The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era

TitleThe Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHolm, Tom
Number of Pages264
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
CityAustin
Abstract

The United States government thought it could make Indians "vanish." After the Indian Wars ended in the 1880s, the government gave allotments of land to individual Native Americans in order to turn

This revisionist history reveals how Native Americans' sense of identity and "peoplehood" helped them resist and eventually defeat the U.S. government's attempts to assimilate them into white society during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s). Tom Holm discusses how Native Americans, though effectively colonial subjects without political power, nonetheless maintained their group identity through their native languages, religious practices, works of art, and sense of homeland and sacred history. He also describes how Euro-Americans became increasingly fascinated by and supportive of Native American culture, spirituality, and environmental consciousness. In the face of such Native resiliency and non-Native advocacy, the government's assimilation policy became irrelevant and inevitably collapsed. The great confusion in Indian affairs during the Progressive Era, Holm concludes, ultimately paved the way for Native American tribes to be recognized as nations with certain sovereign rights. [UNC Libraries]

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