Indian History and Culture


Indian History and Culture: Overview

People of Asiatic origins migrated into the Americas between forty thousand and twelve thousand years ago. Climatic change prompted the earliest foragers, who stone-chipped spear points throughout the hemisphere, to adapt to a wide variety of ecosystems. Southeastern peoples domesticated chenopod plants in step with other global centers of plant domestication. Peoples across North America adopted maize, beans, and squash from their Mexican neighbors. The largest population centers and state-level societies arose on the interior Mississippi River drainage networks, leaving the coasts more vulnerable to invasion.

With Spain in the lead, Europeans colonized and brought new diseases to the Americas beginning in the late fifteenth century, causing the worst demographic disaster in human history. Epidemics took a toll in every sphere of Native American life. With remarkable adaptability, the survivors splintered, migrated, and ultimately amalgamated to form new groups and devise strategies for dealing with the invaders.

Exchange of pelts for European manufactured goods enhanced native economic and spiritual life for centuries before dependence eroded their autonomy. The continual drive of Euroamericans to expropriate native land by whatever means necessary, including genocide, reduced the native peoples to an indigenous minority engulfed in a sea of immigrants.

As the colonizer that ultimately retained the most native land, the United States inadvertently accorded native people limited sovereignty by employing treaties as the cheapest means for acquiring land. In the 1830s, the Supreme Court defined Indians as wards of the U.S. government. Though nearly all treaties were broken, tribes in the twentieth century success fully used the courts to maintain their limited sovereignty. With the greatest rate of intermarriage of any U.S. minority group, the native population was on the rise as the twentieth century ended, though they remained the most impoverished.

Bibliography. William C. Sturtevant, ed., Handbook of North American Indians, 10 vols. to date, 1978-. Francis Jennings, The Founders of America, 1993.

Melissa L. Meyer


Indian History and Culture: Migration and Pre-Columbian Era

The Indians of the Americas, as well as the Aleuts and Inuit (Eskimos), originated in northeastern Asia and came to the Americas in three or four major migratory episodes. Most American Indians descend from a migration that began about 15,000 years ago. Whether these people encountered a sparse population of people descended from a much earlier migration is a topic of much debate and research. A later migration that began about 9,500 years ago probably brought speakers of Na-déné languages to interior Alaska and western Canada. However, genetic evidence is also consistent with the possibility that the Na-déné began as a branch of the previous migration, the split perhaps having occurred in northwestern North America rather than earlier in Siberia. Some of the Na-déné speakers later moved to the present-day southwestern United States, where their descendants are known as Apaches and Navajos. A final migration of ancestral Inuit (Eskimo) and Aleut people began around 4,500 years ago and led to their occupation of coastal Alaska as well as of forbidding and previously unoccupied regions above the Arctic Circle in Canada and Greenland.

At the end of the Ice Age around ten thousand years ago, all human beings lived as hunters, gatherers, and foragers. The highly mobile bands of American Indians living then in what is now the United States are generally referred to as Paleo-Indians. Changing environmental conditions and human pre dation drove many of the large Ice Age game animals to extinction as glaciers retreated and the environment shifted toward modern conditions. As conditions stabilized, Indian populations became less mobile, settled into territorial ranges, and developed specialized technologies and social organizations for the efficient exploitation of available food resources. This led to the development of habitations at key locations and the gradual regional diversification of what had earlier been a generally uniform culture.

Increasing familiarization with local resources eventually led to the partial domestication of wild plant foods. For example, in the Eastern Woodlands, native squash, sunflower, goosefoot, sumpweed, knotweed, maygrass, and little barley were all brought under domestication by the second millennium B.C. Along the Northwest Coast, Indian communities intensified the exploitation, storage, and redistribution of seasonal resources, most of them maritime. Populations remained thin in the west ern deserts and in the far north. Environmental variations were clearly major determinants of the specific directions taken by Indian cultures across the continent as they grew and evolved.

North American Indians were limited by the general lack of suitable animal domesticates. Native American horses had become extinct, and they might not have been suitable for domestication in any case, and there were no other animal can didates that might have served as domesticated sources of burden, wool, milk, meat, traction, or transportation in North America. This fact limited technological change and compelled a reliance on wild game for meat, hides, and animal fiber. The absence of any animal equivalent to the ox forestalled the development of plows and wheeled vehicles as well as grassy plant domesticates similar to Eurasian wheat and barley, which require plow technology.

Native domesticates supported the development of Adena culture in present-day southern Ohio and portions of four adjacent states by around 700 B.C. Adena is best known for large burial mounds containing high-quality grave offerings. Among these are tubular pipes and other evidence that tobacco, originally a South American domesticate, had spread to North America by this time. Some outlying Adena-style burials occur as far east as New Jersey and as far northeast as Vermont.

Adena lasted until around A.D. 1. The more elaborate Hope well earthworks arose around 100 B.C. within Adena territory. These sometimes include very large geometric earthworks in the core area of southern Ohio. Hopewell lasted until around A.D. 350, spawning derivative mound-building cultures in the lower Great Lakes region, around Lake Michigan, and in the valleys of the Mississippi River and its major tributaries from southern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Burial mounds eventually were built throughout the Eastern Woodlands and eastern prairies of the United States, except for New England and the Middle-Atlantic coastal region. Some late examples in Wisconsin and parts of adjacent states were constructed as large animal effigies.

Plant domesticates that were first cultivated farther south eventually made up for some natural deficiencies. Maize was developed in Mexico as a plant domesticate that produced many large seeds from a comparatively small number of plants that could be tended using hand techniques. Beans, domesticated in South America, had the same characteristics and provided a partial substitute for meat protein. These were spread north by Indian farmers along with superior strains of squash, leading to major economic changes in eastern North America after A.D. 800.

Strains of these domesticates also reached the American Southwest by perhaps as early as 300 B.C. Here they made a desert and near desert marginally productive for farmers, and the Pueblo village cultures emerged. Three great cultural traditions, the Anasazi, Mogollon, and Hohokam, were centered in present-day Arizona and New Mexico, with extensions by the first two reaching into neighboring parts of the United States and Mexico. The Hohokam culture made use of intensive crop irrigation. The minor Patayan tradition developed to the west, partially in California, and the Fremont culture developed in Utah.

The midcontinental prairies remained grasslands because, as we have seen, Indian farmers lacked the traction power necessary for plowing. Only the river valleys of the prairies supported farming before the coming of Europeans, for their alluvial soils could be cultivated with hand implements. The prairies and High Plains were the scene of cultural florescence only after domesticated horses introduced by the Spanish made pastoralism possible.

The rise of chiefdoms in the Eastern Woodlands occurred after A.D. 800 with the introduction of new strains of maize and other domesticates. Large towns appeared with flat-topped platform mounds clearly showing the architectural influence of developments in central Mexico. Four regional variants in the Southeast, all known as Mississippian, are designated as Middle, South Appalachian, Caddoan, and Plaquemine Mississippian, respectively. Northern variants are known as Oneota and Fort Ancient.

