In People of the Ecotone, Robert Morrissey weaves together a history of Native peoples with a history of an ecotone to tell a new story about the roots of the Fox Wars, among the most transformative and misunderstood events of early American history. To do this, he also offers the first comprehensive environmental history of some of North America's most radically transformed landscapes, the former tallgrass prairies, in the period before they became the monocultural corn belt we know today.
Morrissey situates the complex rise and fall of the Illinois, Meskwaki, and Myaamia peoples from roughly the collapse of Cahokia (thirteenth to fourteenth century CE) to the mid-eighteenth century in the context of millennia-long environmental shifts, as changes to the climate shifted bison geographies and tribes adapted their cultures to become pedestrian bison hunters. Tracing dynamic chains of causation from microscopic viruses to massive forces of climate, from the deep time of evolution to the specific events of human lifetimes, from local Illinois village economies to market forces an ocean away, People of the Ecotone offers new insight on Indigenous power and Indigenous logics. This book contains 20 b&w illus., 5 maps.
"People of the Ecotone is a triumph of continental history, narrating early American history from within the Indigenous heartland of North America, and revealing a Native World created by the intertwining of human and other-than-human life."- Michael Witgen (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe), author of Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America
"Combining the best of environmental history with cutting edge Native American and Indigenous Studies approaches, Morrissey crafts a compelling narrative that forces readers to rethink the histories of the tallgrass prairies and their peoples. This is groundbreaking new work."- Elizabeth Ellis (Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma), author of The Great Power of Small Nations Indigenous Diplomacy in the Gulf South."