WILLIAM APESS, EULOGY ON KING PHILIP

(26 JANUARY 1836)

 

Patricia Bizzell

College of the Holy Cross

 

The remarkable career of William Apess has attracted considerable scholarly attention since his five books, which appeared between 1829 and 1836, were republished in 1992 in a compendium edited by Barry O'Connell. Thus was recovered a vibrant American Indian voice on behalf of civil rights for all people of color. Amid the political ferment in Boston in the 1830s, Apess' voice was also heard loud and clear from the speaker's platform, preaching the Methodist faith, defending his fellow Indians from exploiters, and presenting to all and sundry the revisionist version of seventeenth-century history instantiated in the Eulogy. Literary historian Maureen Konkle describes him this way:

 

Apess behaved like an intellectual: he had a substantial library; he gave lectures; he published books. He was an independent operator: he rented halls, had tickets printed, advertised in newspapers. For anyone not of the elite, let alone a Native person, an independent writing life was a difficult proposition in the 1830s.[1]

 

Yet Apess' presence, then and now, contradicts the Puritan version of New England history, in which the Pequot tribe of his ancestors became extinct after the Puritan war against them in 1637. Apess refused to vanish; instead, he mounted a critique of white supremacist racism that remains trenchant and persuasive today. In the Eulogy, Apess does so by adapting the traditional genre of public rebuke called a jeremiad to show how far White Americans had betrayed the political and religious values in the nation's foundational documents. The combination of European American and American Indian rhetorical elements comprises an especially effective example of what scholars have called "mixedblood rhetoric," a powerful resource for peoples of color.[2]

 

Who Was William Apess?

 

William Apess was born in Massachusetts in 1798, the oldest of six children. While his father was probably a full-blooded Pequot, his mother was probably of mixed racial background, including African American, European American, and Wampanoag blood. Such mixing was not uncommon among peoples of color who had been under White domination in New England for more than 150 years. Apess identified himself as a Pequot but also traced his lineage through his mother to the Wampanoag leader Metacomet, whom the English called King Philip.[3]

Apess' parents separated when he was a baby, and he was raised at first by his grandmother, a violent alcoholic. After she beat him almost to death, White neighbors removed him from her home and placed him with a White family as an indentured servant (such placements of Indian children, for purposes of exploiting their labor and assimilating them to European religious and social norms, had been common in New England since the seventeenth century). Apess' indenture passed to several different families while he was a child. Although life was hard, he did receive six years of schooling and some introduction to Christianity, experiencing religious conversion under Methodist preaching in 1813. Because the family with whom he was then working disapproved of Methodism, and forbade him to attend Methodist meetings, Apess ran away and joined the army, serving during the War of 1812. He was discharged in 1815 and worked his way home, arriving in the Colchester, Connecticut area, his parents' home territory, in 1817. He found steady work and renewed his commitment to Methodism, one of the more egalitarian Protestant sects. He became a circuit preacher to Indian congregations around New England, and eventually, in 1829, was ordained a Methodist minister. In 1821 he married Mary Wood, also a devout Methodist and a woman of mixed racial background, similar to that of his mother, and they had at least three children of whom records survive, two daughters and a son. Apess struggled throughout his life to support his family while continuing his preaching and activism.

Apess' religious conviction seems to have fueled his social activism on behalf of Indian rights. His first three publications were his own spiritual autobiography, A Son of the Forest (1831); two religious pieces published together, The Increase of the Kingdom of Christ: A Sermon, and The Indians: The Ten Lost Tribes (1831); and a collection of religious testimonies, The Experiences of Five Christian Indians of the Pequot Tribe (1833). In some ways, these are exactly the sorts of publications that might be expected from a dedicated preacher of the Gospel. Sermons and spiritual autobiographies were already familiar genres of religious literature, and Apess' primary purpose in these works seems to be to promote Christianity. He does so, however, from a distinctly Indian perspective. For example, both his own and the five Christian Pequots' accounts of their spiritual struggles include pointed remarks about their suffering under white supremacist racism. Moreover, bound as an appendix to Five Christian Indians is perhaps the most polemical of Apess' works, "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man." Here Apess uses a traditional genre of reproof (such as might, for example, be used to hold up the drunkard's or gambler's sins for salutary self-scrutiny) to expose White racism.

Traveling to preach in Indian communities, Apess came to Mashpee on Cape Cod in 1833 (at that time, the name of the town and its people was also sometimes spelled "Marshpee"). It had been constituted as a settlement for Christian Wampanoags in early colonial days and was then the only one of these early Christian Indian towns to survive. When he came there, he discovered that the Mashpees were fighting against the overseers imposed on them by the state of Massachusetts, who were enriching themselves from the Mashpees' land. The Mashpees were also unhappy with the White Congregationalist minister assigned to them by a Harvard fund for propagating the Gospel to Indians. The Mashpees did not respond to his dry, doctrinaire preaching and did not appreciate his open racism or the privileges he extended to neighboring Whites who attended the congregation. Apess took up residence at Mashpee and lived there until 1837. He led the Mashpees in petitioning for the dismissal of the overseers and the minister, and their efforts were eventually successful, achieving self-government in 1834 and the minister's departure in 1840. Meanwhile, Apess took part in an action of resistance, in which the Mashpees forcibly prevented agents of the overseers from logging on Mashpee land, for which Apess was arrested, jailed and fined. Whites reacted hysterically to this act of resistance, termed a "riot" in the press, with the Massachusetts governor even threatening to call out the state militia. To set the record straight and to explain the legal basis for their actions, Apess published in 1835, Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Marshpee Tribe; or, The Pretended Riot Explained.

At this point Apess was well-known as an activist and as an accomplished orator. Observes Maureen Konkle, "in an era when oratory was practically a spectator sport, Apess was by all accounts very good at it."[4] Thus, confident of gaining an audience, he conceived the idea to deliver a speech eulogizing the New England Indian who had been most demonized by New England Whites. Most pointedly, he sought to eulogize Metacomet, whom they called "King Philip," a leader of a Wampanoag rebellion against English encroachment that became known as King Philip's War (1674-1675). A higher percentage of White combatants relative to the general population were killed or injured in this war than in any other American war up to the present day.[5] Apess could expect, then, that if he offered, shockingly, to eulogize this "monster," White audiences would turn out to hear him. Moreover, he already had a reputation as a powerful orator from his participation in earlier rallies on behalf of the Cherokee struggles in Georgia (more on the Indian historical context is given below). No doubt Apess hoped to make some money from staging this address; his finances were always precarious. But he also used this occasion to deliver his most searching critique of white supremacist racism as it had distorted New England history and foisted oppression not only on Indians but on all Americans of color. His initial presentation of the eulogy on 8 January 1836 aroused such public comment that he was requested to present it a second time, on 26 January; and he published it in that same year (under the title Eulogy on King Philip, as Pronounced at the Odeon, in Federal Street, Boston).