American Indians living north of the Great Lakes, in the High Plains, the Great Basin, California, and along the North west Coast remained hunters and gatherers throughout the pre-Columbian era. Populations there remained generally low, fewer than one person per hundred square kilometers on average. Those living along the West Coast and in some parts of interior California, however, enjoyed such natural abundance that they had higher population densities comparable to those of the Eastern Woodlands farmers. The elaborate societies of the Northwest Coast are especially noteworthy for their highly developed art and sophisticated sociopolitical systems.

Climatic changes in the last few centuries of the pre-Columbian era caused the abandonment of many farming villages in the Southwest, as well as village nucleation and in creased competition that led to intensified warfare in many parts of the Eastern Woodlands. North America at the end of the pre-Columbian era was a cultural mosaic of hundreds of American Indian nations speaking distinct languages and following lifeways ranging from small hunting bands to large set tled chiefdoms based on intensive farming. All aspects of American Indian culture displayed considerable regional and temporal variation. Reliable estimates of the aggregate size of North American Indian populations north of Mexico in A.D. 1492 approximate 2.2 million.

Bibliography. William Sturtevant, ed., Handbook of North American Indians, 10 vols. to date, 1978-. Michael Coe, Dean Snow, and Elizabeth Benson, Atlas of Ancient America, 1986. Alice B. Kehoe, North American Indians: A Comprehensive Account, 1992.

Dean R. Snow


Indian History and Culture: Distribution of Major Groups, circa 1500

Around A.D. 1500, approximately four hundred distinct and mutually unintelligible American Indian languages were spoken in the portion of North America lying north of Mexico. Generally, each language was spoken by members of a reasonably well-defined traditional society. These societies varied from small but widely scattered ones in areas of low natural productivity to large and dense ones in areas where farming was practiced. Descendants of many still survive, and references to the societies in the past tense in this essay do not necessarily imply that they are extinct.

The continent can be conveniently divided into eleven culture areas, each with a different set of typical subsistence practices, settlement types, house styles, social systems, and political organizations. North American Indian languages can be grouped into no fewer than twenty-one families, the final form of language diversification that took fifteen thousand years to develop. More than thirty languages are either unique isolates having no known relatives or extinct and so poorly known that they cannot be grouped with any others. Because unwritten languages preserve clues to their links with related languages for at most a few thousand years, it may never be possible to trace the ancient connections between even well-known languages and language families.

When Hernando de Soto began his exploration of the Southeastern Woodlands in 1539, he encountered large towns with central plazas and earthen platform mounds surrounded by residences and fields of maize, beans, and squash. Cultivation tended to be carried out on rich, easily tilled, alluvial soils on broad river floodplains, often near oxbow lakes and other areas of high natural food productivity. Many societies were organized politically as chiefdoms, some having societies based on matrilineal principles, some based on patrilineal ones. Muskogean and Caddoan were the major language families of the region, although there were also representatives of the Siouan and Iroquoian families. The region was one of the first to experience depopulation owing to smallpox and other diseases that spread from Europe in the sixteenth century.

The Northeastern Woodlands supported less intensive farming. Upland slash-and-burn farming was practiced in the lower Great Lakes and southern New England areas, while wild-rice gathering predominated around the upper Great Lakes. Most societies spoke either Iroquoian or Algonquian languages in this culture area. Algonquian speakers, also widespread in east ern Canada, were in place earlier than the Iroquoian speakers. The latter intruded into the region from the central Appalachians, bringing with them plant domesticates and longhouse communities organized along matrilineal lines. Farming later spread to the Algonquian residents of southern New England. European diseases reached the Northeast later than the Southeast but with such devastating effects even prior to European exploration that we know little about the Indians of the upper Ohio Valley in this period.

Prior to the introduction of the domesticated horse, the upland Great Plains were occupied by bands of mobile hunter-gatherers, at least some of them speakers of Kiowa-Tanoan languages. Wooded valleys of the main western tributaries of the Mississippi River, particularly the Missouri River, were occupied by sedentary farmers who had moved upstream from the Eastern Woodlands late in the pre-Columbian era. These were mainly speakers of Caddoan and Siouan languages. These farming peoples typically lived in villages of large multifamily earth lodges, and some were strongly matrilineal.

Algonquian-speaking hunters were thinly distributed across the eastern Canada culture area, which included northern New England and the Maritime Provinces. Small mobile bands were typically organized along patrilineal or bilateral lines. Those living near the seacoast had access to more abundant food resources and frequently lived in villages of bark wigwams for at least part of the year.

The western Canada culture area was occupied by speakers of various Na-déné languages, the largest fraction of which are called Athapaskan. Like the people of eastern Canada, they were hunter-gatherers who lived in small mobile bands. Some Athapaskans broke away and migrated to the Southwest late in the pre-Columbian era, where they later became known as the Apache and Navajo peoples.

The settled Pueblo farmers of the Southwest, remnants of the great traditions of the region that flourished during the pre-Columbian era, comprised four language families: Uto-Aztecan, Hokan, Keresan, and Kiowa-Tanoan. One language, Zuni, defies classification. Pueblo villages were traditionally built of stone or adobe, and many housed strongly matrilineal societies built around clans and elaborate seasonal ceremonies. Prolonged drought forced all of them to contract their territories prior to A.D. 1500, a change that facilitated the immigration of Athapaskan speakers from the north. Southwestern Pueblo villages remain well known for their architecture and ceramics.

The Great Basin is an arid region that did not support much farming around A.D. 1500. Nearly all inhabitants of this culture area were Uto-Aztecan speakers that lived in small mobile bands.

Present-day California, north of the portions of it that were part of the Great Basin or Southwest culture areas, was high in natural productivity. More than forty nations lived in small, densely populated tribal territories. None of them practiced farming, but all had elaborated special techniques for harvest ing locally abundant resources that were virtual staples in their diets. The rich, wild resources varied from plant foods, such as acorns, to seafood. Long-term management of the food resources nearly turned some of them into domesticates. The tribes of California spoke languages belonging to at least seven families, including small representative enclaves of some language families spoken much more widely outside California.

The Northwest Coast, like California, was characterized by about forty independent tribes and chiefdoms showing considerable cultural and linguistic diversity. There were eight lan guage families in the culture area and several languages that cannot now be classified. Rich maritime resources allowed the development of large sedentary towns. The chiefdoms of the central part of the coast are well known for their multifamily houses and elaborate cedar totem-pole art.

The interior Plateau culture area lies between the coastal mountains of the Northwest Coast and the interior Rocky Mountains. Most of the tribes of the Plateau lived along tributaries of the Columbia and Fraser Rivers and spoke Sahaptain, Salishan, and Na-déné languages that were related to languages of the same families along the Northwest Coast. They were largely hunter-gatherers who enjoyed resources rich enough to allow some of them to live in permanent earth lodges for at least part of the year.

Coastal Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland all lie within the Arctic culture area, whose inhabitants all spoke languages of the Eskimo-Aleut family. In 1500, all of the inhabited parts of the Arctic east of Alaska were occupied by Inuit people speaking dialects of a single language, the consequence of their rapid migratory expansion from northern Alaska only a few centuries earlier. Alaska itself, which had been occupied for much longer, was considerably more diverse, both culturally and linguistically. Arctic people lived in small mobile family bands that depended upon a light but highly elaborated technology for survival in a harsh environment. The toggling har poon, dogsled, compound bow, and kayak are only a few examples of their technological ingenuity.

