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Studies in

VOL. 25     NO. 2      SUMMER 2013


VOL. 37     NO. 3    SUMMER 2013



The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies:
A Special Combined Issue of SAIL
and AIQ


Introduction: Locating the Society of American Indians

To promote the good citizenship of the Indians of this country, to help in all
progressive movements to this end, and to emulate the sturdy characteristics
of the North American Indian, especially his honesty and patriotism.

Four Thousand Invitations

The Indian/Agent Aporia

To promote all efforts looking to the advancement of the Indian in enlightenment
which leave him free, as a man, to develop according to the natural laws
of social evolution.

Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin:
Indigenizing the Federal Indian Service

An Indian Woman of Many Hats: Laura Cornelius Kellogg's
Embattled Search for an Indigenous Voice

Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Lolomi, and
Modern Oneida Placemaking



A Prescription for Freedom: Carlos Montezuma,
Wassaja, and the Society of American Indians

To exercise the right to oppose any movement which appears
detrimental to the race.

The Peyote Controversy and the
Demise of the Society of American Indians

Singing at a Center of the Indian World:
The SAI and Ohio Earthworks

"Help Indians Help Themselves":
Gertrude Bonnin, the SAI, and the NCAI

In all conferences and meetings of this association, there shall be broad,
free discussion of all subjects bearing upon the welfare of the race.

The SAI and the End(s) of Intellectual History

Bundling the Day and Unraveling the Night

This association will direct its energies exclusively to general principles and
universal interests, and will not allow itself to be used for any personal or
private interests. The honor of the race and the good of the country will
always be paramount.

Transnational Progressivism: African Americans,
Native Americans, and the Universal Races Congress of 1911

The Soul of Unity: The Quarterly Journal of the
Society of American Indians
, 1913-1915
Gregory D. Smithers


Ho-Chunk Warrior, Intellectual, and Activist:
Henry Roe Cloud Fights for the Apaches

Carlos Montezuma's Fight against "Bureauism":
An Unexpected Pima Hero
David Martínez

It is the sense of this committee that every member of the association
should exert his influence in every legitimate way to bring before
each member of the race the necessity of promoting good citizenship.

The Mutuality of Citizenship and Sovereignty:
The Society of American Indians and the
Battle to Inherit America
353 Selected Bibliography
357 Contributor Biographies
361 Submission Information


The Society of American

Indians and Its Legacies:

A Special Combined

Issue of SAIL and AIQ





{blank page}


Locating the Society of American Indians


Through a kindly interest in our race, manifested by Prof. F. A. McKenzie, of the Ohio State University, and as a result of a correspondence between him and a considerable number of the Indians carried on over a period of nearly two years, it became possible for a few Indians to meet in Columbus, Ohio, on the 3d and 4th of April past, for the purpose of organizing an Association of Indians, by Indians and for Indians.
        "Origins and Plans of the American Indian Association"

Studies in American Indian Literatures and American Indian Quarterly, both published by University of Nebraska Press, have combined forces to produce this special issue devoted to locating the Society of American Indians historically, politically, and discursively, and to assessing the ongoing significance of its several legacies. Thus, on the one hand, the issue highlights the strategic nature of the SAI's original conception and, on the other, argues the need for new approaches to SAI scholarship. The collected essays follow from the Society of American Indians Centennial Symposium, held over the 2011 Columbus Day weekend, October 7-9, at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, an event that marked the hundredth anniversary of the formation of the SAI and the staging of its first national conference. As readers of SAIL and AIQ will be aware, the SAI (1911-1923) was the first American Indian rights organization conceived, developed, and run by Native people themselves, rather than by sympathetic non-Native reformers or other so-called Friends of the Indians, although it did welcome outside assistance and non-Native "as-{4}sociate" members. For reasons I explain below, six of the Society's early leaders held meetings in the city of Columbus and on the campus of Ohio State in April 1911. After a long summer of planning, these leaders returned to central Ohio in October, where they were joined by nearly fifty well-educated and highly accomplished American Indian women and men--the so-called Red Progressives, many of whom had attended Carlisle or other Indian boarding schools before going on to higher education, and many of whom had then worked for Carlisle, the Indian Service, or the Indian missions--to form the SAI and to discuss the pressing issues of their day, but especially to debate Indians' intolerable political status (i.e., wardship) and the potential for Indians to become US citizens (a status they would not achieve, as a group, until 1924).
        Perhaps with an eye toward history, the early SAI leaders timed their first five-day conference--formal speeches, open deliberations, and platform meetings held in the newly opened Ohio Union on the Ohio State campus; evening entertainments held in Memorial Hall in downtown Columbus; presentations to the congregations of churches located across the city; photo opportunities staged at iconic sites around the campus, the city, and the broader region of central Ohio, including ancient Indigenous earthworks--to begin precisely on October 12, Columbus Day. Although we now take its observance for granted as yet another colonial gesture of the dominant culture, and although at times it has become a focus for American Indian activism, in 1911 the holiday was relatively new. Christopher Columbus had become a viable symbol for US national belonging only in 1892 with the four-hundredth anniversary of the Columbian encounter.1 In choosing to begin their first national conference on Columbus Day, the SAI ensured that an era of nationally focused Indian debate, driven by Native intellectual leadership, would begin not only with a keen sense of Indigenous performance but also with a sophisticated sense of Indigenous irony. The holiday provided a way of looking forward while looking back, a way of asserting Native presence while acknowledging the European other. One hundred years later, for all its contradictions, the example of the SAI's ironic Indigenous performance, during a time of political ambiguity and social crisis for American Indians, continues to sustain and inspire.
        With the help of local colleagues, staff, students, and administrators at Ohio State, where I am professor of English and coordinator for the interdisciplinary program in American Indian Studies, and with the {5} help of a national steering committee of recognized experts in the field, I began organizing the SAI Centennial Symposium several years in advance of 2011 with the intention of replicating the 1911 program as closely as possible. I imagined a slate of Native intellectual leaders converging on campus, ready to speak to the concerns of the present while looking forward to the future and ready to demonstrate their many accomplishments across diverse fields. And I hoped to facilitate a wide-ranging reassessment of the SAI and its complex, often-controversial membership within the contexts of their moment in the early twentieth century and our own moment at the beginning of the twenty-first. Beyond the well-known few, who were the lesser-known members of the SAI? What do we make of the many disagreements among the Society's leaders, which eventually broke the organization apart? And what do we make of the fact that so many of the Native leaders, activists, and scholars who have come after the SAI, especially since the 1960s, have found its members and their ideas problematic or, worse, irrelevant?
        Admittedly, my qualifications for leading such an endeavor were minimal, since I myself had not conducted sustained research on the Society or its era. But I had become increasingly fascinated by the SAI and its members since arriving at Ohio State, when I learned--or, more accurately, relearned--that my new academic home had been the site of several of the SAI's early gatherings, not only the April 1911 planning meeting and October 1911 first annual conference, but also the second annual conference in 1912. Why begin such an organization in this particular place, I wondered. Why the state of Ohio? And why Ohio State?


For Indigenous peoples, what is now Ohio was a site of mass removal in the nineteenth century and, in the eighteenth, a site of mass violence. Before it became the home of the Buckeyes, the land between Lake Erie to the north and the Ohio River to the south was part of the Northwest Territory of a fledgling United States and, before that, part of the Indian Reserve supposedly protected from non-Native settlers under an asserted British rule. Ohio entered the union in 1803, participated in Indian removal in the 1830s and 1840s, and, under provisions of the Land-Grant Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862, established the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870, which later became {6} Ohio State University--and eventually The Ohio State University. At the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century, when Indigenous intellectuals traveled to osu to form the SAI in the land-locked city named for the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, European and US forces had all but erased Native presence from campus, city, and state.
        Indeed, that sense of erasure is captured in a political cartoon printed in a Columbus newspaper in anticipation of the first SAI meeting (fig. 1). The cartoon is divided into parallel but contrasting scenes. The first is labeled "1492: Columbus Discovers the Indians." The shocked admiral, who is bearded and prominently displays a sword as part of his period costume, reads a small sign the Natives have posted on a tree--"Welcome to our Little Island"--as an arrow whizzes past his head. This is no friendly welcome, but, interestingly, there are no visible Indians, only contradictory "signs" of their presence. The second scene is labeled "1911: The Indians Discover Columbus." Here a smiling admiral, looking younger without his beard and no longer visibly carrying a sword or any weapon, extends his hand to dark-skinned, well-dressed Indian men and women who return his smile. Behind Columbus a small sign greets the Indians: "Welcome to Our City!" The smiling Indians, no longer invisible but also no longer conceived as either local residents or powerful resisters, carry neither bows nor arrows, but rather a suitcase and a valise, confirming their status as "new" arrivals and guests of the admiral.2 It was precisely into this site of historical violence, removal, and erasure that the early leaders of what became the SAI placed themselves in order to establish a national Native presence, voice, and perspective focused on the future. Again, I wondered, why?
        The best early work on the SAI and its formation is historian Hazel W. Hertzberg's The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements, and this seminal study remains an invaluable starting point for any inquiry. More recent accounts have been produced by the historian Frederick E. Hoxie, in his Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era and other works, and by the literary scholar Lucy Maddox, in her Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race, and Reform. Other researchers working in history, literary and cultural studies, political science, anthropology, philosophy, legal studies, gender studies, and additional disciplines--including several established and rising scholars featured in this special issue--have produced important scholarship on particular aspects of the SAI, its

Fig. 1. Political cartoon, Ohio State Journal, October 12, 1911.

members, and their extant writing, including the wide range of writing published in the Society's own journal between 1913 and 1920, originally titled Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians (1913-1915) and later renamed the American Indian Magazine (1916-1920).
        Hertzberg, Hoxie, Maddox, and others all point to the significant role  played by Ohio State professor Fayette Avery McKenzie (1872-1957) in bringing the early leaders of the SAI to Columbus. McKenzie earned a BS degree from Lehigh University in 1895 and later attended the University {8} of Pennsylvania, where he earned a PhD in 1906. While studying sociology, economics, and history at Penn, McKenzie tutored the families of railroad officials and taught locally at both colleges and high schools. As part of his major research project on contemporary American Indians, between 1900 and 1903 McKenzie also taught at the Wind River Shoshoni Boarding School on the Shoshoni Reservation in central Wyoming, and this experience appears to have guided his thinking about the so-called Indian problem and its likely solutions. While still completing his doctorate, McKenzie joined the Department of Economics and Sociology at Ohio State in 1905 and immediately became active on campus and in local civic organizations. In 1908 he published his dissertation as a book, The Indian in Relation to the White Population of the United States, through the Sheppard Printing and Publishing Company of Columbus. It was about this time McKenzie began a correspondence with prominent American Indians about forming a new organization, which eventually led to the founding of the SAI.3
        Working from the archival records of the Society and from other public sources, Hertzberg offers detailed accounts of how the first national SAI conference came to fruition in 1911. Other scholars have focused on the archives of specific and well-known SAI figures, such as Dr. Charles Eastman, Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Gertrude Bonnin, and Arthur Parker, as well as their associates, including McKenzie but also such diverse figures as Richard Henry Pratt, founder and long-time superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, of which a number of early SAI members were graduates, and the African American intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois, who attended the 1911 Universal Races Congress with Eastman only months before the first SAI conference. It is likely that a number of relevant archival sources, library holdings, and personal papers remain largely untapped, however, especially those pertaining to lesser-known members of the SAI. And prior to 2011 no scholar appears to have consulted the archives at The Ohio State University. Here, I thought, as I began final planning for the SAI Centennial Symposium, was an opportunity to add something new to SAI scholarship.
        To my initial disappointment, relatively little about the 1911 and 1912 SAI meetings is contained in Ohio State's archival holdings. At least very little has turned up thus far. McKenzie's collected papers are housed at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. Columbus newspaper and magazine accounts of the early SAI meetings are housed in the {9} collections of the Ohio Historical Society. What appears to be unique to the Ohio State archives, however, are the collected papers of William Oxley Thompson (1855-1933), the Ohio-born teacher, Presbyterian minister, doctor of divinity, newspaper columnist, progressive reformer, and national education leader who served as president of the university between 1899 and 1925.4 Thompson was a key player in securing facilities, funding, and broad local support, both on the Ohio State campus and in the city of Columbus, for the early meetings of the SAI, and he was asked to serve as presiding officer at the Society's first national conference. His papers include relevant personal and professional correspondence, as well as relevant SAI ephemera, such as minutes to planning meetings, minutes to the Ohio State Board of Trustees meetings that authorized the use of university buildings and the appropriation of funds for the Society, and early SAI promotional materials, membership forms, and programs.
        How had Thompson become so involved in--and so committed to--the early SAI? As noted above, McKenzie was in contact with Indian leaders prior to 1911. In 1908 he invited Dr. Eastman, Dr. Montezuma, and the Reverend Sherman Coolidge to the Ohio State campus to deliver a series of lectures on "several phases of the Indian problem" in a course he was offering on "The Indian." The university lectures were well received, and they were covered by the local press, who helped turn Columbus's discovery of "new" Indians into "news" by printing striking photos of Coolidge and Montezuma on their front pages. Moreover, beyond the lectures on campus, the three well-known Native intellectuals, who had been discussing the possibility of a national organization of "educated and progressive Indians" for nearly a decade, also scheduled a full week of speaking engagements with local civic organizations and churches, drawing further attention when they traveled about the city as a threesome to attend each other's events. Eastman gave talks before two church congregations, one on his recent book, Indian Boyhood, the other on the "Custer Massacre." Coolidge lectured at the Northminster Presbyterian Church and was the featured dinner speaker at the Social Worker's Club. On Sunday morning he delivered a sermon at Trinity Episcopal Church titled "What Is Christianity Doing For The Indian?" He gave the same sermon that afternoon in the OSU campus chapel, and that evening he preached at the Good Shepherd Church. The most controversial of the speaking engagements was Montezuma's talk at North-{10}minster on "The Future of the Indian." Although the front-page headline for the Columbus Evening Dispatch simply noted "Witty Apache Physician An Entertaining Speaker," those for the Ohio State Journal and the Columbus Citizen drew more attention by reporting, respectively, that Montezuma "Declares Reservations Block Indian Progress" and "Says Reservation Bad For Indians." According to the Journal, Montezuma described reservations as prisons, and he called for breaking them up, closing reservation schools, selling the land, and using the funds to educate Indian children in public schools. He reportedly asserted, "to civilize the Indian he must be removed from the reservation where he is surrounded by sloth, vice and idleness."5
        During this week of speaking engagements, there were many opportunities for the three men to meet a wide range of prominent citizens, as well as state, city, and university officials, including President Thompson. Afterward McKenzie wrote to Eastman saying it was now time to establish a new organization, and he began a regular correspondence with Montezuma. In September 1909 Montezuma invited McKenzie to Chicago to continue discussions in person. Additional young leaders were added to a list of potential members, and eventually eleven prominent American Indians agreed to the idea of developing a national conference. They functioned as a temporary executive committee. McKenzie followed up with a circular letter announcing plans for a new organization and a conference in Columbus. A second circular letter was mailed in March 1910 requesting support for a conference in order "to develop a native leadership" and to discuss religion, education, industry, and government relations.6
        It was these connections, including links to OSU president Thompson, that helped make the early planning meeting possible in April 1911, when six Indian leaders--Eastman, Montezuma, Thomas L. Sloan, the Honorable Charles E. Dagenett, Laura M. Cornelius, and Henry Standing Bear--were hosted by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and met on the Ohio State campus to discuss the then proposed Society. They debated a number of potential names for the new organization, including "The Progressive Indian Association" and "The First American National Forward Movement," but eventually settled on "The American Indian Association," which was changed to the Society of American Indians during the conference in October.
        As this temporary executive committee began planning for a na-{11}tional conference and worked on the platform for a new organization, they received an official invitation from university and city leaders that asked them to hold their first national meeting in Columbus and on the Ohio State campus as well. The invitation was signed by osu president Thompson, the mayor of Columbus, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Ministerial Association, the secretary of the ymca, the secretary of the State Historical and Archaeological Society, and the president of the Columbus Federation of Labor. The text of the invitation is worth quoting in full, given its odd language and stereotypical imagery. Surprisingly--but perhaps not, given the broader ironic stance of staging the Indian meeting in Columbus on Columbus Day--the executive committee reprinted the formal invitation in their promotional pamphlet for the conference:

To the Native Americans of the United States:
Word has come to our ears that you are planning to meet in national assembly for the first time in history to discuss the problems which devolve upon the Indian race, and we, therefore, hasten to invite you to light the camp-fire first in the city named for the first white man who visited these shores. Let us, if we may, forget any animosities of the past, and jointly work for those conditions and those policies which in the future will justify peace because based upon the principles of equity, intelligence and progress. The high position which your leaders are reaching make us eager to welcome the representatives of all the tribes in the name of the State University, the city of Columbus, and the civic and religious bodies of our city.

Despite the stilted language of the invitation, and despite the anachronistic image of "light[ing] the camp-fire . . . in the city," the executive committee accepted. One can only imagine that they hoped to light a fire of a different kind than what President Thompson, the mayor, and their co-signers had in mind.
        President Thompson's correspondence details how the temporary executive committee designated Columbus not only as the site of their first national conference but also as the "official headquarters" of their organization.7 McKenzie was appointed local representative for the meeting in October. However, President Thompson secured an office in University Hall, where his own office was located, for Mrs. Rosa Bourassa {12} LaFlesche, who served as the association's corresponding secretary and treasurer in the months leading up to the conference.8 An 1890 graduate of Carlisle who had worked as a stenographer at the Haskell Institute and in other capacities for the Indian Service, Rosa LaFlesche had been married to the Native anthropologist and writer Francis LaFlesche between 1906 and 1908 and had retained his name after their separation. Over the summer of 1911 McKenzie was often away on other business, including work in the Census Office in Washington DC, and it was LaFlesche who worked on local arrangements at Ohio State and in the city of Columbus.9 In a letter dated September 22, for instance, Thompson replied to several inquiries from McKenzie: "So far as I can see, Mrs. LaFlesche has the matter completely in hand and there will be no difficulty about working out the details and making the Conference move smoothly so far as accommodations, convenience, and matters of that sort are concerned." Similarly, in a letter dated September 28, Thompson informed McKenzie, "Mrs. LaFlesche seems to have the program practically complete." Others associated with the SAI appear to have agreed with Thompson's assessments of LaFlesche. In Our Debt to the Red Man: The French-Indians in the Development of the United States, Louise Seymour Houghton quotes "one who bore a laboring oar in the herculean task of launching such a society [the SAI]," who has this to say: "The quiet labors of Mrs. Rosa B. LaFlesche must forever stamp her as one of the most heroic women who ever lived . . . her deep faith in the Society, her devotion to it, carried the first Conference to success and gave the Society strength to live through its first critical period" (205).
        Thompson's correspondence also details his active role in helping to publicize the upcoming conference and to secure prominent local and national speakers. In a June 24, 1911, letter, on behalf of the executive committee McKenzie formally asked President Thompson to serve as "Chairman" of the national conference and, further, to "invite such other representative men to speak for the white race as you may deem advisable. Such men for instance as the Governor, the Mayor, and possibly Dr. Gladden, and the Bishop."10 McKenzie went on to explain, "The details of this, however, we desire to be in your hands, since we feel that you can do this more successfully than we, and at the same time your action will avoid the slight embarrassment due to an appearance on the part of the Indians of requesting prominent men to welcome the Indians" (fig. 2). Thompson wrote personal invitations to each of these "representative men . . . of the white race," each of whom also responded

Fig. 2. Letter from Fayette McKenzie to W. O. Thompson, June 24, 1911. The Ohio State University Archives.

with personal correspondence. On several of these responses, "Notify Mrs. LaFlesche" has been hand written across the bottom of the letter. In addition, Thompson corresponded with Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert G. Valentine, who was able to attend only the first evening of the SAI conference because of commitments to be in Oklahoma and Arizona later in the week.
        Perhaps the most intriguing correspondence included in President Thompson's papers is that with Charles D. Hilles, secretary to the president of the United States, William Howard Taft (1857-1930). Taft held office between 1909 and 1913, the significant years of planning and the first meetings for the SAI. Taft also happened to have been born and raised in the state of Ohio and to have begun his career there as a lawyer and judge, and as the first dean and professor of constitutional law at the University of Cincinnati. Thompson's initial letter to Hilles reveals that members of the temporary executive committee for the Indian Association had approached Hilles (and possibly Taft himself) in Washington DC, hoping that the president would attend the opening session of the national conference and thus, through the stature of his office, raise the SAI's national significance.11 It appears that the executive committee and McKenzie hoped that Thompson's Ohio connections would be able to secure the presence not only of prominent local white men but none other than the sitting US president. Thompson's letters to Hilles suggest that he and Mrs. Thompson were at least acquaintances of President and Mrs. Taft, if not close friends. In the letter dated August 9, 1911, Thompson wrote, "It will give me great pleasure if President Taft can arrange to be my guest while here," and "Mrs. Thompson would be pleased if Mrs. Taft could accompany the President on this occasion." Thompson concluded by reiterating his "desire to make a pleasant and comfortable stay for the President if his attendance is at all possible." Unfortunately, Taft had already planned an extensive western tour, and his itinerary took him to Oregon during the week of the SAI meeting (fig. 3). Despite their own efforts and their enlisting of Thompson, the executive committee was unable to secure Taft 's physical presence and thus unable to fully elevate the first national meeting to the level of a state visit. On the reverse side of their American Indian Association stationery, however, they did their best, through careful wordplay, to link President Thompson's significant local involvement in the planning of their conference to the aura of President Taft's national office and power: "The invitation to meet at the capital of the President's State comes from President of the Ohio State University."


In October 1911 nearly fifty American Indian leaders, scholars, teachers, government employees, clergy, other professionals, writers, and artists

Fig. 3. Letter from Charles D. Hilles to W. O. Thompson, September 11, 1911. The Ohio State University Archives.

{16} participated in the first annual SAI conference held at Ohio State, as did representatives of the university, the mayor's office, the governor's office, the federal Office of Indian Affairs, and local religious, business, and civic organizations. Daytime events were held on campus in Enarson Hall, which was then the newly opened Ohio Union Club House, while the Thursday evening Addresses of Welcome and the Friday evening Entertainment (provided by several of the Indian participants and by a quartette sent from Carlisle) were scheduled in the city's Memorial Hall. Participants at the 1911 conference spent Thursday afternoon, Columbus Day, working on issues of organization. That evening, they were formally welcomed to the university and to the city by President Thompson, Mayor Marshall, a representative for Governor Harmon, and the president of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and then listened to a wide-ranging address by Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert Valentine. The commissioner ended his remarks with a call for the Society to seek as broad a membership as possible and thus to cultivate "an All-Indian public opinion" (27). Participants spent Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday in formal conference sessions. The various presentations were organized under the general topics of Industrial Problems, Educational Problems, Legal and Political Problems, and Moral and Religious Problems. Specific topics included issues of class and gender, higher education, the role of the arts in contemporary Indian society, and, of course, Indian citizenship. Each speech was followed by general discussion among the gathered participants. Saturday evening, Eastman spoke in the University Chapel on the topic of "The North American Indian," followed by "Short Voluntary Addresses by Non-Indians" and an open discussion. On Sunday, in both the morning and the evening, Indian speakers were delegated to appear at various churches across Columbus. Finally, on Monday, participants elected officers for the new Society and formally adopted a platform, constitution, and bylaws. Although it is not included in the program, members of the SAI are also reported to have visited local earthworks. The following spring, in April 1912, the SAI published an official Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians.
        Recognizing the need to push responses to the SAI generation beyond simplistic admiration or equally simplistic dismissal, as well as the need to expand the contexts of SAI scholarship, in October 2011 nearly one hundred Native and non-Native individuals participated in {17} the SAI Centennial Symposium as keynote speakers, workshop leaders and presenters, entertainment, and engaged audience. Their numbers included established and emerging scholars in American Indian studies disciplines, graduate students, representatives of the university and local community, and several descendants of original SAI members. Echoing the 1911 meeting, events were held primarily on campus in the newly constructed, state-of-the-art Ohio Union. The symposium began on Friday afternoon with the first keynote, "Four Thousand Invitations: Situating the Society of American Indians," by Philip Deloria, the great-grandson and namesake of one of the participants at the 1911 SAI conference. Deloria's keynote was followed by the first participatory workshop, aimed at developing new trajectories for research, "The Rhetoric and Reality of American Indian Citizenship," led by Beth Piatote and K. Tsianina Lomawaima. That evening, following an outdoor reception on the Union's terrace, presenters and guests attended a banquet and official welcome in the Performance Hall. Rather than be addressed exclusively by "representative men to speak for the white race," as had been the case in 1911, the lineup of speakers was updated to better reflect the progress of the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries. The series of formal welcomes began, appropriately, with Glenna Wallace, chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, whose nation's historical roots are in central and southern Ohio. Chief Wallace was followed by Carol Welsh, who welcomed guests on behalf of the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO). Michael B. Coleman, mayor of the city of Columbus, was scheduled to speak but was unable to attend at the last moment. These speakers were followed by representatives of the university: Valerie Lee, vice provost of diversity and inclusion, Joe Steinmetz, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, both of whom had helped secure significant funding for the symposium, and, finally, E. Gordon Gee, the Ohio State University president, who also had lent significant support to the event. Symposium participants then joined members of the broader osu and Columbus communities in the Conference Theater for an evening performance of poetry and music by Joy Harjo and two members of her band, an event supported by the university's annual President and Provost's Diversity Lecture and Cultural Arts Series.
        On Saturday, the workshops continued, with topics ranging from "Well-known SAI Figures," led by P. Jane Hafen and David Martinez, to {18}"Boarding School Generations," led by Brenda Child and John Trout-man, "Lesser-known SAI Figures: Henry Roe Cloud and Laura Cornelius Kellogg," led by Renya Ramirez (a granddaughter of Cloud), Cristina Stanciu, and Kristina Ackley, and "Native American Languages: Past, Present, and Future Tense," led by Meg Noodin and Fred White. The workshops were punctuated by a second keynote over lunch, "The SAI and the End of Intellectual History," by Robert Warrior, an afternoon plenary workshop on the topic of "Native (Re)investments in Ohio: Removals, Earthworks Preservation, and New Understandings of Sovereignty," led by Marti Chaatsmith of the Newark Earthworks Center, and a third keynote during the Saturday banquet, "Resonance and Dissonance: How We Make Meaning of 1911 and 2011," by K. Tsianina Lomawaima. Following the banquet, in an echo of 1911, symposium participants performed for each other in an "open mike night." LeAnne Howe and Monique Mojica led the evening by performing a dynamic and moving scene from the new play they are cowriting, followed by a stirring musical performance in English and Anishinaabe by a trio of Phil Deloria, John Troutman, and Meg Noodin.
        The symposium ended on Sunday with another echo and update of the 1911 conference. Participants rose early to board a bus headed for Newark, Ohio, to visit the awe-inspiring Newark Earthworks, a set of monumental geometric earthworks built by Indigenous peoples roughly two thousand years ago. In his keynote Robert Warrior had discussed how some of the actions of the SAI make us uncomfortable today, including the report that when they visited local earthworks in 1911, rather than celebrate Indigenous creativity and achievement, as part of their bid for US citizenship they stood atop a mound and sang "America." During the Q and A that followed, several in the audience asked, "How do we respond to that?" The scene was evoked again during the plenary workshop, where Marti Chaatsmith explained the multiple relevant contexts for understanding the contemporary history of Ohio earthworks, including the fact that the remarkable Octagon Earthworks at Newark have been leased to a members-only country club since 1910 and have been part of the club's golf course since 1911--precisely when the SAI formed and visited mounds one hundred years ago. When we arrived at the Octagon on Sunday morning and then ascended Observatory Mound as a group, it was clear that participants had reached consensus about an appropriate response to the singing of "America" in 1911.
        Warrior's revised keynote, located at the center of this volume, describes his personal reaction to that event; in the short essay that immediately follows, Meg Noodin describes which songs and with which intentions participants decided to echo their ancestors and sing.
        For in choosing to commemorate the SAI's significant Native presence in 1911 at the site of real and asserted absence, the SAI Centennial Symposium honored, as well, a much older Native presence in what is now Ohio: a presence dating not simply to the eighteenth century but to at least two thousand years ago, when Indigenous peoples constructed not only the Newark Earthworks but many hundreds of monumental and celestially aligned mounds and embankments, many of which are still extant in the Ohio landscape, and to at least ten thousand years ago, when Indigenous peoples created a quarry, also near Newark, from which to extract flint in order to construct high-quality weapons and tools--that is, to create technologies. And the symposium honored, too, the more recent and still ongoing Native presence in central Ohio that began in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, when American Indian individuals and families from across the North American continent once again began to arrive in Ohio in significant numbers, some through federal programs, others through their own volition, from near and far, all seeking better lives for themselves and their children, but none seeking erasure, none seeking to give up identities marked as Native.


