Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America

Nicole Eustace. Liveright, $28.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63149-587-8
NYU history professor Eustace (1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism) delivers an immersive account of the fallout from the 1722 killing of a Seneca Indian hunter by two white fur traders in Pennsylvania. Eustace describes how the assault sparked fears of an all-out war between colonists and the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee, and details months of intense negotiations resulting in the still-recognized Albany Treaty of 1722. She draws a sharp contrast between Indigenous principles of justice, which sought “emotional reconciliation and economic restitution for the resolution of crimes,” and Pennsylvania’s strict new penal code, which required the suspects to be imprisoned and executed if found guilty. Eustace also delves into Indigenous concepts of land ownership and the prominent role of women within the Five Nations; explores the rift between the Quaker founders of Pennsylvania and later Anglican settlers; and notes that the Albany Treaty, which ceded new lands in western Pennsylvania and New York to the colonists, is also a record of restorative justice achieved through condolence ceremonies and reparation payments. Throughout, she makes excellent use of primary sources to convey the sophisticated rhetorical strategies of Native negotiators. Early American history buffs will be fascinated. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/03/2021
Release date: 04/27/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-324-09216-2
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