Native American Studies

A Son of the Forest and Other Writings by William Apess

By William Apess

This e-book brings jointly the best-known works of the 19th-century Indian author William Apess, together with the 1st prolonged autobiography via a local American. The textual content is drawn from ON OUR personal floor, which was once named a call impressive educational e-book. This new version of Apess's vintage texts is designed for lecture room use .

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Extra resources for A Son of the Forest and Other Writings

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Through a set of remarkable coincidences I learned several years ago that a number of Apeses (they kept the first spelling of the name) were living on the South Island of New Zealand. One of them had made inquiry of some American tourists about his "famous" American forebear, the "preacher and writer," William Apess. In time I heard from Erwin Apes in New Zealand, the great-grandson of William Apess. His grandfather, William Apess's son, was named William Elisha, at times using William as his first name and at others, Elisha.

William Apess, A Pequot, 1835 It is William Apess's voice that will first strike a reader new to him and that continues to resonate among those who have begun to know his literary work well. Here, in this short passage from Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts, Apess's commentary on the Mashpee Revolt of 183334, one finds many of the characteristics that so distinguish his political and writing presence in Jacksonian America. Its directness and the skillful use of ironically rhetorical questions give some sense of the oratorical power that made him such a famous and controversial public speaker for his brief time in the public eye.

Europeans saw their history of print and writing as legitimating their cultural and political dominance. Indians' acquisition of literacy was represented as their acknowledgment of the inferiority of their own cultures, reason enough for many to refuse the opportunity, though from the earliest encounters a significant number did become literate. Many Indians had a linguistic range beyond the vast majority of their European and Euro-American counterparts, speaking at least one European language, often more, along with several Indian languages.

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