For the past year and a few months, I have been reading the book Facing East From Indian Country by Daniel Richter. I took it from my brother’s bookshelf on a Thanksgiving visit in 2018, and will someday do the right thing and buy him a new copy since I haven’t given it back. It’s one of those books that never feels done, as you mull things over and go back to read them again.

Richter’s book is a historian’s labor, underpinned by the longing for a more nuanced understanding of North American colonization. He looks deeply and in new ways through the written documents we have, to bring forward…