Meanwhile, for reasons unknown, Apess fell out of favor with the Mashpee community. He also suffered the loss of his wife. At some point he remarried, and moved to New York City in the late 1830s looking for work. He died there of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1839 at the age of 41. Recent scholarship has refuted the story that the cause of his demise was alcoholism; unfortunately, given the stereotype of Indians' susceptibility to alcohol, it was only too easy for this story to gain currency.[6]

William Apess identified himself in his writings as an Indian. He was perhaps the most successful activist on behalf of Indian rights in the antebellum United States. At the same time, he adopted the European religion of Christianity, and used the European language of English for all of his published works and public addresses. In physical appearance, apparently, he "looked Indian" only in skin tone. It might be tempting, therefore, to regard him as in some sense "not really" an Indian, somehow "inauthentic." To do so, however, might be to take an improperly sentimental and ahistorical view of ethnic identity. That is, to do so might be to insist that an authentic Indian could only be one dressed in buckskins and feathers, communicating in a quaint pidgin--the sort of figure whose disappearance one could sentimentally bemoan, thus ignoring the historical circumstances of native peoples not only reacting to white supremacist racism but also adapting to forcibly imposed European culture, and learning how to draw strengths from it.[7]

More accurately, Apess can be described as what literary historian Bernd Peyer calls a "transcultural invididual," incorporating elements from different cultures into his identity.[8] Peyer emphasizes that this internal integration process can be empowering: "Rather than being incapacitated by a disturbed personality, the transcultural individual can, given the right social conditions, develop a 'new multiracial consciousness' that is culturally complex and still psychologically sound."[9] Not only is this cultural mixing a rich source of development for the individual, but as Peyer points out, it can confer social power: "Whenever societies come into contact there will emerge a group of individuals who move back and forth between them and whose services as cultural brokers become essential for both sides."[10]

Comparative literature scholar Mary Louise Pratt enriches our view of this kind of cultural situation with her concept of the "contact zone": "I use this term to refer to social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today."[11] Pratt makes explicit what is implicit in Peyer's discussion, namely that contact zone situations are places of conflict, where groups with competing interests and unequal social and political power struggle together. Such struggles, of course, are conducted by many means, sometimes with armed force; but Pratt is most interested in the ways such struggles are conducted in language. For her, above all, a contact zone is a place where different groups are struggling for the power to interpret what is going on. This struggle necessitates the crossing of linguistic and cultural boundaries that Peyer describes; Pratt's prime example is a seventeenth-century South American Indian who wrote a long letter to the King of Spain in Spanish, protesting the brutal treatment of his people, while at the same time inter-lacing the text with passages in his own language, Quechua, and illustrations in Indian cultural style. Guaman Poma thus exemplifies Peyer's "transcultural" individual, using his cross-cultural knowledge in an attempt to represent the interests of his own, oppressed group.

Pratt's model, however, is further enriched by the work of mixedblood rhetorician Scott Lyons. Almost five hundred years after Guaman Poma, the situation for Native people in South and North America has changed drastically. As Lyons has argued, it is no longer adequate to think of the cross-cultural individual as one who leaves a "pure," homogenous cultural community of one kind and travels into another homogenous community. Neither is it adequate, however, to think of him or her as one who simply adds one set of linguistic and cultural practices from a newly encountered community to the home community, for example. Rather, what is more typical now after centuries of contact-zone struggle is that different cultural communities have interpenetrated one another to a large degree. Lyons describes how such cultural mixing can be seen in the culture of early nineteenth century Cherokees, for example. Moreover, individuals themselves have become culturally "mixed"--not only because people in these interpenetrated communities increasingly do not inherit any one cultural legacy in a "pure" or unmixed form, but also because, increasingly, even in their own bodies, people represent cultural mixing, being of mixed biological background, which mingles what were once thought of (and anxiously maintained as) separate races. Therefore, Lyons goes even further than Pratt in his model of the kinds of discourse employed in cross-cultural communication situations. He refers to it as "mixedblood rhetoric," a hybrid discourse in which linguistic, cultural, and cognitive-affective elements are even more thoroughly mixed and mutually influential than in Guaman Poma's complex and moving letter.[12]

We need the help of Peyer, Pratt and Lyons to understand the complex situation of William Apess. He was of biologically mixed racial background but chose to identify himself as Indian. He was a convert to European religion, but used its precepts to criticize European Americans for their treatment of Indians. He preached the Christian gospel to New England Indians in Algonquian, but used the English language and English cultural elements masterfully to present an Indian point of view to European American audiences and to serve Indian political ends. He was one of the few persons of color in the antebellum United States who saw all forms of racial oppression as historically determined by the colonial experience and as necessitating the union of all people of color to combat them. The contact zone in which Apess found himself, 1830s New England, was a hotbed of contention over just who had the right to be considered a full participating citizen of the United States. In the context of agitation over citizen rights for African Americans and White women, and over the abolition of slavery, Apess advocated for the inclusion of Indians and all other people of color in the U.S. body politic. Indeed, this is the main thrust of his argument throughout the Eulogy.

 

Indian Historical and Political Contexts for the Eulogy: Colonial New England

 

As noted above, the subject of Apess' Eulogy was the most notorious Indian leader of colonial New England. English people began to settle in the area in the early seventeenth century, where they met an Indian population of about 30,000 people, already greatly reduced by diseases caught from earlier European sailors. At first, the Indians and the immigrants were able to share the land relatively amicably. The first permanent English settlement, which the settlers named "Plymouth," took over the site of an Indian town, Patuxet, that had been emptied by the plague, and the local Wampanoag leader Massasoit made peace with them. Tensions rose, however, as the English settlements expanded. When their movement into Connecticut was resisted by the local Pequots in 1637, a war ensued that the English ended by destroying a large Pequot town, killing between 500 and 700 people. The surviving Pequots were distributed among other tribes or sold into slavery in Bermuda, although they later re-established themselves in several smaller bands in Connecticut.[13]

Subsequent to this war, the English stepped up efforts to convert the Indians to Christianity and to the European way of life; for example, the English tried to force the Indians to wear English clothes and live in English-style houses, to discontinue such cultural practices as the segregation of menstruating women, etc. The best known missionary to the Indians is the Reverend John Eliot, who established the so-called "Praying Towns" for Indian converts in the Massachusetts area. Following suit, Richard Bourne converted the Wampanoags living near him at Mashpee on Cape Cod; their town, founded in 1665, survived the longest of any, to become the site of controversy during Apess' time and surviving amid controversy to the present day.[14] Mashpee's survival beyond the seventeenth century was due in part to the fact that its location placed it out of the main path of conflict in the larger war that occurred between the English settlers and the local Indians near the end of the century. This was the same war that swept away most of the other "Praying Towns," and the war now identified by the name the English gave to the Indians' leader: King Philip's War.

