Title page for ETD etd-05062009-220100

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Seyfried, Kathrine
Author's Email Address kathrine.seyfried@gmail.com
URN etd-05062009-220100
Title These Savages Are Called the Natchez: Violence as Exchange and Expression in Natchez-French Relations
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul Hoffman Committee Chair
Alecia Long Committee Member
Rebecca Saunders Committee Member
  • Natchez Indians
  • French Louisiana
  • violence
  • war
  • culture contact
Date of Defense 2009-04-13
Availability unrestricted
Culture contact in colonial North America sometimes led to violent interactions. The continent during colonization contained two very different populations. Native Americans and Europeans occupied the same space and necessarily developed unique relationships. Each had to maneuver around the other to forge careful and productive bonds. When they could not, conflict arose; sometimes as war, sometimes as stealing or raiding. During their brief relationship, the Natchez Indians and French colonists in Louisiana engaged in several wars. Those wars revealed various elements of each culture. In 1716 Natchez warriors responded to a French diplomatic insult by killing French fur traders travelling upriver thus sparking the first war. In 1722-23, the French and Natchez fought again; this time over unpaid debts. Finally, in 1729, the Natchez executed a viciously well-planned attack on the French Fort Rosalie, which stood in their territory.

Each war, while complicating their relationship, became a form of expression and exchange for the Natchez and the French. The Indians and Europeans clarified their outlooks and ideas with violence. The three wars escalated, growing increasingly more violent for both parties as their contact became considerably more intense and crowded. By the end of the third war the Natchez no longer existed as a cohesive nation. The French had brutally expressed their anger toward and fear of the Natchez; the Europeans all but decimated the Indians. Their chiefdom beaten, the remaining Natchez scattered throughout the southeast, some making it as north as the Carolinas. The French continued to maintain their presence in Louisiana for several more decades.

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