Grimes (adjunct, LaRoche College) offers an updated and deeply researched account of the Delaware Nation’s search for new homelands outside the boundaries of their ancestral territories in what is now Pennsylvania after 1730. While acknowledging the occasionally tragic character of this “diaspora,” Grimes also emphasizes the degree to which the Delawares’ movements represented “an optimistic pursuit” of novel political, economic, and military opportunities. The monograph reflects a gendered understanding of historical change, as Grimes narrates the Delawares’ transition to a “masculine-centered” culture in the trans-Allegheny west. Battling the convenient assignment by Colonial authorities of their subordinate status to the Six Nations of the Iroquois League, the Delawares articulated a position of nationhood for themselves in the realms of war and diplomacy from 1755 to 1795. The book’s conclusion carries the story into the 19th century, tracing the route that led the Western Delawares to Indian Territory. Bucking recent trends in scholarship, Grimes eschews the inclusion of “an uplifting end to the story,” opting instead to emphasize the degree to which the impositions of the US ultimately prevented the Western Delawares from achieving political cohesion in the trans-Mississippi West.
Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.