North America on the eve of European exploration and colonization was, in short, a region of richly diverse Indian cultures that differed widely in all respects, including language, social organization, and means of subsistence. It was a diversity that matched the cultural diversity of the newcomers from across the Atlantic. Subsequent interactions produced the complex cultural mosaic that persists today.

William Sturtevant, ed., Handbook of North American Indians, 10 vols. to date, 1978-. Michael Coe, Dean Snow, and Elizabeth Benson, Atlas of Ancient America, 1986. Alice B. Kehoe, North American Indians: A Comprehensive Account, 1992.

Dean R. Snow


Indian History and Culture: From 1500 to 1800

Aboriginal peoples entered the Eastern Woodlands (here defined broadly as the area bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Lawrence and Mississippi Rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico) around ten thousand years ago. By the late fifteenth century, perhaps 500,000 Amerindians dwelled in the area, although estimates are at best highly conjectural. They divided into scores of bands, each of which considered itself a distinct people. Algonquian languages predominated (spoken by Abenakis, Delawares, and Ojibwas, among others), along with Iroquoian (the Five Nations, Hurons, Cherokees), Muskogean (Creeks, Choctaws, Appalachees), Siouan (Catawbas), and Timucuan (Potamos).

Amerindian Life and Social Institutions around 1500. With some exceptions, Woodlands Amerindians lived in villages of a few hundred residents. Most subsisted primarily on cultivated crops, especially corn, beans, and squash, supplementing their diets with meat and seafood; hunting prevailed north of the St. Lawrence and along the Ohio River, as did fishing in coastal Florida and southern New England. Villages consisted of families grouped into two or more clans, which provided hospitality for visiting relatives and, in the absence of any statist legal system, functioned as a police, avenging injuries to kin. Wood lands peoples neither accumulated much material wealth nor developed stratified classes. Bands were headed by civil chiefs who took advice from elders, councils, or sometimes all adults. Lacking fiat power and thus unable to compel individual behavior, chiefs ruled instead by force of personality and example. Military chiefs, chosen for their feats of bravery, captained parties for hunting and combat. Wars, fought for honor or revenge rather than riches or territory, were endemic but not particularly lethal. Villages were joined in structures of various size and complexity, from tribes incorporating a few towns with headmen holding essentially equal authority to paramount chiefdoms integrating numerous band and kin groups governed by a ranked hierarchy of chiefs. Extensive polities were rare. Sometime in the sixteenth century, the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks formed the League of the Iroquois to stop blood feuds among them; at the end of the century, Powhatan created a paramount chiefdom among the James River Algonquians by force, intimidation, and negotiation; and in the eighteenth century, the Cherokees evolved a confederation to coordinate policies toward the British colonies. Amerindians undertook few tasks without engaging the spirits ("manitous," an Algonquian word), who were believed to inhabit the world and confer power on its denizens. Proper conduct entailed establishing relationships of mutual respect with every creature; such conduct would maximize a person's potency. Villages performed communal rituals to thank and propitiate spirits. Select individuals (shamans) acquired extraordinary magical and healing powers from the spirits, but no special clerical caste existed, and any person could communicate with manitous directly.

Early Contacts with Europeans. Repeated contacts between Woodlands Amerindians and Europeans first occurred during the sixteenth century. Along the North Atlantic littoral, they were sporadic. Algonquians in eastern Canada and New England exchanged goods with fishermen drying their catches. Iroquoians and Algonquians greeted Jacques Cartier's three excursions up the St. Lawrence between 1534 and 1542, but the French did not return for more than half a century. Southeastern peoples experienced far greater intrusions; the incursions of Pánfilo de Narváez (1527-1528) and Hernando de Soto (1539-1542) precipitated many clashes, and in their wake the region's paramount chiefdoms collapsed. The reasons for their demise are not entirely clear, but illness played the leading role, as it did in decimating aboriginal settlements throughout the hemisphere. Having existed in a static disease environment for millennia, Amerindians had evolved no immunities to Old World pathogens and rapidly succumbed to smallpox and respiratory ailments. "Virgin soil epidemics" struck the most productive age cohorts the hardest and left survivors unable to sustain themselves. Some scholars suggest that native populations may have declined by 90 percent within a century after contact; whatever the exact figure, pandemics loosened natives' grip on their land more than did any other factor.

During the seventeenth century, Amerindians had to contend with European incursions along the entire Atlantic sea board. Around the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, Algonquians and Hurons entered into an extensive trading net work with the French. Thousands converted to Roman Catholicism, some baptized by Jesuits as they lay dying, others because taking the cross afforded them greater access to guns. The fur trade's profitability drew the attention of the Five Nations, the Hurons' inveterate enemies, who sought to take over the commerce and who in 1649 destroyed Huronia, some of whose survivors regrouped as Wyandots. The Five Nations, particularly the Mohawks, took their pelts to Fort Orange (later Albany), originally settled by the Dutch West India Company, which was far more interested in skins than souls. At first, the Algonquians of the lower Hudson Valley coexisted peacefully with New Netherland. As the number of farmers grew and their use of tribal lands increased the Dutch tried to control native movements more closely, and war broke out in 1643-1645, weakening both the river tribes and the colony, which fell to England in 1664.

In the English colonies, Amerindians confronted colonizers who constructed more extensive agricultural settlements than did any other Europeans and who thus posed the greatest threat to native lands. Algonquians were marginal to New England's commercial and spiritual economies; the quantity of fur-bearing animals could not support intensive trapping for long, nor did Puritan visions of constructing a godly society make converting the heathen a cardinal priority. The Wampanoags kept peace with the English for more than fifty years until, fearful about being dispossessed, they recruited the Narragansetts and other Algonquians into a pan-tribal alliance that devastated New England in Metacom's War (1675-1676), called King Philip's War by the colonists. The conflict retarded English settlement for decades but also wrecked the tribes' capac ity for further resistance. Around Chesapeake Bay, the Powhatans soon determined that the Virginians' desire for tobacco soils endangered their domain, and they launched major strikes in 1622 and 1644 to expel the invaders. The Virginians persevered, despite suffering significant casualties, and by the late seventeenth century had subdued the coastal tribes.

Spanish Franciscans gathered Guales of the Georgia coast, along with Timucuans and Appalachees in northern Florida, around doctrinas, church compounds circumscribed by native villages that contributed crops and labor. Disease and the Timucuan Rebellion of 1656 stunted the interior missions, and the English and Creeks destroyed the Guale outposts in 1702-1704.

