Claiming indigenous space: John dunn hunter and the fredonian rebellion

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In 1826, in Mexican Texas, a coalition of American Indians and Anglo settlers declared its short-lived independence in the name of the Fredonian Republic. This article introduces John Dunn Hunter's Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of North America, from Childhood to the Age of Nineteen (1823) as a key source for understanding the rebellion's indigenous context. The Memoirs elucidates many of the motives, interests, and ideas that ultimately defined Hunter's activism and galvanized the pan-Indian movement in the Red River valley. His subversive depiction of indigenous space beyond the Mississippi River rejected the settler myth of a savage civilization trapped in a primordial past; uncovered an archive of indigenous geographical knowledge; and identified the swift, destructive impact of agrarian expansion, ethnic cleansing, and fur trade capitalism on American Indians and their homelands. As an author and as a leader of the Red Fredonia confederacy, Hunter mapped an anticolonial geography, where American Indians resisted settler colonialism and articulated new forms of peoplehood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-712
Number of pages28
JournalEarly American Literature
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 University of North Carolina Press. All rights reserved.


  • Autobiography
  • Border literature
  • Captivity narrative
  • Fredonia Rebellion
  • Indian Country
  • John Dunn Hunter
  • Pan-Indian movements
  • US settler colonialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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