Brothertown: American Indians and the Problem of Race


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow named award


This project uses the history of the Brothertown community to explore the evolution of Indian race consciousness and American racial citizenship. In the 1770s, New England and Long Island Indians formed Brothertown in the Oneidas’ country in New York, to fend off white encroachment and black intermarriage. They expressed their racial identity through Protestantism, not violent resistance, and their goal was to apply civilzed reforms toward protection of their autonomy. Yet in the 1820s New York removed the Brothertown Indians to Wisconsin, and in the 1830s the federal government dissolved their community altogether. This is a story that links the Indians’ racial struggles with white Americans' own racial history.