Amerindians, the Atlantic Economy, and Imperial Conflicts. By the eighteenth century, the Eastern Woodlands peoples were inextricably tangled in two profound dynamics. First, exchanging furs for European textiles, metal goods, alcohol, and weapons had integrated them into the transatlantic market economy. Dependent on European commodities that they could neither reproduce nor replace because they had lost an cient skills, natives had to secure continuing access to colonial merchants. Second, rivalry between Great Britain, France, and Spain forced them to choose sides during the wars fought between 1689 and 1763 to control North America. Amerindians who lived near the colonies of two or more European nations could tease concessions from one side by threatening to do business with another, but none could disengage from imperial affairs. The tensions of dealing with aggressive states that were also sources of vital goods split many peoples between accommodationists, who believed that bands could best preserve their autonomy by coexisting with Europeans, and nativists willing to risk war. Stirred by "prophets" who decried Amerindians' departure from the old ways and their consequent loss of spiritual power, nativists urged armed struggle against encroach ment and the complete rejection of European culture. Pontiac's Rebellion (1763-1765), a pan-tribal nativist movement instigated by the Delaware prophet Neolin (although named for an Ottawa chief), pressured the British to resume giving native allies gifts, declare their lands off-limits to future settlement, and issue a schedule of fair trade prices.

Soon, however, the situation of Woodlands peoples deteriorated. Britain's triumph in the Seven Years' War (also known as the French and Indian War) gave it hegemony over the East ern Woodlands and undermined tribes' ability to play foes against each other. The Revolutionary War created a single national state that asserted sovereignty over virtually the entire area and upheld its citizens' rights to acreage within its borders. The United States regarded native peoples--most of whom had fought with Great Britain to curtail further American expansion--as either individuals to assimilate or as obstacles to overcome, but in any case as parties whose claims to autonomy and territory should not be largely credited. Tribal coalitions continued to resist, but the evacuation of British and Spanish troops from American soil during the 1790s made foreign aid more difficult for Woodlands peoples to obtain, and the last great uprising east of the Mississippi--led by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his half brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa--was defeated in 1811, after which Amerindians had little remaining means to oppose land cessions and westward removal. Marginalized within the United States, the surviving natives nevertheless maintained their cultural integrity. The incipient sense of belonging to a larger racial or cultural group articulated during nativist movements would crystallize in the late twentieth century around the terms "Native Americans" and "First Nations."

Bibliography. Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643, 1982. Ian Steele, Warpaths: Invasions of North America 1994. James Merrell, The Indians' New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal, 1989. Gregory Dowd, A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815, 1991. Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, 1991. James Axtell, Beyond 1492: Encounters in Colonial North America, 1992. Daniel Richter, The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization, 1992. Colin Calloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country, 1995. Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America, 1997.

Charles L. Cohen


Indian History and Culture: From 1800 to 1900

Nineteenth-century American history might read like an unrelieved tragedy for native peoples if their actions and adaptations were not spotlighted. However, they were not simply victims. They actively participated in this history and affected its course and outcome.

Post-Revolutionary Euroamerican Expansion and Indian Migration. The Revolutionary War and the subsequent defeat of the British in the War of 1812 created an unprecedented situation for North America's native peoples. Never again could they play one European power against another. No longer would any nation regard their sovereignty in the North American interior as crucial for preserving peace and enhancing trade. Expansion underlay the U.S. agenda; any protection of native rights was a temporary deviation from that greater goal. While land acquisition and explosive population growth brought opportunity and prosperity to white Americans, it dispossessed and impoverished the native people. The close of the nineteenth century coincided with the nadir of the indigenous population.

Most native groups had allied with the British during the Revolutionary War, but they were too powerful to be treated as conquered enemies. The U.S. government, small, weak, and bankrupt, was in no position to dictate terms to native people. To avoid costly wars, Congress passed between 1790 and 1834 a series of Trade and Intercourse Acts regulating interaction with Indians. Native people would have sovereignty in "Indian Country"; intruders would be expelled. Only the federal government could buy Indian land. Traders were to be licensed and alcohol prohibited. The United States even established a nonprofit, credit-free, alcohol-free trading enterprise to wean native allies from British traders still in Canada.

The inherent contradiction between the dual goals of acquiring land and keeping the peace doomed the formula to failure. A series of Pre-emption Acts promised land titles to squatters who made "improvements." The overriding objective of expansion could not have been more clear.

Accustomed to collective land stewardship and consensus politics, native groups learned through hard experience the many strategems Euroamericans would use to acquire their land. Speculators preyed upon unauthorized individuals ready to "sell" land. Bolstered by Pre-emption Acts, squatters in truded illegally. U.S. negotiators sought land cessions at every turn: to liquidate trade debts; in return for money, goods, and services to be distributed annually (annuities); and as retribution against groups that resorted to military defiance. The United States claimed jurisdiction over huge parcels like the Louisiana Purchase and the Gadsden Purchase through deals with various European nations. It claimed the Southwest, Northwest, and California through wars with European nations. Despite the clear overall policy of expansion, government representatives dealt with the thousands of native inhabitants largely on an ad hoc basis. Treaties avoided costly wars, but military conquest and even genocide awaited recalcitrant tribes. Whatever appeared in print, U.S. policy toward native people was in reality one of expediency.

Many native groups migrated west to avoid direct conflict. The Ohio Valley and Great Lakes areas teemed with refugees, prompting others to move onto the Great Plains and hunt bison astride horses reintroduced into the Americas by Europeans centuries before. In the early nineteenth century, portions of southeastern groups chose to transplant themselves west of the Mississippi River, to present-day Oklahoma and Kansas, at least temporarily escaping settler incursions.

Economic and Cultural Interactions. But migration alone could not extricate native peoples from interaction with Euroamericans. For centuries they had traded peltry and environ mental produce for European manufactured goods like copper pots, knives, hatchets, guns and ammunition, cloth, and beads. Although this trade enriched native economic, artistic, and spiritual lives, it complicated their political lives, as commerce and diplomacy with Euroamericans and other natives drew men farther away from home and increased the potential for conflict and military confrontations.

Along with material exchange came intermarriage and cultural borrowing, especially in areas where amicable trade persisted the longest, such as the western Great Lakes, central Canada, and the interior Southeast. Traders relied on relationships with native women to cement trade alliances and to acquaint themselves with the cultural and environmental conditions. Growing numbers of people of mixed descent fostered biculturalism and served as cultural brokers.

Traders had to accept a nexus of reciprocal rituals embedded in kinship networks. They learned to give presents and demonstrate concern for group welfare. They adopted native items like canoes and snowshoes and relied on native food supplies.

European-manufactured goods often had native counterparts. Knives, hatchets, and cloth were improvements, not in novations. Trade goods could even be used for entirely different purposes; copper pots, for example, might be cut up for ornamentation. Beads, following upon quill work, brought a flo rescence of artistic expression. Firearms, however, intensified deadly violence in intertribal conflicts. Alcohol, the perfect trade good because it was totally consumed, also exacerbated social conflict, especially among uprooted and dislocated groups. Increasingly in the nineteenth century, treaty-annuity cash fueled a booming liquor trade in every frontier community west of the Mississippi River, despite federal prohibitions against selling alcohol in "Indian Country."

Over generations, native people came to understand credit and debt and learned to equate goods with a standard based on pelts. Those of mixed descent from fur-trade families learned market ways especially well and became petty merchants after the collapse of the regional fur trade. In the Southeast, they kept step with the local economy by opening inns, mills, taverns, ferries, and toll roads, and even by establishing large plantations with African slaves. They extended their mediating skills into the reservation era, becoming outspoken politicians, though their interests often deviated from those of more conservative members of the group.

