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Massinahigan Series: Brief Accounts of Early Native America

Atotarho, one of the legendary founders of the Iroquois League, as drawn by David Cusick
"You have your Massinahigan; (that is to say, you have a knowledge of writing), which makes you remember everything."
--An Algonquin captain to Champlain at Quebec, 1633

The Jesuit Relations, Vol. 5, p. 207
     The Massinahigan series brings together short observations, histories, and descriptions of the North American Indians. It focuses on the Eastern Woodlands tribes of the United States and Canada during the early period of European settlement, with particular attention paid to tribes and nations that did not survive into modern times. Bringing together such hard-to-find sources as local historical tracts and native oral traditions written by chiefs and elders, the series makes available obscure and inaccessible works that have been out-of-print for more than a hundred years.
     The Massinahigan series will be well-appreciated by American and Canadian historians, folklorists, anthropologists, local historians, genealogists, and anyone with an interest in American Indian history and culture. Each volume contains a short preface detailing the original source of the work. Books in the series are a handy small-format (4.25" x 6.75") and feature a durable library binding using Davey(tm) acid-free binders board and moisture-resistant library book cloth. Printing is done on acid-free paper to ensure that these volumes will be part of your collection for a long time to come.
Related material: The Annals of Colonial North America (ACNA) series
Related material: The American Language Reprint (ALR) series
Related material: The Colonial & Early Frontier Bookshop

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Volume 1

Brief History of King Philip's War, 1675-1677
Including Supplemental Material from Soldiers in King Philip's War
George M. Bodge (1891 & 1906)

    This compact and readable book represents an amalgam of two brief summaries written by George M. Bodge on King Philip's War. This bitter conflict, pitting the New England colonies against the Narraganset and Wampanoag tribes, was fought from 1675-1677. The colonial militias suffered severe reverses before finally conquering Philip with the help of the Mohegans and other Indian allies.
     The main text of the work was privately published in pamphlet form in 1891. This edition includes supplemental data from Bodge's larger work, Soldiers in King Philip's War (1906), which helps close out the account of the war in sufficient detail.

Massinahigan Series, 1
2004 ~ 60 pp. ~ Clothbound ~ ISBN: 1-889758-58-2 ~ out of print
2024 ~ 60 pp. ~ Paperback ~ ISBN: 978-1-953225-68-8 ~ $18.95

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Volume 2

Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations
David Cusick (1825)

    First published in 1825, this work represents one of the earliest attempts to reconstruct pre-contact Iroquois history. Compiled by David Cusick, a Tuscarora historian, the book attempts to relate events as far back as 1000 BC based on the oral tradition of the Iroquois.
     While Cusick himself admits that much of the work is fabulous, mixing accounts of wars and leaders with stories of giants, floating heads, and poisonous blue otters, it is inaccurate to classify the work as wholly mythological. For example, the estimated dates he offers for the southern migration of the Tuscarora (AD 1) and the Iroquois proper becoming independent nations (AD 500) compare well with dates suggested by modern archaeology. Thus, while it would be unreasonable to assume that the traditions recorded in this work are precise, it is clear that they likely contain a kernel of ancestral memory of actual prehistoric events. As it is, the work remains partly fact, partly fable, and wholly invaluable to a study of Iroquois history and folklore.

Massinahigan Series, 2
2004 ~ 76 pp. ~ Clothbound ~ ISBN: 1-889758-59-0 ~ out of print
2024 ~ 76 pp. ~ Paperback ~ ISBN: 978-1-935225-31-8 ~ $18.95


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Volume 3

The Country of the Neutrals
From Champlain to Talbot
James H. Coyne (1895)

    This history, written in 1895, gives a brief account of the country of the Neutral tribe, who occupied numerous villages between the Grand and Niagara Rivers in southern Ontario. Contact population for the entire Neutral nation was estimated to be 30-40,000, making them perhaps more numerous than all of the five nations of the Iroquois nations combined. They were termed "Neutrals" because they historically did not take sides in the ongoing wars between their neighbors the Iroquois and the Hurons. The Neutrals themselves were attacked and scattered by the Iroquois in the early 1650s, leaving hardly a trace of their language, history, and culture save what was recorded by the few missionaries that visited them beforehand. After their reduction by the Iroquois, the remnants of the Neutral tribes seem to have been absorbed by the Iroquois or coalesced with refugees of the Petún and Hurons to form the Wyandot tribe.
     This book consolidates accounts of the Neutrals recorded by early explorers and missionaries such as Champlain, De Laroche-Daillon, Sagard, Brebéuf, Chaumonot, and others. Together, these accounts provide an absorbing if fragmentary view of this once great tribe. This book also covers the subsequent inhabitants of the Neutral country: the Iroquois, French, Delawares, Mohawks, and English up through the beginning of the 19th century.

