INDIAN ORATORY. In most Indian societies, skill with the spoken word proved crucial to a leader's effectiveness. Obviously, this was in part because Native Americans are traditionally an oral people. Also, the stress on oratory reflected the general absence of coercive power among the North American tribes. A chief relied on persuasion, rather than force, to direct events. Great chiefs were by definition effective orators.
European orators, accustomed to written notes, were especially impressed with Indians' powers of memorization. Utilizing natural metaphors and sometimes lasting for hours, Indian speeches were well calculated to impress their target audiences. For non-Indian audiences, Indian oratory, even when translated, was often misunderstood. Great speeches of Indian leaders became merely monuments to what whites saw as Indian backwardness and another reason for the Indians' inevitable demise in the face of white settlement. "Logan's Lament," the speech of a Mingo chief who fought against the Virginians during Lord Dunmore's War in 1774, is one such "monument." In a speech that was probably doctored by Thomas Jefferson, Logan grieved over the unprovoked murder of his family and promised revenge. Logan also admitted that his people were doomed to extinction. Such romanticized speeches have often been used to essentialize Indians and excuse conquest.
Vanderwerth, W. C. Indian Oratory: Famous Speeches by Noted Indian Chieftains. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971.
Wallace, Anthony F. C. Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999.
"Indian Oratory." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/indian-oratory
"Indian Oratory." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved May 24, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/indian-oratory
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.