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Wild Roots: The Social and Environmental impact of the Ginseng Market on Haudenosaunee Communities

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Abstract:

Throughout Northeastern North America, indigenous communities experienced unprecedented social and environmental change in the wake of European contact and colonial expansion. European bodies, for example, unintentionally carried pathogens to which native peoples had no immunities. European weaponry also contributed to more violent and more deadly warfare. Together, the epidemics and violence produced unparalleled indigenous demographic collapse.

More transformative, Europeans offered a competing world-view of the human place in nature and viewed the native landscape as raw materials waiting to be commodified. To Europeans, the indigenous landscape represented an abundance of furs, hides, timber, and other natural resources for an expanding European and Atlantic-world market economy. Native Americans learned from repeated market exchanges that wildlife and other natural resources now had a price that could purchase desired manufactured goods.

By the 1740s, the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (in the Lower Great Lakes region of North America) engaged in an emerging and global ginseng root market. Although the Six Nations did not increase ginseng production through domestic agriculture, men and women turned their full attention to harvesting the wild root for eventual sale in European and Asian markets. An examination of the ginseng root trade highlights the far reach of the Atlantic World market economy as it connected Six Nations communities, colonial traders, Indian agents, and European associates in London. More importantly, viewing the ginseng trade from the native perspective underscores the active and aggressive participation of Indians in commodities exchanges, as well as the social and environmental impact of those activities for native communities. The growing ginseng market altered the gendered division of labor focused on balance and reciprocity, influenced settlement patterns and subsistence practices, and effected diplomatic and economic relations with neighbors, both native and colonial.
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Association:
Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171332_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hopkins, Kelly. "Wild Roots: The Social and Environmental impact of the Ginseng Market on Haudenosaunee Communities" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171332_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hopkins, K. Y. "Wild Roots: The Social and Environmental impact of the Ginseng Market on Haudenosaunee Communities" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1171332_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: Throughout Northeastern North America, indigenous communities experienced unprecedented social and environmental change in the wake of European contact and colonial expansion. European bodies, for example, unintentionally carried pathogens to which native peoples had no immunities. European weaponry also contributed to more violent and more deadly warfare. Together, the epidemics and violence produced unparalleled indigenous demographic collapse.

More transformative, Europeans offered a competing world-view of the human place in nature and viewed the native landscape as raw materials waiting to be commodified. To Europeans, the indigenous landscape represented an abundance of furs, hides, timber, and other natural resources for an expanding European and Atlantic-world market economy. Native Americans learned from repeated market exchanges that wildlife and other natural resources now had a price that could purchase desired manufactured goods.

By the 1740s, the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (in the Lower Great Lakes region of North America) engaged in an emerging and global ginseng root market. Although the Six Nations did not increase ginseng production through domestic agriculture, men and women turned their full attention to harvesting the wild root for eventual sale in European and Asian markets. An examination of the ginseng root trade highlights the far reach of the Atlantic World market economy as it connected Six Nations communities, colonial traders, Indian agents, and European associates in London. More importantly, viewing the ginseng trade from the native perspective underscores the active and aggressive participation of Indians in commodities exchanges, as well as the social and environmental impact of those activities for native communities. The growing ginseng market altered the gendered division of labor focused on balance and reciprocity, influenced settlement patterns and subsistence practices, and effected diplomatic and economic relations with neighbors, both native and colonial.


 
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