This chapter explores the complex interactions between European Americans and Native Americans in the Western frontier. The West was a place of linguistic as well as cultural hybridity. Social and linguistic commingling and appropriation might have led to a fusion of cultures and identities; from cohabitation might have emerged a shared American West; from the contingency of social relations might have come racial hybridity and a creolization of western culture. But no such synthesis occurred. Rather, the blurring of clear defining markers gave birth to fears of disorder and danger, to a “widespread sense of being adrift on a turbulent, forbidding sea.”
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