or as subjects who, even as they defied the colonial world, struggled

"A strong, welcome entry in Native American studies."

"Having had their writings published for centuries, New England’s Native Americans have bucked a dark stereotype, which predicates indigenous authenticity on illiteracy. Lisa Brooks bravely demonstrates that Native New England's literary heritage actually represents Good Medicine (in the most traditional Indian sense of the word). Taput ni / Thank You Lisa Brooks for showing the next generation of Native American writers that their path is true. "
— Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, Mohegan Medicine Woman and Tribal Historian

"Reading Native lands and Native texts to recover Native history, Lisa Brooks has produced an innovative, insightful, and stimulating book that restores New England as Native space and adds a vital perspective to the written history of the region. "
— Colin G. Calloway, Dartmouth College
to exist within it. In striking counterpoint to these analyses, Lisa Brooks demonstrates the ways in which Native leaders--including Samson Occom, Joseph Brant, Hendrick Aupaumut, and William Apess--adopted writing as a tool to reclaim rights and land in the Native networks of what is now the northeastern United States.

"The Common Pot," a metaphor that appears in Native writings during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, embodies land, community, and the shared space of sustenance among relations. Far from being corrupted by forms of writing introduced by European colonizers, Brooks contends, Native people frequently rejected the roles intended for them by their missionary teachers and used the skills they acquired to compose petitions, political tracts, and speeches; to record community councils and histories; and most important, to imagine collectively the routes through which the Common Pot could survive.

Reframing the historical landscape of the region, Brooks constructs a provocative new picture of Native space before and after colonization. By recovering and reexamining Algonquian and Iroquoian texts, she shows that writing was not a foreign technology but rather a crucial weapon in the Native Americans' arsenal as they resisted--and today continue to oppose--colonial domination.

About Lisa Brooks

Lisa Brooks (Abenaki) is assistant professor of history and literature and of folklore and mythology at Harvard University.