Philip, whose Indian name was Metacomet, inherited his leadership position from his father, Massasoit, who died around 1660. The continuing growth of the English colonies and various cultural conflicts among the peoples resulted in the outbreak of hostilities in 1675. Although by this time the English had about 50 permanent settlements in New England, they were still outnumbered by the Indian population that lived around and among them. Fearful of the prospect of the various tribes uniting to drive them out, they initiated a preemptive strike against the strongest band in the region, under King Philip, and the fighting soon spread. Historians disagree about the extent to which Philip was able to effect an alliance of the local tribes. Even those who fought with him could not be said to have fought for him, as if he were a commander-in-chief; and many other Indians fought for the English. At first the Indians fighting against the English achieved considerable success, and as noted above, inflicted casualties at a higher proportional rate than in any other American war. But the Indians also experienced terrible casualties. By the spring of 1676, Philip's band, decimated and with other tribal allies falling away or turning against them, were trapped in their home village. An Indian fighting for the English killed Philip, and his body was dismembered, with different parts being distributed among the English settlements as trophies for the victors and as warnings to the few Indians who could still be found in the vicinity.[15]

After this war, many Indians headed west out of New England. Of those remaining, the Christian Indians were not able to sustain many of their towns, and English interest in missionizing among the Indians waned. Small reservations were created for the surviving tribes that continue to this day, when the Pequots in Connecticut have enjoyed a resurgence in their fortunes due to the success of the casinos they built on their land. With some of the profits, they have created an excellent museum of New England Indian culture at Foxwoods.[16]

 

Indian Historical and Political Contexts for the Eulogy: The U.S. 1830s

 

Apess' activism on behalf of New England Indians emerged in a context of increasing agitation over Indian rights throughout the United States. If by his day the New England tribes had been pushed to the margins of society and intermingled with other people of color, elsewhere in North America powerful autonomous Indian groups still engaged in vigorous struggle against White Americans' encroachments. The most visible of these conflicts involved the Cherokee people of Georgia.

In the early nineteenth century, the most active frontier for White expansion lay in the lower South, home to several tribes who had established large towns and extensive farms there. White settlers wanted these tribes removed, and military leader Andrew Jackson led successful campaigns against the Creeks and Seminoles, soon forcing treaties that surrendered most of what are now the states of Alabama and Florida, and parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The tribes in this region, which also included the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee, tried by various means to hold onto their land. The Cherokee were the most aggressive in seeking redress through American courts, and in 1831 they won an important victory in the U. S. Supreme Court, affirming their right to self-government as an independent nation. Jackson, however, who had just been elected president, refused to enforce this decision. Instead, anticipating it, in 1830 he rushed through Congress the Indian Removal Act, which empowered him to negotiate treaties in which the southern tribes gave up their lands in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi River, to which they were to move immediately. Indians could opt to remain where they were and become citizens of the states carved out of their land, but they then received no protection against land-hungry Whites.

Under this pressure, most Choctaws moved west without a battle, having signed a removal treaty in 1830. The Creeks signed a treaty in 1832 that was supposed to divide their former territory between them and White settlers, but the government did not protect them against subsequent White encroachment and, with retaliatory violence escalating, removed them by military force in 1836-1837. The Chickasaws signed a removal treaty in 1832 and moved west in 1837-1838, but they never received all the land they were promised. Although a small group of Seminoles signed a removal treaty in 1833, most vowed to stay and fight, and they did so in three costly wars lasting until 1858 when most of those remaining accepted payment to move west. A small group of Cherokees also signed a removal treaty in 1833, but this agreement was loudly protested by the great majority of the Cherokee and their tribal leaders. Nevertheless, the U. S. Supreme Court ratified this treaty in 1836 and gave the Cherokee two years to move west on their own. Most did not; and so they were driven out at gunpoint by U. S. troops in 1838 and sent on the now-infamous "Trail of Tears" to the Oklahoma territory. During that forced march, 4,000 Cherokees died.[17]

As Maureen Konkle has explained, the removal process threw into high relief a number of conundrums involved in White relations with Indian tribes. English settlers in the region that would become the United States, and the new nation itself, made far more treaties with native peoples than English settlers did in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.[18] Treaty-making served the political needs of both European and Indian groups, as a treaty could be seen as ratifying a group's right to control particular territory against other claimants. For the Europeans, however, regarding a treaty with Indians as binding required not only that the Indians be regarded as rational beings fully capable in law of consenting to the agreement but that their tribes be regarded as sovereign political entities. When abrogating treaties with Indians later became expedient for the immigrants, several strategies were employed. One was to invoke the so-called right of “vacuum domicilium,” which proclaimed that regardless of any treaty agreements, the Indians’ right to the land was forfeit because they did not “improve” it with European-style cultivation and building. This doctrine could hardly be invoked in the case of the so-called "Five Civilized Tribes" in the South, who had well-organized towns, abundant farms, and even a written language.[19] Another strategy was to claim that Indians were rational, but also inferior--with just enough legal agency to place themselves under the control of the superior White race. It was assumed that they would then die out, unable to compete with the superior race and allowing for that superior race to demonstrate its heightened sensibilities by feeling sorry for them.

It was not lost on Northern abolitionists that many of these issues resembled those raised in discussion about whether people of African descent could be responsible for themselves. Considerable sentiment on behalf of the "Five Civilized Tribes" arose in the North. Apess had been active on the tribes' behalf, speaking at a rally for them in 1832. Perhaps it occurred to him then that this was an opportune time to remind New Englanders, by eulogizing a local leader of Indian resistance, that they still had their own Indian population in need of redress.[20] Defiantly, he chose to deliver the Eulogy first on a date associated with the enemy of the Cherokee, Andrew Jackson.[21] Konkle cites historian James Brewer Stewart on the growth in the U.S. during 1820-1840 of racial theories positing the existence of "'superior and inferior races as uniform, biologically determined, self-evident, naturalized, immutable 'truths.'"[22] Sensing this trend, Apess worked against it.

