History 233 Reading Guide

Discussion:  Native American Religion And Culture In The New Republic

  • Joel Martin, Sacred Revolt:  The Muskogee's Struggle for a New World (1991)


  • What did you learn from this book?

  • How does Martin use Jim Merrell’s concept of the “new world” that Native Americans encountered with the arrival of Europeans and Africans, and Michel Foucault’s argument about “revolt,” to frame his history of the Muskogees?  Does this framework revise our understanding of Native American resistance and Anglo-American reaction?
  • What “unprecedented changes” did the Muskogees face?  By what political and religious means did the Muskogee adjust to these changes?
  • Why was the Muskogee’s “new way” so threatening to early national Anglo-Americans?  Why couldn’t they allow the Muskogee to remain?
  • How was the Muskogee experience, in spite of the dramatic differences in culture, similar to the experiences of Anglo-Americans in the early National period?
  • What does Martin’s account—especially about the role of Andrew Jackson, both as general and as treaty negotiator—suggest about the extent and limits of “Jacksonian Democracy”?
  • How does Martin structure his account?  Why?
  • Whose “side” is he on?