Crooked Deals and Broken Treaties: How American Indians were Displaced by White Settlers in the Cuyahoga Valley

Crooked Deals and Broken Treaties: How American Indians were Displaced by White Settlers in the Cuyahoga Valley

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1583675663

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Long before the smokestacks and factories of industrial Akron rose from Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley, the region was a place of tense confrontation. Beginning in the early 19th-century, white settlers began pushing in from the east, lured by the promise of cheap (or free) land. They inevitably came into conflict with the current inhabitants, American Indians who had thrived in the valley for generations or had already been displaced by settlement along the eastern seaboard. Here, on what was once the western fringe of the United States, the story of the country’s founding and development played out in all its ignominy and drama, as American Indians lost their land, and often their lives, while white settlers expanded a nation.

Historian and novelist John Tully draws on contemporary accounts and a wealth of studies to produce this elegiac history of the Cuyahoga Valley. He pays special attention to how settlers’ notions of private property—and the impulse to own and develop the land—clashed with more collective social organizations of American Indians. He also documents the ecological cost of settlement, long before heavy industry laid waste to the region. Crooked Deals and Broken Treatiesis an impassioned accounting of the cost of “progress,” and an insistent reminder of the barbarism and deceit that fueled the rise of the United States.

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burgeoning capitalist society of North America. By feeding the slaves of the southern plantations,91 the Western Reserve’s farm produce contributed to the development of the world capitalist system, and in particular the British cotton industry, which relied on imported American raw materials produced by the “Peculiar Institution.” More abundant and reliable supplies of foodstuffs also contributed to the industrial and urban development of the eastern states. The canal also boosted Akron’s trade

burgeoning capitalist society of North America. By feeding the slaves of the southern plantations,91 the Western Reserve’s farm produce contributed to the development of the world capitalist system, and in particular the British cotton industry, which relied on imported American raw materials produced by the “Peculiar Institution.” More abundant and reliable supplies of foodstuffs also contributed to the industrial and urban development of the eastern states. The canal also boosted Akron’s trade

this “progress.” While we cannot undo the past, we can take steps to remedy historical wrongs. Nor should we forget the environmental devastation caused by settlement of the region at a time when people regarded nature as an adversary to be subdued. As Frederick Engels wrote prophetically back in 1876: Let us not, however, flatter ourselves on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings

for the return of land is all a plot by liberals in the country’s law schools to defraud God-fearing white Americans from what is rightfully theirs. Perhaps the people and lawmakers of Akron, Summit County, and the State of Ohio could point the way forward by acknowledging the original ownership of the land along the Cuyahoga by the Native Americans. They could express their abhorrence of the broken treaties and the expulsion of the peoples who once called the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas home.

1980): 309–316. 225.Abler, “Iroquois Cannibalism,” 315. 226.John L. O’Sullivan, “The Great Nation of Futurity,” The United States Democratic Review, Vol. 6, Issue 23, 1839, 426. 227.Summit Beacon, January 29, 1851. 228.Cherry, The Portage Path, 52. 229.See, for instance, Neal Salisbury, “The Indians’ Old World: Native Americans and the Coming of the Europeans,” in Mancall and Merrell, eds., American Encounters, 3–24. 230.Barnholth, The Cuyahoga-Tuscarawas Portage, 3. Barnholth gives his

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