Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans: Indigenous Education in the Eighteenth-century Atlantic World

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2007 - History - 285 pages

Two indigenous cultures encounter Scottish educators in the eighteenth century

The Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) was founded in 1709 by Scottish Lowlanders for the education of Highlanders: specifically to convert them from the Gaelic language to English, from the Episcopal faith to Presbyterianism, and from latent Jacobitism to loyalty to the crown. In a transatlantic translation of this effort, the “Scottish Society” also established itself in the New World to educate and assimilate Iroquois, Algonquin, and southeastern Native peoples.

In this first book-length examination of the SSPCK, Margaret Connell Szasz explores the origins of the Scottish Society’s policies of cultural colonialism and their influence on two disparate frontiers. Drawing intriguing parallels between the treatment of Highland Scots and of Native Americans, she incorporates multiple perspectives on the cultural encounter, juxtaposing the attitudes of Highlanders and Lowlanders, English colonials and Native peoples, while giving voice to the Society’s pupils and graduates, its schoolmasters, and religious leaders.

Featuring more than two dozen illustrations, Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans brims with intriguing comparisons and insights into two cultures on the cusp of modernity. It is a benchmark in emerging studies of comparative education and a major contribution to the growing literature of cross-cultural encounters.


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About the author (2007)

Margaret Connell Szasz is Professor of History at the University of New Mexico.

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