 

The Eulogy as a (Native) American Jeremiad

 

Apess pursued this advocacy by using a literary form of traditional and deep religious importance to the Puritan-descended White audiences he confronted in New England, namely what American literature scholar Sacvan Bercovitch has called the "American jeremiad." Bercovitch distinguishes between the European jeremiad, ultimately derived from the prophet Jeremiah in the Bible, and what English Puritans made of this genre in their New World. A jeremiad typically invokes the audience's cherished values and prophesies dire consequences for the community if these values are not acted upon. According to Bercovitch, however, the European jeremiad prophesies disaster without holding out much hope that reform and salvation can actually happen. The status quo is ultimately reinforced. The American jeremiad, in contrast, he argues, clearly intends to spur people to action and imagines that a better civil state can be achieved. As Bercovitch summarizes this point:

 

The European jeremiad developed within a static hierarchical order; the lessons it taught, about historical recurrence and the vanity of human wishes, amounted to a massive ritual reinforcement of tradition. Its function was to make social practice conform to a completed and perfected social idea. The American Puritan jeremiad was the ritual of a culture on an errand--which is to say, a culture based on a faith in process. Substituting teleology for hierarchy, it discarded the Old World ideal of stasis for a New World vision of the future. Its function was to create a climate of anxiety that helped release the restless "progressivist" energies required for the success of the venture.[23]

 

Apess was well read in Puritan literature, as the references in the Eulogy reveal. Indeed, he makes detailed strategic use of his knowledge of Puritan historical archives.[24] Thus Apess would have been aware of the "errand" that Bercovitch discusses above, the Puritans' sense of their own mission to found a superior society. Moreover, he made use not only of the content of Puritan historical writings but also of their rhetorical techniques, adapting these for Indian purposes. As a Christian, Apess would have shared the most universally applicable of Puritan ideals--and as an American, he would have shared their faith that society could move toward these ideals. At the same time, as an Indian, Apess was in a good position to know how far short of these ideals New England society had fallen. He was thus strategically located culturally to turn the American jeremiad genre to Indian interests, using "mixedblood" rhetoric.[25]

The Eulogy on King Philip was first delivered as a public lecture in Boston in January 1836 and published later that same year. Apess' modern editor O'Connell has not been able to discover much information about why this speech was given. Apparently Apess was not sponsored by any activist group, as abolition speakers often were, but simply decided to hire the hall and give the address on his own. We do know that he had read drafts of some portions of this address at Mashpee while inspiring the people there to protest against their White overseers and minister, and newspaper notices about the speech suggest that its contemporary audience saw it primarily as a protest against exploitative missionary efforts.[26] Certainly Apess had denounced the Mashpees' White minister as an exploiter, and he was involved for much of his adult life in controversy about religious authority, having himself experienced some difficulty in getting ordained and having expressed strong views on the need for Indians to be served by Indian ministers.

In the Eulogy, Apess raises the whole question of religious authority to a broader plane, in an argument about European Americans' understanding of what they were doing in New England. In other words, he plays upon the very premises of the American jeremiad described by Bercovitch: this immigrant community wished to believe that it was engaged in God's work and constantly, anxiously looked for signs that it was doing right by God. Apess uses the very narratives that the early English settlers constructed to convince themselves of their rightness, to demonstrate how very wrong they were and how terrible the consequences of their actions have been not only for Indians, but for all Americans.

To fully appreciate the Eulogy, it helps to be as well read in Puritan literature as Apess was. Evidently he knew not only such well-known authors as William Bradford and Increase Mather, but also more obscure texts such as Mourt's Relation and Benjamin Church's account of King Philip's War. Demonstrating his literacy--and even more, his learning--is of course a strategy to legitimate his critical voice.[27] The basic structure of his essay is a chronological tour through early New England history, from English-Indian contacts before settlement began to King Philip's War and its aftermath. He cites episode after episode from the White accounts, and then gives a revisionist Indian version. For example, Apess reviews a passage from Bradford in which the English make a night raid on an Indian dwelling in search of an Indian man who had supposedly threatened their ally Tisquantum, or Squanto. Bradford's own account reports that no one was found at the house but some women and children who fled when the English opened fire. Apess emphasizes that Bradford's own account calls into serious question Bradford's claim that this dwelling sheltered anyone posing any threat to the English: "Now, it is doubtless the case that these females never saw a white man before, or ever heard a gun fired. It must have sounded to them like the rumbling of thunder, and terror must certainly have filled their hearts"(17)[28] . This picture of the Indian women's terror gives a very different cast to the episode than Bradford's attempt to emphasize the courage of the English men venturing into the woods after dark.

To give another example from a later point in history, Apess takes up the claim, cited in many English accounts, that the Indians made war with unusual ferocity, thus justifying genocidal measures against them. To refute this claim, Apess uses the captivity narrative of Mary Rowlandson. Apess implies that it is not the Indians who are ferocious and cruel, but the English, who, far from entertaining their female captives politely, rape them, unlike the Indians. He points out:

 

Mrs. Rowlandson, although speaking with bitterness sometimes of the Indians, yet in her journal she speaks not a word against him. Philip even hires her to work for him and pays her for her work, and then invites her to dine with him and to smoke with him. . . . Was it known that [the English] received any of their female captives into their houses and fed them? No, it cannot be found upon history. Were not the [English] females completely safe, and none of them were violated, as they acknowledge themselves? But was it so when the Indian women fell into the hands of the Pilgrims? (52-53)

 

One final example of Apess' reinterpretation of European American history can be taken from his treatment of Benjamin Church's account of the death of King Philip. Church rather gleefully relates that after Philip's death, Church and his soldiers chopped up the body and distributed the parts, the head being put on display in Plymouth and one hand in Boston. Apess calls this a "savage triumph," (57) deplores the denial of a decent burial to Philip, and points out that "no such evil conduct is recorded of the Indians" (58).

Obviously, Apess' revisionist history is intended to undermine English claims that they were doing God's work in attempting to exterminate the Indians. Apess is not content to let this refutation remain merely an implication, however. He repeatedly directly attacks the English religious interpretation of history. For example, Apess cites Increase Mather:

 

... he says, during the bloody contest [King Philip's War] the pious fathers wrestled hard and long with their God, in prayer, that he would prosper their arms and deliver their enemies into their hands. And when upon stated days of prayer the Indians got the advantage, it was considered as a rebuke of divine providence…. (58)

 

Of these days of "rebuke," Apess remarks ironically, "We suppose the Indian prayed best then" (58). His undercutting goes further, however, just a few lines later, when he quotes Mather to the effect that when Philip died, the English had "'prayed the bullet through his heart'" (58). Apess again uses wry humor, begging to "be excused" from being the recipient of such blasphemous prayers, and then denouncing the interpretation outright, on biblical authority:

 

If I had any faith in such prayers, I should begin to think that soon we should all be gone. However, if this is the way they pray, that is, bullets through people's hearts, I hope they will not pray for me; I should rather be excused. But to say the least, there is no excuse for their ignorance how to treat their enemies and pray for them. If the Doctor and his people had only turned to the 23rd of Luke, and the 34th verse, and heard the words of their Master, whom they pretend to follow, they would see that their course did utterly condemn them…. (58)

 

And Apess then cites several biblical texts on the need to forgive one's enemies and pray for their welfare. The damning point, from the perspective of the American jeremiad, is that in Christian terms the English actions are not justified: "their course did utterly condemn them." Furthermore, if God actually favored such prayers, as Apess ironically observes, God would have removed all the Indians by that time—his very presence, however, refutes that claim.

