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For Wagrassero’s Wife’s Son: Colonialism and the Structure of Indigenous Women’s Social Connections, 1690–1730

In: Journal of Early American History
Author:
Maeve Kane University at Albany, mkane2@albany.edu

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This article utilizes digital humanities social network analysis to examine Native women’s roles in overlapping familial and economic social ties revealed in two early Dutch account books. Taken individually these records are difficult to fit into broader analyses; many of the individual Native people who appear in early account books are recorded only once or at most a handful of times and rarely appear in other documentary sources. The contrasting structures of two contemporary Iroquois and Munsee social networks reconstructed from these account books illustrates the extent of colonial views into indigenous social life and colonial perceptions of indigenous women within their communities. Where Iroquois women were visible in these networks as bridges between indigenous kin groups, Munsee women were perceived as pushed to the margins of their own kinship networks, illustrating the process of erasure in the settler colonial archive.

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