This collection of essays follows from the SAI Centennial Symposium, but it is by no means contained or constrained by that event. The three keynote speakers have graciously contributed essay versions of their talks, and several of the workshop leaders and participants have created essays from the materials they presented, but many other scholars have offered new approaches to understanding the SAI, its members, and its era. My coeditor, Beth Piatote, and I have divided the essays into six sections headed by the six planks of the Preliminary Platform of the American Indian Association that were created by the temporary executive committee during the first planning meeting on the Ohio State campus in April 1911 and then circulated as a Provisional Platform in the promotional pamphlet for the October conference. The six planks were also printed on the reverse side of the American Indian Association's official {20} stationery as a Statement of Purpose. On the stationery, the planks are introduced with these words: "The Temporary Executive Committee of The American Indian Association declares that the time has come when the American Indian race should contribute, in a more united way, its influence and exertion with the rest of the citizens of the United States in all lines of progress and reform, for the welfare of the Indian race in particular, and humanity in general."
        Our hope as editors is that the juxtaposition of these planks with new scholarship and new interpretations will provoke readers with the original spirit of the SAI, which was to boldly state its ideals, however controversial, and then subject them to open discussion and debate from multiple perspectives. The essays that follow represent some of the best new work on the Society of American Indians and its legacies, but they are in no way exhaustive or conclusive. They form the latest chapter in a long-running conversation. Let the talks begin.


I would like to thank my coeditor, Beth Piatote, as well as the other members of the national steering committee for the SAI Centennial Symposium, Philip Deloria, Robert Warrior, K. Tsianina Lomawaima, and Lucy Maddox. At The Ohio State University, I would like to thank the many colleagues, graduate students, and staff who helped with planning and running the symposium. Justin Acome, graduate assistant to the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at osu (disco), deserves special mention for his unfailing attention to detail. I would also like to thank the presenters and participants, too numerous to name here, whose work made the symposium a success, and the many sponsors, whose financial support made the symposium possible. I am especially grateful to Chief Glenna Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and to Carol Welsh of the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio; to Dick Shiels and Marti Chaatsmith of the Newark Earthworks Center; and to Vice Provost Valerie Lee, Executive Dean Joe Steinmetz, and President E. Gordon Gee. Finally, I would like to thank Amanda Cobb-Greetham, editor of American Indian Quarterly, and the University of Nebraska Press for helping to make the idea of this combined special issue a reality.



        1. For an account of the history of Columbus Day, see Connell.
        2. I am indebted to Thomas Maroukis for sharing this cartoon with me, which was published on the front page of the Ohio State Journal, October 12, 1911, the first day of the national conference.
        3. McKenzie remained at Ohio State until 1914. Between 1915 and 1925 he served as the president of Fisk University, a historically African American institution in Nashville, Tennessee. Following his tenure at Fisk, McKenzie spent a year in France; then, in 1926-1927, he helped to conduct a large study of contemporary Indian problems with the Indian Staff of the Institute of Government Research. After returning home to Pennsylvania, McKenzie continued his work as an educator until his retirement in 1941 from Juniata College, where he had also taught while still a doctoral candidate. He remained active in various civic organizations until his death in 1957.
        4. For an early account of Thompson's life, see Pollard.
        5. All three of these Columbus newspaper articles were published on November 18, 1908.
        6. I am indebted to Thomas Maroukis for sharing his original research on the pre-1911 meetings.
        7. April 6, 1911, letter from F. A. McKenzie to President Thompson. William Oxley Thompson Papers, The Ohio State University Archives, Columbus.
        8. In a letter to Commissioner Valentine dated September 30, 1911, Thompson states that LaFlesche "occupied my office during the summer."
        9. See, for example, the July 17, 1911, letter from Thompson to Daniel W. White.
        10. Dr. Washington Gladden (1836-1918) was an early leader in the Social Gospel movement and the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Columbus between 1882 and 1914. Among his many religious, civic, social, and political commitments, he served on the Columbus City Council between 1900 and 1902.
        11. Thompson wrote letters to Taft's secretary Hilles on August 9 and September 7, 1911. Hilles responded on August 11 and September 11, 1911.


Connell, William J. "What Columbus Day Really Means." American Scholar Oct. 2010. Web.

Eastman, Charles Alexander. Indian Boyhood. New York: McClure, Phillips, 1902. Print.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Houghton, Louise Seymour. Our Debt to the Red Man: The French-Indians in the Development of the United States. Boston: Stratford, 1918. Print.

Hoxie, Frederick E., ed. Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era. Boston: Bedford, 2001. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race, and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.

McKenzie, Fayette A. The Indian in Relation to the White Population of the United States. Columbus: Sheppard, 1908. Print.

Pollard, James E. William Oxley Thompson: "Evangel of Education." Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1955. Print.

Society of American Indians. Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians. Washington DC: 1912. Print.

William Oxley Thompson Papers. The Ohio State University Archives, Columbus.


Above and over. Early statement of SAI origins, objectives, and plans for the first national conference. The Ohio State University Archives.



Above and following three pages. Program for the October 1911 SAI Conference. The Ohio State University Archives.





Early SAI Application for Membership. The Ohio State University Archives.


Statement of Purpose printed on reverse side of American Indian Association stationery. The Ohio State University Archives.


Plank 1
To promote the good citizenship
of the Indians of this country, to
help in all progressive movements
to this end, and to emulate the
sturdy characteristics of the North
American Indian, especially his
honesty and patriotism.


{blank page}


Four Thousand Invitations


Not too many years ago, in a conversation at a conference, I listened to someone rant about the early-twentieth-century Dakota intellectual Charles Eastman: "He was so assimilated. I hate to see those pictures of him in a suit and a starched white collar. He was so implicated in the colonial project that I just can't take him seriously." And so on. My own thought was rather different. It seemed to me that Eastman was an extraordinary figure. "If Eastman walked into the room right now," I suggested, "you and I would hardly be able to look him in the face. He was that much more interesting, more committed, more able than you and I."
        In October 2011 a group of scholars gathered in Columbus, Ohio, to contemplate, consider, and celebrate the founding meeting of the Society of American Indians in 1911. We could not look Eastman in the face, but his presence was palpable. No one could forget that he and his colleagues had walked the same land where we now stepped, almost exactly a century before. Their interests, commitments, and abilities mattered, for the Society of American Indians (SAI) had bequeathed to us what were, one hundred years later, now visible as a set of legacies. And their discussions and debates continue to frame problems for the future. A century feels like a long while, but it is almost no time at all. My own life feels relatively brief. But take two of me, and you have arrived back in 1911, with years to spare. The generations of memory and story that carry one back to the past easily traverse the rather meaningless block of time we call a "century." Indeed, my great-grandfather, Philip J. Deloria, was also in Columbus for the inaugural meeting of the Society. If I contemplate meeting Charles Eastman face-to-face on the Ohio {26} State University campus, I also have to contemplate meeting my namesake and near-ancestor on the same street. The thought is both exciting and disconcerting.
        No one should be surprised to hear me defend Eastman or other SAI members on the complications that underlie this question of "assimilation" and "colonization," for my great-grandfather is quite easily placed in the "assimilated" category. While other members of the Society of American Indians practiced medicine or law or museum scholarship or worked in the Indian office or at Carlisle, my great-grandfather's starched white collar came from the Episcopalian Church, which educated, trained, and then appointed him the head of the mission on the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota.1 Church, ethnography, museums, the colonial bureaucracy--all these things were significant tools of domination, and it can be hard to see an Indian person occupying one of these positions and not also see the active shadow of assimilation.
        That shadow was cast in at least three ways: In the most general sense all these colonial practices and institutions were critical to abstract, historical processes of domination. At a biographical level it is not unreasonable to think that the individual people of the SAI--Charles Eastman, Arthur C. Parker, Angel DeCora, Francis LaFlesche, Sherman Coolidge, Gertrude Bonnin, and the rest--must themselves have been dominated and "assimilated." And worst of all these individuals, so fervent about their professions, can be seen as the active agents and apostles of further assimilation--and thus the attenuation of Native cultures and societies. These things are undeniably true. It is also the case, however, that everyone in this cohort--in one way or another--worked actively to preserve elements of Native cultures and societies from destruction. "
        Recent scholarship has made ranting about the supposedly assimilated Indians of the turn of the twentieth century seem a little quaint, a kind of naive political artifact of the 1990s and early 2000s. Scholars have worked to understand the complexities embodied in Eastman and others of his generation, those strong-willed souls who lived through wrenching transitions and demanding social unevenness; those who seemed always to speak with words that doubled back upon themselves, refusing to fix in time, space, or concept the phrases that they used: "the race," "the individual," "progress," "social evolution," or "the tribal" (Maddox; Hoxie, This Indian, and Parading; Rosier; Lyons; Warrior, People, and Tribal; Porter; Pfister; Martinez).2
        Understanding this generation has meant mobilizing a set of now-familiar words (curiously, lots of them start with c) to describe practices that are difficult to grasp, much less communicate: complexity, contradiction, cultural hybridity (or not!), colonization, in all its complications (post-, de-, neo-, anti-, psychological). There are the s words too: syncretism, synthesis, subalterity. We have tried to see Eastman and his contemporaries through different theoretical lenses: in the Foucauldian terms of subject formation and in the Gramscian scheme of counter-hegemonies and historical blocs. They "talked back" to civilization. And they pursued something called citizenship and reform. They created new culture, performed to others' expectations, even while they resisted American ideologies. And more.
        There was a moment when I thought I might really understand this particular instant in time--the early twentieth century--and the people who moved within it. I have given up that dream--which is a good thing, I suppose, since it means I have recognized (yet again) that moment when the reality of historical complexity gives way to the mystery of time and distance. And with mystery, a return to the wonderment that comes when we confront the fundamental unknowability of much of the past. And with wonderment comes humility, which is the prerequisite for good intellectual work in any field. Humility lets you say something (which is better than silence), and it puts the world on notice that you're part of a larger collective effort at knowledge; that you're willing to be overturned, corrected, challenged, enhanced. We should, I think, be humble in the face of the Society's founders--in more ways than one.

Let me begin differently. Consider, if you will, the Report of the Executive Council on the First Annual Meeting of the Society of American Indians (Society). It is a complex text in and of itself, with a huge range of writings: papers, of course, but also statements and manifestos, lists, organizing documents, commentaries. Amid all those words there are always little sentences that leap out, odd jiggles and jots that stir you up somehow. You go to mark them on the page, but the force of the rhetoric carries you forward, because in the next paragraph there is something equally ajar. One of those odd jiggles comes at the very beginning of the report. It is late June 1911, at the second meeting of the Executive Committee. They have convened at Laura Cornelius's place in Wisconsin. Charles Dagenett has the chair. Fayette McKenzie is there. The other three orga-{28}nizers are all women: Cornelius, Emma Johnson, and Rosa LaFlesche. Dennison Wheelock is hanging around and so is Chester Cornelius, but they are not on the committee. Eastman has written in with some thoughts on the program. The group talks about membership issues, and about the platform and the writing of planks, and about their public relations campaign. They decide to have a pamphlet and then to issue two letters of invitation: an Indian letter and a non-Indian letter. The former will go to the members of the organization; the latter to the associate (or non-Indian) members.
        "Dear Fellow Indian," the Indian letter begins. "What is to be the future of the American Indian?" (Society 15). The answer to the question is optimistic, according to the committee, and it lies in organizing across tribal lines. "The Association expects every progressive Indian to become an active member," they wrote in a statement of principles. And in the letter itself: "Personal freedom and personal advancement are dependent upon racial rights and racial advancement. This is your opportunity to help your people. Become an ACTIVE member of the organization" (17). Just before the letter itself, I find the odd jiggle: "The following communication was mailed to about 4000 Indians" (15).
        I hesitate. Really? That's about 1.6 percent of all the Indian people in the United States at the time. It is a lot of Indians. Okay, so they knew they were not going to get four thousand acceptances. But could you even imagine writing to that many people? Imagine ten contemporary scholars of Native America sitting down and churning out that many names. Even with the advantages of Facebook, I suspect it would be a challenge. Could there really have been that many "progressive Indians" in 1911? After all, only 44 active members are listed in the program as being in attendance at the conference one hundred years ago. And that is out of a little more than 100 active members in total. The non-Indian Associates (125 of them) outnumbered the Indians. Can one really imagine another 3,900 Indian people amenable to receiving the invitation?3
        The substantial gap between reality and possibility did not stop the organizers from thinking big and throwing down the gauntlet to members and associates. "Before the next conference," they wrote, "there ought to be at least 1000 active members of the American Indian Association and 1000 associate members. Which thousand will be made up first?" (Society 177). In retrospect, it seems like so much crazy dreaming.
        But maybe you could imagine that many Indians. In 1911 the Carlisle Indian School had been around for three decades, sometimes tak-{29}ing as many as one thousand students. Haskell: twenty-five years or so, with six hundred students in some years. Chilocco: twenty-five years. Sherman: almost twenty years. And then, consider all those other places where Indian children were taken: all those church schools, those other boarding schools, those mainline American schools and colleges (Adams; Lomawaima, Away, and They; Child). Maybe you could imagine four thousand people to whom you might send invitations.
        Who were the four thousand? Today, they remain mostly invisible. Perhaps what matters more, however, is the possibility that they represent. After all, the organizers of the Society seem to have come up with a list of four thousand Indians--or at least they said they did. My great-grandfather fits reasonably well into the category of the four thousand. He was not a major figure at the meeting and took no part in its organization. It is good that he was there to fan out to the local churches on Sunday morning, but he does not appear in any other context. There is a temptation--for me--to look back at the SAI and lay claim to him as a "key figure" (he may have been one of four thousand, but he was also one of the forty-four at the meeting, and that is probably worth something). By doing so, I could neatly close a century-long circle between the generations in my family, building an intellectual and political genealogy. Taking him as a point of origin, I could insert others, including my great-aunt (who knew SAI members), my grandfather (who attended meetings of the National Congress of American Indians [NCAI] in the 1950s), and my father (who got his start directing the NCAI, a latter-day descendent of the SAI).
        Curiously, however, in a family with a lot of written and oral history and more than a bit of a self-obsession, there's almost nothing said about my great-grandfather's trip to Ohio or the Society of American Indians meeting, other than the bare afterthought of his attendance. A collective project of scholarly reclamation has brought the Society to the forefront of our understanding of the early twentieth century. It is a hook upon which to hang all manner of questions, a marker we use to periodize, an effect that requires us to name causes, and a cause that generated subsequent effects. But for my great-grandfather, it may have been just another road trip, pitched midway between the diocesan meetings that took him across South Dakota and the church-sponsored speaking tours that ran him to cathedrals, chapels, and drawing rooms up and down the East Coast.
        Clearly, the organization did not capture his imagination and commitment the way that it captured someone like Arthur C. Parker. Perhaps, as Lucy Maddox has suggested, there was too much theory, politics, and abstraction at the SAI and not enough attention to life on the ground in Indian Country (16). My great-grandfather's education was not nearly as thorough as others in the organization, his commitments were local, and it was difficult for him to travel without church sponsorship. He came to the first meeting and, apparently, never went back. His experience probably has something to say about the huge gap between the four thousand Indians envisioned by organizers and those who actually showed up at the meetings, a group that could be measured accurately in tens.
        The organizers' insistently urban vision--Arthur Parker would later argue that it was important not to meet on reservations--grasped modernity, in part, through cities and their large numbers of people. Perhaps it was relatively easy for them to imagine four thousand. The world of urban modernity shaped and colored other of their assumptions as well, including the dangerous assumption that reservation and rural people were not themselves also part of modernity. My great-grandfather, traveling from the village of Wakpala, South Dakota, may have felt something of this difference too.
        To understand the Society of American Indians, its organizers, and the Indian people receiving those four thousand invitations, we need to look broadly at the social and cultural contexts in which the Society was organized and founded, and in which it flourished--interestingly--for a brief period of time. That context shaped and directed Indian ideas about reform, race, citizenship, and other key concepts.

The year 1911 sits smack in the middle of that moment historians have named the Progressive Era, a term that once stood for a seemingly coherent historical period and that has today come to designate, instead, a tremendous range of reform movements. In its character as a reform organization engaged with social issues, the Society of American Indians has easily and correctly been framed in terms of its "red progressivism." But what exactly does that mean? In its social dimensions, the organization had clear parallels to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1909 after an exploratory period similar to that which preceded the first SAI meeting in Columbus (Mad-{31}dox 12, 74-77). As Thomas Maroukis has observed, Ohio State sociologist Fayette McKenzie wrote to W. E. B. Du Bois as early as 1904 for advice on the establishment of an American Indian organization, receiving a positive response (Maroukis 5-6). Indeed, Du Bois, who had shared a stage with Charles Eastman at the Universal Races Congress in London only two and a half months before the SAI meeting in October 1911, was one of the four thousand people receiving an invitation to the meeting, and he would be listed as an associate member in the first annual report (Society 182).
        It is also true that much progressive social reform was aimed at "white" European immigrants--and one can see the SAI in these terms as well. A broad range of social reformers had a relatively coherent picture of the problems associated with immigrants, many of which could be mapped in one form or another onto Indian people as well: innate national or racial traits that made them less able to compete, the environmental degradations of squalid urban (or reservation) slum districts, oppressive labor and work conditions, little or no access to education, inability to budget and plan for the future. And like some of the SAI leaders, many Progressives were particularly interested in reforming corrupt governmental programs and building new governing structures on the basis of sound "scientific" principles.
        The leaders and attendees at the SAI meeting can be seen in all three of these Progressive contexts: political and cultural advocacy, social reform, and governmental reform. But to see the organization too closely through any of these lenses would be a mistake. Despite our persistent tendency to read ethnic histories through the experience of African Americans (and despite the similarities between the two organizations), the issues that drove the NAACP were not quite the same as those that drove the Society of American Indians.4 While SAI leaders clearly drew upon some of the discourses of immigrant reform--the initial statement of purpose, for example, emphasizes good citizenship and social evolution--they also avoided the kind of muckraking, neighborhood-level reform that would have logically led to humanitarian work on reservations. They argued instead for something like an Indian version of Du Bois's "talented tenth" philosophy, with its "flight of class from mass" (Du Bois 217). And while reform or abolition of the Indian Office proved an inviting target for many SAI leaders, at many points in its short history the organization was led and staffed by OIA employ-{3}ees such as Charles Dagenett and Marie Baldwin. Even in relation to a broad understanding of Progressivism, then, or to its closest progressive cousins, the Society of American Indians maintained a distinct character, related specifically to the issues and debates springing out of Indian Country. Arthur Parker laid the difference out quite clearly in a Quarterly Journal article in 1916:

The status of the immigrant who came to America because he willed to do so and had an end in view, the status of the slave who was forced to come, and the status of the American native who was here, in their original form, all differ. It is one thing to say, "I came because I desired to rule," another thing to say, "I came because I was compelled to serve," and quite another thing to say, "I was here and this continent was mine."("Problems" 293)

        In the Quarterly Journal and the papers given at the annual meetings, participants also considered more abstract philosophical questions of "general principles and universal interests." In this sense, the group should also be seen as something more than simply a political or a reform organization. It was, quite clearly, an intellectual organization--not simply the first reform group but the first "think tank" for Indians. Many of the members had made significant strides in higher education. Not all Indian intellectuals were educated--but it is not unreasonable to suggest that, at this moment, pretty much all educated Indians functioned as intellectuals in one context or another. Eastman and Montezuma had completed medical training. Thomas Sloan, Hiram Chase, and Marie Baldwin studied law. Others chose different routes to the same end. Arthur Parker spurned an offer to train at Columbia with Franz Boas, took museum training with Frederick Ward Putnam, and came (later in his career) to regret the missed opportunity to earn a doctoral degree. And, of course, there were those trained into the ministry, including Sherman Coolidge.
        What could a think tank for Indians look like? It had to have experts in policy, law, and politics. It needed lobbyists and activists taking aim at paternalist bureaucracies and capricious governance. It had to have subtle cultural ambassadors able to reach out to white Americans on their own familiar (or sometimes unfamiliar) terms. Sometimes, this outreach meant performing Indian exoticism or, in the case of the oft-tuxedoed Carlos Montezuma, its near opposite. An Indian think tank {33} had to have organizers, committee leaders, secretaries, and treasurers to make the things run. It had to have pipelines from the organization's urban centers to the often-rural and reservation spaces of Indian Country. It had to have great thinkers and writers, real intellectuals to consider the general principles and universal interests. And it had to have all these people together at the same time, the same place, and with (more or less) the same ambitions. The meeting held in October 1911 on the Ohio State University campus represented an effort to accomplish exactly that aim.
        We might even see the organizers and participants as part of a broader segment of American society that watched (sometimes ruefully) as nineteenth-century forms of expertise begin to fade in authority before the canonization of expert knowledge in the form of the university professor and the professional organization. In many places, what ensued was a profound, if clubby, battle for authority among those who insisted upon the practice of vernacular knowledge in philosophical clubs, debating societies, political unions, chautauqua programs, and the like. Spiritualist societies--which took up topics rejected by the professoriate (with the notable exception of William James)--offer a prime example. So, too, do eugenics groups, which skirted the fringes of university authority, while building a broad cultural sensibility around "racial fitness" and reproduction.5 Fayette McKenzie, dedicated to scientific rationalism and progress, reflects this moment of consolidated academic expertise. The Society kept many of his forms, with an intellectual infrastructure (conferences and a journal) that echoed other professional societies. And it is no coincidence that Arthur Parker threw himself so avidly into his Journal editorship, for it provided him with a particular form of intellectual authority at a moment when the status of academic and public intellectuals was still contested.
        At the same time the Society kept academic forms, it altered both their content and meanings. The papers the SAI members presented and published often reflected a more vernacular, less academic brand of scholarship. And as Hazel Hertzberg suggested long ago, the SAI could be oddly misfit in relation to disciplines and classical education (129-32). McKenzie was a sociologist, but sociology was an African American-focused field, and it failed to engage Indian issues until later in the century. Anthropology was the closest relevant discipline--witness Parker, Eastman, and Hewitt, for example--but Franz Boas and his students {34} never really engaged Indian progressive reformers. Then, as now, American Indian intellectual work evaded disciplinary constraints--but also failed to take advantage of the resources that were attaching themselves to the various disciplines.
        Indeed, the structure and activities of the organization--volunteer, social reformist, intellectual, collective--presented challenges that proved difficult for the Society of American Indians to overcome. But they made a good go of it. Among the Society's paper legacy are to be found solid organizational efforts, beautiful writing, precise social and political analyses, spirited debates, and real and successful efforts at something we can legitimately call scholarship.

