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“The Power of the Ecotone”—now open access


The hide robe pictured above, made from bison skin or deerskin, is one of four associated with the Illinois in the collections of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.

Robert Morrissey’s article “The Power of the Ecotone: Bison, Slavery, and the Rise and Fall of the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia,” appearing in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of American History, is now freely available online to the public.

The piece provides a new history of the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia, the Native American population center where as many as twenty thousand people congregated and unified for approximately twenty years at the top of the Illinois River valley at the end of the seventeenth century. Often understood as little more than a refugee center for Algonquians beleaguered by vicious Iroquois attacks, Morrissey argues that the village was an opportunistic center of exploitation, a purposeful attempt to take advantage of unique opportunities in one of the continent’s most important social and ecological borderlands.

Check out all of the JAH‘s open content, including articles, interchanges, states-of-the-field, and special issues, at the Editor’s Choice section of the Oxford Journals website.