GMU Press Book Launch: George Washington and Native Americans

Join us for a panel discussion in celebration of the recent publication of George Washington and Native Americans, the latest from the George Mason University Press, on Thursday, April 4, at 3 p.m. in Fenwick 2001.

Richard Harless (author, George Washington and Native Americans), George Oberle (History Librarian, University Libraries and Affiliate Faculty, History and Art History, George Mason University), and Randolph Scully (Associate Professor, History and Art History, George Mason University) will discuss the complexities of this topic in American history and will include time for Q&A with the audience. Books will be available for purchase, and refreshments will be provided (courtesy of the University Bookstore).

About the book: George Washington had contact with Native Americans throughout most of his life. His first encounter as a teenager left him with the impression that they were nothing more than an “ignorant people.” As a young man he fought both alongside and against Native Americans during the French and Indian War and gained a grudging respect for their fighting abilities. During the American Revolution, Washington made it clear that he welcomed Indian allies as friends but would do his utmost to crush Indian enemies. As president, he sought to implement a program to “civilize” Native Americans by teaching them methods of agriculture and providing the implements of husbandry that would enable them to become proficient farmers—the only way, he believed, Native Americans would survive in a white-dominated society. Yet he discovered that his government could not protect Indian lands as guaranteed in countless treaties, and the hunger for Indian land by white settlers was so rapacious that it could not be controlled by an inadequate federal military establishment. While Washington appeared to admit the failure of the program, this book—a unique and necessary exploration of Washington’s experience with and thoughts on Native Americans—contends he deserves credit for his continued efforts to implement a policy based on the just treatment of America’s indigenous peoples.

About the author: Richard Harless has a Ph.D. in American History from George Mason University. He is a retired public school teacher, counselor, and coach. He worked as a research assistant at Mason’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and was a fellow at the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. He is currently teaching at various colleges including Saint Mary’s Honor College in Maryland. George Washington and Native Americans is his first book.

About GMU Press: The George Mason University Press supports the academic mission of George Mason University by publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly works of distinction, written by authors from a wide range of intellectual perspectives, for a diverse, worldwide readership. GMU Press publishes in a variety of disciplines with special focus on the history, politics, and culture of Northern Virginia and the wider District of Columbia metropolitan area, as well as other topics such as public policy, international affairs, and higher education.

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