Perhaps no general principle underpinned the Society's vernacular forms of scholarship more than "race," which was itself in the midst of significant changes in conceptualization and meaning. As a concept, race has, of course, a long and complex history. But we might think about the moment of 1911 in terms of a tension between specific descriptive uses of the idea--"racial-national," for example (as in "the Irish race" or the "Italian race")--and big general categories, signified by words such as African, Mongoloid, Caucasian, Oriental. Specifically "racial-national" descriptions produced arguments about the culture and character of actual people. The "general categories" used phenotype and a racial biology to produce a meta-concept of the very idea of "race." Upon these categories, other concepts could be mapped. Imagine a grid upon which you overlay (first) national and (then) phenotypical categories, and then add in other dimensions. Assign innate characteristics to each category, and you can then see the building of a complex, shifting set of hierarchies. Now, introduce the historical motion carried in the idea of social evolution, with some of the categories changing over time. Then add in the possibility of racial crossing, which biologized cross-social relationships and produced an entirely new set of possibilities: inferior hybrids, superior crosses, sterility, racial decline, eugenics, vanishing, one-drop rules, blood quanta, and the like.
        The Society of American Indians delegates were caught in the midst of a shift in white American conceptions of race on another axis as well. From Thomas Jefferson's time, one strand of racial thinking had held that the Indian "race" could be "improved" through intermarriage with whites. This particular racial formation, we should note, stood in {35} marked contrast from that built around African-descended peoples. It helped underpin a notion of Indian uplift that led to missionization and the range of various civilization programs that boxed and cornered many Indian people across the reach of the nineteenth century. As Frederick Hoxie and others have pointed out, however, the beginning of the twentieth century marked a changing moment in this conception as well (Final 144). Ironically, at the very moment they embraced uplift and improvement in other "progressive" contexts, many white Americans began to abandon the concept as it had been applied to Indian people, concluding that decades of effort had failed because of the innate shortcomings of an essentialist big-category Indian "race."
        Race, in 1911, was both a familiar shorthand and a complex set of overlapping ideas and categories. It was everywhere and nowhere--constantly invoked and yet fungible in its meanings. So the SAI spoke of the "red race" and "white race"; of defending "the race" against slanderous ideologies, of race consciousness and the emergence of a "race leader," of the interests of Indians as both a race and a collection of individuals, of racial characteristics that might be detrimental to full engagement with modernity, of the relationship between racial and national (that is, American) advancement. "The modern Indian who for a long time has been studying the needs of his race," the Society journalists observed, "sees the necessity for race organization, and holds it as the means by which many of his vexing problems may be solved" (Society 3).
        When the SAI leadership spoke of the "welfare of the race" and of reaching out to persons "of Indian blood," they were adopting a "big category" statement about Indianness, one that we have sometimes figured (and then often problematized) as "pan-Indian." And yet, they were at the same time entering into a complex and shifting set of discourses: essentialism, nationalism, phenotype, character, "Indian." But pause for a second. Despite such discursive subtlety, race as it played out on the ground often remained a crude experience. Crudeness and subtlety; expectation and material experience: for many SAI members (Eastman, Parker, Coolidge), these things might have crystalized in their own marriages, which had crossed "racial" lines in classic Jeffersonian fashion.
        The tensions among all of these ideas become readily apparent when considering race in light of modernist primitivism. Primitivism reinvented older American patterns through which Indian people simultaneously occupied ideological categories (such as aboriginality, primality, {36} social evolutionary backwardness, and racially essentialist difference) and engaged in material relations (trade, marriage). The valuation of those ideological categories--good/bad, desire/repulsion--also operated in simultaneous fashion, creating grids of meaning that were (of course) complex, contradictory, and complicated. I have argued these points before and won't do so again, nor will I reargue one of my own key concepts, which is that--at the moment of the SAI--modernist primitivism opened up a window of opportunity for Indian people to grasp hold of seemingly positive relations of desire for things Indian (Deloria, Indians).
        The devil's bargain, however, lay in the crudeness of the category of race--even as it was used by the SAI. To evoke the desire, one had to perform an Indianness that sat always on the knife's edge: Was the suit too modern? The headdress sufficiently Indian? The mixture convincing? What was the effect on one's subjectivity? Did one really want to demonstrate a personal identity? And for whom? Race--in relation to modernist primitivism--required among other things a politics of performance. Ironically, even as the intellectuals of the Society organized and debated, Columbia University anthropologist Franz Boas was laying the groundwork for a deep problematizing of race as a key concept and the subsequent rise of "culture," and in particular a notion of cultural relativism. Indeed, Boas had joined Du Bois and Eastman at the Universal Races Congress, where over two thousand delegates draft ed resolutions that emphasized culture and relativism over innate racial characteristics, endorsing statements emphasizing the idea that "difference in civilization does not, as is often supposed, necessarily connote either inferiority or superiority" (Weatherly 325).
        Nor was the Congress only concerned with relativism and culture. Consider its original framing call:

To discuss, in the light of science and modern conscience, the general relations subsisting between the peoples of the West and those of the East, between the so-called "white" and the so-called "colored" peoples, with a view to encouraging between them a fuller understanding, the most friendly feelings, and the heartier co-operation. . . . The interchange of material and other wealth between the races of mankind has of late years assumed such dimensions that the old attitude of distrust and aloofness is giving way to a genuine desire for a closer acquaintanceship. (Weatherly 315)

{37} Eastman and Du Bois appeared together on the panel on "modern conscience," a topic that--as Dakota scholar Kiara Vigil has recently shown--limited their ability to offer a critique of colonialism, slavery, or other historical forms of white domination (Vigil 8). Nonetheless, Eastman was speaking--as would the SAI--at a moment when Indian people had effectively reached the bottom: population severely reduced; land effectively stripped; cultural and religious practices under restriction; children often removed in the interests of a kind of colonial reprogramming; lives under government surveillance.6
        These were baseline concerns of the members of the SAI, and we can name them plainly as the consequences of colonial domination. For some that meant the overbearing hand of the Indian Office; for others it meant the abuses of a corrupt American society; for still others it meant reclaiming Indian determination and authority. All of these critical positions were mixed, however, with discourses emphasizing good citizenship, integration, education, and uplift . The "Indian race" always sat in relation to the nation--and the nation in this instance was always and necessarily the United States. That particular citizenship defined some part of the limits of political and rhetorical possibility. And this particular intersection of critique and integrationist strategy--that one could be an Indian and a citizen, an individual and a dedicated member of a race--reflected exactly the kinds of trade-offs, discursive and otherwise, that inevitably dogged the Society of American Indians.7
        Not surprisingly, on many of these points people of good will could find cause to disagree. So where peyotism characterized Progressives in the Southwest, it seemed howlingly retrograde to those in the North and Midwest. And where service in the Indian Office seemed a liability to some, to others it represented possibility. And where the abstract philosophical questions seemed a prerequisite to some, they could feel like a dodge to others. Likewise, where an on-the-ground engagement with reservation people seemed sadly lacking to some, to others it represented the danger of getting sucked into local issues in ways that would destroy the organization.
        It is striking how cautious SAI leaders felt that they had to be, always wondering when or if the time would be right for . . . for what? To go public? To take a stand? To push back against white allies or the Indian office? Reluctant to establish shared external targets and go after them, the Society turned surprisingly quickly upon itself. Here, the contrast {38} between the relatively looser form and structure of a vernacular intellectual organization and the more disciplined arrangement and outlook of a political lobbying or successful social reform group becomes clear. The Society had much of the former, when it may have needed a bigger dose of the latter. Its leadership--which seemed so national and middle class--turned out to be torn, not by "the tribal" so much as by the surprisingly varied histories of colonial encounter, resistance, identity, and subjectivity formation that they carried with them to Columbus, Ohio, a century ago.

And that brings me back to my great-grandfather and the four thousand invitations. My great-grandfather shows up in hardly any of the standard accounts of the first meeting of the Society of American Indians. And why would he? He did not stay with the organization, did not write for the Quarterly Journal, did not become part of the leadership or the narrative. To my mind, he represents a different cohort of Indian people, one removed from what has become the recognized group of intellectuals we generally associate with the SAI: Eastman, Parker, Bonnin, Oskison, Standing Bear, Chase, Sloan, LaFlesche, Roe Cloud, Coolidge, Dagenett, DeCora, Cornelius, and perhaps a few others. In that sense, he might be more representative of the elusive four thousand. And there are a few others on the list who might join him in that company.
        The second and third tier of participants--those maybe a little closer to the four thousand--were themselves an interesting assortment of people. There was Joseph K. Griffis--Tehan--the sketchy, supposed Kiowa captive, autobiographer, Boy Scout leader, and minister (Griffis; Anderson). DeWitt Hare: promoter, newspaperman, and eventually broker for Scotty Phillip's bison herd (Littlefield and Parins 224). Nebraska real estate man (and schemer) William Springer (Boughter 167-204). Onondaga mechanic Charles Doxon (Littlefield and Parins 203; Powers). Oneida dairy farmer Horton Elm (Brudvig). Translator, informant, and writer Oliver LaMere, who argued that Americanization did not necessarily preclude Indian and American elements also being kept separate and parallel (Hertzberg 113-14). Peyotist Episcopalian Albert Hensley, who left not one but two autobiographies behind (Brumble). Michael Wolf, a Hampton student in 1911 who would become a formidable critic of the abuses so characteristic of Indian education (Hertzberg 99). Martin Archiquette, an Oneida Indian Service employee who {39} wowed the crowd with a cornet solo during the participants' Friday evening performance.8 Cherokee printer and postmaster Joseph Sequichie (Hill 347). Cherokee printer, bandleader, and Indian service employee James Mumblehead (Littlefield and Parins 257). Santee William Holmes, like my grandfather an Episcopal minister (Cochran). Football coach and off-season lawyer Albert Exendine, admitted to the bar not only in Oklahoma but also in Hawaii (Jenkins 185-88, 306; Nolan).
        And it is worth noting the formidable presence of women at the first conference. In addition to Rosa LaFlesche, Laura Cornelius (herself a character, once arrested for impersonating an officer of the Indian Service) and Esther Dagenett, there was the Ojibwe Indian office employee Marie Baldwin, who graduated from law school in 1914 and passed the Washington dc bar exam in the same year. A feminist and suffrage activist, Baldwin later served as a lawyer in land rights cases, not to mention her role on the Executive Committee and as treasurer of the Society (Hertzberg 148; "Mrs. Marie"; "Leading"; Cahill, this volume). Emma Johnson, a career teacher in the Indian Service, joined Baldwin in offering feminist arguments and revisions of the images of Indian women (Batker 15-36, esp. 34-35; Thobur 1742-43). Elsie Elm, whose funeral hymn at the tomb of Lewis Henry Morgan was so astonishing Thomas Edison insisted upon recording it (Parker, "Prehistoric" 98-99).9 Wallace and Nellie Denny, longtime Carlisle coach and teacher (Benjey 126-42). Nora McFarland, who signed to the music of the Carlisle quartet during the Friday evening performance (Hertzberg 59; Coskan-Johnson 115-16). And there were more, of course: those on the membership list but not able to attend the first meeting.
        Somewhere between the four thousand invitations and the forty-four attendees lies an interesting and as-yet-unexplored cast of historical characters, people whose lives might tell us something more about the Society of American Indians by deepening and perhaps reorienting our understanding of the supposed (and actual) modern, urban, and progressive nature of the organization. If the four thousand looked anything like the third tier of the forty-four, they might suggest--if we could know them--an incredibly complex Indian world, one full of priests and teachers, schemers and con artists, athletes, artists and singers, people who stayed engaged with Indian politics, education, law, and culture; and people who melted into reservation communities, small towns, and big cities as dentists, clerks, farmers, and mechanics.
         A little over a century ago, some of these people came to Columbus, Ohio. They came on Columbus Day, fully aware of the humor and the irony and the endurance and the sense of possibility that defined the time and place of the meeting. In them, we can recognize a set of questions that were both unique to their historical moment and common to our own. We too think about amalgamation and assimilation; race politics black, white, and red; social reform, organizing, and activism; colonialism and its consequences; intellectualism and citizenship. The world in which we live is a full century apart from theirs; it is a different world, to be sure, and we can see the genealogies unfolded. At the same time, though, as one walks the campus of Ohio State on an October evening, in the company of the contemporary heirs of the Society of American Indians, it feels like only a thin veil divides the centuries. We cannot look Charles Eastman--or any of the other members of the Society--full in the face. I, for one, might balk at that opportunity. But you can feel, through that thin curtain of time, their presence, and we remember them--this time--with the admiration and respect that is their due.


I want to acknowledge the excellent research assistance of Jordan Weinberg in support of this project, and discussions with Chad Allen, Beth Piatote, Tsianina Lomawaima, Robert Warrior, and Jeani O'Brien, among others.


       1. For Deloria family history, see Vine Deloria Sr. 91-112 and Vine Deloria Jr.
        2. Eastman has been a focal figure in a significant number of studies. A useful marker in summarizing old and new approaches to him--and to his contemporaries--can be found in Coskan-Johnson. The benchmark essay in recent thinking about this group is Hoxie, "Exploring a Cultural Borderland."
        3. Society, Report 178-82, for membership lists.
        4. I elaborate this argument in Deloria, "Conquest Histories and Narratives of Displacement."
        5. In framing this particular struggle between vernacular and university authority, I have been almost completely informed by Alexander Olson, whose dissertation, "The People's Classroom," offers a detailed exploration of a series of organizations that bear striking affinities to the Society of American Indians.

        6. I have argued this point before in Deloria, "From Nation to Neighborhood."
        7. On the question of citizenship, see Hoxie, This Indian 225-76.
        8. On Martin Archiquette and other Oneidas, see Landis, especially 53. Archiquette would later have a career in the Indian Service and serve as tribal chair.
        9. For a recording of Elsie Elm's song, see http://www.oincommunications .net/video/Elsie-Elm-Great-Spirit.wmv.


Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1995. Print.

Anderson, H. Allen. "Tehan." Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Assn, n.d. Web.

Batker, Carol J. Reforming Fictions: Native, African, and Jewish American Women's Literature and Journalism in the Progressive Era. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Print.

Benjey, Tom. Wisconsin's Carlisle Indian School Immortals. Carlisle: Tuxedo P, 2011. Print.

Boughter, Judith A. Betraying the Omaha Nation, 1790-1916. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1998. Print.

Brudvig, Jon L., comp. and ed. Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute: American Indian Students (1878-1923). 1994, 1996.

Brumble, H. David. "Albert Hensley's Two Autobiographies and the History of American Indian Autobiography." American Quarterly 37.5 (1985): 702-18. Print.

Child, Brenda J. Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1998. Print.

Cochran, Mary E. Dakota Cross-Bearer: The Life and World of a Native American Bishop. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2000. Print.

Coskan-Johnson, Gale P. "What Writer Would Not Be an Indian for a While? Charles Alexander Eastman, Critical Memory, and Audience." Studies in American Indian Literatures 18.2 (2006): 105-31. Print.

Deloria, Philip J. "Conquest Histories and Narratives of Displacement: Thoughts on Civil Rights, Diaspora, and Transnationalism in Ethnic Studies and United States History." Aspects of Transnational and Indigenous Cultures. Ed. Hsinya Huang. Forthcoming 2014. Print.

_ _ _. "From Nation to Neighborhood: Land, Policy, Culture, Colonialism, and Empire in U.S.-Indian Relations." The Cultural Turn in U.S. History: {42} Past, Present and Future. Ed. James Cook, Lawrence Glickman, and Michael O'Malley. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2008. 343-82. Print.

_ _ _. Indians in Unexpected Places. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 2004. Print.

Deloria, Vine, Sr. "The Establishment of Christianity among the Sioux." Sioux Indian Religion. Ed. Raymond DeMallie and Douglas Parks. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1987. 91-112. Print.

Deloria, Vine, Jr. Singing for a Spirit: A Portrait of the Dakota Sioux. Santa Fe: Clearlight, 1999. Print.

Du Bois, W. E. B. Dusk of Dawn: An Essay toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1940. Print.

Griffis, Joseph K. Tahan, Out of Savagery into Civilization: An Autobiography. New York: George H. Doran, 1915. Print.

Hill, Luther B. A History of the State of Oklahoma. Vol. 2. Chicago: Lewis, 1909. Web.

Hoxie, Frederick. "Exploring a Cultural Borderland: Native American Journeys of Discovery in the Early Twentieth Century." Journal of American History 79.3 (1992): 969-95. Print.

_ _ _. A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920. 1984. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print.

_ _ _. Parading through History: The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 1805-1935. New York: Cambridge UP, 1995. Print.

_ _ _. This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made. New York: Penguin, 2012. Print.

Jenkins, Sally. The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.

Landis, Barbara. "Oneidas at Carlisle Indian School, 1884-1918." The Oneida Indians in the Age of Allotment, 1860-1920. Ed. Laurence M. Hauptman and L. Gordon McLester. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2006. 48-55. Print.

"Leading Woman Suffragist." American Indian Magazine 4 (1916): 268-69. Print.

Littlefield, Daniel F., and James W. Parins. A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924: A Supplement. Metuchin: Scarecrow P, 1985. Print.

Lomawaima, K. Tsianina. Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences. With Margaret Archuleta and Brenda Child. Phoenix: Heard Museum, 2000. Print.

_ _ _. They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1994. Print.

Lyons, Scott Richard. X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2010. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race, and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.
Maroukis, Thomas. "The Founding of the Society of American Indians in Columbus, Ohio, October 12-17, 1911." Unpublished paper.

Martinez, David. Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 2009. Print.

"Mrs. Marie L. B. Baldwin, Attorney." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 2 (1914): 155. Print.

Nolan, Melissa. "Albert Exendine: New Perceptions of Indian Achievements." Dickinson College Wiki. Last mod. 13 Dec. 2007. Web.

Olson, Alexander. "The People's Classroom: American Modernism and the Struggle for Democratic Education, 1869-1940." Diss. U of Michigan, 2013.

Parker, Arthur C. "A Prehistoric Iroquoian Site on the Reed Farm, Richmond Mills, Ontario County, N.Y." Researches and Transactions of the New York State Archeological Association 1.1 (1918): 98-99. Print.

_ _ _. "Problems of Race Assimilation in America." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 4 (1916): 285-304. Print.

Pfister, Joel. The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud. Durham: Duke UP, 2009. Print.

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Powers, Mabel. "The Peacemaker Chief." Outlook 116 (30 May 1917): 187-88. Print.

Rosier, Paul. Serving Their Country: American Indian Politics and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2009. Print.

Society of American Indians. Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians. Washington DC: 1912. Print.

Thobur, Joseph Bradfield. A Standard History of Oklahoma. Vol. 4. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1916. Print.

Vigil, Kiara. "Stories in Red and White: American Indian Intellectuals in the American Imagination, 1880-1930." Diss. U of Michigan, 2011. Print.

Warrior, Robert Allen. The People and the Word: Reading Native Nonfiction. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2005. Print.

_ _ _. Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1995. Print.

Weatherly, Ulysses G. "The First Universal Races Congress." American Journal of Sociology 17.3 (1911): 315-28. Print.


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The Indian/Agent Aporia

BETH H. PIATOTE         

If the Indian will go to work, will form habits of industry, we will have no need for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, no need for the establishment of Indian agencies, no need for Indian agents. We will be our own agents and commissioners.
        Francis LaFleshe1

A number of years ago a Lakota elder, Wilma Crowe, opened her hand and showed me a citizenship medal that her family received at a ceremony on her reservation when she was a child. Prior to 1924, when Congress passed a universal citizenship act, American Indians had uneven access to US citizenship.2 One of the processes through which citizenship could be conferred was linked to allotment and required the assessment of Indian homes and families by a Competency Commission, a team of three white men appointed by the federal government. The commission would determine competency in the English language, degree of Indian blood, conversion to Christianity, stability of marriage and children, sobriety, and other personal characteristics. The commission would measure the size of Indian domiciles and outbuildings, count the livestock, plows, and harnesses, and make note of the presence of middle-class furnishings such as pianos and telephones. American Indians deemed "competent" under these measures were conferred citizenship, often in an elaborate staged ceremony. In the ceremony government officials and Indians would stand together on a platform. The Indian men were given arrows and instructed to break the arrows or shoot them a final time, promising that they would no longer fight the government. Then they were instructed to place their hands on a plow {46} and vow to become farmers. Women were given sewing kits. Following this set of performances, men and women deemed "competent" would step forward to receive their land title allotments and confirmation of their new citizenship status.3
        Wilma Crowe was a child when she observed this kind of ceremony, and her father was one of the tribal leaders who participated. He broke the arrow, she said, but he refused to place his hand on the plow. When he did this, she and her siblings began to cry, thinking that his refusal would mean that they would not become citizens. But of course everything proceeded as planned, and after the ceremony, she said, they all got in their car and drove off the reservation to get ice cream in the neighboring town.
        Then she said to me: "People today don't know what that means, to drive off the reservation."
        Those words stayed with me: People today don't know what that means, to drive off the reservation. What did it mean for that first generation after Wounded Knee to seek a form of political agency--citizenship--from within a material reality in which the reservation boundaries were heavily policed? One could not, or did not, simply drive off the reservation. What did political agency for Indians mean in a time when Indian Agents wielded a great deal of economic and carceral power? What thoughts of political agency were possible when the Indian Agency controlled the quotidian facts of Indian life: food rations, bank accounts, crossing the threshold of the reservation or the blockhouse?
        When the Society of American Indians formed in 1911, it faced this question: what would be the future of Indian agency? Long weary of legal wardship and a reservation system that assigned Indian agency to Indian Agents, the SAI advocated for birthright citizenship. With citizenship, advocates argued, Indians would no longer be impaired by wardship status or have their agency displaced into the bodies of Indian Agents.4 In other words, the SAI would lend the phrases "Indian agent" and "Indian agency" new meanings that empowered, rather than subordinated, Indian bodies and autonomy. At the time, American Indians had qualified access to US citizenship--that is, political agency as understood within a liberal, individual rights political system--through meeting certain criteria aimed to diminish their identities as "Indians" (Prucha, Great 681-86).5 Yet citizen Indians were the exception rather than the rule, and the franchise came at a price. When the SAI was {47} founded, it was generally the case that "Indians" and "Agents" constituted separate, incommensurate categories; a person could be one or the other, but not both.6 A central challenge for the SAI, then, was to forge a new concept of citizenship out of existing categories that could only partially accommodate what it might mean to be an Indian agent.
        During the period that saw the rise of the SAI, political discourse depended upon particular understandings of "Indians" and "Agents" and their relationship to each other. In this essay, I argue that constructions of "Indian" and "Agent" were bound together in an impossible knot that I am calling the Indian/Agent aporia. Here I draw on the meaning of aporia as a logical impasse, reflecting a set of key paradoxes: while the federal government envisioned and carried out policies of assimilation ostensibly aimed to produce individuated Indian citizens--that is, Indian agents--it lacked the capacity to meet the terms of that goal or could only partially do so. And Indians found themselves in an equally perplexing situation: they longed to be free of wardship but didn't necessarily want to sacrifice their status as tribes with treaty rights and the Agents who were bound to fulfill them. Thus the virgule, or slanted line, representing "and-or" appears in the Indian/Agent binary.
        The virgule that divides the Indian from the Agent marks the incommensurate nature of both categories during this time: Indian or Agent, ward or guardian, noncitizen or citizen. The slash mark simultaneously connects the two subjects and reveals the chasm between them; it articulates both intimacy and distance to power. The slash mark that separates the terms remembers the wounds inflicted upon Indian bodies and histories in the movement across that dividing line. Prior to 1924, to move across categories, to move from "Indian" to "agent," required the slashing of hair, cutting of family and kin ties, hewing away of religious and cultural practices, allotment of land, and other acts of severance. The slash is a marker of violence, and no Indian could pass from one category to the other unscathed.7
        The slash also signals division, as in mathematics, when used to represent a fraction: 1/2, 1/4, 7/8. At times, as debates over "race loyalty" arose, the SAI found itself divided by questions of Agents and agency. "Indians" and "Agents" were often inversely positioned, such that cultural discourses of virtue and vice characterized one but not the other. Such constructions extended from a system of Indian wardship and government paternalism: federal laws that were deemed "benevo-{44}lent" by the state were often justified by policymakers as necessary to protect "helpless" Indians, yet at other times, the state justified punitive measures against the Indians whose expressions of self-government challenged the authority of the Agents and, to some degree, the liberal democratic values of an individual rights political system. By law Indians suffered a deficit of personal agency, in contrast to Agents, who were characterized by an excess of governmental agency.
        I offer the Indian/Agent aporia as a tool for analyzing the rhetoric of the SAI, seeking to clarify not only what each category meant but also the ways in which they were imbricated. By linking together Indian and Agent, the aporia concept aims to make visible the Indian Agent as an alternate subject in whom Indian agency was vested and foregrounds the structural and material consequences of wardship for the SAI generation. While this concept cannot account for the vast range of rhetorical strategies employed by the SAI intellectuals, the Indian/Agent aporia emphasizes the historical and legal contexts that made citizenship claims meaningful, and names a puzzle that confronted SAI leaders with an unbearable contradiction. In contemplating the legacies of the SAI, this essay responds to recent dismissals of the SAI as a flatly "assimilationist" organization that was willing to abandon the principles of Indigenous sovereignty. These presentist arguments fail to take the material and legal contexts of the SAI fully into account, or to consider that far from being opposed to today's taken-for-granted concept of sovereignty, the SAI helped make it possible. In the analysis that follows, I draw upon examples from the SAI's magazine, the Quarterly Journal (later the American Indian Magazine), that show how SAI leaders confronted the Indian/Agent aporia and sought rhetorical space that could penetrate, subvert, or destabilize the knot.