However, the encroaching agricultural frontier degraded the environment. As game was depleted, native people functioned as intermediaries, supplying manufactured goods to groups farther in the interior in exchange for pelts. Native middlemen faced a crisis when bypassed by Euroamerican traders. Having lost native craft skills, they found themselves dependent on Euroamericans with little to offer in return other than their land.

Innovations in Governance, Religious Movements, and Pantribal Initiatives. Escalating land loss prompted many native groups to centralize their governance and ally across tribal lines. The Cherokees, subordinating village autonomy to the common goal of retaining their homeland, created a state modeled after the tripartite U.S. government. Selling land without national approval was treason, punishable by death. Other groups, too, modified governance by consensus in the interest of political centralization. Land pressures, combined with the onslaught of formal treaty negotiations with the United States, crystallized social units that had formerly been more fluid.

Native people often sought spiritual solutions for the wrenching problems they faced. Prophets, often reformed alcoholics, experienced visions and conveyed instructions for reclaiming their society from degradation and despair. The more pragmatic the message, the greater was the likelihood of success. In 1799, as the Seneca of upstate New York were reeling from military defeat, land loss, and alcoholism, Handsome Lake began preaching a social and religious message that condemned alcohol, encouraged displaced men instead of women to farm, and subordinated the Senecas' matrilineal social structure to one favoring nuclear families. He also urged revival of religious rituals and farming for subsistence instead of the market.

Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, however, at about the same time preached abstinence from all things Euroamerican. He encouraged all native people to assemble at Prophetstown, in northern Indiana. Unable to feed them, he secretly begged for supplies from the British. He claimed the ability to work miracles, but his followers nearly killed him when he failed to deliver.

Equally unrealistic and unsuccessful was the Ghost Dance movement of the 1890s. Large population losses drew native groups across the Plains to the message of Wovoka, a Paiute. If the devout performed the Ghost Dance at intervals for four consecutive days and nights, Wovoka prophesied, a cataclysm would eliminate whites, return the former Plains ecosystem (especially buffalo), and resurrect the dead. The prophecy failed to materialize, and, tragically, more than 150 members of Big Foot's Lakota band were massacred by the United States cavalry at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1890.

While Tenskwatawa held out spiritual solace through a return to Shawnee ways, diplomats representing his brother Tecumseh were recruiting allies from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. For a brief historical moment, in the most famous pan-tribal initiative, were natives from Canada to the Southeast united to halt the American advance into what had been officially recognized as "Indian Country," where tribes were sovereign nations. Disheartened when General William Henry Harrison defeated the native people gathered at Prophetstown, in 1811 Tecumseh abandoned his dream of a pan-Indian union.

Forced Expulsion, Forced Assimilation. Neither political nor spiritual strategy could deliver native people from the power of the United States, which began to dictate terms that contradicted its own established policies. For example, despite the Cherokees' success in establishing an elective, democratic government, achieving literacy in both English and Cherokee, establishing plantations, and winning favorable Supreme Court rulings, they were forcibly removed from their Georgia homeland in the later 1830s. On the trek west, between four thousand and eight thousand perished on what is remembered as the Trail of Tears. By 1850, most native people east of the Mississippi River had been relocated to "Indian Territory," which resembled an ethnic crazy quilt of displaced groups.

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 proved a momentous watershed for native people in the West. Hordes of single men stampeded to find fortune. Unrestrained by family, community, or church, they decimated the native population near the goldfields. California natives suffered the most complete genocide in U.S. history.

The quest to link California and its gold to East Coast markets by an overland route placed intense pressures upon the native peoples of the Great Plains. The Oregon Trail split the immense buffalo herd in two. Westering emigrants denuded the countryside adjacent to the trails. As native inhabitants retaliated, the United States erected forts and violence escalated, with many innocent people caught in the cross fire. Most white Americans viewed Great Plains natives as obstacles. Attacks multiplied even against groups under the protection of the U.S. Army. The 1864 massacre of Dull Knife's band of friendly Cheyenne at Sand Creek, Colorado, symbolized the genocide of the bloody Plains Wars between 1850 and 1880. To subdue the Plains people, the U.S. cavalry destroyed their possessions and exterminated the buffalo upon which they depended.

Policy-makers viewed reservations as temporary halfway houses on the road to assimilation. By the late nineteenth century, they were dismayed that many native people persisted in their customs and beliefs. Easterners hoping to assimilate In dians and westerners hoping to acquire reservation lands coalesced in 1887 to pass the Dawes Severalty Act. Each individual Indian would receive between 40 and 160 acres of land, to be held in trust by the government for twenty-five years while native owners learned how to manage real estate. Homesteaders could buy any land left over. Policy-makers believed that private property would transform Indians' collective values; their cultural traditions would soon follow. The Dawes Act disregarded treaty terms nationwide, except in the arid Southwest. Although some enterprising Indians favored allotment, the vast majority opposed it, but to no avail. In Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the Supreme Court had confirmed the absolute plenary power of the United States over native tribes, and Congress now fully exercised this right.

At the same time, the government imposed a massive forced assimilation program on native people. Agents withheld goods and services unless individuals complied with every federal directive. They had to move onto their allotments, cut their hair, assume surnames, attend Christian services, wear "citizens'" clothing, speak English, and, worst of all, send their children to distant boarding schools like Richard H. Pratt's Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. Boarding schools of fered vocational training. Half the day focused on rudimentary reading, writing, and math; the other half involved cleaning, farming, chopping wood, and sewing. Children were steeped in military discipline and forced to wear uniforms and accept English names. Speaking native languages brought punishment. Some homesick students found peer-group support, but others ran away or committed suicide. Overcrowding spread diseases. Graveyards were a regular feature of school grounds. The formula for forced assimilation amounted to cultural genocide.

But native adaptations did not simply mirror policy-makers' demands. Some converted to Christianity; others blended elements from both cultures. At the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, Ojibwa Episcopal ministers preached and sang hymns in their own language. Mountain Wolf Woman, a Wisconsin Winnebago, practiced her traditional Medicine Lodge religion, attended Christian services, and was a devout Peyotist (a popular new syncretic religion emphasizing sobriety and using peyote as a sacrament). Son of a Star, a North Dakota Hidatsa, built a log cabin instead of an earth lodge but arranged furniture along the walls around the center wood stove. Men and women segregated themselves in customary fashion in relation to the door, on which a buffalo skull rested facing the rising sun. Others resisted change and secretly practiced religions like the Sun Dance away from the prying eyes of agents and missionaries.

As for the 1887 Dawes Act, most native people did not have a chance to learn to manage their allotments as real estate. The 1906 Burke Act permitted "competent" individuals to sell their land, and many did. By 1917, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs was forcing unrestricted land titles on individuals without their consent. They were then subject to property taxes and lost the land through tax forfeiture. Local corporate interests and their political allies connived to defraud native people. By 1920, most native people had lost their land, further pauperizing the most impoverished American minority.