Apess fulfills his function as a (Native) American Jeremiah by linking these past evil deeds to evils of the present day: "I do not hesitate to say that through the prayers, preaching, and examples of those pretended pious has been the foundation of all the slavery and degradation in the American colonies toward colored people" (59). The fundamental abandonment of cherished values--claiming to be Christian and yet treating others in a most un-Christian fashion--has had, and still has, dire consequences. If the Indians were the enemies of the English, Christianity nevertheless dictates that enemies are to be treated very differently from how the Puritans behaved. And other people of color who have been persecuted by the European Americans--such as the enslaved African Americans, to whom Apess makes frequent reference--can hardly be construed as enemies. They never raised arms against the English before they were kidnapped and enslaved. Apess accuses his White American contemporaries of maintaining the Puritan legacy of prejudice and hatred:

 

Christians, can you answer for those beings that have been destroyed by your hostilities, and beings too that lie endeared to God as yourselves, his Son being their Savior as well as yours, and alike to all men? And will you presume to say that you are executing the judgments of God by so doing, or as many really are approving the works of their fathers to be genuine, as it is certain that every time they celebrate the day of the Pilgrims they do? Although in words they deny it, yet in the works they approve of the iniquities of their fathers. And as the seed of iniquity and prejudice was sown in that day, so it still remains…. (21)

 

Examples of the "works" to which Apess refers here are dotted throughout the Eulogy, but especially clustered at the end, where contemporary instances of prejudice are cited, ranging from racial slights that Apess himself has endured to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their lands in Georgia and the murder of Indians who had allied themselves with the English, such as the family of Chief Logan.

The retribution threatened for such crimes, from Apess' point of view, will come from divine displeasure. The very terms of the American jeremiad guarantee it, if the European settlers have indeed violated divine will as atrociously as Apess argues that they have. But Apess suggests that evil consequences will take a political form as well, affecting U.S. democracy. He hints at a dissolution of the political compact by announcing that people of color cannot celebrate holidays central to the U.S. identity, the day the Pilgrims landed and the day the Declaration of Independence was signed[29]:

 

... let the day be dark, the 22nd day of December 1622; let it be forgotten in your celebration, in your speeches, and by the burying of the rock that your fathers first put their foot upon. For be it remembered, although the Gospel is said to be glad tidings to all people, yet we poor Indians never have found those who brought it as messengers of mercy, but contrawise. We say, therefore, let every man of color wrap himself in mourning, for the 22nd of December and the 4th of July are days of mourning and not of joy. (20)

 

These holidays are characterized by Apess as "your" days, not "ours," a technique of distancing to be found in abolition oratory such as Frederick Douglass' 1852 address "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" Apess insists on making common cause, both religiously and politically, with other people of color, calling here not only on Indians but on "every man of color" to question his participation in the American body politic. Apess invokes the spectre of race warfare, a deadly threat to American political ideals. Abolition literature of the day often promised a dire retribution for White participation in the monstrous crime of slavery. Apess may well have known, for example, African American David Walker's Appeal . . . to the Coloured Citizens of the World, published in Boston in 1829, which concludes with a ringing denunciation of White American hypocrisy and a promise of Divine retribution. Apess takes such threats one step further, subtly invoking the spectre of retribution in this world by the victims themselves, and making common cause among all people of color, as writers against the enslavement of African Americans seldom did. Presumably the more people who can be enlisted in the army of retribution, the more powerful and terrible it will be.

As Bercovitch points out, the American jeremiad cannot end simply with predictions of disaster (even if they are comfortably vague as to time of arrival). There must be some spur to action in the present day, some hope that reform can come and avert the wrath of both God and human beings. Apess does not omit this step from his jeremiad, concluding with mention of the White people who have already spoken up for Indian rights. However, they are a "minority" of people whose "feeble voice" is hardly enough to quench the flames of prejudice:

 

What, then, is to be done? Let every friend of the Indians now seize the mantle of Liberty and throw it over those burning elements that has spread with such fearful rapidity, and at once extinguish them forever. It is true that now and then a feeble voice has been raised in our favor. Yes, we might speak of distinguished men, but they fall so far short in the minority that it is heard but at a small distance. We want trumpets that sound like thunder, and men to act as though they were going at war with those corrupt and degrading principles that robs one of all rights, merely because he is ignorant and of a little different color. Let us have principles that will give everyone his due; and then shall wars cease, and the weary find rest. (65)

 

Again, the spectre of war is raised, almost overpowering any hope that might be gleaned from the image of the few, feeble defenders of the Indians. Nevertheless, Apess' final words in the Eulogy do appear to forgive White people for their crimes against people of color and to hold out the prospect of peace for those who renounce earlier crimes of prejudice:

 

. . you and I have to rejoice that we have not to answer for our fathers' crimes; neither shall we do right to charge them one to another. We can only regret it, and flee from it; and from henceforth, let peace and righteousness be written upon our hearts and hands forever, is the wish of a poor Indian. (72)

 

Although he has just been doing so at length, Apess promises now not to charge the crimes of the Whites' ancestors against them. He offers the possibility of going on from here with a better mutual understanding.

 

Apess' "Mixedblood" Rhetoric

 

Are Apess' final words shockingly out of character? Why does he describe himself, seemingly pathetically, as a "poor Indian," after he has just spent many pages denouncing White crimes most vigorously? Of course, Apess likes wry humor, and this could be another example of it. Or, perhaps, this is an instance of a different rhetorical strategy, an attempt to placate the White audience or at least, perhaps, to disarm some of the alarm they may be feeling at being addressed so forthrightly by a man of color, alarm that if unmoderated, might lead them to reject his message. No doubt Apess was ironically aware that "Sympathy for Indians was a well-developed discourse by the early 1830s, the correct moral position for U.S. elite intellectuals to espouse."[30] In short, this strategy might be seen as one of the techniques that qualifies the Eulogy as "mixedblood rhetoric."

