“[L]ittle difficulties will get to be great difficulties”: Joel Palmer and the Office of Indian Affairs in the Oregon Territory, 1853-56

Using primary sources from ‘Frontier Life’ - an Adam Matthew collection

The collection focuses on the letters and correspondence of Palmer (1810 – 1881), the superintendent of Indian affairs in the Oregon Territory, from 1853-57. He believed that, since white settlers had occupied the valley lands, the only means of saving the Indians was for the government to provide reservations and assistance for them, in order that they could become settled people[1]. Palmer was responsible establishing many reservations, negotiating nine secession treaties from tribes in the surrounding areas. ‘Frontier Life’ has a cross-section of correspondence and other texts relating to Palmer’s career. Continue reading

Creating Model Americans: The Mississippi Choctaw Billie Family and Relocation

Using primary sources from 'American Indian Histories and Cultures' – an Adam Matthew collection

This 1956 photograph captures a smiling couple with their four children, all dressed in their Sunday best – crisp white shirts for father and son, frilly dresses for the two little girls. The family poses around an armchair in front of their television set, displaying their homely apartment. This is not your average white middle-class family, however. Paul Billie and his wife were members of the Mississippi Choctaw Tribe, who relocated from Mississippi to Chicago in 1953. The only giveaway to the family’s background is their dark hair and skin. Continue reading

Indian Affairs Under the Obama Administration – An End to Broken Promises?

At the close of the eighth Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference (WHTNC) this September, the President of the National Congress of American Indians, Brian Cladoosby (Swinomish), wrapped President Barack Obama in a traditional Pacific Northwest blanket and placed his own cedar hat on Obama’s head. Beaming, Obama addressed the … Continue reading

Review: Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas: “Food and Work in the Americas” edited by Susan Levine and Steve Striffler

The essays in Labor seek to provide its readers with sustainable analysis of the unbreakable linkage of food and labor in different periods and locations of the Americas, thus successfully unveiling food as the crucial but often hidden aspect of production work. Continue reading

Book Review: Say We Are Nations: Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America Since 1887

Before the book begins in earnest Cobb is at pains to point out that this collection will, to a certain extent, go against the grain in terms of what one would expect. Taking a glance through the list of sources confirms that his objective has been achieved with many serving to pique the reader’s interest considerably. Continue reading

Resisting First Nations Stereotypes in banned YA Novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

Since the book’s publication in 2007, Part-Time Indian has been ranked in the top five every year since 2010, reaching the top spot in the most recent list (2014). The reasons stated for the challenges include, but are not limited to; anti-family, cultural insensitivity, sexually explicit and depictions of bullying. However, Alexie “seamlessly layers class and racial identities on top of … more familiar adolescent struggles” ensuring that the novel can reach beyond the well-worn tropes of indigenous stereotype. Continue reading

Fear Itself: Reflections on Native America and the Narrative of Fear

Throughout November 2015, U.S. Studies Online will be publishing a series of posts to mark Native American Heritage Month. In this post Darren Reid (University of Coventry) uses his own research on Native American guerilla warfare to reflect on narratives of fear throughout history and in a post-9/11 world. Continue reading

Historiography of North American Ethnobotany

Throughout November 2015, U.S. Studies Online will be publishing a series of posts to mark Native American Heritage Month. In this post Juliane Schlag (University of Hull) discusses the concept of Ethnobotany in Native American Studies and the problems defining it within the historiography. Continue reading

“Vaudeville Indians” on the British Stage (British Library)

Throughout November 2015, U.S. Studies Online will be publishing a series of posts to mark Native American Heritage Month. In the this post, which is based on her British Eccles Centre Summer Scholars talk, Christine Bold (University of Guelph) discusses the experience and performances of Indigenous, and non-Indigenous, “Vaudeville Indians” on the variety circuit across Britain in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century. Continue reading

Meet Me at the Fair: the Native-American Model School, the Philippine Reservation and Maintenance of the Colour Line at St. Louis’s World’s Fair

Throughout November 2015, U.S. Studies Online will be publishing a series of posts to mark Native American Heritage Month. In the this post, Katie Myerscough (University of Manchester) discusses the problematic portrayal of Native Americans and indigenous Filipinos at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Continue reading