Revising the standard narrative of European-Indian relations in America, Juliana Barr reconstructs a world in which Indians were the dominant power and Europeans were the ones forced to
Barr argues that Indians not only retained control over their territories but also imposed control over Spaniards. Instead of being defined in racial terms, as was often the case with European constructions of power, diplomatic relations between the Indians and Spaniards in the region were dictated by Indian expressions of power, grounded in gendered terms of kinship. By examining six realms of encounter--first contact, settlement and intermarriage, mission life, warfare, diplomacy, and captivity--Barr shows that native categories of gender provided the political structure of Indian-Spanish relations by defining people's identity, status, and obligations vis-a-vis others. Because native systems of kin-based social and political order predominated, argues Barr, Indian concepts of gender cut across European perceptions of racial difference.
About Juliana Barr
Juliana Barr is assistant professor of history at the University of Florida.