Massinahigan Series, 3
2005 ~ 80 pp. ~ 2 maps ~ Clothbound ~ ISBN: 1-889758-60-4 ~ out of print
2024 ~ 80 pp. ~ 2 maps ~ Paperback ~ Forthcoming


Volume 4

The Annual Narrative of the Mission of the Sault
From Its Foundation Until the Year 1686
Claude Chauchetiere, S.J. (1686)

     Chauchetiere was a French Jesuit who penned this fascinating year-by-year chronicle of the famous Native American mission which drew converts from over 20 tribes. The Sault was the home of Kateri Tekakwitha, the beloved Mohawk-Algonquin woman who is recognized as a saint of the Catholic Church. Drawing from the writings of his fellow missionaries as well as his own personal knowledge, Chauchetiere begins with the mission's founding at La Prairie in 1667 by Catherine Gandeaktena, an Erie convert to Christianity known as the Mother of the Poor.
     As Christian Iroquois fled persecution in their homeland, the mission swelled to become "the asylum of those who wished sincerely to pray to God". Yet even with "the forces of hell unchained against the mission" —unscrupulous liquor dealers, hostile French governors and their countrymen who did not convert—the Sault's Christian faith survived to become the nucleus of an authentically Native Church throughout Canada and the northern United States.

Massinahigan Series, 4
2006 ~ 70 pp. ~ Paperback ~ ISBN: 1-889758-75-2 ~ $18.95

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Volume 5

The Roman Rite in the Algonquian and Iroquoian Missions
From the Colonial Period to the Second Vatican Council
Claudio R. Salvucci

“This is a fascinating account of how Indian custom and ancient Catholic worship came together to form a unique cultural entity. Salvucci’s illuminating introduction to this topic raises questions – including that of the more recent dismantling of this union – that will necessarily claim the attention of future scholars.”
—Dr. Alcuin Reid, Author, The Organic Development of the Liturgy

“Claudio Salvucci brings to light areas of liturgical study seldom explored, but worthy of exploration. He introduces to the field of liturgical study a topic not only of unique cultural and historical interest, but one which is generally pertinent to the question of proper and improper expressions of inculturation in the liturgy today. He further challenges the modern perception of traditional liturgical expressions as necessarily colonialist and incapable of being relevant outside of the European context.”
—Shawn Tribe, Editor of The New Liturgical Movement

     Representing the first general treatment of the "Indian Mass" of the North American Catholic missions, this volume draws on historical descriptions as well as rare missionary manuscripts and publications to trace the development of the distinctive American Indian liturgies from the early hymn singing of the mid-1600s to the adaptation of vernacular plainchant and polyphony. Weaving together extensive primary source quotations, Salvucci overturns popular misconceptions of missionaries as cultural imperialists, showing instead how native congregations and scholarly priests worked together in adapting the rich traditions of Counter-Reformation Roman Catholicism to the linguistic and cultural needs of the New World.
     This volume further compares and contrasts the Indian Masses of different missions with each other and with the official Roman Missal. It also contains chapters on the calendar and hagiography of the missions; formulas for Baptism, Matrimony, and other sacraments; the Divine Office; characteristic sacramentals and devotions; and religious life. Extensive appendices are included, such as the entire text of a Mohawk Indian Mass; propers and ordinaries for other missions including those of the Algonquins, Abenaki, and Micmac; a complete liturgical calendar; and short descriptions of the most important missions.

Massinahigan Series, 5
2008 ~ 160 pp. ~ Hardback ~ 978-1-889758-89-3 ~ $44.95

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*Prices are subject to change without notice. If you pre-order a forthcoming title on-line, and the tentative price increases upon publication, you will be charged the price as listed when your order was received, less the 10% discount. If the price decreases, you will be charged the lesser price, less the 10% discount.

 Page last updated 3/23/24

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