wele•xnew'é•t (abs) 1) agent (of the Bureau of Indian Affairs), 2) overseer, supervisor, 3) scout, guard, sentinel.
"in check."
"to see" [v. heki].
"agentive suffix," someone who does something [ew'é•t].
        Agent: one who keeps others in check by watching/surveillance.8

{49} For all of its valences, "agency" will never function as a neutral term for Indians. Nor will the phrase "Indian agent," haunted as it is by the ghosts of Indian Agents. The history of Indians and Agents is complex, with origins that can be traced to early contact with changes across time and circumstance. The role of the Agent predates the American state; Indian Agents such as Sir William Johnson (1715-1774) negotiated with the Mohawks and others on behalf of the British crown. In his role as Agent, Johnson acted as a cultural mediator and land broker, treating with the Haudenosaunee as agents who represented themselves.9 In places where the "middle ground" existed, such as the Great Lakes region through the eighteenth century, no single organization of Indians or settlers could dominate, and thus the power of political agency was distributed across groups.10 The notion of an Agent as part of a "civilizing" mission and a government representative among the Indians was established in American law in 1793, with the second Trade and Intercourse Act, which charged the Agents to report violations in trade (Prucha, Great 161). The Agent's capacity for surveillance expanded from there. In 1831 the US Supreme Court ruling Cherokee Nation v. Georgia produced the legal structure of Indian wardship that legitimated the unequal distribution of agency, and as the reservation system expanded through the mid-nineteenth century, so did the power of Agents over Indians.
        As symbol and structure of this shift, the physical space of the reservation was organized around its central seat of power, the Agency, a building that dispensed Indian Agents but denied Indian agency. At the same time, political figures channeled power to and through the appointment of Agents, who all too often brought "gross incompetence, a deliberate attempt to profit by corruption, or both" (Utley 42). As Hazel W. Hertzberg notes, "nowhere was the spoils system more destructive than in the Indian Service. The reservation agent, who held virtually dictatorial powers, was often a political appointee chosen for his services to the party in power, rather than for his ability to deal with Indians" (5). Agents held tremendous control over the material conditions of everyday life on the reservation, from command of the Indian police force to the issue of rations and disbursement of Indian monies, including individual Indian accounts (Biolsi, "Birth"). Ample discussion of abuse by Agents took place at the annual SAI meetings. Leaders of the SAI had intimate knowledge of the corruption of the Indian Service: Charles Eastman had been removed from his post as Agency doctor be-{50}cause he brought to light the claims against Agents in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee massacre, and Thomas Sloan and Hiram Chase had together been imprisoned in the Omaha Agency blockhouse when they objected to alleged cheating by the Agent (Hertzberg 41, 46).
        The Indian Service had expanded rapidly following the Civil War, and its growth only made its inherent contradictions more visible. Seeking to reform the Indian Service, President Grant established a citizen advisory committee, the Board of Indian Commissioners, and put in motion the "Peace Policy," which aimed to militarily pacify tribes and provide competent and honest civilian service. Grant's policy turned over the administration of reservations to Christian missionary organizations, believing that the problems of corruption could be addressed by replacing "bad" Agents with good ones. The policy rather quickly ran aground, however, as the ideal of agencies administered by "high-minded, religiously motivated individuals ran up against the hard rock of practical operations within an old political system" (Prucha, Great 520).11 The failure of Grant's policy indicated that the problem was structural, not individual.
        The fundamental problem was that Indian Agents were charged with the incompatible duties to act as agents of the government and agents for the Indian people, or as a 1915 report described it, in the incongruous roles of trustee and guardian. According to the report, the "primary inducement to collusion, fraud, and subversion lies in the relation of 'trusteeship' and not in the relation of 'guardianship.' The relation of guardianship, however, suffers whenever the trusteeship is impaired."12 Critics of the system understood Agents to be responsible to both the government (as trustee) and the Indians (as guardian) yet accountable to none, a charge evidenced in actual accounting practices: decades of single-entry bookkeeping and irregular and incomplete financial records at both the central office and reservation agencies (Institute 35-46). Indian Agents were largely regarded by the American public as political appointees taking advantage of the "spoils system" rather than civil servants with skills and commitments to serve the common good (23-24).13
        Fraud and misuse of public or tribal monies were not the only concerns of the wider public. Some objected to the Indian Bureau system because it represented an affront to US narratives of individuality and freedom during a period of intense national domestication. This argument had wide applicability and served groups with various goals. For {51} example, this position undergirded arguments for assimilation policies such as allotment of reservation lands by humanitarian organizations that called themselves the Friends of the Indian. In 1887 Indian Rights Association member James Bradley Thayer wrote, "We have got to the point where we are dealing with these poor people in a manner wholly at variance with the fundamental notions of our English and American liberty. We shut them up in their reservations. We send and maintain there at pleasure our own officials, and give them large, dangerous, despotic powers" (qtd. in Prucha, American 337). In 1906 an essay in the North American Review objected to the "backwardness" of the system: "Imagine everything opposed to all that is American or modern in detail, and especially in principle, and you have an Indian reservation" (Sparhawk 51). Leaders of the SAI echoed these concerns. Arthur Parker stated at the inaugural meeting that "no nation can afford to permit any person or body of people within it to exist in a condition at variance with the ideals of that nation" (SAI, Report 75). Such arguments could potentially appeal to those who cared little about justice for Indians but a great deal about protecting distinctly "American" values, including the narrative of progress. Thus a shared vision arose across multiple constituencies: Indians should become their own Agents. Indians should have the same form of agency--that is, individuated citizenship--as other Americans. And the Indian Agent, as an embodiment of both Indian and governmental power, would disappear.
        In the context of this political rhetoric the SAI faced a challenge: how to address the incommensurability of the terms without reinforcing them. In exposing the power that Agents held over Indians, the term "Indian" had come to mean a subject administratively and legally devoid of agency and anomalously positioned in relationship to the American state and its values. In the Indian/Agent aporia, the slash stands as a barrier between the two categories, one side characterized by the absence of agency and the other by its excess. The Oneida writer Dennison Wheelock recognized this boundary in his 1913 essay, "Not an Indian Problem but a Problem of Race Separation." The piece opens with a description of the Indian Agent's role in conducting business on behalf of Indians, emphasizing not the Agent's authority over Indians but the Agent's powerlessness relative to the Secretary of Interior: "[The Agent] is bound hand and foot by regulations of the Department, so that in no material matter can he exercise the slightest discretion of his own" {52} (366). The essay redefines both "Indian" and "Agent" to make the terms commensurate--that is, both lacking agency--and exposes them as interdependent constructs. Wheelock argues that the reservation system was designed to keep Indians and white settlers apart, not only physically but also socially and politically. This intentional separation created a chasm between the two populations in terms of their economic and political status. An "Indian" is thus not a person, he argues, as much as a condition characterized by compromised rights: "It can be seen readily that Indians of the United States are living under a system of government which, to say the least, is far more calculated to keep them Indians than otherwise" (370). The essay demonstrates the arbitrariness and fungibility of both terms, emphasized by Wheelock's movement of "Agent" across the slash mark into a shared position with "Indian." Wheelock exposes the power structure of the binary without reproducing it by leveling out both terms and destabilizing their constructed meanings. While Wheelock focused on the social and legal idea of the "Indian," Arthur C. Parker aimed his rhetoric at the "Agent" in the binary. Parker's short commentary "Lo, the Poor Indian Agent!" draws on the popular lament "Lo, the Poor Indian!" to make a case for relieving the Indian Agent of his many burdens. He writes:

An agent may wish to do right, but long-distance laws, rules of an office three thousand miles away, may tie his hands, prevent individual action, even when he would like to act. Rules and regulations may shut his eyes, his ears, his mouth. Laws confuse him, and no wonder--who can digest all those cobwebby laws? An Indian agent comes to the Indian done up in a fish net, simply because some agents are not safe without strings around them. What they might like to do they cannot do--what they think is right the Interior Department may not see fit to grant. The agent may be all right; the system under which he labors may be all wrong. Then the Indian--what of him and his cord-bound superintendent? The law has not said in clear cut phrases what this Indian's definite status is. Neither the agent nor the Indian knows where he stands or how he may progress. (335-36)

Parker identifies the Indian/Agent aporia as an untenable bind and seeks to undo it by "freeing" the poor Agent--and thus freeing the Indian.
        The impasse between Indians and Agents was shaped in part by con-{53}structions of individual and collective rights and the American system's incapacity to accommodate both forms of claims. Indian bodies were attached to collective rights, while agent bodies (citizens) carried individual rights. The SAI faced a challenge: how to represent an Indian body as capacious enough to hold both collective (treaty) rights and individual (citizenship) rights. One rhetorical approach was to represent individual Indian bodies as agentive. As Lucy Maddox argues, Indians "had to position themselves on the literal as well as the figurative stages of American public life, through strategic moves, as a way of both inserting their embodied selves into the national consciousness and establishing their claim to a place on those stages" (5). Wheelock's essay, for example, portrays specific Indian bodies as socially mobile and capable of movement between categories of collective and individual rights. He questions the constitution of the Indian as a body inherently lacking individual rights, offering the lived examples of SAI leaders as evidence:

If Dr. Montezuma, Dr. Eastman, Rev. Coolidge, Rev. Roe Cloud, and scores of other noted Indian men and women who are successfully living and practicing their professions among the most refined and cultured of the white race, are not strong affirmative living answers to the question propounded, then attempting to reason with the powers that be, and urging the establishment of a policy which shall contemplate the mixing of the races, becomes a senseless agitation and mockery. I am opposed to treating Indians, either as to their property or persons, differently from other races of mankind who are citizens of the United States, and insist that Indians given the same opportunities as other men of the country, can and will achieve success to the same extent that success is achieved by other races of men having like opportunity. (371)

Wheelock's vision is not so much cultural assimilation as economic integration. The slash for him in the Indian/Agent binary is the physical and legal boundary that produced incommensurate geographies of social power.
        Both Wheelock and Parker understand Indians and Agents not only as co-constructed but also bound together. Rather than split one term away from the other, they draw upon this boundedness to unfix the legal and social meanings of the terms. Thinking through the Indian/Agent construct, Wheelock moves the Agent across the barrier slash in order {54} to confuse these meanings and to figure the Agent as a subject with limited rights. In doing so, he highlights "Indian" and "Agent" as distinct subject positions that can be occupied by different bodies, a point he makes visible through references to his fellow SAI leaders. Wheelock leaves the subject positions in place but inverts the subjects. Parker's approach is similar to Wheelock's in that he represents the Agent not as an all-powerful dictator but as a potentially sympathetic figure of limited power, producing a commensurability of subjects. Through his use of satire Parker places the Agent in the subject position of the Indian, replacing "Indian" with "Agent" in a popular lament. But the Agent cannot truly occupy the space of "poor Lo," as there can be no Agents without Indians. Parker's argument to free the Agent, then, relies upon the In-dian/Agent as bounded terms, in which the fate of one becomes the fate of the other. By working in a satiric mode, he banks on the analogy of Agents as Indians to force the public to see anew the problem that had been before them all along.

President [Sherman] Coolidge desired to defend the loyalty of the Indian employee, and calling Vice-President Roe Cloud to the chair, he took the floor. [ . . . ]
       THE PRESIDENT: The Government is represented by the Indian Bureau.
       DR. MONTEZUMA: I think not.
: I think it is.
         Conference proceedings, SAI, "Open Debate"14

The intimate connection of Indians and Agents played out in complicated ways. If there could be no Agents without Indians, could there be Indians without Agents? The double identity of the Agent as both government trustee and Indian guardian made the obliteration of the office less than a straightforward proposition. Agents were vested with governmental power, which was problematic from the standpoint of abuse of individuals but essential from the standpoint of government-to-government relations. That is, the Agent served as the central mechanism for carrying out treaty provisions; through him, the government provided, however poorly, the material exchanges that are not simply, {55} or even primarily, important for the "payments" on land they constituted, but for the fact that the payments--as did the treaties themselves--served to recognize federal nation-to-nation status. The reservation, too, despite serving as a disciplinary space, was what remained of Indian tribal-national land holdings and a base of collective political identity. Because treaty rights depended upon a contract of two parties, to eliminate the role of one party--the Agent as deliverer of federal promises--would be to compromise the treaty. The abolition of the Indian Bureau was viewed by some in the SAI as the logical extension of the disastrous Allotment Act (Hertzberg 177). Thus the Indian/Agent knot produced a challenge for the SAI: how to articulate a world of rights for Indians without Agents? How to kill the Agent and save the Indian?
        The physical placement of the Agent on the reservation created particular affiliations between Indians and Agents, and such "intimacies of empire," as Ann Laura Stoler suggests, produce the "affective grid of colonial politics" (7). Amid much well-deserved antipathy for Agents who defrauded Indians, created offenses, imposed incarceration, and withheld annuities and rations, there were also stories of alliance and even friendship. Both love and hate can bind people together. Agents played a central role in the assimilationist project by working through the intimate spaces of the home and reservation, serving such roles as superintendent, field matron, agency farmer, and school teacher.15 As Cathleen Cahill argues, the nuclear family structure was not only an ideal to be modeled, but also a structure of social relationships that organized the Agency. In the design of the Agency, both paternalism and maternalism found expression through male Agents and their wives, as well as other employees. But not all Agents easily accepted these officially sanctioned familial roles. The children of Agents experienced the reservation as their dominant social world and formed their own complicated relationships among the Indians. Friendship and intermarriage were among the outcomes of the shared geography of Indians and Agents (Cahill 34-59, 82-103). Despite vast differences in access to power, Indians and Agents took part in a shared world.
        The Agent's job was inherently contradictory, a point repeatedly recited by critics of the system. It only made sense within a structure of wardship that imagined Indian interests to be aligned with US national interests, which in reality was not and could not be the case. The space of the Agent, as both intimate and oppositional to the Indian, was a space of impossibility.
        But what if the Agent were an Indian? What if the virgule disappeared from the aporia, and federal power passed to Indians as government Agents? Would it not produce Indian autonomy in a corresponding, but different, framework than the citizenship model envisioned by the SAI? The rise of the SAI corresponded with another trend: the massive expansion of Indians working as Agents in the Indian Service. In 1912 the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) reached its high point of employing Indian workers: more than two thousand positions, or over one-third of the entire workforce of the , were held by Indians (Cahill 2). As Cahill shows, these numbers hardly begin to tell the complex story of Indian employment with the OIA. For its part, the Indian Office sought Indian employees "primarily because of the perceived pedagogical possibilities of work" (105). But Indian employees joined for many reasons, including the most basic need for economic survival. The OIA offered administrative jobs that provided better pay and conditions than domestic and manual labor service. In the face of assimilation programs to break apart Indian kinship and cultural ties, the economic stability that Indian Service jobs provided helped secure familial and tribal identities. As Cahill puts it, "in contrast to official ideas that posited that work in the service would help further the goals of assimilation, positions within the Indian Service could and did become politicized sites of resistance for Native people" (113).
        Indians working as Agents had the potential to nearly resolve one of the great contradictions of the system: the lack of alignment between Indian and government interests. As Cahill notes, Indian intellectuals such as Luther Standing Bear imagined an Indian-run bureau as a form of autonomy that would preserve the tribal-national while moving beyond wardship: "Indians should teach Indians. . . . Indians should serve Indians. . . . every reservation could well be supplied with Indian doctors, nurses, and engineers, road-and bridge-builders, draughtsmen, architects, dentists, lawyers, teachers, and instructors in tribal lore, legends, orations, song, dance, and ceremonial ritual" (113). Despite the varied opportunities and forms of resistance available to Indians as Agents, there were members of the SAI, some of whom had served in the Indian Service themselves, who found it impossible to trust any Indian who worked in the Indian Service. As bureau critic Carlos Montezuma argued, an Indian employee was a mere "hireling," and as such "he is not himself, he cannot be. . . . If I went into the Indian service I would shut my mouth {57} on a good many things" (SAI, "Open Debate" 253). From the very first meeting of the SAI, a debate about the "race loyalty" of Indians employed by the service festered, and in 1912, it caused Society founder and employee Charles Daganett to resign from the executive committee. According to Hertzberg, his decision was likely shaped by a desire to avoid the controversy over whether Indian Service employees could be allowed to hold offices in the new organization (79). The internal conflict over the "race loyalty" of Indians who were Agents formed another dimension of the Indian/Agent aporia, because it could not conceptualize the role of Agent as other than a vessel of governmental surveillance and power. Those who opposed Indians as Agents believed, as Montezuma put it, that Indians could not be themselves--could not be Indians if they were Agents. The one term empties the other; Agent displaces Indian. For this contingent of the SAI, the slash mark that separated the terms had to remain in place, because it secured Indian oppositionality.

You say you cannot mix with the Indian Bureau any more than water with oil. I think you can mix with the Indian Bureau. . . . They have the Indian Bureau there so I could mix with them, to help me do the work on Indian reservations as a kindness to my people . . . We are facing conditions whether they suit us or not and we are to use our manhood in facing these conditions and try to help ourselves out of it and help others if we can; that is what we are here for.
        Sherman Coolidge to Carlos Montezuma,
        conference debate, SAI, "Open Debate"

In this essay I argue that the slash of the Indian/Agent aporia both connects and divides its terms in a space of incommensurability, intimacy, and impossibility. But the slash itself is not empty; it marks the violence of passage from ward to citizen. It recalls the violence of forced removals from home and homeland, conversion of souls and property, cutting of hair and kinship ties. The slash stands for Indian lives put on the line during World War I in exchange for citizenship rights, which never came for some. When the SAI advocated for universal citizenship, it imagined that Indian bodies could bear citizenship rights without its scars.
        Yet the virgule in Indian/Agent can be seen as more than a symbol; it can be read as a verb. Indian slash Agent. The SAI was born out of a movement of "race awakening," and aspects of the SAI archive express urgency for Indian communities to take command of their futures, even as the SAI called for the government to honor its promises. The conference call for the inaugural meeting read, "The time has come when Indians should be encouraged to develop self-help. This can be achieved only with the attainment of a race consciousness and a race leadership" (Hertzberg 37). SAI leaders such as Laura Cornelius Kellogg and Arthur Parker proposed major self-help initiatives, such as social betterment stations and self-supporting economic development (SAI, "Open Debate").16 The slash of the aporia can be understood as a call to action, as an active "talking back," in Frederick E. Hoxie's terms, in which even the most diplomatic rhetoric reveals "both rage over the government's cavalier and patronizing actions, and a determination that Indian people be seen as fellow human beings and fellow citizens" (Talking 90).
        But the language of self-sufficiency was also the language of eliminating the Agent, and for the SAI this meant slashing their own. From the beginning Indians as Agents troubled the organization, and as the years went on, the push to destroy the Indian Bureau, including Indian employees, only increased. In 1916 a major debate over "race loyalty" took place at the convention; while Montezuma emphasized the compromised position of Indians as Agents, defenders such as Coolidge, Gertrude Bonnin, and Marie Baldwin spoke in their favor--but to little avail, considering the larger push to eliminate all Indian Agents. By 1918 the SAI's platform called for the immediate abolition of the Indian Bureau, and the conflict over the "'race loyalty' of Indian Bureau Indians had virtually eliminated one of the Society's major constituencies" (Hertzberg 177). From that point on, the organization steadily declined.
        The legacies of the SAI are multiple, and the Society's contributions to contemporary political formations are only part of them. The efforts of the Society were essential in bringing forth the form of political agency we have now, in which Indians can iterate both collective and individual rights under the terms of sovereignty and citizenship. Faced with the Indian/Agent aporia, SAI leaders rhetorically and politically struggled to destabilize and redefine the terms, and to create a more capacious subjectivity. One of the ways the Indian/Agent aporia functioned was to foreclose other ways of thinking about political agency. Getting outside {59} of the aporia was its own puzzle. One of the challenges for the organization was to articulate a space outside of the binary, as Laura Cornelius did with her famous quotation, "I am not the new Indian, I am the old Indian adjusted to new conditions" (SAI, Report 81). Ultimately, the success of the SAI lay in its head-on destruction of dominant social and legal meanings of "Indian" and "Agent," making possible the contemporary political identity of Indian agent. At the same time, the SAI's forceful attack on Indian Agents, even (or perhaps especially) those from within its ranks, came at a high price for the organization. According to Hertz-berg, of the three main issues that divided the SAI, the most destructive was its stance for the abolition of the Indian Bureau (135). Wholeheartedly committed to the obliteration of the bureau, the SAI was "consigning all those with whom it disagreed to outer darkness as traitors to the race"; the Society "was left with a remnant of followers, united by an impossible demand but in other respects deeply divided" (178). While the SAI was ultimately successful in splitting apart the terms of the Indian/ Agent aporia, the Society itself shattered in the push.


        1. Francis LaFleshe (Omaha) made these comments during a discussion at the Second Annual Meeting of the SAI in Columbus, Ohio, in 1912. Quarterly Journal 1.2 (April-June 1913): 138.
        2. I use the terms American Indian and Indian throughout the essay to reflect the parlance of the historical period.
        3. See McDonnell; Prucha, Great; Piatote.
        4. My use of the term agency refers to the narrow sense of political agency or citizenship rights, not other forms of autonomy and action by Indians, whose innovative responses to the changing patterns of colonization are well documented. See, for example, Biolsi, Organizing; Child; Deloria; Lomawaima; Maddox; Troutman.
        5. To be granted citizenship, Indians were expected to sever relations with their respective tribes and "adopt the habits of civilized life." These habits included residence among whites, adoption of Christianity, acceptance of Western dress and hairstyle, and use of the English language, among other measures.
        6. The obvious exceptions to this are Indians who became citizens individually (Indian agents) and American Indians who joined the Indian Service (Indian Agents).
        7. I wish to acknowledge David Palumbo-Liu's discussion of the virgule
{60} in the construct Asian/American, which greatly influenced my thinking. See Palumbo-Liu 1-13.
        8. Aoki 113. Morphological analysis by Beth Piatote. The Nez Perce language is polysynthetic, meaning that words are constructed by attaching affixes to root verbs. In wele•xnew'é•t, the root verb is heki, "to see," suggesting the centrality of surveillance to the identity of the Agent.
        9. See Flexner; Taylor.
        10. See White.
        11. While the official policy did not last long, the shift in the structure and conceptualization of Indian affairs greatly shaped the assimilation period. See also Prucha, Great 501-33; Prucha, American; Hoxie, Final.
        12. The report continues: "The possession of the Indian estate, the power to contract for the Indian, the power to dispose of his moneys and properties, on the one hand, and the ever-present desire of the Indian's white neighbor to make these moneys and properties his own, on the other hand--these are conditions that have operated continuously in the past to impair the Indian Service" (20).
        13. See also Prucha, The Great Father 680; Hertzberg 5-6; Cahill 18-20.
        14. "Open Debate on the Loyalty of Indian Employees in the Indian Service," American Indian Magazine 4.3 (July-September 1916): 252.
        15. See Cahill; Jacobs; Piatote.
        16. See Kellogg.


Aoki, Haruo. Nez Perce Dictionary. Berkeley: U of California P, 1994. Print.

Biolsi, Thomas. "The Birth of the Reservation: Making the Modern Individual among the Lakota." American Ethnologist 22.1 (1995): 28-44. Print.

_ _ _. Organizing the Lakota: The Political Economy of the New Deal on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1992. Print.

Cahill, Cathleen. Federal Mothers and Fathers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2011. Print.

Child, Brenda J. Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1998. Print.

Deloria, Philip J. Indians in Unexpected Places. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 2004. Print.

Flexner, James Thomas. Lord of the Mohawks: A Biography of Sir William Johnson. 1959. Rev. ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979. Print.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Hoxie, Frederick E. A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920. New York: Cambridge UP, 1984. Print.
Hoxie, Frederick E., ed. Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era. Boston: Bedford, 2001. Print.

Institute of Public Administration. "Administration of the Indian Office." Municipal Research 65 (Oct. 1915). Print.

Jacobs, Margaret. White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2009. Print.

Kellogg, Laura M. Cornelius. Our Democracy and the American Indian: A Comprehensive Presentation of the Indian Situation as It Is Today. Kansas City: Burton, 1920. Print.

Lomawaima, K. Tsianina. They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1994. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race, and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.

McDonnell, Janet A. The Dispossession of the American Indian, 1887-1934. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1991. Print.

Palumbo-Liu, David. Asian/American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999. Print.

Parker, Arthur C. "Lo, the Poor Indian Agent!" Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.4 (1913): 334-37. Print.

Piatote, Beth H. Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature. New Haven: Yale UP, 2013. Print.

Prucha, Frances Paul. American Indian Policy in Crisis, Christian Reformers and the Indian, 1865-1900. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1976. Print.

