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The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes$
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Conevery Bolton Valencius

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226053899

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226053929.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

Revival and Resistance

Revival and Resistance

Earthquakes on Native Ground

(p.106) 3 Revival and Resistance
The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes

Conevery Bolton Valencius

University of Chicago Press

The New Madrid earthquakes had important consequences for Indians in North America. For people in the Cherokee Nation in the midst of a period of cultural upheaval and social stress, the earthquakes gave force to a religious movement of apocalyptic prophecy focused on resistance to American pressure. For Creeks resisting American takeover, the earthquakes became an important symbol in the Creek/American war sometimes termed the “Red Stick War.” For Native Americans throughout eastern North America, the spiritual symbolism of the quakes became a reason to ally with the Shawnee leaders Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (both often termed “The Prophet”) in their Indian League, a movement of cultural and military resistance that formed an often-overlooked force in the War of 1812. The New Madrid earthquakes thus reveal political, military, cultural and religious tensions and faultlines in North America in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Cherokee Nation, apocalyptic prophecy, Creek/American War, Red Stick War, Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa, The Prophet, Indian League, War of 1812, New Madrid earthquakes

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