The Situation in 1900. The year 1900 marked the nadir of the Indian population. Colonized, dispossessed, and infantilized by outsiders' iron-clad political and economic control, ultimate extinction seemed inevitable to many observers. Even so, individual responses ranged along a spectrum, with most falling somewhere between the extremes. On one hand, assimilationists championed the Dakota Charles Eastman (1858-1939), a physician who graduated from Boston University Medical School. Daklugie (1872-1955), an Apache leader, represents the other extreme. Daklugie survived the genocidal wars against the Chiricahua Apache, imprisonment at an old fort in Florida, and incarceration at Carlisle Indian School. Once freed, he helped his people turn to cattle raising. Yet he shared the vision of his father, Juh, and despondently reported that the Apache had become Indeh--the dead. They had suffered military conquest and could no longer recognize themselves. History, for them, had stopped. That the native population began to increase after 1900 is testimony to their human resiliency and perseverance.

Bibliography. Angie Debo, And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1940. Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians, 2 vols., 1983. R. David Edmunds, Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership, 1984. Robert M. Utley, The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890, 1984. Albert L. Hurtado, Indian Survival on the California Frontier, 1988. Richard White, "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West, 1991. Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians, 1993. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School, 1994. Melissa L. Meyer, The White Earth Tragedy: Ethnicity and Dispossession at a Minnesota Anishinaabe Reservation, 1889-1920, 1994.

Melissa L. Meyer


Indian History and Culture: From 1900 to 1950

Broad demographic, social, and cultural developments profoundly affected both American Indian tribes and individuals in the first half of the twentieth century, as they struggled to define a place for themselves in a changing America. Two different visions shaped that effort. While some sought to establish themselves and their families as full members of American society, others endeavored to retain distinctive tribal cultures, living within American society but not wholly a part of it.

The most fundamental change during these five decades was demographic. After some four hundred years of decline from an aboriginal population of more than five million, the American Indian population in the United States sank to a nadir of only about 250,000 around 1900. By 1950, according to the U.S. census, the figure had increased to 357,000, as mortality declined significantly and births outnumbered deaths. Accompanying the numerical increases were declining percentages of "full blood" individuals within the American Indian population; for example, 57 percent of American Indians enumerated in the 1910 census were "full bloods," as compared with only 46 percent in 1930. Census data also reveal small but steady increases in the proportion of the Indian population residing in urban areas: In 1900, less than one-half of one percent of American Indians lived in urban areas; by 1950, more than 13 percent did. This redistribution was in part a by-product of World War II, as returning Indian servicemen and -women settled in cities and towns rather than on reservations or in rural areas where they had lived formerly. A Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) relocation program that encouraged and assisted Indian people to relocate to urban areas, launched at midcentury, accelerated the urbanization process.

Political developments in these decades affected American Indians as well. The Citizenship Act of 1934 made all American Indians in the United States citizens for the first time, and with citizenship came full voting privileges. The allotment of tribal lands to private owners, although primarily a phenomenon of the late nineteenth century, continued into the twentieth century, particularly in Oklahoma where the allotment of Cherokee lands went on until 1907. That same year the former Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory merged to become the state of Oklahoma, thereby ending "Oklahoma" as a relocation area for Indian peoples from throughout the United States.

Driving the allotment process were political and corporate desires for Indian lands. In some instances, such as in Oklahoma, acreage allotted to tribal members amounted to mere portions of former tribal land, with the rest allocated for "settlement" by non-Indians. Even allotted lands were not secure under individual Indian ownership. As a result of rampant fraud, individual allotments often fell into the hands of future land barons, speculators, and corporations.

Allotment also undermined tribal life. American Indian groups that managed to retain tribal lands as reservations fared better as tribes. This included particularly Indians on the Plains and in the Southwest and West. The 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, acknowledging Indian tribes' "rights to organize for [their] common welfare," legitimated and codified tribal self-government under the watchful eyes if not the actual dictates of the BIA. This act, in turn, provided the basis for formal tribal constitutions governing the operations of the more than three hundred federally recognized tribes and more than two hundred federally recognized Alaskan Native villages.

The early twentieth century also marked an era of social and cultural change for American Indians. The Chiricahua Apache Geronimo, the last of the true Indian "warriors" fighting for their land, was captured in 1886 and lived on in Oklahoma until his death in 1909. In 1911, an Indian named Ishi, the last of the Yahis, wandered into Oroville, California, and was taken to the University of California at Berkeley under the supervision of anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and others. Apotheosized as the "last wild Indian," he died of tuberculosis in 1916. Symbolically, Ishi's death marked the extinction of truly distinctive American Indian ways of life that had developed over many thousands of years. The portrayal of Indians in the movies and other popular-culture media reinforced the tendency to relegate them to America's mythic past.

While Geronimo and Ishi symbolized the past, other American Indians attained prominence in the early twentieth century for different reasons. The athlete Jim Thorpe (1888-1953) of Oklahoma, a descendant of Black Hawk, won fame at the 1912 Olympic Games and later played professional football. Other Indians constituted a cadre of intellectuals, operating on a newly established pan-Indian basis, who sought to define or redefine American Indians' identity and their place in twentieth-century America. This group, including such diverse individuals as Charles Eastman, Carlos Montezuma, Mary Baldwin, Arthur C. Parker, and Henry Standing Bear, sought primarily to assimilate Indians into wider society.

In large part, this intellectual cadre was a product of the system of Indian education that had gradually taken shape. Around 1900, more than two hundred government schools were operating on reservations, supplemented by state schools for Indian youth and some schools in the soon-to-be-ended Indian Territory, primarily under the auspices of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole--the so-called Five Tribes. The Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania--where Jim Thorpe first won fame as a football player--dated to 1879. By 1925, however, doubts had arisen about the effectiveness of these schools in facilitating the movement of Indians into mainstream American life. The U.S. Senate established a commission to assess Indian education; it was headed by Lewis Meriam of the University of Chicago. Meriam's The Problem of Indian Administration, which became known as the Meriam Report, asserted in 1928 that the "Indian problem is essentially an educational one," and called for a redirection of Indian education. Beginning in the 1930s, schools for American Indians became more sympathetic to Indian cultures and slowly incorporated Indian history and culture into the curriculum. As boarding schools and day schools declined, the emphasis by midcentury had almost wholly shifted to public-school education for Indian youth.

While many intellectuals, educators, and government administrators sought to bring American Indians more fully into mainstream American society, other developments aimed at retaining a distinct Indian identity, even as the role of tribalism in Indian life declined. Although the Ghost Dance of the 1890s barely survived (in Oklahoma) into the early twentieth century, another new, pan-Indian religion, peyotism, also known as the Native American Church, became a mainstay for American Indians seeking to maintain a distinct culture. Peyotism remained prominent through midcentury and continued to flourish thereafter in Oklahoma, the Southwest, and other areas, offering hope for American Indians' survival as a distinct people within the larger American society.

Bibliography. Angie Debo, And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1940. Hazel W. Hertzberg, The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements, 1971. Margaret Connell Szasz, Education and the American Indian: The Road to Self-Determination since 1928, 1979. Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History since 1942, 1987. Melissa L. Meyer, The White Earth Tragedy: Ethnicity and Dispossession at a Minnesota Anishinaabe Reservation, 1994. Nancy Shoemaker, American Indian Population Recovery in the Twentieth Century, 1999.

