Readings & Assignments

 “I hope to completely revise the way I teach early American history by using the site as a way to look at pre-contact life, patterns of colonization and early New England life.”

NEH Summer Scholars will receive required readings, including the book, Captors and Captives prior to the workshop and will be asked to read them before arriving in Deerfield.

Required Readings       

Each daily reading should be done beforehand.  Enjoy!


  1. Cronon, William. Changes in the Land:  Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of Early New England. (Hill and Wang). 1983. chapters 4-6.  This reading is available as a PDF document on your flash drive.

Sunday Focusing Questions:

How do furbearing animals, forests, the introduction of domestic and especially grazing animals, and the consequences of European understandings of property and goods fit into Cronon’s discussion and analysis? 

Are there additional elements in this process you wish the author had addressed? If so, what? 

What were the ecological and economic impacts of extensive clearing by English settlers of the woodlands?

How did English and Indigenous ideas about the ownership of land reflect distinctive relationships to the environment?


  1. Haefeli, Evan, and Kevin Sweeney. Captors and Captives:  The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield. (University of Massachusetts Press). 2005. pages 1-124.  This book is provided in your reading package.
  1. From the “Explanations” section of the Raid on Deerfield:  The Many Stories of 1704 website “English Colonization;” “European Land Use and the Transformation of the Northeast” , “A Brief History of Metacom’s War”, “English Puritanism”, “French Catholicism”, “French Colonization  These readings are on your flash drive and can also be accessed online at: Raid on Deerfield: the Many Stories of 1704
  1. “Furnishing the Frontier: The Material World of the Connecticut River Valley 1680-1720” This booklet is provided in your reading package.

Monday Focusing Questions:

What were the roots in Deerfield in 1704 of the violent encounters involving English, French and Native peoples?

In what ways was this event a microcosm of early colonial conflict, accommodation and assimilation among nations, cultures, and individuals?

What can surviving material culture (objects and architecture) tell us about English cultural assumptions about the “howling wilderness” they were determined to subdue?

What role did religion play in France and England’s struggle for domination of the North American continent?

How did religious conflicts affect English and French relations with Native peoples in this contested region?


  1. Bruchac, Margaret M. “Earthshapers and Placemakers:  Algonkian Indian Stories and the Landscape” in Indigenous Archaeologies:  Decolonizing Theory and Practice. Smith, Claire, and H. Martin Wobst. (Routledge). 2010. pages 56-80  This PDF document is included on your flash drive.
  1. Pocumtuck:  A Native Homeland Walking Tour”  This pamphlet is provided in your reading package.
  1. Calloway, Colin G. “The Abenakis and the Anglo-French Borderlands” in New England/New France 1600-1850. Jane Montague Benes. (Boston University). 1992. pages 18-27.  This PDF document is included on your flash drive.

Tuesday Focusing Questions:

How have Indigenous people shaped their relationships to particular landscapes over time?

How did the cultures of European settlers change as a result of their relocations into Native American territories?

How did Indigenous people adapt to and resist European culture in the 1600s and 1700s?

What were the missed opportunities for cross-cultural relations that could have prevented war?

Wednesday:  All readings for Wednesday are available as PDFs on your flash drive.

  1. Brooks, Lisa. The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast. (University of Minnesota Press). 2008. chapter 1 
  2. Carpenter, Edmund. “17th Century Club” in Two Essays: Chief and Greed. (Persimmon Press). 2005. 
  3. Coe, Michael. The Line of Forts: Historical Archaeology on the Colonial Frontier of Massachusetts. (University Press of New England). 2006. Introduction and chapters 6-8. 

Wednesday Focusing Questions:

How does historical archeology advance our understanding of a place and its people?

How can it help us to better understand, interpret, and teach what it meant to live in the northwestern-most outpost of the British Empire?

How can it help us to better understand, interpret and teach what it meant be a Pocumtuck person living in a contested homeland?

How does archaeological evidence inform other types of archival evidence and vice versa?

Thursday:  Readings 2 and 3 can be accessed online and are also included on your flash drive.

  1. The essay, “Slavery in a New England Town”, in Map & Guide of Deerfield African American Sites.  

This pamphlet is provided in your reading package.

  1. From the “People” section of the Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704 website- “Frank”; “Parthena
  1. From the “Explanations” section of the Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704 website- Slavery and the Slave Trade in Colonial New England 

Thursday Focusing Questions:

What was the nature of slavery in early New England?

In what ways did it relate to the treatment of Indigenous men, women and children taken prisoner in colonial conflicts (Pequot War, Metacom’s/King Philip’s War)?

How was colonial New England an active part of the transatlantic world, including the African slave trade?

What kinds of evidence survive of African American presence and experience in rural colonial New England?

What effect did the servitude of Africans and Indigenous people in the same households, sometimes alongside white bondservants, have on the development of ideas about race and class in early New England?

Friday:  Both readings for Friday are available as PDFs on your flash drive.

  1. Bruchac, Margaret. “Revisiting Pocumtuck History in Deerfield:  George Sheldon’s Vanishing Indian Act”. pgs. 30-77.
  1. Little, Ann M. The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright. Chapters 1-3

Friday Focusing Questions:

What shaped the choices of Euro-American captives who opted to stay in Indigenous communities?

What character traits made a captive who stayed willing and able to redefine him or herself?

What are the captive legacies and what can we learn from them?

How did relationships among Native American communities change as a result of war and religion?

How did the memories of Deerfield’s white settlers alter our understandings of the Indigenous past?

Why do the biases of dominant groups tend to obscure multiple perspectives? How can we recover socially or politically marginalized histories and perspectives?

How did the experience of living on the edge of empire contribute to the development of a distinctive American identity?