248 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, notes, bibl., index
The Fight over Federal Indian Policy after the Civil War
Standard narratives of Native American history view the nineteenth century in terms of steadily declining Indigenous sovereignty, from removal of southeastern tribes to the 1887 General Allotment Act. In Crooked Paths to Allotment, C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa complicates these narratives, focusing on political moments when viable alternatives to federal assimilation policies arose. In these moments, Native American reformers and their white allies challenged coercive practices and offered visions for policies that might have allowed Indigenous nations to adapt at their own pace and on their own terms. Examining the contests over Indian policy from Reconstruction through the Gilded Age, Genetin-Pilawa reveals the contingent state of American settler colonialism.
Genetin-Pilawa focuses on reformers and activists, including Tonawanda Seneca Ely S. Parker and Council Fire editor Thomas A. Bland, whose contributions to Indian policy debates have heretofore been underappreciated. He reveals how these men and their allies opposed such policies as forced land allotment, the elimination of traditional cultural practices, mandatory boarding school education for Indian youth, and compulsory participation in the market economy. Although the mainstream supporters of assimilation successfully repressed these efforts, the ideas and policy frameworks they espoused established a tradition of dissent against disruptive colonial governance.
"Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty."
"Through rigorous historical research, sophisticated analysis and a deft writing touch, Joseph Genetin-Pilawa offers a compelling and important counter-narrative to the standard readings of the development of late nineteenth-century U.S. Indian policy. In taking serious account of indigenous peoples' political agency, especially that of Ely S. Parker, Genetin-Pilawa offers a model for historical scholarship in this field. Crooked Paths to Allotment is an excellent work, a must-read for students and scholars of U.S.-indigenous relations and history."
--Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College
"A terrific piece of scholarship that triangulates biography, politics, and history to bring to life the roads that might have been taken in American Indian policy--but were not. Genetin-Pilawa has written a revelatory book that will be required reading for anyone wanting to understand the long reach of race, rights, and reform bequeathed to us in the decades following the Civil War."
--Philip J. Deloria, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor of History and American Studies, University of Michigan
"Genetin-Pilawa makes a strong argument bound to stimulate debate. I know of no recent work that does what this book promises to do."
--Jeffrey Ostler, University of Oregon
"Genetin-Pilawa convincingly reinterprets Seneca Commissioner of Indian Affairs Eli Parker and nineteenth-century reformers in the context of post-Civil War state formation, offering further evidence that U.S. history sans American Indians is a failed project."
--Jacki Thompson Rand, University of Iowa
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