Vanished Worlds, Enduring People

Native Americans of the Northeast

William Apess. A Son of the Forest. New York: The author; printed by G. F. Bunce, 1831. [view first image] | [view second image]

William Apess (1798-1839), a Pequot, was an itinerant Methodist minister who preached to communities of Native and African Americans and poor whites in New York and Connecticut. He may have been the first Native American to write and publish his autobiography, first issued in 1829, in which he articulates issues of Indian identity. He played an instrumental role the Mashpee Indians’ struggle to self-govern their Massachusetts town in 1834, publishing his account of this crisis in Indian Nullification of the Unconstitutional Laws of Massachusetts (1835).

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