We can get a sense of the complex rhetorical situation Apess faced from an eyewitness account of his oratory on behalf of the Cherokee nation. Louisa Jane Park, a well-to-do young White woman, was present in the hall in April 1832, accompanied by several younger women friends. She reports that one of them was very disappointed not to see "'a real wild Indian with his hair streaming down his back, a tomahawk in his hand, and a wampum belt, making a speech to us in Cherokee.'"[31] This is not what Park was looking for, and she was pleased by the oratory of Apess, comparing him favorably with the other Indian speaker that evening, Elias Boudinot:

 

The other of our "red brethren" mounted the pulpit stairs as [Boudinot] descended, and his "palaver" seemed to hit the taste of the audience more decidedly. He was dressed like his companion, and at the distance I was, both resembled Mr. Sam Houston!--begging his pardon for comparing him to savages. We now had a few tropes and metaphors, which never failed of applause; some of them were manifestly claptraps; but on the whole I was both surprised and pleased. This man was evidently not quite so well educated, had not the same familiarity with choice language, and was not so civilized as his companion, but there was more native eloquence in his address; his earnestness was evidently sincere, and I felt the difference between hearing an actor on the stage, or even a lawyer defending a client--and listening to a patriot engaged bona fide, with all his heart and soul, in stating the wrongs and pleading the cause of his oppressed country. He was sometimes vehement--and Gen. Jackson had one or two side-knocks, to my great satisfaction.[32]

 

Since she is pleased to hear Jackson attacked, Park evidently regards herself as a supporter of Indian rights. Yet a modern reader hears great condescension in her consumerist view of Apess on the platform. She wishes to be "pleased" and is "surprised" to be so. She comments critically on the "savage's" dress--not like a "real wild Indian"--and the level of "civilization" manifested in his rhetoric, as if such refinement was not to be expected. The lack of polish, however, apparently contributes to the power she feels in his "native eloquence" (emphasis added). Evidently, it is to Apess' advantage not to appear too literate.[33]

Since a similar audience was probably in place when Apess delivered the Eulogy he had to tailor his "mixedblood" rhetoric to appear refined and yet also "native." Apess represents an Indian viewpoint here on New England history, the Christian religion, and the prospects of American democracy. He inserts Indian cultural material directly into the essay as well, both by repeating a speech of Philip's in English translation and by providing a version of the Lord's Prayer in Algonquian.[34] At the same time, this linguistic mixing is illustrative of the contact zone in which he finds himself--a text originally in Algonquian is rendered in English, and a text originally from an English Bible in Algonquian. Of course, the entire Eulogy, except for the prayer just mentioned, is in English, and Apess even uses the English name for his subject, calling him King Philip rather than Metacomet. When he wishes to praise Philip most superlatively, he compares him to George Washington (1), an allusion that his intended White audience will presumably understand. He flatters English sensibilities by demonstrating his familiarity with English history. Although at times threatening violent retribution for White crimes, he usually wraps himself in a mantle of Christian pacifism or the humble guise of a "poor Indian" (20). If we agree with Scott Lyons and Bernd Peyer, we can see that this "mixing" does not constitute adulteration or some sort of "selling out." Rather, it comprises immensely creative rhetorical strategies for enforcing an Indian perspective in contested cultural space, in which Indians are at a political and cultural disadvantage. In short, Apess' rhetoric is an example of what mixedblood rhetorician Malea Powell calls the rhetoric of "survivance"--a discourse that enables resistance while attending to survival.[35] To forbid such adaptive techniques, it seems to me, would be to imitate the Puritans who thought they could pray the Indians out of existence. "We're still here," says Apess, in effect, and still here because Indian culture has developed and changed through contact with the English and other immigrant cultures. Without such change, yes, the culture would die. William Apess' oration shows how that does not need to happen.

 

The Eulogy on King Philip: Legacies

 

Since Indians, indeed, did not die out as many Whites expected, the U.S. government's attempts to eradicate Indian culture have been ongoing. In 1871, Congress announced that no more treaties would be made with Indian tribes--thus implicitly weakening the force of treaties already made. In 1887, the Dawes Allotment Act forcibly distributed reservation land, which had been held in common, to individual Indian families, thereby undermining tribal governments. Indians were declared citizens of the United States in 1924--thus erasing their identities as citizens of sovereign Indian nations. From the mid-1930s through the 1960s, the U.S. government repeatedly redefined and increasingly restricted what counted as an officially recognized tribe, an Indian group with whom the government had to deal, and whose treaty rights had to be respected. At the same time, education provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs attempted to stamp out Indian languages and customs. Gradually Indian resistance to these policies gained strength, resulting in the Indian rights movement of the late twentieth century and up to this day.[36]

The work of William Apess has been and remains relevant to these centuries of struggle. Like the Pequots, from whom he traces one strand of his heritage, tribes today struggle to maintain their legal identity against government policies that would declare them to be non-existent. Asserting tribal identity has serious consequences for the local and federal political power the tribes can wield and the economic resources, including natural resources such as fish runs, to which they have access. As they fight these battles, like Apess himself, Indian activists today sometimes have to contend with external strategies that constitute authentic "Indian-ness." And to prevail in these battles, many people of Indian descent today, like Apess, work to control their own educations and to develop their own rhetorical discourses. Indeed, this is a motive for the creation of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., largely designed by Indian people. Its placement, adjacent to the National Mall, thus asserts native people's important location in the national story.[37]

Apess' rhetoric has been important to these processes of resistance. Konkle points out that Apess not only inspired Indian resistance during his own day at Mashpee, but also guided later activists as well: for example, Nicholson Parker and Ely Parker (Seneca) "read Apess' Eulogy on King Philip as schoolboys and took it as a rhetorical model."[38] How so? Certainly, it was important that Apess studied both dominant and alternative cultural accounts of what had happened in his homeland, to his kin and their neighbors. It was important that Apess reached out for more education than his society was willing to offer him. Konkle is eloquent on the value of this research:

 

The maps of the United States and the world that were listed in the inventory of [Apess'] library reinforce an understanding of Apess as an intellectual, as someone who thought of himself and other Native peoples in relation to the rest of the world and in relation to other histories in the wake of European colonialism and imperialism. He had to understand those relations in order to understand what had happened to Native peoples and how they were supposed to go forward from where they were, politically, economically, even geographically.[39]

 

Konkle's evaluation, however, tends to suggest that Apess' research enabled him to see the "truth" about the situation of American Indians and other oppressed peoples of color. She seems to suggest that his research enabled him to reject the dominant accounts as entirely wrong and embrace the alternative accounts as entirely right. A more nuanced view of Apess' practice, however, would suggest that he compared the different accounts to which he had access and evaluated them in light of each other, for what they revealed about both the past and the present. He can be seen doing this in the Eulogy, partisan as it is. For example, while attacking Bradford's account of who was actually in danger during the night raid on behalf of Squanto (52-53), he uses Rowlandson's narrative as accurate testimony that the Indians did not rape their female captives (52).

