MHS Calendar of Events

Exhibition

Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country

Massachusetts Women in WWI. 12 June 2014 to 24 January 2015

Details
Early American History Seminar The Court-Martial of Jonathan Barnes 3 April 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
Len Travers, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Comment: Colin Calloway, Dartmouth College

Months after the French capitulation at the end of the French and Indian War, a young Massachusetts man, Joshua Barnes, was discovered still in the company of his Wabenaki captors. He had been taken more than four years earlier while on patrol along Lake George. Now, Barnes was arrested and faced trial for treason before a British army court-martial. Was he, as the court insisted, a renegade who had willingly adopted Native life and taken up arms against his king? The testimony of both Barnes and the witnesses against him suggest something different: that hostage stress response, known today as Stockholm Syndrome, may better explain the behavior that led to his arrest.  

This paper, digested from a draft chapter for a proposed book, will be a departure from familiar "fate of the captive" narratives, which generally assume a storyline of assimilation into Native societies, "failure" to assimilate, or redemption. The story of Barnes's captivity demonstrates that assimilation-or-ransom was not always the goal of Native American captors, and suggests that white captives frequently, even normally, adopted survival strategies that would be familiar to psychologists and law-enforcement agencies today.

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