Russell Thornton


Indian History and Culture: Since 1950

In the 1950s, the U.S. government attempted to assimilate Native Americans through treaty termination and relocation. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law a bill designed to annul federal treaties with Indian nations and to subject Indians to the same laws, and entitle them to the same privileges, rights, and responsibilities, as other citizens. Initiating procedures for ending federal supervision of Indians in California, Florida, New York, Texas, and specific tribes in other states, the legislation ordered the Secretary of the Interior to review existing treaties and statutes and recommend measures to end federal responsibility by 1 January 1954. A companion act in 1953 extended state laws over Indian reservations in Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

In 1951, the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) launched an employment-assistance program that reset tled Native peoples from high-unemployment reservations to cities like Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and Oakland. After some job training on the reservation, people were taken to cities where BIA employees found them housing and employment. After the training and adjustment period, specialized government services ceased. Over 100,000 Indians were resettled through the relocation program, but it was controversial from the start; some people relocated easily, while many others found the transition difficult and returned to their reservations.

In the early 1960s, the John F. Kennedy administration largely ignored the termination policies and focused on Indian economic development, educational reform, vocational training, and housing. President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society legislation funneled more federal funds onto reservations than any previous programs. Head Start, the Job Corps, VISTA, and Upward Bound began operating on reservations. Pursuing a policy of self-determination, Johnson's Community Action Program authorized tribal governments to receive monies directly from the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and to administer them without BIA supervision. A weakened BIA thus assumed an intermediary role between tribal governments and other federal agencies.

In 1966, Robert Bennett (Oneida) became the first American Indian to head the BIA since Ely S. Parker (Seneca) in the 1870s. A career BIA employee, Bennett was a skilled administrator who knew many Indian leaders and worked effectively behind the scenes in the federal bureaucracy. In a message to Congress on Indian problems in 1968, Johnson rejected the termination approach and asserted that self-determination would erase "old attitudes of paternalism." To coordinate the many agencies offering Indian services, Johnson appointed Vice President Hubert Humphrey to head the National Council on Indian Opportunity (NCIO).

President Richard M. Nixon retained NCIO; pledged to continue Johnson's self-determination policies; and appointed a Republican Indian, Louis R. Bruce (Sioux-Mohawk), as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In a 1970 message to Congress, Nixon rejected the termination policy and endorsed programs to improve education, health, and economic development on reservations and to increase support for urban Indian centers. The Indian Self-Determination Law (1974) set up procedures whereby Indian tribes could manage federal programs on their lands.

The civil-rights era brought an upsurge in Indian militancy. In the mid-1960s, despite complaints from commercial and sport fishermen, Native fisherman in Washington State asserted their treaty rights to fish in the "usual and accustomed places" along the Nisqually River. In 1974, the federal courts upheld Native fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest. (Similar struggles for fishing rights would erupt in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 1980s.) Occupying Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay in November 1969, American Indian militants sought to gain title to the island, build a Native American cultural center, and launch a Pan-Indian movement called the Confederation of American Indian Nations (CAIN). After a two-year occupation that spotlighted Indian demands, federal marshals removed the protesters.

For Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, the issue was nearby Blue Lake, an important water source and sacred site that the federal government had incorporated into Carson National Forest in 1904. In 1965, after extended protests, the Pueblo leaders rejected a proposed monetary settlement and demanded the lake's return. In 1970, the Nixon administration pushed through a bill restoring Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo.

The Alaska Native Land Claims Act (1971) granted some 40 million acres of federal land, and $962 million, to Indian villages and corporations in Alaska. In 1972, Nixon by executive order restored to the Yakima Indians of Washington State some 21,000 acres that had been wrongfully incorporated into Mount Rainier forest reserve in 1908.

In 1968, meanwhile, the pan-Indian American Indian Movement (AIM) had been founded in Minneapolis to deal with unemployment, alienation, and poverty. Using audacious media tactics, AIM leaders occupied college buildings and staged protests at Mount Rushmore and the Mayflower II, a vessel commemorating the Pilgrims' voyage of 1620. Organizing a "Trail of Broken Treaties," AIM activists occupied BIA headquarters in Washington on 2 November 1972. They demanded repeal of termination legislation, the replacement of the BIA with a three-person presidential commission, the restoration of tribal sovereignty through treaties, and an increase in the Indian land base. On the eve of the 1972 election, the Nixon administration negotiated a compromise agreement granting immunity to the occupiers and promising to review their demands. In February 1973, AIM leaders occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, site of the 1890 massacre of over 300 Lakota people. The highly publicized occupation and armed confrontation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation lasted for seventy-one days.

American Indian intellectuals and writers rose to prominence through a 1970s cultural renaissance. Vine Deloria Jr., Scott Momaday, and Leslie Silko published pathbreaking books portraying the lives, philosophies, and anger of Native peoples. By the 1980s, writers and activists like Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich, and Wilma Mankiller became strong voices for Indian survival and well-being. American Indian intellectuals, politicians, activists, and medicine people sought new ways to sur vive in a spiritually desolate and materialistic Euroamerican world.

Despite many broken government promises to investigate grievances, AIM and the subsequent cultural renaissance in creased Indian self-respect and cultural identity. The number of Americans identifying themselves as Indians in the federal census more than doubled between 1970 and 1990. Media coverage also sensitized the public to Indian issues.

The chief beneficiaries of Indian militancy were moderate groups like the National Tribal Chairman's Association (NTCA) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). As in the African-American civil rights movement, the government cooperated with moderates to isolate the radicals. In 1973, NTCA and NCAI rejected AIM overtures for cooperation. During the 1970s, Indian moderates and Congress conducted numerous hearings that resulted in over a dozen major legislative acts and the appropriation of more than $100 million in aid for education (including tribal colleges), health, and economic programs in Native American communities. The Joint Resolution on American Indian Religious Freedom (1978) extended religious freedom to Native Americans, but Supreme Court decisions in the 1980s and 1990s undermined the practice of religious freedom for the Native American Church and Indian burial grounds.

In 1980, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and other Indian tribes in Maine won land concessions and monetary awards of $81.5 million in settlement of their treaty claims. In the same year, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's award of $107 million to the Sioux for the illegal seizure of their lands in the Black Hills in 1877.

Seeking economic self-sufficiency, Indian communities turned to manufacturing, tourism, and other strategies. Following a 1987 Supreme Court ruling and 1988 congressional legislation permitting casino gambling on reservations, seventy tribes in twenty states opened casinos. Total gambling revenue in 1993 was estimated at $6 billion, but the profits were distributed unevenly; some casinos near urban areas did well, while many others did not.

At the federal level, the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations saw little progress on such basic Indian issues as sovereignty, economic development, education, and unemployment. Although the Bill Clinton administration produced few legislative or policy changes, it did restore to tribal governments some monies cut by the previous two administra tions. In September 2000, as the Clinton administration ended, BIA head Kevin Gover (Pawnee) formally apologized for the BIA's past record of complicity in the removal of eastern Indians "by threats, deceit, and force"; the "ethnic cleansing" of western tribes; and "futile and destructive efforts to annihilate Indian cultures." In such a climate, and with 557 tribal entities officially recognized by the federal government, the path seemed open for the advancement of Indian self-determination as a new century dawned.