_ _ _. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. 2 vols. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1984. Print.

Society of American Indians. "Open Debate on the Loyalty of Indian Employees in the Indian Service." American Indian Magazine 4.3 (1916): 252-53. Print.

_ _ _. Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the Annual Conference. Washington dc: 1912. Print.

Sparhawk, Frances Campbell. "The Indian's Yoke." North American Review Jan. 1906: 50-61. Print.

Stoler, Ann Laura. Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule. Berkeley: U of California P, 2010. Print.

Taylor, Alan. The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderlands of the American Revolution. New York: Knopf, 2006. Print.

Troutman, John W. Indian Blues: American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1879-1934. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2009. Print.

Utley, Robert M. The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1984. Print.
Wheelock, Dennison. "Not an Indian Problem but a Problem of Race Separation." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.4 (1913): 366-71. Print.

White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. New York: Cambridge UP, 1991. Print.


Plank 2
To promote all efforts looking to
the advancement of the Indian in
enlightenment which leave him free,
as a man, to develop according to
the natural laws of social evolution.


{blank page}


Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin

Indigenizing the Federal Indian Service


When Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin (Ojibwa/French), an attorney in the Indian Office, submitted a photograph for her personnel file in compliance with the federal civil service administration, she made a radical choice to indigenize her record. Baldwin, who had lived in Washington dc for many years, had photographs of herself dressed in the highest turn-of-the-century fashion, such as the portrait of her in a silk dress with her hair swooped and fastened with a fashionable feather clip (fig. 1). But she chose instead to submit a photograph of herself in Native dress with her hair plaited over her shoulders (fig. 2). The profile portrait, so similar to those taken by contemporary anthropologists, emphasizes the artistry of her outfit--the beautiful dentalia earrings, the intricately beaded front of her dress, and the patterned quilt wrapped around her shoulders. Baldwin's portrait is clearly that of a woman asserting her Indigenous identity.
        She knew the picture would go into the federal record. As an employee of the Indian Office, she also knew the agency's emphasis on assimilation and that the photograph told a different story. Despite the overtly resistant nature of this photograph, there was no mention of it in her file.
        The portrait hints at the important themes and tensions in Baldwin's life. She served as an employee in the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) for twenty-eight years, yet she became an active member of the Society of American Indians (SAI), an organization that often criticized the OIA. She was an urban, professional, and cosmopolitan Indigenous woman who also celebrated and collected Native women's traditional art. Baldwin most likely submitted the picture to her file after 1911, and her

Fig. 1. Formal Portrait, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin. Marie Baldwin (Ojibwa/French), was a cosmopolitan woman who lived in Washington DC for almost half a century after moving there with her father to defend the treaty rights of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Newspaper articles used this photo to depict Baldwin in "modern American dress," often paired with depictions of her in "Native dress" to emphasize a stark contrast. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Fig. 2. Marie Baldwin, Civil Service photograph. When required to submit a photograph for her federal personnel file, Marie Baldwin very deliberately used this photo to indigenize her file. It reflects her strategic choices about how to portray herself as a modern and multifaceted Indigenous woman. Courtesy of the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

{68} choice gives us a window into her development as a feminist and a Native activist. This essay focuses on three important periods of her life--the years before 1911, those between 1911 and 1919, and the rest of her life until her death in 1952--and traces the arc of her political growth. Baldwin developed her political outlook in relation to tribal sovereignty while working with her father to defend treaty rights for the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Nation. Her position expanded into an intertribal political consciousness when she moved to Washington DC and became part of the community of professional Native people, most of them federal employees. After the death of her father in 1911, she entered the height of her political activism. Her participation in the mainstream feminist movement and the founding of the Society of American Indians radicalized her thinking. She threw herself into the work of the SAI and became the preeminent spokesperson for the modern Indian woman. Nationally known, she met President Wilson, spoke before policymakers, and participated in public discussions about the place of Indians in American society. But the SAI was wracked by tensions, and she suffered these on a personal level. Her experience reveals the Society's heavy dependence on volunteer labor, especially women's labor, and its costs to those individuals. She also took personally the vehement attacks by "the radicals," such as Yavapai Apache Carlos Montezuma, who fiercely criticized members who worked for the OIA. Finally, a series of conflicts and loss in her friendships, including her struggles with Gertrude Bonnin (Yankton Sioux), which were both personal and about the direction of the Society, led her to withdraw from the organization and the national scene of Native activism after 1919. After that, she almost completely disappears from the historical record until her death in 1952. In comparison to her more famous female colleague in the SAI, Gertrude Bonnin (also known as Zitkala-Sa), Baldwin's story is relatively unknown. In part this is due to a lack of personal papers, but it is also reflective of the focus historians have placed on the male members of the SAI (see, for example, Hertzberg and Maddox). But Baldwin's story, including her friendships and falling-outs, reveal that women were essential to the health of the association. Her story also hints at great disappointment and disillusionment. Her experience offers a glimpse of the alienation felt by American Indian employees of the OIA, torn by debates over their employment and accused of race disloyalty.
        Marie Baldwin formed her political viewpoints through the fight for tribal sovereignty. When she was born in Pembina, North Dakota, in 1863, she entered a family with a long history of political involvement. Both her father and grandfather had worked as advocates for the Ojibwa (or Chippewa) of Minnesota and North Dakota. By her teenage years, she was living in Minneapolis with her parents and her sister. Her father, J. B. Bottineau, worked as a lawyer, while Marie attended public schools in Minneapolis and then the Catholic St. Joseph's Academy in St Paul. She also spent time at the St. John's Ladies College in Winnipeg (Baldwin, Personnel File, Service Record, 1 July 1911). After returning to Minneapolis, she worked as a clerk in her father's law office (Baldwin, Personnel File, Information card, 3 Jan. 1922). In 1877 she married Fred S. Baldwin, a white Minneapolis businessman, but their relationship was short-lived ("Social Happenings," St. Paul Daily Globe, 5 June 1887). During this time, her father cooperated with Chief Little Shell and other tribal leaders at Turtle Mountain contesting what the federal government called the "Agreement of 1892," but what tribal leaders derisively named the "Ten-Cent Treaty." The agreement was meant to settle land title disputes that had been ongoing since 1882, but the federal commission had refused to recognize the legitimate leaders of the tribe, and the reservation agent threatened Bottineau with arrest if he set foot on the reservation. The chiefs then asked him to go to Washington DC to represent the tribe and prosecute their claim against the government (White Weasel 143; Murray 21; Camp 62-80). He did, and Marie moved with him, continuing to work as his clerk. In Washington Baldwin helped her father as he testified before Congress, filed lawsuits, and facilitated the visits of tribal delegations from Turtle Mountain (Turtle Mountain 26; "Mrs. Marie Bottineau Dead," Washington Post, 22 May 1900). They remained dedicated to the tribe and worked in the capital for just over a decade until 1904, when Congress approved an agreement that settled the Turtle Mountain claims, at least in terms of the federal government's interests.1
        That same year Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order appointing Baldwin as a clerk in the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) at a salary of $900 per year (Baldwin, Personnel File). Less than a year later, she received a promotion to $1,000 per annum. That placed her at the low end of the pay scale for clerks in the Washington office, who made from $1,000 to $1,800 per year. She was, however, the highest paid Native {70} woman in the service. Her colleague in Washington, Francis La Flesche (Omaha/French), who had been a clerk since 1881, made $1,400 (Annual Report 1905, 541-73; Official Register 922-23).
        Though she was only one of two Native employees in the Washington office, she was not unusual for the service as a whole. For almost two decades, the OIA's maternalist and colonialist hiring policies encouraged the employment of women and Indians. These policies resulted from the government's goals of assimilation and the reconstruction of Native families. In the boarding schools and on reservations, policymakers wanted female employees who could offer examples of "civilized" living to Native children and adults. Administrators also hoped that jobs in the Indian Service would keep former boarding school students from "returning to the blanket" while they also served as object lessons of successfully civilized Indians (Novak; Ahern; Cahill).
        These policies, though primarily meant to access cheap Native labor for menial jobs, also opened up white-collar opportunities for Indigenous employees. When Civil Service reform applied to the OIA in the 1890s, most Native workers received exemptions to the competitive exam system applicable to white candidates. For more skilled positions Indian applicants were required to pass a noncompetitive exam (Schmeckebier 293-94). These policies resulted in a rising percentage of Native employees holding regular rather than temporary positions. In 1888 the commissioner of Indian affairs reported that Indian employees constituted 15 percent of the School Service. In 1895 that proportion rose to 25 percent (Annual Report 1888, cxxx-cxci; 1895, 511-43). By 1912 Native employees made up almost 30 percent of the six thousand school and agency employees (Annual Report 27). This helped create the first generation of Native professionals.
        Native employees, no matter what their background or their position, were often ambivalent about their jobs. They understood the government's goal of assimilation as well as the fact that the OIA hoped to use them to reach that goal. In Baldwin's case, for example, administrators touted her Indigenous identity as useful to their efforts to govern the nation's colonial populations. When she was hired, the commissioner noted that she had "special qualifications," particularly that she was "of Indian blood, of the Great Chippewa nation, and is familiar with their names and language as well as with Indian traditions and customs generally. She has had . . . quite an extensive experience in important and {71} intricate Indian business" (Baldwin, Personnel File, Commission of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior, 10 Feb. 1904).
        But Native employees had their own complicated reasons for taking the jobs, many of which the SAI later debated. For instance, government jobs were often the only wage-paying positions open to Indigenous people on reservations. Moreover, many Native employees tried to help their families and communities navigate the bureaucracy and mitigate the damage of federal policy (Cahill 104-35). Baldwin initially believed that Native people needed to completely assimilate in order to survive in the modern world. Although she changed her mind, she may have taken up her OIA position thinking that she could facilitate this by her presence. In 1911, for instance, she monitored the federal contracts with transportation companies that delivered goods to schools and agencies. She was responsible for overseeing the claims of the railroad companies and comparing their bills with those reported by superintendents and agents (Baldwin, Personnel File, "Extract from Report to Commission on Economy and Efficiency," 1 Dec. 1911). By the 1920s she was a rate and traffic auditor in the transportation division making $1,400 per year. She continued to review reports, trace lost shipments, authorize hauling contracts with Native teamsters, and oversee the three Indian Warehouses. She also supervised several lower-level white male clerks (Baldwin, Personnel File, "Classification Sheet," 21 May 1923, and "Classification Sheet," 9 Feb. 1925). She may have believed that her work helped to limit corruption in the supply lines.
        Over time she became more influential in the Indian Office, even as she became less invested in the project of assimilation. In 1909, 1910, and 1912, for example, the Indian Office paid her expenses to attend the Lake Mohonk Conferences. There, as one of the few Indigenous attendees, she engaged with the major players in federal Indian policy. Her superiors also granted her leave to attend graduations at the Carlisle and Hampton schools during those years. Perhaps she believed that her presence as a professionally successful Native woman inspired the graduates. She became a friendly Indigenous face in the Indian Office for many Native people. In 1918 one of her superiors complained that although she was a good worker, she was "interrupted a great deal by various visiting Indians." In this way she indigenized the office through her presence (Baldwin, Personnel File, Efficiency Report, 1 Apr. 1918). Many Indians did visit DC on diplomatic business, but others, like {72} Baldwin, lived there, comprising a small but vibrant urban Indian community. As Joseph Genetin-Pilawa has argued, this Native presence has had a long history in the nation's colonial capital, as many Native diplomats visited and made their homes in the city. Baldwin and her father quickly became a part of Indigenous Washington (Genetin-Pilawa; Viola). They were friends with J. N. B. Hewitt (Tuscarora/Scotch), employed in the Bureau of Ethnology (Hewitt and Baldwin). Baldwin also formed close friendships with other federal employees, including Gabe Parker (Choctaw), register of the Treasury, and Charles Dagenett (Peoria), supervisor of Indian work. The three of them, along with two other Native women, formed what they called a "little band of 'Redskins' in Washington, D.C." (SAI, Papers, Charles Dagenett to Gabe Parker, 2 Jan. 1915, #913). She also formed a fast friendship with Angel De Cora (Winnebago/French), who taught at the Carlisle Indian School, a quick trip away from Washington. She was an admirable host to visitors (Waggoner 181-82) and a mentor to young Native women in the city, serving, in the words of one, as a "mother to all Indians here" (Prophet 4).
        Many of Baldwin's Washington friends and coworkers were also early members of the SAI (Cahill 229-30). They likely had many conversations about the concerns later taken up by the organization. Certainly the organizers knew and respected her, since they asked her to speak at the first conference in Columbus, Ohio, in 1911. Baldwin joined the other well-educated Native people from different tribes who met to form a "race organization" for "the purpose of the protection and advancement of [the] race." They sought to promote a positive image of Indianness to non-Natives and to address a variety of concerns shared by Native people, especially federal policy (Hertzberg; Maddox; Hoxie). The SAI's emphasis on race pride would become a key component of Baldwin's politics, although that was not totally clear in 1911.
        The conference organizers assigned Baldwin the topic "Modern Home-Making and the Indian Woman." While the speech held glimpses of her future political arguments, she ultimately presented a conservative vision in line with federal assimilation policy. Baldwin began by "reversing the order of the subjects of the title let us ask, first, what was the Indian woman of the North American continent?" In answering her own question, Baldwin lauded the traditional position of Native women in their societies. She emphasized their political power, a theme she would return to in future conversations: "In a large number of tribes {73} she was on an absolute equality with her sons and brothers," Baldwin asserted. She also described the equitable division of labor and rejected the stereotype of the "squaw drudge" that many non-Natives held. In the second half of her talk, however, Baldwin tried to fit this vision of equality into the non-Native middle-class standards of the day. "[T]he environments of the primitive life of the American Indian woman have in large measure changed," she argued. Though these changes "unsolicited, [had been] brought to her door . . . her outlook upon life must now be in large measure from new viewpoints." In "modern life," Baldwin argued, Native women must fit themselves for modern housekeeping. After the vast majority of the paper emphasized the high status of women in Indigenous societies, and coming from a modern career woman, this argument seemed forced, but it was certainly in line with the OIA's official policies. Over the next few years, however, the sentiments of the second half of the paper--her emphasis on homemaking--disappeared from Baldwin's thinking (SAI, Report 58).
        Indeed, 1911 was a turning point for Baldwin. That year she came into her own and began her most intense period of national political activism. It was also the year her father died. In the fall of 1912 the forty-nine-year-old Baldwin enrolled at the Washington College of Law (WCL) and began her course of study. No longer her father's clerk, she sought to become a lawyer herself. This was a bold step for any woman of her time, but especially for a Native woman.
        It was an exciting time to be a woman in Washington DC. A reinvigorated suffrage movement created a vibrant feminist community in the city. Feminists had founded the wcl, for example, because traditional law schools had refused to admit women, and it was at the center of the city's feminist politics (Clark 613). Baldwin seized the opportunity and graduated from a three-year course in two years ("Daughter of Indian," Idaho Daily Statesman 16 Oct. 1914). While there, her interactions with mainstream white feminists contributed to her developing political ideology. Female lawyers and civil servants played a key role in the District's suffrage activity. They placed labor issues at the center of their activism. One of their goals was to get women appointed to judiciary positions; they also worked for equal pay. This emphasis on labor shaped Baldwin's thinking (Butler 7-8, 13-23).
        Baldwin actively engaged in those mainstream feminist conversations, drawing on the same imagery of Native women's equality that she {74} had used in her 1911 SAI speech, but without dampening its radical implications. In 1913, for example, she participated in one of the pivotal moments in the fight, the suffrage parade that took place during Woodrow Wilson's inaugural weekend. Newspapers reported that Baldwin had been asked by parade organizers to "arrange for some sort of float, which would portray the Indian woman as in favor of the voting right." She took the opportunity to educate readers that Native women had had "virtual suffrage, and the power of recall, since time immemorial" in their communities, unlike white women ("Squaws Beat Militants to Right of Franchise," Los Angeles Times 31 Jan. 1913). Baldwin ultimately decided not to organize a float, but she did march. Along with a contingent of female lawyers, she paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue, struggling to "walk four abreast through a defile no wider than a single car track" as the unruly crowd surged into the parade route (Jamison). The parade energized the movement, and the violent reaction generated great sympathy (Barber 44-74).
        Why did Baldwin choose not to organize a float in 1913? Most likely she was entirely too busy. That year she held a full-time job with the Indian Office, was enrolled in law school, and was deeply and enthusiastically involved in the Society of American Indians (Baldwin, Personnel File, Baldwin to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 14 Sept. 1912; Efficiency Report, 1 Jan. 1913; SAI, Papers, Baldwin to Parker, 6 Sept. 1913). After serving on the executive planning committee for the 1911 Columbus conference and giving a paper at that meeting, she worked on the General Committee throughout 1912 (Hertzberg 36-37). She also served on the resolutions committee with fellow lawyer Thomas Sloane and her friends Angel De Cora and Rosa Bourassa La Flesche (SAI, Papers, Resolutions Committee to Gen. R. H. Pratt, 10 Oct. 1912). In 1914 she helped invite speakers to Society gatherings and solicited members (SAI, Papers, James Mooney to Baldwin, 8 Dec. 1914). In February she gave the keynote speech, "The Hopes and Aims of the Society," at the organization's "Quaker City Meeting," a "general meeting of officers, members and friends" that took the place of the Executive Council midwinter meeting. Though no transcript survives, her audience included SAI members, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Cato Sells, several other OIA officials, and many influential "friends of the Indian," including Herbert Welsh of the Indian Rights Association (Parker, "Quaker City" 56-59). Baldwin was not the only woman to devote her energy to the or-{75}ganization. In his editorial comments in the Society's journal, Arthur C. Parker praised "a group of Chippewa women who by the contribution of thought, labor, and finance have given to the Society much of its power." Of Baldwin's friend Rosa LaFlesche, he wrote, "she left a highly paid Government position to come to us in Washington. Yet our records show that her months of service were never rewarded by payment." Parker also praised Baldwin, writing: "Few women in any organization have been more willing to work than Mrs. Marie L. Baldwin" (Parker, "Editorial Comment: Our Chippewa Women" 169). Parker and Baldwin had become good friends through their work for the Society. In their letters they exchanged gossip and encouragement. He affectionately called her "Ojibway" and invited her to join the "Loyal Order of Tecumseh," which, according to Hertzberg, "represented the secret inner core of the Society" (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 9 Nov. 1912; Baldwin to Parker, 13 Apr. 1916; Parker to Baldwin, 8 Apr. 1915, 30 Apr. 1915, 25 Aug. 1914, 1 Nov. 1912; Hertzberg 101-02).
        The SAI voted to locate its new headquarters in Washington DC, across the street from the Indian Office and a few blocks from Baldwin's home. Rosa LaFlesche was in charge of the new office, and Baldwin's proximity facilitated her involvement. She helped Parker, who lived in Albany, New York, coordinate details, such as the mailing of the Society's journal from Washington. Her OIA position was also useful for her work as a member of the Executive Council. The Society tasked that committee with monitoring legislation affecting Indians and cooperating with the Indian Office. Baldwin could do both, and Parker often asked her to look up information for cases the SAI was investigating (Hertzberg 71, 76, 79; SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 6 Oct. 1913, 29 Oct. 1915; Baldwin to Malcolm McDowell, 13 Dec. 1915; Parker to Baldwin, 1 Aug. n.d., 25 Aug. 1914).
        Being in Washington also gave Baldwin the opportunity to participate in events, like the midwinter SAI Atlantic Conference. In December 1914, she took part in the closely coordinated presentation of the association's memorial to President Wilson in the Oval Office. As Arthur Parker reported, the members were particularly aware of their self-presentation and appearance. "Every man and woman of Indian blood," he wrote, "was conscious of his responsibilities and eager to meet his obligations to his race and to his country. Proud of the ability of [the] race to advance, as they were, their clothing was that of citizenship of {76} the great nation. There were no blankets, no feathers, no relics of the past, for these men and women were the Indians of today pleading for the future. . . . Though in their hearts they were still loyal to the best traditions of their people, each knew that such things were a part of the past" (Parker, "Awakened" 274). Gabe Parker presented each well-dressed member to President Wilson, who shook their hands. This performance took place under the watchful eye of the public, and the Quarterly reported that upon their exit from the White House, members "faced a battery of cameras and moving picture machines" (272). The choreography had just begun, however. After the presentation, the members went to the aptly named Hotel Powhatan for lunch and an afternoon of speeches culminating in a banquet, a "Peace Dinner" celebrating the day's events.
        Many of the members of the association gave talks throughout the day. Despite the fact that at least twenty-four members of the delegation were women, the only female speaker was Marie Baldwin. She educated the audience on "What an Indian Woman Has to Say for Her Race," though again, no transcript survives. The next day Gabe Parker hosted the Executive Council meeting in his office, where the council chose a board of trustees and appointed Marie Baldwin as its chairman (Parker, "Awakened" 272-74, 279).
        As Lucy Maddox has demonstrated, the SAI took performance seriously. Although Maddox primarily focuses on the male members of the Society (and Gertrude Bonnin), Marie Baldwin was also adept at using public presentation to make her own statements about the "Indians of today." She was not a writer, but her visibility as a public figure gave her an excellent platform for "entry into an ongoing public conversation that was all about [Indians] but excluded them" (Maddox 90). Baldwin's vision had changed drastically since her speech endorsing assimilation in 1911. She insisted on a much more flexible notion of a modern Indian identity in the years following her interaction with mainstream feminists and the SAI. Like other Society members, Baldwin made strategic choices about how to portray herself as a modern Indigenous woman. As the first female Native lawyer and one of the few American Indian women working for the federal government in Washington, she was often interviewed for human interest stories. Those articles emphasized what non-Natives read as her progression from savagery to civilization or the oxymoron of a Native woman living in the modern world. Head-{77}lines included: "Indian Woman a Government Clerk," "From Indian Tepee to Washington Flat," and "Former Papoose Serves in U.S. Indian Bureau." The articles sometimes included contrasting illustrations of her in "modern American dress" and "Native dress," reiterating that narrative (Fort Worth Star Telegram 12 Mar. 1911; Savannah Tribune 1 Feb. 1913; Elyria Chronicle-Telegram 17 Sept. 1926; "Royal Women of Germany Hold Some Honorary Army Commands," Portland Morning Oregonian 27 Sept. 1914). Baldwin's willingness to sit for and share her picture in "Native dress"--similar to the image that opened this article--conveyed a message articulated by many SAI members through their writings, performances, and dress, including Gertrude Bonnin and Charles East-man, of "the old Indian successfully adjusting to new ways" (Maddox 153). Marie Baldwin took advantage of the public's fascination to educate. She used interviews to emphasize the value of Native cultures and to assert her modernity as a Native woman. For example, in a 1929 interview she noted that "I have traveled in practically every conveyance known to this country," including travois, prairie schooner, and canoe. Most recently, she added, "I have traveled by airplane, and I find it is wonderful." While her description seemed to fit the progression of the vanishing frontier and its counterpart, the vanishing Indian, Baldwin concluded with a twist: giving her readers the image of a Native woman joyously flying through the sky, a thoroughly modern vision (G. Smith). Baldwin went even further, claiming the cultural superiority of Native societies, especially in terms of the position of women. For example, in an interview upon her graduation from law school, a reporter asked if she was a suffragist. She laughed and responded: "Did you ever know that the Indian women were among the first suffragists, and that they exercised the right of recall?" She continued: "The trouble in this Indian question which I meet again and again is that it is not the Indian who needs to be educated so constantly up to the white man, but that the white man needs to be educated to the Indian" (Jeffries). Baldwin made strong claims to race pride and the ongoing value--and, indeed, superiority--of Indigenous cultures in a modern world.
        Like her non-Native feminist colleagues, she emphasized labor in her public statements. In some cases she pushed for women's inclusion in professions or equal pay, as they did. For example, in one interview, she asserted that every woman should study law, especially Indians, because "to a race whose lands and property of other kinds are so valuable, it {78} is all-important" ("Indians of Today Realize the Value of Education as Principal Asset of the Race," Washington Times 20 Mar. 1916). She also fought against stereotypes, asserting that Native women could participate in modern life. She rejected the idea that they were drudges and their cultural productions were inferior (Green 1975). She did this especially through her celebration of Native women's artistic work, once again demonstrating the viability of mixing the modern and the traditional. She encouraged Native women to compete with white women at fairs. She used her own experience and that of her mother and sister, all of whom exhibited embroidery and quilts at the Minnesota State Fair, to argue "the Indian woman is industrious and with her native artistic abilities . . . I am sure, I know that the Indian woman can compete with the woman of any race in any industry if she but will" (Baldwin, "Indian Women," emphasis in original).
        Baldwin also made similar arguments to a non-Native audience. As an avid collector of Native art, she used her collection to educate non-Natives on Native history and culture, as well as the dignity in Native women's work. Much of her collection came from "Chippewa" "relatives, friends or members of Mrs. Baldwin's family," most likely from Turtle Mountain or White Earth, where she maintained connections. The collection also contained Native art from the southwest. At one point, her collection was displayed in the Indian Office in the Interior Department Building (G. Smith).
        Thus, for Marie Baldwin, the years after 1911 were full of vibrant political development; however, they also reveal growing tensions. In 1915 the SAI elected Baldwin to the post of treasurer, splitting the administrative position of secretary-treasurer in half, to ease Parker's administrative burden. Working together reinforced their cooperation. That same year, Parker wrote enthusiastically, "you will be pleased to know we have gained the membership of Mrs. Bonnin" (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 24 Aug. 1915). And initially, she was pleased. Indeed, Marie Baldwin and Gertrude Bonnin had many things in common. They were both of mixed ethnic heritage, both worked for the Indian Office, both were feminists, and both worked tirelessly for their race. Both women keenly understood how white America perceived them and sought to use that opening to educate their audiences. At the Cedar Rapids SAI conference in 1916, for example, the local paper praised the accomplishments of the two women. The women of Coe College also invited both to a dinner in


Fig. 3. Mrs. M. L. B. Baldwin, transportation expert of the Indian Bureau. This photograph of Baldwin, most likely with items from her art collection, including an intricately beaded buckskin shirt decorated with American flags, appeared in the August 22, 1925, edition of the Washington Post's "What a Capital Camera Sees" feature. Baldwin used her art collection and her high public profile to celebrate Native women's work and make claims to the ongoing value of Indigenous cultures. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

their honor. Baldwin addressed the coeds on her work in Washington, while Bonnin told "several of her Indian tales" and played songs on the piano. While Arthur Parker lauded their performance as modern Indians, both women knew how to strategically deploy images of themselves as modern and traditional, and they did so often ("In Honor of Indian Women," Cedar Rapids Daily Republican 29 Sept. 1916, rpt. in American Indian Magazine 4.3 [1916] : 268-269; Parker, "Editorial Comment: Cedar Rapids"). Indeed, they seem to have embraced these traditional portrayals to a much greater extent than Parker. These similarities seemed to bode well for a close friendship, but that was not to be the case. The 1916 conference highlighted some of the splits in the Society that affected Marie Baldwin. Indian Service employment for Indians had {80} been an issue from the beginning of the Society. In 1916, at the urging of Carlos Montezuma, the membership held an "open debate on loyalty of Indian employees in the Indian Service." Montezuma opened the discussion by describing federal employees as disloyal to their race. Listening to the men of the organization debate, Baldwin felt this attack very personally. Her close friend, Charles Dagenett, for instance, no longer attended because of similar attacks on his position. Moreover, after all her hard work for the Society, these charges may have particularly smarted. Baldwin rejected the description of employees as unable to critique the government for fear of losing their jobs:

My friends; I am one of those Government clerks that my brothers have been speaking of today. I do not know where at any time the Government clerk does not dare to say just what he thinks about the Indian Bureau, or if he should or wish, as they put it, that they do not dare come out and say it. I do not know where anyone got that idea. I am sure that very many times I have told Indians that I know that I feel and I want the Indian Bureau to be abolished, but I do not believe that it ought to be abolished on the instant.

