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Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country

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Ekberg's engaging and accessible portrayal of the Illinois Country as land where ingenuity, pragmatism, wit, and perseverance often outweighed the forces of cruelty, violence, and exploitation has much to offer anyone with an interest in early American history. [...] inasmuch as the Illinois Country maintained some strong connections and parallels to the French and Spanish settlements at Arkansas Post, readers should find Ekberg's book a valuable companion to the works of Morris Arnold and other studies of the colonial and frontier history of Arkansas.

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									96             ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

succeed tells us more about white leaders at all levels than it does about
Bates or the NAACP.

KAREN ANDERSON
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

                                      ***

Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country. By Carl J.
    Ekberg. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007. Pp. xiv, 218. List
    of illustrations, preface, acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations,
    notes, index. $38.00.)

     Stealing Indian Women proves that Carl Ekberg knows as much as or
more than anyone about the colonial history of the Illinois Country, a cru-
cial but often overlooked area of French and Spanish North America that
held an intermediary position, ni loup ni chien, between the pays d’en haut
of the Great Lakes region and the Louisiana settlements of the Lower Mis-
sissippi Valley. Within this broad swath of the American heartland, a sparse
but vibrant population of Europeans, creoles, Africans, and Indians traded,
jostled, and lived with each other for more than a hundred years in a net-
work of communities that usually bore little resemblance to the more famil-
iar Anglo-American settlements to the east. The volume marks a satisfying
conclusion to Ekberg’s four-volume series on the Illinois Country, weaving
the author’s mastery of extant colonial records into an informative and often
moving account of a frontier that “was not a kind and gentle place in colo-
nial times” (p. 23).
     Ekberg contends that the institution of Indian slavery reveals much
about the cultural dynamics and priorities of the American frontier. In this
sense, his work invites comparisons to other studies, such as Alan Gallay’s
The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American

								
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