Bibliography. James S. Olsen and Raymond Wilson, Native Americans in the Twentieth Century, 1984. Sharon O'Brien, American Indian Tribal Governments, 1989. Marjane Ambler, Breaking the Iron Bonds: Indian Control of Energy Development, 1990. Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, et al., Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution, 1992. John R. Wunder, "Retained by the People": A History of American Indians and the Bill of Rights, 1994. Donald L. Parman, Indians and the American West in the Twentieth Century, 1994. Donald A. Grinde Jr. and Bruce E. Johansen, Ecocide of Native America: Environmental Destruction of Indian Lands and Peoples, 1995. Jeffrey. Morris and Richard B. Morris, eds., Encyclopedia of American History, 7th ed., 1996, pp. 627-29. Bruce E. Johanasen and Donald A. Grinde Jr., The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography, 1997.

Donald A. Grinde Jr.


Indian History and Culture: The Indian in Popular Culture

From the first European contact, cultural representations of Native Americans were, for the most part, made by non-Indians and reflected non-Indian values and ideologies. Two stereotypes persisted: the noble Indian and the unredeemable savage. The noble Indian lives a simple life, is eloquent and independent, a child of nature, and helpful to whites. The savage Indian is lecherous, drunk, dirty, improvident, lazy, and hostile to whites. Both stereotypes imagined Indians as relics of the past, with no place in American society, always in the process of disappearing to make way for "civilization."

These imaginings reflected political and cultural conflicts. Idealizations of Indians as the "first Americans" proved useful in developing a national identity distinct from Europe, but actual Native Americans were obstacles to the conquest of the continent. In the end, Native Americans occupied a troubled place in American society: marginalized and oppressed in reality, idealized or demonized in the imagination.

To some seventeenth-century Protestant colonists, Indians were remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Pocahontas, who allegedly saved the life of Captain John Smith, became a mythic figure in the American imagination. But the prevailing view held that Indians were heathens who needed to be converted to Christianity or destroyed. Such unredeemable savages figured in the popular Puritan captivity narratives. In A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1676), Indians are instruments of the devil sent to test Christians' faith. Variations of the captivity story long survived in paintings, gothic novels, dime novels, and movies.

During the Revolutionary Era and beyond, the noble savage appeared as a powerful symbol of independence, individual liberty, and an authentic American identity. Chief Logan's eloquent speech of 1774, published in Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia (1785) and in McGuffey Readers throughout the nineteenth century, seemed to represent an authentic American voice and served to naturalize the principles of democracy. The Boston Tea Party was one of many instances of white men imitating the appearance and behavior of Indians to make a political point. "Playing Indian" persisted in nineteenth-century fraternal organizations like the New York Tammany Society and the Improved Order of Red Men.

During the Antebellum Era, the romantic view of the Indian as a pure primitive doomed to disappear as civilization advances prevailed in American literature and art. Vanishing, romanticized Indians appear in the 1830s canvases of George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, and Alfred Jacob Miller and in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, in Lydia Maria Child's Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times (1824), and in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha (1855).

The Indian Removal Act (1830) forced Indians to the trans-Mississippi west. After the Civil War, as the U.S. government forced Native Americans onto reservations and violent confrontations erupted between Indians and whites, Indians appeared in the popular culture as villains blocking the way of peaceful settlers. Plains Indians, the prevailing icon, were depicted as savage (though sometimes noble) warriors. Dime novels and magazines featured adventure stories based on Indian-white conflict. In the Wild West shows that enjoyed popularity from the 1880s until well into the twentieth century, Indians were foils for white Western "heroes" such as William ("Buffalo Bill") Cody. Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel Ramona sought to do for the American Indian what Uncle Tom's Cabin had done for the slaves. Jackson's immensely popular tale of doomed lovers offered a variation on earlier sentimental literature about Indians.

Until the late nineteenth century, federal policy concentrated on exterminating Native Americans or isolating them on reservations. With the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, however, government policy moved toward assimilation; through land allotment, education, and missionization, Indians would be come Americanized. At this point, the noble, vanishing Indian reemerged in nostalgic, elegiac icons such as James Earle Fraser's sculpture End of the Trail (1894); photographs by Edward S. Curtis; and paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington, which evoked an America threatened by industrialization and urbanization.

In these decades, too, images of Indians proliferated on many products, such as tobacco, food, patent medicine, and cosmetics. Railroads and, later, automobiles and motorcycles also used the iconography. This commercial use of Indians evoked qualities such as connection with the earth, purity, manliness, speed, strength, and a reputation for helping whites. Tourism promoters, regionally and nationally, used images of local Indians (now safely vanished) to promote historical, scenic, or camping attractions. In addition, Native Americans were featured attractions at world's fairs and national parks.

The early twentieth century brought a renewed vogue of "playing Indian." In scouting organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Woodcraft Indians, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, YMCA, and Boys' Clubs, young people learned Indian "lore," practiced Indian crafts, and performed Indian dances. In New Orleans, African-American Mardi Gras associations assumed "Indian" costumes and danced in Mardi Gras parades. These practices provided ways of imagining a national American identity and accessing a premodern, "authentic" state of being. Playing Indian continued in the New Age movement's spiritual practices, and men's movements. Conservationist and environmental movements also evoked the idea of Native Americans as "close to nature."

In the twentieth century, movies, radio, and television shaped images of Indians. Some of the earliest movies, drawing on dime novels and Wild West shows, featured Indian-white conflict. In these films, Native Americans, stereotyped as violent, usually threatened some emblem of civilization such as the stagecoach, the train, the telegraph, or a white settlement. If not savages, Indians were frequently noble figures who served as companions or wards of white heroes. The "Lone Ranger" and his faithful Indian companion Tonto of radio fame had many incarnations in movie serials, comic books, comic strips, and on television. Beginning in the 1980s, several films portrayed contemporary Indian life, including Powwow Highway (1988), War Party (1988), Thunderheart (1991), and Smoke Signals (1998). In addition, several post-1960s Native American filmmakers including George Burdeau, Phil Lucas, James Luna, and Victor Masayesva Jr. responded to stereotypical representations with their own films, as did Native American writers such as N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, and Sherman Alexie.

As the twentieth century ended, although most Native Americans remained politically and socially marginalized, Native American intellectuals, writers, artists, and filmmakers were taking matters into their own hands, exposing the politics behind popular representations of Indians and demanding rec ognition of their cultural forms.

Bibliography. Rayna Green, "The Pocahontas Perplex: The Image of Indian Women in American Culture," Massachusetts Review 16 (autumn 1975): 698-714. Robert F. Berkhofer Jr., The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present, 1978. Brian Dippie, The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy, 1982. Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian, 1998. Wilcomb E. Washburn, ed., History of Indian-White Relations, vol. 4 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant, 1988.

Leah Dilworth