Gertrude Bonnin agreed, denying that Indians only worked in the Indian Service for their salaries, which, she noted, were "very small." Instead, she argued that they did so "because there are human beings there today that need their sympathy, and their kindness." Montezuma was not convinced and continued to attack Native employees in the pages of his new journal, Wassaja ("Open Debate," American Indian Magazine 4.3 [1916]: 255).
        The Society's elections at the Iowa conference also drastically changed the tenor of the organization for Baldwin on a personal level. The members elected the hard-working Arthur Parker president, and Gertrude Bonnin took his place as secretary, a position Parker believed was "really the executive office" of the organization (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 27 Aug. 1918). Unlike Parker, who had remained in Albany while serving as secretary, Bonnin moved to Washington DC to be near the Society's headquarters. Marie Baldwin welcomed Bonnin to her city with a box of maple sugar candy. But Bonnin quickly alienated her and eventually forced a wedge between Baldwin and Parker. According to Baldwin, Bonnin abruptly informed her by post that she was moving the Society's headquarters into her own home. Bonnin added that she had {81} left Baldwin's law library in the old office but warned her that the rent expired the next day. Baldwin confided to Parker that she felt that the move was "high-handed," since Bonnin had made the decision "without an even 'by your leave.'" She was also clearly irritated by Bonnin's plans to run the headquarters out of her home and fretted that "she intends to charge the SAI office rent" and thus "intends the SAI to pay part of her home's rent." Indeed, Baldwin remarked that the Society would not be getting its money's worth as she would be doing the work of treasurer from her own home until the next conference (SAI, Papers, Baldwin to Parker, 2 June 1917).
        Baldwin's experience personalizes the larger tensions that strained the Society. Other concerns strained the Society's membership as well, such as differences of opinion over peyote use, a divide between Protestant and Catholic members, and tribal differences. Hazel Hertzberg has suggested that Bonnin's tenure as editor brought to the Society's magazine an "emphasis on the glories of one tribe [Sioux] and the bitter attack on the Bureau." This irked Baldwin. Parker wrote Baldwin a sharp letter, reprimanding her for criticizing "official action and opinion." Clearly, Baldwin had complained, perhaps about Bonnin's emphasis on her own nation or the plan to hold the annual conference in Pierre, South Dakota, "the heart of Sioux country." Parker dismissed Baldwin's concerns: "I am not afraid of what the Sioux may do or what the Chippewas may do, providing the conference places are shifted from time to time out of reach of tribal influences" (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 27 Aug. 1918; Hertzberg 171-74). But Baldwin was feeling edged out. She disagreed with the idea that the offices of treasurer and secretary should be recombined, certainly assuming that Bonnin would fill both positions. She wrote to Parker, "I don't believe that it would be a wise move. . . . It would be putting altogether too much power and authority in one person. Remember this, until I see you, I don't want the Treasurership but I'll keep it and accept it again rather than have the office combined with Secretary at any time, now and later" (SAI, Papers, Baldwin to Parker, 2 June 1917).
        Parker's letters to Baldwin grew increasingly sharp. His correspondence indicates that the Society was in financial straits, and he pressured her, as treasurer, to collect dues (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 10 May 1916, 27 Feb. 1917, 29 Mar. 1917, 2 Oct. 1917, 26 Jan. 1918). He dismissed her concerns about Bonnin having the headquarters in her home by say-{62}ing that Baldwin certainly had a right to her law library, while avoiding Baldwin's larger concerns (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 4 June 1917). He also seems to have suspected her of malfeasance, as he made specific mention of a successful audit of the Society's accounts in the journal. In private he questioned her commitment, admonishing that the Society could not afford any "personal animosity" or "pettiness." He concluded by giving her an ultimatum: "If the work is too arduous we can arrange to have you bank and pay out," transferring the job of treasurer to someone else (SAI, Papers, Parker to Baldwin, 2 Jan. 1918; Porter 133). While Baldwin remained in the position for several more months, at the 1918 meeting Bonnin was elected secretary-treasurer. Hertzberg has argued that this meeting represented "a victory for the radicals," since the Society voted to include the abolishment of the Indian Bureau in its platform (Hertzberg 175, 182).
        Baldwin did not attend the 1918 conference in Pierre, and neither did Parker ("Treasurer's Report" 124; Hertzberg 175). It is unclear if Baldwin ever attended again, but she must have felt forsaken by the organization to which she had dedicated so much time and energy. In 1919, her dear friend Angel De Cora died (Waggoner 250). After these disappointments and losses, Baldwin mostly disappeared from the public eye, though she reemerged briefly in 1929 when her art collection went on display at the Department of the Interior. Baldwin continued her work at the Indian Office, retiring in 1932 for health reasons. She received a federal pension upon her retirement. Her interests and activities for the next twenty years are shrouded in mystery. At some point she was allotted land at the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota and seems to have returned during vacations, but she continued to live in Washington DC (SAI, Papers, Baldwin to Parker, 2 June 1917). In the aftermath of World War II, in 1949 she moved to Los Angeles, perhaps to be near her nephew, Earl R. Nichols. Baldwin died three years later from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of eighty-eight.2 Her death was a quiet event for such a pathbreaker; only a small funeral notice appeared in the Los Angeles Times ("Vital Records," 19 May 1952).
        Historians have also left silent most of Baldwin's contributions. This essay seeks to reconnect her story to that of the SAI, which mutually shaped conceptions and debates about the place of Native people in modern American society. Baldwin's story illustrates what the ten-{62}sions and strains within the Society meant for individuals. The "radicals" relentlessly critiqued the choice of Native employees like Baldwin to work for the Indian Office, but Baldwin tried to use her position to advocate for Native people in the public sphere. Baldwin's contributions should prompt scholars to think about the role of the female founders of the SAI as much as those of the male. Telling Baldwin's story is a step toward answering the challenge put forth by Joanne Barker and others to uncover "genealogies of indigenous feminist theories and practices" (Barker; Goeman and Denetdale; Shanley; Andrea Smith; Suzack et al.; Tohe). Although there is little evidence in Baldwin's own words, she clearly had a vision of the place of modern Indian women that she often shared with the SAI. From her own life and actions, we can see that her vision included a celebration of Indigenous tradition, history, and culture. She emphasized women's contributions and opinions and sought to maintain close friendships and a commitment to helping Native people through activism.


        1. The agreement offered no increase in the size of the Turtle Mountain reservation (which had been shrunk from the ten million acres claimed by the tribe to just over forty-six thousand), refused to reinstate the Métis members of the tribe who had been dropped from the tribal rolls, and paid only a million dollars for the ten-million-acre claim.
        2. Marie Lillian [sic] Bottineau Baldwin, Death Certificate, State of California. Courtesy of Linda Waggoner.


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Barker, Joanne. "Indigenous Feminisms." Indigenous Politics. Ed. Dale Turner and José Antonio Lucero. New York: Oxford UP, forthcoming. Print.

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Printing Office, 1905. Print.
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_ _ _. "Editorial Comment: The Cedar Rapids Conference." American Indian Magazine 4.3 (1916): 213-15. Print.

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_ _ _. "The Quaker City Meeting of the Society of American Indians." Quarterly Journal 2.3 (1914): 56-59. Print.

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An Indian Woman of Many Hats
Laura Cornelius Kellogg's Embattled Search
for an Indigenous Voice


She is a woman who would shine in any society: it is said that she is destined to take the place in literature Zitkala-Sa [Gertrude Bonnin] seemed about to achieve.
        Los Angeles Times March 1904

Laura "Minnie" (Miriam) Cornelius Kellogg was born on the Oneida reservation in Wisconsin in 1879 and came from a long line of Indian tribal leaders.1 Her grandfather, Daniel Bread (Dehowyadilou, "Great Eagle"), was a famous Oneida--a friend of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster--who helped find land for his people after the Oneidas were forcibly removed from New York State to Wisconsin in the early nineteenth century.2 The Oneidas' uprooting from New York to Wisconsin in the 1820s and 1830s, along with internal tribal factionalism, led to severe changes in Oneida politics.3 The enormous loss of land caused by relocation and, later, by the Dawes Act (1887) shrunk the Oneida land base to less than ninety acres by 1934.4 Most important, Kellogg came from a long line of strong Iroquois women; among Six Nations' peoples women held great political and social powers, not only providing tribal sustenance but also choosing the representatives of the league's council. Kellogg's genealogy is important for understanding her political and aesthetic views both before and beyond her brief affiliation with the Society of American Indians (SAI); like Daniel Bread's activism, her political action and later work on the Oneida land claims were grounded in traditional tribal values and a favorable view of adaptation to new economic and political changes.
        Laura Cornelius Kellogg was a founding member of the SAI (serving as the first secretary of the executive committee), an activist, orator, linguist, performer, and reformer of Indian policy, as well as an author of fiction, poetry, speeches, and essays. As the epigraph above suggests, there is much to admire in Bonnin's and Kellogg's work as Native women activists at a time when women's rights and citizenship were prominent issues of debate on the national scene. Nevertheless, although they diverged on some issues, Kellogg's radicalism and political work are more reminiscent of the SAI's bad boy, Carlos Montezuma, than any other SAI member. Like Montezuma, Kellogg helped found the SAI, was a fervent and acerbic advocate for Native rights, and was often at odds with the Office of Indian Affairs; like Montezuma, she was controversial, exoticized, and misinterpreted in the popular press; and although she differed from Montezuma in her views on education--she strictly opposed the off-reservation boarding school model--Kellogg shared the Yavapai doctor's ambition and determination to change the lives of Native people for the better.
        A public speaker with electrifying charisma, who was often stereotyped as an "Indian Princess" in the popular press, Kellogg drew on Haudenosaunee and non-Indigenous traditions and discourses to support her life's work to transform Indian reservations into cooperative, self-governing communities and to offer practical solutions for achieving autonomy through economic sovereignty. Reading her surviving work alongside competing representations of Kellogg in the popular press, her public speeches, and internal SAI tensions and factions, in this essay I argue that in her cultural work through the 1920s this controversial and fierce public Indian intellectual woman of many hats--literally and figuratively--fought for economic self-determination, education, and the recovery of Oneida land despite the impact those fights would have on her public image and legacy. Her versatility, negotiation of several competing audiences (local, national, and international), and occasional transgressions and irreverence point to Kellogg's determination to find a voice of her own as she also became the voice of the Oneidas and the Six Nations people on the national scene. Her surviving published literary work, along with her public speeches and addresses to Congress and the SAI meetings, offer a useful archive to begin to understand and recover one of the most controversial and misunderstood "citizen Indians" at the beginning of the twentieth century.5 Kellogg's {89} daring enterprise of diverging from the expected path of "new Indian" leaders came at an enormous personal cost as she sought to envision a future for the Oneidas in Wisconsin.


One of the main visual attractions at the SAI Centennial Symposium at Ohio State University in October 2011 was Choctaw writer LeAnne Howe's hat--a wide-brimmed black hat she wore with confidence and grace. Our panel discussion of "Lesser-Known SAI Figures," as well as Tsianina Lomawaima's keynote at the end of the symposium, returned to a similar visual trope at the first meeting of the SAI in 1911--Laura Cornelius's distinctive hat (fig. 1).6
        In the published proceedings of the 1911 SAI conference, a portrait of "Miss Laura M. Cornelius (Oneida)," dressed in an elegant Edwardian suit and wearing an imposing hat, precedes her published talk (SAI, Report 43). The picture is set against a faded studio background; she holds a paper in her hands and looks toward the camera with confidence. Previous and future images of Kellogg, with or without a hat, convey the same sense of resolve and determination--an image she helped create as part of her public persona performing for a variety of audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. Besides her surviving writings, her inquisitive gaze and her vast repertoire of hat ensembles help us recover and complicate the legacy of this embattled "Joan of Arc of Indians."7 A decade before the SAI Kellogg's record was very promising for a bright future; and even though she parted ways with the SAI in 1913, after only two years, she continued to pursue her work in education and the Iroquois land claims long after the SAI dissolved. She graduated with honors from Grafton Hall (in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) and started working on a grammar of the Oneida language in 1898. Her early literary ambitions led to the publication of two stories ("The Legend of the Bean" and "The Sacrifice of the White Dog") in The Church's Mission to the Oneidas in 1902. In 1903 she professed that "Literature shall be my life work, and its aim shall be to benefit my people" ("One Indian Maiden" A5). The same year she published her only surviving poem, "A Tribute to the Future of My Race," which she recited during the commencement exercises at Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, where she was an instructor between 1902 and 1904. California newspapers also


Fig. 1. Photo of Laura Cornelius, The First Meeting of the SAI, 1911. Source: Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians, p. 43.

{91} dubbed her "the Indian Joan of Arc" for her role in what became popularly known as "the eviction of the [Southern California] Warner Ranch Indians," where she was reported to have prevented an uprising of the forcefully removed Copah tribe through her conciliatory speech ("An Indian Heroine" 1). In California she rolled up her sleeves and donned the cowboy hat, well adjusted to her new surroundings (figs. 2 and 3). A student of law, political science, and social work, Laura Cornelius attended prestigious institutions in the United States and Europe. Nonetheless, her education at "Sap Kettle," as she would put it in an interview later in the decade, would remain essential for Cornelius: "I am confident that I learned as much from these untutored Indian men as I ever learned from all the universities which I attended in this country or in Europe" ("Would Plead"; "Laura Kellogg"). In 1908, while in London, she demanded--in a letter to the Department of the Interior--that she be presented at Court.8 In 1910 she confronted Buffalo Bill in New York and, very critical of his stereotypical performances of Indian people, explained to him that not all Indian people in the United States were Plains Indians. Taking Buffalo Bill to task, she told him: "I don't belong to any tribe. . . . I am of the Six Nations of New York. We weren't tribes. We were called the Six Nations because we long ago had left the tribal state of society when the Europeans found us" ("Refutes Buffalo Bill"). Although she made her literary plans secondary to her fight for Oneida land later in life, she may have written at least one novel; newspapers in 1909 and 1910 reported her work on a novel, although the reporter did not consider it "serious work" of the "[Indian] princess":

Apart from her more serious work, the princess has written a novel illustrating the ideas, the manners, and the customs of the aborigines of North America, being the first Red Indian to write such a work of fiction. The title of her book is "Wynnogene," or "A Ray of Light," and the scene is laid in America fifty years before Columbus crossed the Atlantic.9

In 1909 her literary plans were still clear, albeit deferred: "Later, when my people are happier, I hope to show that the quality of the Indian imagination has a place among the literatures of nations" ("North American" 519, my emphasis).
        Member of the SAI executive committee and vice-president of the education division between 1911 and 1913, Kellogg testified before the Sen-


Fig. 2. Laura Cornelius in Southern California, 1902. Courtesy of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, Autry National Center of the American West, Los Angeles, Photo 1348.

ate Committee on Indian Affairs on several occasions (during and after her affiliation with the SAI) and appeared before the League of Nations in 1919. She developed her ideas on Indian labor, education, and economic sovereignty--initially presented at the first two SAI meetings--in her only published book, Our Democracy and the American Indian: A Comprehensive Presentation of the Indian Situation as It Is Today (1920).


Fig. 3. Laura Cornelius in Southern California, 1903. Courtesy of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, Autry National Center of the American West, Los Angeles, Photo 1349.

As Kristina Ackley's essay in this collection argues persuasively, after the 1920s Kellogg fought tirelessly for the implementation of her model of the industrial village (her "Lolomi" plan of industrialization and federal incorporation) and faced enormous challenges on the Wisconsin Oneida reservation and from other Iroquois nations as she attempted to "resurrect . . . the structure and operation of the eighteenth-century League of the Iroquois" in the 1920s and 1930s (Hauptman, "Designing Woman" 170). Laura Cornelius Kellogg died in poverty and obscurity in the late 1940s, but her work and legacy, despite her idealism and occasional mismanagement of funds, is important for both the Oneida community and for scholars recovering her work as an aspiring Native woman writer, public speaker and intellectual, performer, leader, and Oneida lands claims activist.10 Against all odds, Kellogg--like many SAI members--voiced her frustrations with both American capitalism and the widespread misrepresentation of American Indians.11



Laura Cornelius Kellogg, whom historian Laurence Hauptman considers "one of the most important and tragic figures in recent American Indian history," has a controversial legacy despite her recognized accomplishments on the Oneida reservation and in the national political and cultural arenas ("Designing Woman" 159-88).12 Despite the many controversies surrounding her public persona--including the often-cited arrests (and immediate exoneration)--Kellogg was recognized for being the best Native speaker of her generation and a linguist who spoke Oneida, Mohawk, and English equally well. She attended several prestigious universities (Stanford University, Barnard College, and the University of Wisconsin) and lived in Europe a couple of years to round out her education and to learn about social and economic models she would later try to implement on the Oneida reservation (especially the German model of industrial villages). She was read in the company of her more famous peer writer and activist Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Bonnin) and was described by the Los Angeles Times in 1904 as "one of the most interesting Indian women in the United States," a praise that brought Kellogg to national attention as an Indian public intellectual ("Salt Lake's"). In 1898, the year she graduated with honors from Grafton Hall (a private school in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin), national newspapers took notice of Laura Cornelius: "she is a good Latin and Greek scholar and has compiled a grammar of the Oneida language," announced the Detroit Free Press; "Minnie Cornelius, an ambitious Oneida Indian girl, was graduated from Grafton Hall. . . . She speaks five languages fluently," announced the Indiana Democrat.13 The Washington Post placed her in the select company of other "New Indian Women"--in an article subtitled "Bright Daughters of Chiefs Who Have Many Accomplishments"--alongside Pauline Johnson, Inshta Theambra, Eugenie Vincent, Maud Echo Hawk, Jane E. Waloron, Go-Wan-Go Mohawk, and Gretchen Lyons: "Striking examples of their intellectual vigor are shown in what the new Indian women have accomplished in art, literature, and education, and in their higher standing generally" ("Indian New Woman"). The writer for the Post was not exaggerating; in an intense interview for the New York Tribune in 1903, Cornelius spelled out her plans "for the uplifting of her race": "White men and women have written cleverly of us, but from a white man's point of view. I hope to give the Indian side of


Fig. 4. "Laura Miriam Cornelius, An Indian Girl," New York Tribune, 1903.

American life." Throughout her career she would continue to advocate for "the Indian point of view."
        If the interview recorded her words accurately, Kellogg offered--as early as 1903--a glimpse into her long-lasting views on education, the reservation, and the future of Indian people: "Perhaps it seems strange to an outsider, for I know the ideas that prevail in regards to Indian life, but to do something great when I grew up was impressed upon me from my cradle by my parents, and I have known no other ambition" ("One {96} Indian Maiden"). An image of the "Indian girl" as an aspiring writer, wearing a rather modest hat, accompanied the interview (fig. 4). The New York Tribune's introduction of the "Indian girl" to the American public through image and caption is studied, albeit condescending; the elaborate lacing of her outfit, the modest hat, and the pensive pose nonetheless announce what would become a determined, intense voice.14


Laura Cornelius's early writings reflected her interest in and knowledge of Oneida storytelling. Although she wrote in English, with a clear sense of literary conventions and audience, her stories were grounded in Oneida beliefs. Before her work received national attention, in 1902 she published two stories in The Church's Mission to the Oneidas: "The Legend of the Bean" and "The Sacrifice of the White Dog." The editor referred to her stories as "legends"--"We are indebted to Miss Cornelius' graphic pen for the following Oneida Legends"--and recognized her talent as a writer in his praise of her "graphic pen." "The Legend of the Bean" is an etiological story, explaining the emergence of the new plant among the Oneidas. Told in the first person, the story recounts an old oral story the writer "begged" of her grandmother, who had carried the story through many generations. The story also points to the meeting ground of the Oneida oral tradition and the translation and rendition of the story into English, which facilitates the meeting of old and new epistemologies and storytelling strategies. "The Sacrifice of the White Dog" shows the emerging writer's increasing awareness of her imagined audience: "Oh, that the expanse of time were less, and the camp fire burning, to make my story glow with interest to the reader" (57). As she elicits her audience's attention through a faux-apologetic rhetorical device, Cornelius prefaces her story with a limitation: "But my pen paints poorly." This lack, however, appears to signal the expected reader's inability to decipher the cultural landscape of the story, because of translingual difference and the generic reader's inability to understand what the writer calls "the old Oneida vocabulary which so well my tale would tell" (57). In an interview a year later, she explained her method: "I have travelled long distances and to the remotest corners of the reserve to get from the oldest residents these quaint fancies of our tribe. I go to many persons for the same story, in order to compare their versions. These I take down


Fig. 5. Laura Cornelius as a student at Barnard, 1907. Reproduced with the Permission of the Barnard College Archives.

in the Indian vernacular, from which I make literal translations, and later do them over into good English" ("One Indian Maiden").
        Cornelius also opined on Indian humor: "There is a great deal of racial humor quite new to Indian literature, because no one who cannot understand the everyday communion of these people has been able to catch this flavor" ("One Indian Maiden"). In another story, published {98} during her time at Barnard College, she would try to capture that sense of "racial humor." Her story "Overalls and Tenderfoot," published in the Barnard Bear (1907), is about a "Western girl," Manzinita, who travels out west to Yosemite without a chaperone and is repeatedly scrutinized by middle-class white women who find her behavior outrageous.15 In some ways, Cornelius's picture at Barnard (fig. 5) emulates the character she describes.
        Cornelius wrote her only surviving poem, "A Tribute to the Future of My Race" (1903), while teaching at the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California. "A Tribute" was reprinted in Carlisle Indian Industrial School's Red Man and Helper, accompanied by this note: "The following was read at the Sherman Institute, Riverside, California, recently by the author, a talented Indian maiden, well known to many at Carlisle. The occasion was the graduating exercises of the Indian school, where Miss Cornelius is instructor" ("Tribute").16 Only five years earlier, her graduation address from Grafton Hall was an essay entitled "The Romans of America," where she "traced the analogy between the Iroquois Confederacy, or Six Nations, and the ancient Roman Empire" (Church's Mission 54). Her interest in this analogy as a marker of Indigenous sovereignty, notwithstanding military conquest, also informs her only surviving poem. "A Tribute to the Future of My Race," a nod to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha--from which she borrows not only the meter but also full lines--is an intriguing and surprising poem. The title is forward-looking, suggestive of continuity, survival, and "the future."17 Read in the context of the poem's initial address, the poem celebrates the "future of the [Indian] race" represented by the graduating class. Nonetheless, there is more to Kellogg's poem than a reductive endorsement of federal Indian policy. Her views on education differed tellingly from those promoted by Sherman, Carlisle, and other off-reservation boarding schools, as her activist and political work show: "There are old Indians who have never seen the inside of a class room whom I consider far [sic] educated than the young Indian with his knowledge of Latin or algebra" ("Some Facts" 36). How do we reconcile these differences? How do we read the speaker's incantation in midpoem that "our glorious America / Be the world's salvation--haven" (lines 82-83), when we know the dramatic (and traumatic) consequences similar messianic lines that her poem invokes have had on some Indian {99} students in boarding schools? Ultimately, what are the implications of Cornelius's surmise toward the end of the poem, "Yea, the hearts' right hand we give them, / Blue-eyed Royalty American" (143-44)?
        One way to begin to answer these questions is to consider that the celebratory and patriotic images are a necessary part of Cornelius's poem, given the poem's occasion; at the same time, the speaker's direct address to Indian students--in well-crafted lines--lies at the heart of the poem, conveying the idea of necessary adaptation and survival through education. The poem begins with a negation, meanders through historic images of colonization and dispossession, and culminates in an unpredictable ending on a note of loss, necessary adaptation (including assimilationist practices like education), and survival: "Theirs, our native land forever, / Ours their presence and their teachings. / Ours the noblest and the best" (145-47). The beginning positions the speaker as an Oneida orator greeting her audience:

        But from the Northern of Wisconsin,
        From the land of the Oneidas,
        From the Chieftain clan Cornelius,
        From the friendly Iroquois
        Comes the greeting of the wampum
        And a tribute, humble, simple. (5-10)

The emphasis on the "humble" and "simple" "tribute" the speaker prepares to deliver presupposes a friendly relation with the audience. But to know the story "of the future of a nation," the speaker has to descend into a troubled past of an "infant, warrior people," when they had "a whole continent their own!" (54-55), moving swiftly through a series of questions about the students' ancestors and suggestive images of traditional education--"And who were they? All barbarians? Were they men / Without legend or tradition?" (56-57). Cornelius ends by reminding the Indian students that they "spring from noble warrior blood, / As brave as Saxon, Roman, Greek" and by suggesting reconciliation, extending "the wampum strand," a symbol of "friendship" and "gratitude" (123-24, 139-40): "Theirs, our native land forever, / Ours, their presence and their teachings. / Ours, the noblest and the best" (143-47, my emphasis). The poem ends in an apparent surrender of "hearts' right hand" to the "blue-eyed Royalty American," but the key image of the lost Indian land lingers after the poem's last lines. The speaker reclaims Indian {100} agency particularly in the poem's last line, a direct address to Indian students across the country: "Ours, the noblest and the best." This optimistic view is part of Kellogg's versatile, performative public persona, which often negotiated the competing demands of her audiences.


