During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Native peoples inhabiting the Lower Mississippi Valley confronted increasing domination by colonial powers, disastrous reductions in population, and the threat of being marginalized by a new cotton economy. Their strategies of resistance and adaptation to these changes are brought to light in this perceptive study.
An introductory overview of the historiography of Native peoples in the early Southeast examines how the study of Native-colonial relations has changed over the last century. Daniel H. Usner Jr. reevaluates the Natchez Indians? ill-fated relations with the French and the cultural effects of Native population losses from disease and warfare during the eighteenth century. Usner next examines in detail the social and economic relations the Native peoples forged in the face of colonial domination and demographic decline, and he reveals how Natives adapted to the cotton economy, which displaced their familiar social and economic networks of interaction with outsiders. Finally, Usner offers an intriguing excursion into cultural criticism, assessing the effects of popular images of Natives from this region.