America’s Early Whalemen
Indian Shore Whalers on Long Island, 1650–1750
America’s Early Whalemen examines this early chapter of an iconic American historical experience. John A. Strong’s research draws on exhaustive sources, domestic and international, including little-known documents such as the whaling contracts of 340 Native American whalers, personal accounting books of whaling company owners, London customs records, estate inventories, and court records. Strong addresses labor relations, the role of alcohol and debt, the patterns of cultural accommodations by Native Americans, and the emergence of corporate capitalism in colonial America.
When Strong began teaching at Long Island University in 1964, he found little mention of the local Indigenous people in history books. The Shinnecocks and the neighboring tribes of Unkechaugs and Montauketts were treated as background figures for the celebratory narrative of the “heroic” English settlers. America’s Early Whalemen highlights the important contributions of Native peoples to colonial America.
“The most thorough investigation to date of shore whaling on Long Island. Strong helps to illuminate the lives of the Native peoples who figured largely in the industry, providing a valuable resource for scholars and an excellent read for a general audience.”—Kathleen J. Bragdon, author of Native People of Southern New England, 1650–1775