Kellogg did not study at any off-reservation boarding schools, unlike many of her SAI peers, but she was an instructor at Sherman Indian School in California for almost two years before she resigned so that she could study law at Stanford University. Although her Stanford sojourn was brief (January-May 1905), newspapers in California took notice of her: "Will be the first Indian girl lawyer," the Los Angeles Times announced, "to teach her people their rights." An intriguing physical description accompanied this provocative caption in 1904: "You would know her for an Indian instantly, though she is pretty and svelte and stylish, and talks with the finished grace of a trained society woman."18 A stylish Indian woman was perhaps too much for this reporter, whose expectations of what "an Indian" should look like reflected contemporaneous views on Indian representation; yet he was not the first--or last--to remark on her physical qualities, style, and grace. Kellogg did not go on to become "the first Indian girl lawyer" right away. She transferred to Barnard College in the fall of 1905 to continue her study of law (fig. 6). The newspapers in New York City announced that Cornelius would start studying at Barnard, describing her as "unmistakably Indian in features and build":

Tall, lithe, wiry of frame. Her complexion is olive without color; her abundant hair, worn parted, and drawn loosely back from her face in a heavy coil behind, is glossy and black; her eyes, very dark brown, are soft and kindly, rather than beadlike and glittering, after the popular notion that Indian eyes should be like. ("Will Be the First")

        Although such descriptions exoticized her, her behavior and comments surprised the reporter--just as her stylish photo may have surprised the readers: "Say 'Indian' to Miss Laura M. Cornelius and verbally she is off. On such occasions she is the despair of the average shorthand writer." Her witty responses ultimately defied the reporter's expectations:


Fig. 6. "Miss Laura M. Cornelius," the New York Sun, 1906.

"I would not be anything but an Indian," she declares, proudly. "I am not weaned from my people and never will be. More schooling than usually falls to the lot of an Indian woman and more contact with Caucasian artificiality and insincerity have graduated me into what might be called a polite Indian, and the process, I sometimes think, has taken a lot out of me." (my emphasis)

Laura Cornelius did not stay "a polite Indian" for the rest of her life, and this interview marks a shift in her public rhetoric; as she professes to have {102} become a "polite Indian," she maintains her irreverence, especially as she comments on Indian misrepresentation and the public's ignorance about Indian life: "They don't know us; they don't know what it means to be killed alive." Although she had declared her interest in becoming a writer a few years before, in 1906 she decided on deeds over words: "At one time I had a marvelous ambition to write; but the more I live the more I know that words, words, words are futile. I want to do, not to preach." Very critical of reservation life, which lacked "industry," Cornelius concluded: "It must be changed or we will die" ("Indian Girl").
        The 1910s marked Laura Cornelius Kellogg's maturing decade. Between 1908 and 1910, during her European sojourn, she made an impression on British society: "Wherever she has gone, society has simply 'ovated' her; and, were she to remain in England long, she would doubtless be the leader of a circle all her own" (Hapgood, "American"). Europe was ready for "Princess Neoskalita" (fig. 7).
        Competing representations and self-representations also marked her stay in Europe. American and international newspapers described Cornelius as a socialite in London: "A Redskin Princess" and "Princess Neoskalita" became the common descriptions. Although still exoticized and said to be "danc[ing] in the courts of Europe to obtain funds to help red men to a higher civilization," she was reported to be in Europe to study art, music and literature, and the social scene ("Last Indian Princess"). In 1909 the Review of Reviews for Australasia called her "the only racial representative of Minnehaha now in London," which may support the claim that she performed as an Indian in Europe (given that Minnie Devereux, or Minnie Haha, was the only American Indian actress European audiences may have been familiar with), but the evidence we have at this point is inconclusive ("North American" 519). Laura Cornelius was known in Europe as "Princess Neoskalita," who lived in a "cosy London flat," having just arrived from Paris, "dressed in becoming English tailor-made costume, spoke with enthusiasm of the flattering reception she had received from the most exclusive set in London society." Nevertheless, her goal was to study "English institutions and modes of thought" (Hapgood, "Indian Maid"). Her lucid interviews show that although she enjoyed the most select aristocratic company--fitting for the "chieftainess of the Oneida Iroquois nation"--she wanted to build cultural capital, forge connections, and plan ahead: "it is her intention to begin a movement in America to reorganize Indian affairs" (Hapgood, {103} "American"). Her plan to "reorganize Indian affairs" stayed with her throughout her life.


A few months before the first meeting of the SAI, the unveiling of Lorado Taft 's statue Black Hawk at Eagles' Nest Bluff in Oregon, Illinois, gave Cornelius occasion to meditate on popular representations of Indian people--this time in sculpture. She and another SAI founding member, Charles A. Eastman, were tasked to respond to the designated orator Edgar A. Bancroft's speech in July 1911; the speech was a direct rendition of the nineteenth-century rhetoric of the "vanishing Indian," full of references to "the primitive peoples" and "[the] true child of nature"--and different from "our great Christian Anglo-Saxon Race" (Lorado Taft 's 33, 34, 44). Kellogg and Eastman had the daunting task of responding publicly to the white supremacist relegation of "the Indian" to an everlasting bronze statue, but respond they did. Eastman started by acknowledging the virtues of "civilization" but went on to point out the greater influence his "untutored" tribe had on him, saying that he "was not a heathen" and sanctioning the civilizing work that Bancroft extolled in his speech. Like Eastman, Cornelius started her speech by lamenting the disappearance of Indian people who were killed before they could commemorate what they could have celebrated if they were still alive: "The race is not here to-day. The race is not here, to rejoice with me for this great moment" (58-59, 73). She turned to the absence of Indian leaders and orators to rewrite the trope of the "vanishing Indian"--a trope familiar to her audiences. Like her poem "A Tribute to the Future of My Race" (1903), her speech is also heavily punctuated by lines from Longfellow's epic The Song of Hiawatha (1855), which has also generated a series of immortalizations in stone. Well versed in European fine arts, Kellogg glossed over the long-term implications of the statue but took the time to speak about American art, with an awareness of the aesthetic implications the statue would carry throughout time:

Rightly is its subject the American Indian. He who knows the throes of Gethsemane. He who knows the blood-sweat of anguish. He who has sounded the very depths of a national tragedy. . . . He


Fig. 7. Laura Cornelius as "Princess Neoskalita," 1909. Source: Hapgood, "American Indian Princess Interests Briton Statesmen," C6.

who, like the Greek, belonged to a hero age they could not comprehend. Yet when all is done, calmly he draws his simple robe about him and stands there mute and upright, looking boldly back upon it all, even as the eagle faces the glaring sun. Looking back to the East. (79)

Kellogg's sarcasm and implied criticism of Indian removal--especially as she describes the American Indian "looking back to the East," to the lost homes--are telling especially as she ponders the American Indian {105} as the subject of this new American art form. Her appreciation of the new artistic medium collides with her implied critique of colonialism and her call for justice: "today it is to the mind of the artist we must turn to for justice to the American Indian" (81). This momentary sliding into her activist persona--often at odds with her more conciliatory public performer persona--creates the momentum for further evaluation and self-evaluation: "But I am not here to unearth the long story of infamies. . . . Rather I have come here to thank you for the Indian" (81). The end of her speech returns to the muteness of the statue; she moves from thanking the audience to concluding that the statue, though mute, may be a lesson in history rather than an object of passive admiration: "Perhaps it is worth a national tragedy to go down to posterity an inspiration to all men" (82). The sense of national tragedy she describes at the end of her speech on the unveiling of the "Black Hawk Statue" would continue to influence her work for and beyond the SAI.


If poetry allowed Kellogg the rare occasion to meditate on an optimistic future for the "race," her political and activist writings open another window into her concern with how that future could take shape. As Tom Holm has argued persuasively, when Cornelius helped found the SAI in 1911, she "thought that she could not only enhance the position of Indian women but also undo the damages done by the vanishing policy to Native American societies" (77). Refusing to see herself as a "new Indian" was her way of withstanding the rhetoric of the vanishing policy. And although she wore the "sober citizen dress" throughout her public life--elegant suits and imposing hats--she found the idea of "the new Indian" a "fake" and was not shy to share her views with an applauding SAI audience: "I'm not the new Indian, I'm the old Indian adjusted to new conditions" (qtd. in Hertzberg 65).
        Kellogg presented her preliminary ideas about Indigenous economic self-determination at the first SAI meeting in 1911. In her talk, "Industrial Organization for the Indian," Kellogg proposed a radical transformation of Indian reservations into "industrial villages" that would withstand the encroachments of the market economy and would use local, tribal resources that would also provide employment for returned Indian students by developing industrial tribal economies (43-55). This vision ap-{106}pealed to Kellogg since it placed tribal economies at the center of Indigenous self-governing; at the same time, tribal economies in her vision were no longer static, isolated in remote parts of the country, but active players in modernity's new industrial demands. At the center of her vision was Indian labor for the Indian: "He must labor--and he must labor to the best advantage for himself and not the exploiter." To this end, she started by accepting that the Indian "cannot copy everything the white man does"; acknowledging the limits of such imitations, she suggested that through cooperation, reservation resources could strengthen the ties between community members and those estranged (i.e., students attending off-reservation boarding schools), which in turn could "reorganize the opportunities of the Indian at home." Kellogg's plan was also an endorsement of corporate capitalism and industrialization in her emphasis on Indian competition and struggle: "I believe in struggle and in competition with the outside world. I am one who knows at firsthand what the knocks in it are" (43, 44, 44-45, 45).
        More to the point, her vision of an Indian industrial village relies on a combination of the "foreign Garden City"19 with "the Mormon idea of communistic cooperation": "In this institution every man draws his proportion performed. Each man in it shall own lands, but the work and the advantages are communistic." Kellogg specifies that each tribe would make the best of its available local resources (farming, dairy, arts or crafts, etc.). Reversing the significance of capital in the competitive market, she claims that Indian villages could follow "the Mormon idea of making men the capital of the community." Kellogg summed up her short speech by suggesting how the model of the "Industrial village" may, in fact, "teach the white man," that is, how it could become a model for American economic enterprise (50, 54, 55). Kellogg's speech did not generate much interest among SAI members; yet, historian Hazel Hertzberg considers it "perhaps the most interesting paper" at the first meeting of the SAI.20 Kellogg's vision of the industrial village was just beginning to take shape, ahead of its time in anticipating the Indian New Deal.
        Kellogg had an opportunity to present her views on Indian education at the Society of American Indians' second meeting, in a talk titled "Some Facts and Figures on Indian Education," later published in the first issue of the Society's journal (36).21 Looking back on over twenty-{107}five years of federally funded Indian education, Kellogg explored the meanings of education to "our race," tracing the contradictions of misused government funds and their consequences for Indian children.22 She pointed out the importance of Indian self-determination in the process of education and saw the future of Indian education as a meeting ground of tribal knowledges and epistemologies with "Caucasian" education.23 Kellogg expounded: "We want education, yes, we want to know all the educated Caucasian knows but we want our self-respect while we are getting his knowledge." Invoking Franz Boas, whose work she encountered while studying at Barnard, Kellogg evoked the "power of abstraction in the Indian mind" and described the merits of Indian oratory in its "profound thought, literary merit and logic." Ultimately, she criticized the irresponsibility of Indian Office personnel in handling resources appropriately and suggested future directions for congressional appropriations, which did not include funds for Indian students' health care, a transition from off-reservation schools to local public schools "where feasible," and appropriations for Indian students pursuing higher education:

Our future is in the hands of the educational system of today. Those of us who have come thus far know how our youth have longed to reach the summit of the mountain. Let us not forget our own yearnings and the prayers of our ambitious young for opportunity. Let us climb the highest mountain, without looking back till we have reached the top. (38, 39, 46)

She ended her speech on an optimistic note but reminded the audience how crucial education was for Indian self-determination.
        Laura Cornelius Kellogg's views on education, economic sovereignty, and Americanization diverged from many of her SAI peers, but it was ultimately her arrest in 1913 that triggered her dismissal from the SAI, "an injustice and humiliation she never forgave" (Stovey 147). Kellogg, who had been married in April 1912 in Wisconsin, and her husband, Orrin Kellogg, were arrested in Oklahoma and charged "with having obtained money under false pretenses and impersonating United States officials" ("Princess of Oneida").24 Although they were not found guilty, this episode marked the break of Kellogg's affiliation with the SAI, which had never been very strong.25 Fellow Iroquois SAI member Arthur C. Parker (Seneca) also accused her of dancing "in the nude for the benefit of the {108} Indian people"--an allegation never substantiated with any evidence.26 Her name did not appear in the membership list after 1913. This episode did not intimidate her, although she never forgot the humiliation.


Laura Cornelius Kellogg continued her work on the Lolomi plan, although her years after the SAI are not well documented in national or Wisconsin newspapers. She appeared before the League of Nations in 1919, calling for justice for American Indians:

You Americans have rescued distracted Belgium from the atrocity of the Hun, you have poured money and sympathy into starving Poland, you have sent your armies into riotous Russia. Through all the world you are mighty righter of wrongs, the savior of oppressed peoples. And in your midst a people have cried in vain. ("Would Plead," my emphasis)

The same year she was back at Oneida when the federal government closed the Oneida school. Her vision of an Indian industrial organization that could withstand the pressures of American industrial capital sustained her interest over the next decade and ultimately took shape in her only published book, Our Democracy and the American Indian: A Presentation of the Indian Situation as It Is Today (1920). Besides working on her Lolomi plan, she continued to advocate for women's rights throughout the United States, giving speeches, lectures, and interviews. The Washington Herald published an interview where she supported women's suffrage, emphasizing Iroquois women's equality of civic powers with the men: "It is a cause of astonishment to us that you white women are only now, in this twentieth century, claiming what has been the Indian woman's privilege as far back as history traces" ("Laura Kellogg"; fig. 8).
        Irreverent, radical, provocative, and determined, Laura Cornelius Kellogg embodied the suffragists' ideal of "the new woman"; as Patricia Stovey wisely states, she "was not one to leave a room, a meeting, or a community without notice" (145). Besides her oratorical skills, she used her social capital and calculated fashion statements to attract public attention, so she could be heard speaking about her life's work: her plan of Indian self-government and sovereignty. A passionate leader, a fighter,


Fig. 8. "Laura Kellogg, Daughter of Long Line of Indian Chiefs, Laughs at the Old Idea of Downtrodden Squaw." Washington Herald, 1915.

{110} an outspoken public Indian figure, Laura Cornelius Kellogg's vision for the future of Indian self-determination was ahead of its time. Sometimes described as "an Indian Booker T. Washington" ("Looking") in the popular press, she was determined to recover the Six Nations' land, to build a viable economic system on tribal lands across the United States, and to reform Indian education. Equally loved and hated by fellow SAI members and Oneida and Six Nations people during her lifetime, Kellogg continued to fight tirelessly for Oneida lands throughout the 1920s and 1930s, pursuing her plan of making the Oneida nation a place where indigeneity and community coexisted with the new demands of modernity.


Many thanks to Chad Allen, Beth Piatote, and the participants in the SAI Centennial Symposium at Ohio State, particularly co-panelists Renya Ramirez and Kristina Ackley (who deserves additional props for being a great friend and coeditor of our forthcoming book on Laura Cornelius Kellogg). Thanks also to Laurence M. Hauptman, LeAnne Howe, Tsianina Lomawaima, and especially Robert Dale Parker, for their advice and support. Many thanks as well to the faculty and staff in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois, where many of these ideas originated.


        1. A note on names: Laura Cornelius married Orrin Kellogg in 1912, and she was known as Laura Cornelius Kellogg until her death in 1949. In this essay I use Laura Cornelius and Laura Cornelius Kellogg interchangeably.
        2. On Kellogg's involvement in the Oneida land claims, see Ackley. The Oneidas are part of the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy, or the Haudenosaunee ("people building a long house" or "people of the long house"); the other five nations in the Iroquois/Six Nations Confederacy are the Mohawks, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Senecas, and the Tuscaroras.
        3. The changes included the dwindling importance of clan affiliation and the transformation of the Oneida social structure from a traditional Iroquois matrilineal model to a patrilineal one.
        4. After the Dawes Act the Oneidas faced "uncontrolled timber stripping of their lands, serious soil erosion, low leasing arrangements, and increased consumption of alcohol." After the 65,000-acre Oneida reservation was allotted in
{111} 1892, a federal "competency" commission was formed in 1918, which "began issuing fee patents to Oneidas of less than one-half Indian blood in order to quicken the process of assimilation" (Hauptman, "Designing Woman," 162-63).
        5. The term "citizen Indians" comes from Maddox.
        6. In the 1911 group portrait of the SAI members (reprinted in this collection), although Cornelius appears hatless, several other Indian women are wearing fashionable hats: Nelle R. Denny, Elsie L. Elm, Sadie Wall, Marie L. B. Baldwin, and Angel De Cora Dietz.
        7. Several national journals throughout the 1910s used this description in their headlines. In 1916, the La Crosse (WI) Tribune wrote that "Wynnogene, a real Indian princess, has gone to Washington to be the Joan of Arc of her people"--referring to her testimony before Congress ("Indian Princess").
        8. Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, 1-9050, 63879-1908. The commissioner of Indian affairs affixed a description of Laura Cornelius in the letter to the secretary of the Interior from September 25, 1908. Although Cornelius was denied her request of being introduced at Court (because the American ambassador wasn't inclined to do so), her request is perhaps more telling than the denial.
        9. Hapgood, "American." As A. LaVonne Ruoff 's edition has shown, S. Alice Callahan's Wynema: A Child of the Forest (1891) is the first known novel written by a woman of American Indian descent.
        10. Kellogg solicited funds to support litigation and lobbying for different tribal issues, including the Oneida land claim in New York State. Federal officials and other Oneida people viewed her activities with suspicion, particularly since the land claim litigation was not successful during her lifetime. See Ackley.
        11. Patricia Stovey argues, "throughout her life, Kellogg demonstrated a high level of comfort using other people's money for projects that some would consider highly risky . . . , [yet] Kellogg was never convicted of any financial wrongdoing" (146).
        12. Laurence Hauptman's work is foundational in Iroquois studies, and his essay on Kellogg ("Designing Woman") has inspired a generation of scholars. I respect Hauptman's analysis, yet I propose to move the reading of Kellogg's legacy beyond the "tragedy" aura to understand more fully the legacy of this public intellectual woman's work.
        13. "Personals," Detroit Free Press 13 July 1898; Indiana (PA) Democrat 28 Dec. 1898.
        14. In our research so far, Kristina Ackley and I have not found any image of Kellogg in traditional Oneida dress. Several accounts of her trip to Europe suggest she may have danced in Native dress, but no image so far or other documents we have come across support this claim. Much work remains to be done, including in European archives.

        15. "Overalls," a.k.a. Mazinita, defies middle-class and Victorian conventions as she wears overalls, travels by herself, and rides a wild bronco. The story also sets sharp contrasts between eastern and western behaviors and senses of propriety, painting an ideal image of the frontier, especially in the story's happy ending: Overalls falls in love with an easterner, Tenderfoot ("Overalls and Tenderfoot" 2). At Barnard, Cornelius was an active member of the student body and was elected to the Undergraduate Election Committee in 1906.
        16. Cornelius's name appears often in Carlisle publications, and her name serves as an example of Indian achievement--which is ironic since Cornelius never attended boarding schools.
        17. The poem is written in 147 trochaic tetrameter lines. The title uses the word race in the sense of "people" and reflects early twentieth-century evolutionary thinking and terminology about the various "races of people" (what we would typically call ethnicities today) living in the United States. "A Tribute" is reprinted and annotated in Parker 253-57.
        18. The first-known Indian woman to argue a case in the Supreme Court was Lyda Conley, of Wyandotte and European ancestry.
        19. Here Kellogg refers to the garden city movement, a model of urban planning initiated in England by Ebenezer Howard at the end of the nineteenth century. It is possible that she studied his ideas at Barnard and later in London.
        20. Hertzberg attributes this silence to "scheduling pressures," which made impossible the discussion of "most papers on industrial problems" (60-61).
        21. Cornelius served as the SAI's vice president of education in 1912.
        22. Kellogg's report on "figures" includes the following: 357 government schools (70 reservation boarding schools), 35 nonreservation boarding schools, and 223 day schools, with an enrollment of 24,500 children. "Besides these, there are 4,300 children in the mission schools and 11,000 in public, of the 11,000, the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma have 6,900. The number of the children of the race in school in the country then is 39,800. The last report shows an increase of nearly 2,000 in attendance over the year before" ("Some Facts" 40).
        23. SAI members used the term Indian most frequently, but they often referred to the Indian race or the race, as Hertzberg shows. Besides these designations, SAI members and Indian public intellectuals used the phrases our people or the Indian people, with the words people and tribe being synonymous occasionally (Hertzberg 71).
        24. The accusations about "impersonating" US officials were unfounded. Kellogg and her husband lectured and investigated irregularities in oil leases at an Indian school on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma in 1913. As a result of their activities, the Kelloggs were arrested for fraud, though they were exonerated of the charges. See Holm 75 and Hauptman, Seven Generations 152.

        25. Ramona Herdman's article is the only source I have come across to suggest Orrin Kellogg's lineage: "Mr. Kellogg's interest in the Indians had been prompted by his distant relationship with old Chief Red Jacket of the Senecas, and 32nd degree of Seneca blood mixed with his white ancestry."
        26. Arthur C. Parker to J. N. B Hewitt, 30 Aug. 1913, SAI, Papers. Parker writes in his letter to Hewitt that "clippings are shown from theatrical papers and the Sunday supplement," but no evidence so far has emerged to sustain this accusation (qtd. in Maddox 193n57).


Ackley, Kristina Lyn. "Renewing Haudenosaunee Ties: Laura Cornelius Kellogg and the Idea of Unity in the Oneida Land Claim." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 32.1 (2008): 57-81. Print.

The Church's Mission to the Oneidas: Oneida Indian Reservation, Wisconsin. Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber, 1902. Print.

"Court Instructs Jury to Acquit the Kelloggs." El Paso Herald 31 Jan. 1914: 8-A. Print.

"First American Mothers Had 'Votes for Women.'" Washington Herald 16 Feb. 1915: 8. Print.

Hapgood, Joseph. "American Indian Princess Interests Briton Statesmen; Cuts Quite a Dash in the British Metropolis--Unique Figure in Society--Tells Plans for Rehabilitation of Her Race." Detroit Free Press 19 Sept. 1909: C6. Print.

_ _ _. "Indian Maid in Europe: Her Mission, the Betterment of Dying Race; Iroquois Princess Gives Her Ideas in London; Harden Cities among Others of Her Plans." Los Angeles Times 26 Sept. 1909: II, 14.

Hauptman, Laurence M. "Designing Woman: Minnie Kellogg, Iroquois Leader." Indian Lives: Essays on Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century Native American Leaders. Ed. L. G. Moses and Raymond Wilson. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1985. 159-88. Print.

_ _ _. Seven Generations of Iroquois Leadership: The Six Nations since 1800. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2008. Print.

Herdman, Ramona. "A New Six Nations: Laura Cornelius Sees the Old Iroquois Confederacy Re-established on a Modern Business Basis as the First Fulfillment of a Girlhood Vow Pledging Herself to the Welfare of Her Race." Syracuse Herald 6 Nov. 1927: 1. Print.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Holm, Tom. The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era. Austin: U of Texas P, 2005. Print.
"An Indian Girl and Glad of It: Miss Cornelius Here to Study Law at Barnard." New York Sun 11 Feb. 1906: 7. Print.

