Sweeney’s Booknotes: History of the Stockbridge Mohicans

Jeffrey Siemers, Proud and Determined: A History of the Stockbridge Mohicans, 1734-2014 (Fond du Lac, WI: Big Smokey Press, 2013)

jeffrey-siemers_proud-and-determinedThis is a fine general history of the Stockbridge Mohicans by a sympathetic amateur historian. It traces the complicated history of this variegated people from its founding in Massachusetts in the early 1730s through its difficult modern history in Shawano County, Wisconsin.

The early chapters of the book are based on the work of other scholars (the late Patrick Frazier, Rachel Wheeler, Lion Miles, Trinity’s own Mark Rogers, and several others), though its latter chapters include some original research.

Siemers writes like a journalist, clearly and compellingly. He spends little time engaging the work of other scholars, but succeeds admirably in writing a solid and uplifting tribal history.

The author devotes several pages to Edwards’ work at the mission, treating him fairly as a caring and courageous friend of the Indians who nonetheless had weaknesses as a missionary (mainly cultural and linguistic).

Specialists will find nothing new here on Edwards. But those seeking information on the history of this people will find Proud and Determined a helpful place to begin (but will want to supplement it with the work of Wheeler and Silverman noted previously on this blog. See bibliography on Native American Christianity in the Great Awakening in the review of David J. Silverman’s Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America.

[Note: Jeffrey Siemers maintains a blog at http://algonkianchurchhistory.blogspot.com/]