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ERIC Number: EJ778281
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Red Jacket and the Decolonization of Republican Virtue
Ganter, Granville
American Indian Quarterly, v31 n4 p559-581 Fall 2007
History has not always been kind to Sagoyewatha, or, as he is more commonly known, Red Jacket. One of the most eloquent spokesmen for Native sovereignty in the early national period, Sagoyewatha was nonetheless accused by his peers of cowardice, alcoholism, and egotism. Fortunately, this picture is beginning to change. Christopher Densmore's recent biography has helped to clear away the cloud of demonization that obscured Red Jacket's life. Literary scholars and historians have begun to frame Sagoyewatha's career as an influential contribution to discourse about Native sovereignty. In this article, the author focuses on one of Red Jacket's best-documented performances, the Ogden Council of July 1819, where the Senecas rejected the offer of the Ogden Land Company to buy most of their remaining reservations. In addition to being one of Sagoyewatha's finest performances--and most effective--it is also one of his least known, the text not seeing formal publication until more than ten years after his death in William Leete Stone's 1841 biography. The author argues that Red Jacket's accomplishment at the 1819 Ogden Council was to wear the ethos of republican virtue more effectively than his opponents, who initially claimed the same mantle. In this sense Red Jacket was one of many marginalized "others" of the early U.S. political and literary tradition, including oratorical African Americans and women, who extended the egalitarian promise of republican virtue to include those who were initially excluded from mainstream national thought. But rather than employing republicanism strictly as a political philosophy, Red Jacket interpreted and dramatized republicanism as a performative literary rhetoric. Sagoyewatha not only reminded his audiences of Washington's promises of fidelity to the Indians but also presented himself and his nation--not his Euroamerican auditors--as the fitting heirs of the tradition of virtue for which Washington stood. (Contains 37 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States