Not the least important thing such comparative work revealed about Apess' own day was some sense of how his White audiences came by their racial and political attitudes, and how he could glean cultural references that they would recognize for his arguments on behalf of peoples of color. In other words, he used it to bolster a mixedblood rhetorical perspective. This rhetoric of survivance is highly pragmatic, grasping at almost any rhetorical tool in order to put across the message, while never losing sight of the high ideals of human rights for which the battle is fought. Apess' touchstone for these higher values was his Christian faith, a faith that has served a similar purpose for other activists up to the present day--most notably, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Moreover, the higher values, which may be held by many people across different racial and religious groups, help to foster an equally important element of Apess' vision, his commitment to making common cause among all people of color, and indeed, among all oppressed groups. His more global historical perspective encouraged him in this view, as well as his own culturally and racially mixed heritage. As Barry O'Connell has observed, Apess' perspective is startlingly current: "This voice, and the consciousness of the nature of Euro-American racism it expresses, could have been heard in the 1960s or 1970s, possibly in the 1990s," yet surprisingly, Apess' views are expressed "in the first third of the nineteenth century and in New England."[40]

 

Last updated: October 2006

 

Patricia Bizzell is Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, where she teaches American literature, composition, and rhetoric. Among her publications are a collection of her essays, Academic Discourse and Critical Consciousness, and an anthology of readings in rhetorical theory prepared with Bruce Herzberg, The Rhetorical Tradition. She wishes to thank Wendy Hayden for substantial research and technical support in the production of this VOD unit.



[1] Maureen Konkle, Writing Indian Nations: Native Intellectuals and the Politics of Historiography, 1827-1863 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 153.

[2] References pertaining to the jeremiad and mixedblood rhetoric will appear where they are discussed at greater length in this essay. Please note: throughout this essay, I will use the term "Indian" to refer to the native people of North America because this is the term that Apess preferred. There is much disagreement, however, and even controversy, about what names to apply to the native people of North America. One's choice should always be carefully considered and justified.

[3] These mixed strands in Apess' own heritage may help to explain why he sometimes mis-identifies King Philip as a Pequot, when he was in fact a Wampanoag. Roumiana Velikova has examined these various tribal identifications of Philip, and she traces the error to one of Apess' sources, Elias Boudinot. She also says that "claiming a specific kind of ancestor in King Philip may have been of immediate practical importance to Apess" both to express solidarity with the Wampanoag band at Mashpee (whose relations with Apess are discussed here) and to capitalize on the Romantic glamour attaching to Philip in some of Apess's contemporary White writers' accounts (in Roumiana Velikova, "'Philip, King of the Pequots': History of an Error," Early American Literature 37 (2002): 331.

[4] Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 134.

[5] Historian Russell Bourne says that the colonists' casualties represented "the greatest loss, proportionally, that Americans would ever suffer in 350 years of colonial and national history," and he asserts, "Not for one hundred years would New England again achieve its pre-1675 level of prosperity." See The Red King's Rebellion: Racial Politics in New England, 1675-1678 (New York: Atheneum, 1990), 242.

[6] For biographical information on Apess, see Barry O'Connell, "Introduction," in William Apess, On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, A Pequot, Barry O'Connell, ed. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992), xxiv-xxxviii, and Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 106 passim; Konkle corrects some lacunae and errors in O'Connell's account, such as the story that Apess died of alcoholism. For more on Apess' attraction to Methodism, see Sandra Gustafson, "Nations of Israelites: Prophecy and Cultural Autonomy in the Writings of William Apess," Religion and Literature 26 (Spring 1994), 32-33; and Karim M. Tiro, "Denominated 'SAVAGE': Methodism, Writing, and Identity in the Works of William Apess, A Pequot," American Quarterly 48 (December 1996): 653-679.

[7] Konkle is particularly trenchant in critiquing the sentimental and ahistorical in views of Indians (see Writing Indian Nations, 1-3, 30-31). She indicts Bernd Peyer for these errors, I believe incorrectly, although space does not permit me to engage the argument here. Many references could be given on the topic of the transcultural individual. This form of mixed cultural experience has been discussed in scholarship on the effects of colonialism, and on the cultural identities of people of color in the United States. Particularly influential on my own thinking have been Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987); Victor Villanueva, Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color (Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1993); and bell hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black (Boston: South End Press, 1989). I have chosen to cite here Bernd Peyer, The Tutor'd Mind: Indian Missionary-Writers in Antebellum America (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997). His opening chapter, "The Indian Writer and the Colonial Situation," provides an overview of scholarship that draws together various strands on the topic of the transcultural individual and applies them specifically, not only to American Indians in general, but to the Indians of New England in particular. It is important to remember that when Apess was born, New England had already been a site of cultural mixing for over 150 years. Peyer is especially helpful in establishing this context.

[8] Peyer, The Tutor'd Mind, 17.

[9] Peyer, The Tutor'd Mind, 17.

[10] Peyer, The Tutor'd Mind, 16.

[11] Mary Louise Pratt, "Arts of the Contact Zone," Profession 91 (1991): 34.

[12] Scott Lyons, "A Captivity Narrative: Indians, Mixedbloods, and 'White' Academe," in Outbursts in Academe: Multiculturalism and Other Sources of Conflict, Kathleen Dixon, ed. (Portsmouth, NH: Boyton/Cook-Heinemann, 1998).

[13] On the early history of Indian-European relations in New England and the Pequot War, which is too complex to be detailed in the space available here, see James Axtell, The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); Alfred A. Cave, The Pequot War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996); William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983); and Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982).

[14] On English attempts to force an English way of life on Indians, see the rules drawn up for the Praying Indian town of Concord, Massachusetts in Alden Vaughan, New England Frontier: 1620-1675, 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 1965/1979), 346-347. On the history of Mashpee from colonial times to the present, see Francis Hutchins, Mashpee: The Story of Cape Cod's Indian Town (West Franklin, NH: Amarta Press, 1979), and Russell Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag), The Wampanoags of Mashpee (Somerville, MA: Nimrod Press, 1987).

[15] On King Philip's War and its aftermath, see Russell Bourne, The Red King's Rebellion: Racial Politics in New England, 1675-1678 (New York: Atheneum, 1990), and Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (New York: Knopf, 1998).

