Journal Article

Tallahassee, Osceola, and the Hermeneutics of American Place-Names

Richard A. Grounds

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 69, issue 2, pages 287-322
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Tallahassee, Osceola, and the Hermeneutics of American Place-Names

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This essay offers a critical interpretation of U. S. place-naming patterns in relation to Native Americans through an exploration of themes of American civil religion arising out of the context of nineteenth-century American territorial expansion into Florida. Public symbols, such as Native-derived place-names and the schematic representation of Native Americans on state seals, are analyzed as public monuments that replicate ideologies of dominance and dramatically influence public memory. In order to get behind the myth-making power of place-names, the practice of appropriating Native-derived names for white communities in an expanding Euro-American cosmos is juxtaposed with the brutal historical treatment of Native Americans. The case of Osceola is presented as a specific instance of dismembering and remembering in the service of Euro-American nationalistic and cultural needs.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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