[16] The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Resource Center has a very informative website, www.pequotmuseum.org.

[17] For a basic timeline of the removal of the "Five Civilized Tribes," the text of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and more, see "Indian Removal Act, The Trail of Tears," at http://www.historicaldocuments.com/indianremovalact.htm. The Cherokee resistance is also discussed extensively in Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 42-96.

[18] Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 3.

[19] The right of "vacuum domicilium" was invoked to justify English occupation not when the land was empty of people--as North America obviously was not--but when it was empty of "improvements" such as permanent towns and fenced fields for crops and domesticated livestock. New England Indians did indeed make use of their natural environment in systematic ways, but not in these ways, the only ways Europeans recognized (for more on these cultural differences in land use, see Cronon, Changes in the Land, and Lepore, The Name of War). Because Cherokee land use practices more closely resembled those recognized by European Americans, "vacuum domicilium" could not plausibly be used to dispossess them.

[20] Konkle describes this occasion (Writing Indian Nations, 97-99). She also cites a review of Apess' book on the Mashpee protest that suggests this point was not lost upon his contemporary readers: "Mr. A. proves very clearly, that the Marshpees have been most shamefully abused and neglected, and that while our far-reaching philanthropists were weeping over the fate of 'the poor Cherokees,' they were guilty of grosser injustice toward the Indians of their own State…." (from Boston Morning Post, 19 June 1835, emphasis in original; quoted in Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 310).

[21] On 8 January 1815 Jackson had defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans, and the anniversary of this victory was widely celebrated at the time (Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 131-132).

[22] Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 16-17. The main thrust of Konkle's analysis of Apess' oeuvre in Chapter Two of Writing Indian Nations is to show how he resisted this racialized discourse.

[23] Sacvan Berkovitch, The American Jeremiad (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978), 23. Gustafson has discussed how Apess's development of a "prophetic voice" played upon the millennialism rampant among American Protestants in the late 1820s ("Nations of Israelites," 37, 43). Deborah Gussman discusses Apess posture as a "Native American Jeremiah" in "'O Savage, Where Art Thou?': Rhetorics of Reform in William Apess's Eulogy on King Philip," New England Quarterly 67 (September 2004), 463-467. She also draws heavily on Bercovitch's work; but I wrote my essay before reading hers. See also Patricia Bizzell, "(Native) American Jeremiad: The 'Mixedblood' Rhetoric of William Apess," in American Indian Rhetorics of Survivance: Word Medicine, Word Magic, Ernest Stromberg, ed. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006).

[24] See Patricia Bizzell, "The 4th of July and the 22nd of December: The Function of Cultural Archives in Persuasion as Shown by Frederick Douglass and William Apess" (College Composition and Communication 48 [February 1997]: 44-60).

[25] Literary scholar Cheryl Walker has also noted the "hybrid" quality of Apess' writing in Indian Nation: Native American Literature and Nineteenth-Century Nationalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), 41. She argues that he attempts to reinterpret American history and claim a place for Indians in a truly democratic nation. I believe her analysis is actually closer to Maureen Konkle's position that Konkle's critique of her work contends, although space does not permit me to engage the argument here. Walker discusses both "An Indian's Looking Glass for the White Man" and the Eulogy on King Philip, and provides helpful bibliography.

[26] O'Connell, headnote, On Our Own Ground, 275.

[27] See Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 108. This strategy was also a well-known tool, needed for similar reasons, of African American writers, whether born free or escaped from slavery. Be it noted that Apess probably did not read all the European American sources in the original; he took much information from Samuel Gardner Drake's Biography and History of the Indians of North America, which went through several editions in the 1830s (see Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 135-136). Konkle points out that Drake and other contemporary European American historians did not entirely demonize King Philip. They accorded him some heroic qualities, but presented an over-all picture of a doomed savage, quite unlike the national leader on a par with George Washington who appears in Apess' Eulogy.

[28] Apess' Eulogy on King Philip is reprinted in On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, A Pequot, Barry O’Connell, ed. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992). All of the remaining passages from Apess' January 8 and January 26, 1836, speech in Boston are cited with reference to paragraph numbers in the text of the speech that accompanies this essay.

[29] Apess makes a slip of the pen here in giving the date that the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock as 1622; elsewhere in the Eulogy, he gives the correct year of 1620. The exact date of the Pilgrims' first landing at Plymouth is difficult to determine, since, among other obstacles, William Bradford used a different calendar from that employed today, but the historical consensus is that it occurred around 21 or 22 December. The tradition that the Pilgrims did indeed land on Plymouth Rock is now disputed, but the rock in question remains a potent symbol, and today it is buried every Thanksgiving by Indians protesting the dominant sanitized account of New England's English settlement and on-going discrimination against Indians.

[30] Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 24. Konkle makes clear that this "sympathy" was sentimental and comfortably directed only toward Indians who were far away either geographically (such as the Cherokees) or chronologically (such as the Pequots and Wampanoags involved in King Philip's War--conveniently ignoring the Pequots and Wampanoags who still lived--and live--in New England).

[31] Quoted in Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 99.

[32] Quoted in Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 99.

[33] The great nineteenth-century African American intellectual and former slave, Frederick Douglass, also had to make some choices relative to this rhetorical strategy. In the second edition of his autobiography, he describes how he eventually decided to disregard the advice of white abolitionists that he should just "'tell your story,'" and "'Better have a little of the plantation manner of speech than not; 'tis not best that you seem too learned'"; quoted by Douglass in My Bondage and My Freedom (1855; rpt. in Frederick Douglass, The Oxford Frederick Douglass Reader, William L. Andrews, ed. [New York: Oxford University Press, 1996], 214).

[34] I agree with Gussman's speculation (in "'O Savage, Where Art Thou?'," 458) that Philip's speech, although including some obviously disparate and "literary" elements, such as the reference to buffalo, seldom seen in New England, may have been drawn in substance from New England Indian oral tradition to which Apess had access.

[35] Malea Powell, "Listening to Ghosts: An Alternative (Non)Argument," in ALT DIS: Alternative Discourses and the Academy, Christopher Schroeder, Helen Fox, and Patricia Bizzell, eds. (Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook-Heinemann, 2002.)

[36] See Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 8, 26. Also, for a brief history of Indian legal relations with the U. S. government and an outline of their legal status today, see Stephen L. Pevar, The Rights of Indians and Tribes: The Basic ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights, 2nd edition (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992).

[37] The National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institute, can be explored at its website: www.nmai.si.edu.

[38] Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 292-293.

[39] Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, 156-157.

[40] O'Connell, "Introduction," On Our Own Ground, xiii.