"An Indian Heroine of Peace: Laura M. Cornelius, the Oneida Girl Who Kept the Copah Tribe from Going on the Warpath." St. Louis Republic 11 Dec. 1904: 1. Print.

"Indian New Woman." Washington Post 4 Dec. 1898: 26. Print.

"Indian Princess Makes Plea for Self-Government." La Crosse Tribune 26 June 1916: 4. Print.

Kellogg, Laura M. Cornelius. "Industrial Organization for the Indian." SAI, Report 43-55.

_ _ _. "The Legend of the Bean." The Church's Mission to the Oneidas: Oneida Indian Reservation, Wisconsin. Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber, 1902. 55-56. Print.

_ _ _. Our Democracy and the American Indian: A Comprehensive Presentation of the Indian Situation as It Is Today. Kansas City: Burton, 1920. Print.

_ _ _. "Overalls and Tenderfoot." Barnard Bear 2.2 (1907): 2. Barnard College Archives.

_ _ _. "The Sacrifice of the White Dog." The Church's Mission to the Oneidas: Oneida Indian Reservation, Wisconsin. Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber, 1902. 57. Print.

_ _ _. "Some Facts and Figures on Indian Education." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1 (15 Apr. 1913): 36-46. Print.

_ _ _. "A Tribute to the Future of My Race." Red Man and Helper 18 (20 Mar. 1903): 1. Print. (Carlisle Indian Industrial School publication)

"Last Indian Princess to Become Mrs. Kellogg." San Francisco Call 111.148 (26 Apr. 1912): 1. Print.

"Laura Kellogg, Daughter of Long Line of Indian Chiefs, Laughs at the Old Idea of the Downtrodden Squaw." Washington Herald 16 Feb. 1915: 8. Print.

"Looking for an Indian Booker T. Washington to Lead Their People." New York Tribune 27 Aug. 1911: 1.

Lorado Taft's Indian Statue "Black Hawk": An Account of the Unveiling Ceremonies at Eagle Nest Bluff, Oregon, Illinois, July the First, Nineteen Hundred and Eleven; Frank O. Lowden Presiding. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1912. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.

"The North American Indians: A Redskin Princess." Review of Reviews for Australasia Aug. 1909: 519-520. Print.

"One Indian Maiden: Her Literary Plans for the Uplifting of Her Race." New York Tribune February 15, 1903: A5. Print.

Parker, Robert Dale, ed. Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2011. Print.

"Princess of Oneida Indians Is Arrested." El Paso Herald October 12, 1913: 1. Print.

"Refutes Buffalo Bill; Indian Maiden Tells Him His Views of the Red Man Are Wrong." New York Times 13 May 1910: 9. Print.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne, ed. Wynema: A Child of the Forest. Alice S. Callahan. 1891. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1997. Print.

"Salt Lake's Merry Morn in Riverside." Los Angeles Times March 13, 1904: 7. Print.

Society of American Indians. Papers of the Society of American Indians. Ed. John William Larner Jr. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1986. Microfilm.

_ _ _. Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians. Washington DC: 1912. Print.

Stovey, Patricia. "Opportunities at Home: Laura Cornelius Kellogg and Village Industrialization." Oneida Voices in the Age of Allotment, 1860-1920. Eds. Laurence M. Hauptman and L. Gordon McLester III. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2006. 143-75. Print.

"The Whites Do Not Understand the Indians; The Indians Do Not Understand Themselves, Says This Oneida Girl." San Francisco Chronicle 9 Aug. 1903: 7. Print.

"Will Be the First Indian Girl Lawyer." Los Angeles Times 28 Dec. 1904: A1. Print.

"Would Plead Cause of the Indians before the League of Nations: Wisconsin Woman of Wealth and Education, Granddaughter of Famous Chief, Has Devoted Her Life to Obtaining More Justice for Her People." Milwaukee Sentinel 17 Aug. 1919: 1. Print.


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Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Lolomi, and
Modern Oneida Placemaking  


Laura Cornelius Kellogg, a founding member of the Society of American Indians (SAI), had only a brief history with the organization. Cristina Stanciu explores that history in some detail in her essay in this volume, offering an intriguing analysis of Kellogg's writings and work at the national level. In this essay I turn to Kellogg's activism and intellectual legacy for the Oneida Nation. A polarizing and fascinating figure, Kellogg had strong views about how increased tribal self-sufficiency could remake the reservation a sustainable place. Kellogg's emphasis on place and belonging was based on what she called a "protected autonomy," contributing to a dialogue on how the Oneidas saw themselves as tribal members and Native people. Throughout her life Kellogg tirelessly sought to hold the federal government accountable for exercising its trust responsibility; and yet, in advocating for this relationship, she also was wary of it, at times bluntly criticizing and rejecting it.
        Kellogg conceptualized the reservation as a place of industry and sustainability, a place that could be created to foster a tribal sense of identity and connection. Many of her colleagues in the SAI were suspicious of her work to reframe the reservation as a place of opportunity. One of Kellogg's key insights was that a centralized tribal government needed resources to create resources, from which individual Native people would benefit. Lack of economic opportunities fueled social dysfunction on the reservation, she argued; Native reservations could be vibrant places if only they had the economic base to support their members. Kellogg consistently worked to shape her place as an Oneida woman in the early twentieth century, confronting a colonial government that sought to displace and erase Native presence. In doing so she worked to create spaces that were built on relationships. As a Wisconsin Oneida, {118} Kellogg understood that placemaking was relational, based on the intersecting networks of a number of parties--the federal government, other Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois or Six Nations) people, local non-Natives, and other Native people.1 The Wisconsin Oneida, displaced from New York State, did not abandon ties to their homeland. Kellogg in particular saw the need to strengthen relationships with other Haudenosaunee people, for she understood that the Oneida Nation was inextricably linked to the Six Nations Confederacy in New York State (see Ackley).
        In this essay I first discuss how Kellogg envisioned and defined these places. She contributed to and drew on an intellectual space that was informed by the balance between tradition, modernity, and industry. She wrote and lectured about these spaces, particularly in her 1920 book, Our Democracy and the American Indian: A Comprehensive Presentation of the Indian Situation as It Is Today. In her writings, speeches, and testimony Kellogg called for the reservation to be protected and developed economically, politically, and aesthetically. This placemaking was a structure for understanding both the community and the individual, as shared definitions of Oneida identity directed how these places were created and the places then influenced how people viewed themselves. I then consider how Kellogg tried to implement her ideas: in her attempts to buy the Oneida Boarding School and in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Indian Affairs. Kellogg's creative process of envisioning and planning tribal physical and rhetorical spaces can be called Oneida placemaking, and her actions have implications for the contemporary Oneida reservation.


Laura Cornelius Kellogg was descended from a line of influential Oneida political leaders who had been heavily involved in planning and governing the new reservation. By the time of the formation of the Society of American Indians, she had been involved in several national Native issues. At the inaugural meeting of the SAI, Kellogg proclaimed, "I am not the new Indian; I am the old Indian adjusted to new conditions" (SAI 92). In a speech at the 1913 SAI Annual Meeting, she argued explicitly for the value of an "Indian" identity that relied on the knowledge of her elders, stating, "there are old Indians who have never seen the inside of {119} a classroom whom I consider far more educated than the young Indian with his knowledge of Latin and algebra" ("Some Facts" 34-36).
        This emphasis on the value of the knowledge of elders was a central component of Kellogg's arguments about the reservation as a place of potential. She balanced these beliefs with an embrace of change, as she placed her knowledge of past traditions and values firmly into modernity in order to assert her position as a modern Oneida woman. In Our Democracy and the American Indian she wrote, "I emphasize the modern times" (34). By linking the Wisconsin Oneida to other Native people, particularly the Haudenosaunee, she sought to recast Oneida, Wisconsin, as a place for industry, a place for tradition balanced with modernity.
        Tom Holm has argued that Kellogg projected the strengths of Haudenosaunee social and political connections onto other Native people, particularly focusing on her insistence that land--the reservation--should be the basis for economic development (76). At the initial meeting of the SAI in 1911, Kellogg presented a paper, "Industrial Organization for the Indian," where she proposed that Native people on reservations should organize collective and autonomous "industrial villages." These villages would retain rights of self-government and would use local resources to manufacture goods--a cranberry cannery in the Great Lakes region, a dairy farm in the West, or an arts and crafts center in the Southwest. In her presentation she stressed that non-Natives had a great deal to learn from Native people in collective self-empowerment and economic justice (SAI 54-55). Her ideas were significant because many of them anticipated the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, legislation that focused on the economic development of the reservation and strengthened the powers of tribal governments (see Hauptman 159-88).


Kellogg worked to create and plan physical spaces that nurtured Oneida beliefs and philosophies. The central concept in Our Democracy and the American Indian is based on economic empowerment through the industrial village plan, or what she called Lolomi (58).2 In 1908 Kellogg embarked on a European tour, in which she took a particular interest in {120} German town planning. Called "Princess Neoskalita" by the Los Angeles Times in 1909, she said she "did not consider her education complete until she had some knowledge of the social life, the art, and literature of the French and English" (Hapgood). She was evidently impressed by an international conversation about the social worth of what were envisioned as garden cities; initially seen as places solely for the benefit of non-Native people, Kellogg saw the model as a possibility for Oneida economic self-sufficiency and increased tribal self-governance.
        In Our Democracy, Kellogg confidently called for a solution based on economic development, emphasizing the words business and economic in the text (39-40). She drew on other ideas in planning and social welfare, emphasizing that Lolomi could bring both needed resources to the reservation as well as a sense of beauty to the community; she believed that both would reinforce pride and an Oneida sense of place. Kellogg placed Lolomi within close proximity to the non-Native world, though remaining in many ways apart from it. Keenly aware of her audience, she stressed Lolomi as an Oneida place; a refuge from urban, non-Native decay even while linked to it. In chapter 4 of Our Democracy, "How the Lolomi Handles the Social Side of the Problem," Kellogg places much of the blame for destitute Oneidas not on individual or tribal failings, but on their environment. Oneida people came from cohesive and valued belief systems, she argued, going on to say, "from my infancy I had been taught what we Oneidas had contributed to American liberty and civilization" (38). The contemporary reservation was an environment tainted by the lack of economic resources because of federal paternalistic policies such as allotment, an environment even worse than non-Native places due to its geographic isolation. She wrote, "Why the slums are not so destitute! At least they are within walking distance of something better" (83). She appealed to the social conscience of non-Natives who might read the book: "Within a few miles of the most comfortable evening lamp is someone dying from the evils of the environment, evils like tuberculosis, that great indicator of the lack of nourishment and sanitation" (85-86). By calling attention to the plight of reservations by linking them explicitly to places where non-Natives lived, Kellogg sought to displace non-Natives from their comfort of ignorance of "Indian" problems and hoped to win support for Lolomi, her vision of a place that would be based on Oneida values and beliefs.
        Kellogg called for placemaking that was based on density, arguing {121} that "incorporation into industrial communities means the development of industry, and that in turn means the concentration of population" in what she called the village model: "All Indians understand village organization in a primitive way and want it. Their gregariousness and the monotony of their surroundings make them seek neighboring towns now" (91, 89). In her placemaking attempts, she balanced a number of seeming binaries: urban/rural, modern/traditional, educated/ not. Our Democracy urges readers to try to understand the ways Native people complicated these terms, straddling boundaries, recognizing the value of some aspects of these identities while rejecting others. In this sense, Kellogg articulated what many Oneidas already knew--that in order to persist as tribal people and as Native nations, they needed sustainable places for industry and ideas.
        Always aware of her audience, she envisioned that there would be some Oneidas who might not wish to reside full-time at the village. Perhaps soothing fears that Native density would mean less freedom of movement, Kellogg situated Lolomi within a global community, one in which members shared a common idea of protecting places where someone could replenish and nourish an Oneida identity. She argued, "it is not the wish of the Lolomi to detain those who wish to live in Paris or New York, no more than the modern corporations require their investors to remain in a certain place" (92).
        In seeking to create Lolomi, a modern village that was both self-sustaining and beautiful, Kellogg contributed to Oneida placemaking, attaching to the proposed industrial village the meanings of Oneida and Haudenosaunee identity and connection. This Oneida space can be viewed as both process and philosophy--one that values Oneida sovereignty and a Native sense of place based on the cultural traditions of the people, "the old Indians who have never seen the inside of the classroom" ("Some Facts" 34). It is fundamentally a collective vision, for while she advocated it as an individual, Kellogg clearly sought to link Lolomi and the modern village to all Oneida people.


In a 1903 interview with the New York Tribune Kellogg confidently stated, "to do something great when I grew up was impressed upon me from my cradle by my parents, and I have known no other ambition. What I


Fig. 1. Oneida Boarding School. Courtesy Oneida Nation Museum.

have done up to this time has been in competition with the white world, and I have succeeded according to their standards, so that I want no one to say of what I do, 'That is good for an Indian'" ("Indian Maid in Europe"). Though Kellogg was well traveled and educated away from the reservation, she considered her home to be Oneida, Wisconsin, and it was here that she directed her most long-lasting and substantive efforts, building a legacy.3 The Wisconsin Oneida had long placed a high value on education, advocating for the opening of schools almost as soon as the reservation boundaries were established in 1838. They thus had a longer history with using education for their own ends, ultimately complicating the assimilationist aim of the schools. Federal officials, spurred on by the urgings of local Episcopal priest Father Edward Goodnough, proposed the Government Industrial School, or the Oneida Boarding School, as part of an inducement for support for allotment, part of a broader assimilation policy aimed at breaking up the reservation by assigning parcels of land to individual Oneidas (Church's Mission 30). Land allotted would eventually be taxed, and any land left over would be declared "surplus" and opened up for non-Native settlement.4
        A tract of land was reserved near the center of the Oneida reservation for a school, and at its opening in 1893, the number of applicants exceeded the school's capacity. By 1899 the federal government reported the nearly hundred-acre boarding school had 134 students and 5 staff


Fig. 2. Oneida children learning to darn socks at the Oneida Boarding School, ca. 1910. Courtesy Oneida Nation Museum.

(Dept. of Interior 36). In a history of the school issued by the Episcopal Diocese, The Church's Mission to the Oneidas, the writer reported that in 1905 "the capacity is two hundred and twenty-five pupils, and is valued at about $65,000" (52). There were seven brick and twelve frame buildings, with steam heat and electricity in some of them. It was centrally located on Duck Creek near the railroad station and Episcopal Church. Oneida children were educated at the school in curriculum the Episcopal Church described as "both literary and industrial" (52). The school had a strong symbolic as well as practical function. Many of the recorded memories of the school are mixed, but what was not in dispute was that it was an important building and place for the Oneida people (Lewis and McLester 401).5 It was a visible sign of the relationship between the federal government and the tribe.
        In 1910 the Bureau of Indian Affairs recommended that the school be closed, arguing that cost of schooling should be borne by individual Oneidas in preparation for the responsibilities of US citizenship. Many {124} Oneidas were concerned, as they wanted the school to remain open. In 1914 tribal members asked the superintendent to look into the advisability of changing the Oneida Boarding School into a day school. The school was often enrolled over capacity by Oneida parents who valued the education it provided, and it was a safety net for some families who would send their children there as financial need dictated. Federal government efforts to begin closing and selling the Oneida Boarding School began in earnest in 1919, and Oneida tribal members began a spirited opposition. Kellogg was actively involved in these efforts while working in what were referred to as "Oneida council" meetings and in her leadership in the Oneida National Council.6 She consistently sought to keep the property in tribal hands, as she envisioned it as a showcase for the industrial village Lolomi. Although there were some Oneidas who were against the idea of repurposing the school for an industrial center, hardly anyone supported the idea of selling the land and school to outsiders.7 Nevertheless, in 1920 the property was surveyed in anticipation of its eventual sale (Letter to J. B. Broekman, 17 Nov. 1920, ONDUM).
        In 1920 Kellogg wrote to the Department of the Interior after an Oneida council meeting, expressing the group's wish to buy the school. An excerpt from the letter makes it clear that the Oneidas she represented saw the building as a centralized place and marker of tribal identity and thus important to the tribe, regardless of the differences in the community:

We are interested in the incorporation of some industries as a means of supporting a centralized public school for our children. . . . We feel that since the Oneidas belong to four different [religious] denominations, this property which is naturally a civic center for all the people, should not be turned over to any one sectarian interest.8

        Kellogg arranged for a committee, made up of prominent local non-Natives, to inspect the property and interview Oneida tribal members. The committee, focusing on the successful farm and herd of cattle in particular, supported the group in their efforts to lay claim to the place. Committee members also recommended establishing a canning factory, noting the proximity of the railroad and the centrality of the location. They were also impressed by Kellogg's idea of Lolomi:


Fig. 3. Oneida Boarding School. "Going Home Day." Courtesy Oneida Nation Museum.

The Committee also wishes to state that it has been much interested in learning of the plan of the proposed Lolomi Industrial Community for the Oneidas, and feels that if it can be successfully organized and executed, it would provide the Indians with a protection from exploitation which they very much need, and be a stimulus to the social and industrial development of the community.9

        The superintendent at the nearby Keshena Indian Agency was generally supportive of the efforts to keep the Oneida boarding school within tribal hands, so long as they could raise the money to buy it (Commissioner of Indian Affairs Cato Sells to Edward E. Browne, House of Representatives, 8 May 1920, ONDLM). In 1921, after several council meetings of the Oneidas, Kellogg requested to buy the land for the tribe (Senator Irvine Lenroot to Sells, 31 Jan. 1921, ONDLM). Her group then began the difficult process of securing the necessary funds. Correspondence shows that she was successful in raising a 5 percent deposit, but ultimately the group was unable to raise the money for the rest of the sale. Kellogg acted as spokeswoman for the group of interested Oneidas and was the public face, gathering support from various local businessmen {126} and elected government officials.10 The two-year negotiation process between the Oneidas and the federal government was protracted and yet largely amicable. Though several extensions were granted by the federal government, the group was unable to raise the funds and thus defaulted on their deposit in January 1923 (Letters from Kellogg to Edgar A. Allen, 12 Dec. 1922; Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 11 Apr. 1922; Commissioner Charles Burke, 1 Jan. 1923, ONDLM).
        Kellogg's letters make it clear that she was speaking on behalf of other Oneidas, particularly as they refer to tribal council meetings in which her ideas gained support. However, since the plan for the school was based on her idea of Lolomi, she was the face of the failure to buy the school.11 The school was again put up for a bidding process in April 1924, and this time the highest bid was the Murphy Land and Investment Company, which immediately transferred title to the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay (Philip Sheridan, secretary of Murphy Land and Investment Co., to C. F. Hauke, acting assistant commissioner, 13 Oct. 1924, ONDLM).
        The sale of the Oneida Boarding School property to the Catholic Diocese would seem to have ended the school as an Oneida place. Oneida tribal members, however, with Kellogg representing many of them, continued to believe and, more importantly, to act as though the place belonged to the Oneidas. The Oneida National Committee was formed in 1924 in order to represent the work that the group was doing with all Oneida communities in Wisconsin, Canada, and New York.12 This group actively contested the sale of the school. They wrote to the head of the Catholic Diocese advising him that the land was held under communal properties and therefore could not be sold by the federal government (Oneida National Committee to Reverend Rhodes, 18 Nov. 1924). They continued to try to get the land back, and in April 1926 fifteen Oneidas refused checks that were issued to tribal members based on the sale of the school, insisting that the sale was invalid because the tribe had not agreed to it (Kellogg and fourteen other people to Sam Bell, 24 Apr. 1926, ONDLM).
        In fighting the sale of the Oneida Boarding School, Kellogg validated the school as an Oneida place. The Oneidas' efforts to claim the school were interrupted when it was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. The buildings and campus continued to be an important place to the Oneida in subsequent years nonetheless. After buying the school, the Catholic Diocese first operated an orphanage and school, known as


Fig. 4. Former Oneida Boarding School grounds after sale to Catholic Diocese, ca. 1956. Courtesy Oneida Nation Museum.

Guardian Angels. Guardian Angels cared for both non-Native children and Native children, including Oneida tribal members. In 1954 the orphanage and school were closed, and the Catholic Diocese then opened the Sacred Heart Seminary, which educated Catholic priests (see fig. 4). During this time, the place, located within Oneida reservation boundaries, continued to occupy a central role in Wisconsin Oneida identity. Oneidas worked and resided there, and in 1976 the tribe opened an education office in the building, leasing space from the Catholic Diocese. Substantive efforts to buy the school on behalf of the tribe resumed at this time, and in 1984 they were successful when the Catholic Diocese sold the buildings to the Oneida tribe. Some tribal members considered the initial sale fraudulent and thus resented having to buy back the school, but its return was widely celebrated. Now known as the Norbert Hill Senior Center, the former Oneida Boarding School site houses three key tribal institutions: the tribal council, the education department, and the tribal high school.13



Oneida placemaking is relational, based in large part on the unique political status of Native Americans.14 Kellogg's discussion of industrial villages in Our Democracy and her attempts to build one at the Oneida boarding school site were based not only on density and industry but also on the federal trust relationship. This relationship was not always jointly understood and was often contested by both the Oneidas and the federal government. Kellogg clearly wanted the federal government to honor their trust responsibility. In recognizing this relationship, however, she clearly rejected a dependent, subservient position to the United States. The Oneidas repeatedly called on the treaties they had signed with the federal government to affirm and protect their rights. In so doing they joined other Native people who have also pressed the United States to uphold their promises, but the Wisconsin Oneidas show a particular diligence and conviction. They called for federal protection while simultaneously exercising tribal governance, such as when Oneida chiefs were formally recognized in 1925 in a ceremony that Kellogg organized (see fig. 5).15
        In 1928 the Senate passed Resolution 79, which authorized the Committee on Indian Affairs to undertake a survey of the conditions of Native people in the United States. A subcommittee was directed to hold hearings to better understand the legal status of tribes and evaluate the administration of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Cong. Senate Subcommittee). In March 1929 Kellogg and other Haudenosaunee leaders traveled to Washington dc to give testimony before the subcommittee, which demonstrated that they well understood the obligations the federal government had to protect them from outside interests that coveted their land and sought to undermine tribal authority. They framed their testimony on the idea of the reservations as places of self-empowerment and opportunity, still hoping to achieve the Lolomi village that Kellogg had worked for in her home community in Wisconsin.
        Their audience was not sympathetic, for Senate members at the outset asserted that the federal government did not have any authority over Native people in New York State, relying on statements from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the Native people in New York were "practically independent," because they had resisted administration by the federal


Fig. 5. Photo of Kellogg (third from left) and Oneida chiefs taken in 1925. Courtesy Oneida Nation Museum.

government (Congress 4862). Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs Edgar B. Merritt argued that the Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee, in New York State were largely responsible for themselves, yet he acknowledged that treaties had been signed with the federal government, a situation he likened to a "twilight zone" (4894). To the tribal leaders, the problem lay less with murky jurisdiction than with the federal government not exercising its trust responsibility.
        Livingston Crouse, an Onondaga leader, highlighted this problem, recounting his own experience trying unsuccessfully to bring a wrongful death suit against a Syracuse street car company on behalf of his sister's estate. New York state courts refused to hear his case against a private business on the grounds that the state had no authority over him, while the federal government declined to take up the case on his behalf. His story was met with incredulity, with both Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana and Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma challenging his account (Wheeler dismissively said, "I cannot conceive of a court holding that") and implying that the problem lay with the Haudenosaunee themselves. Crouse forcefully defended himself and his understanding of the federal/tribal relationship, arguing, "Well, it is a question of jurisdiction. We cannot get anything from the State. Then, where does the Indian stand? Where does he get his protection? That is what we are here for. Am I an Indian or am I a white man? Tell me that" (Congress 4887-88).
        Clearly, Crouse knew that he was Onondaga. He called on the federal government to acknowledge that the tribe's insistence on governing themselves collectively did not mean that the federal government could abdicate its trust responsibility. His testimony was supported by Kellogg and her husband. Orrin Kellogg defined the need from the committee as one of protection--protection from outside forces he darkly said had used "powerful political means and propaganda to oust them from their rights." He was careful to note that the Native people in New York had continuous, active tribal governments, stating:

The Six Nations, while they offer a tenacious resistance, are not properly protected. They are a people who have wonderful traditions, who are organized, and who have a superior legal status peculiar to Indian relations; one which they have faithfully kept, and one which entitles them to the highest protection in the land, the protection of the United States Government. (Congress 4857)

        The tone of the hearings exposed deep-seated resentments and distrust between Kellogg and Assistant Commissioner Merritt. Kellogg had a long history of criticizing the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the parasitic control that she felt limited both individual Native people and the collective potential of the reservation. She alluded to this contentious relationship in a letter she wrote to Senator Irvine Lenroot (Wisconsin), asking for his support for cooperative industry at Oneida. She hoped to gain allies in the Senate, for she said she had "criticized this hopeless Administration in the Press so unmercifully that the Indian Office would balk at anything I wanted."16 Our Democracy lists a number of complaints against the Bureau and calls for Native people to reject stifling federal control and assert their own authority (see especially chapter 2). Ever the activist, Kellogg investigated bureau misconduct on tribal reservations other than her own, lobbied elected officials for changes, and initiated litigation to redress injustices. To support these activities, Kellogg actively engaged in fundraising, and it is likely that these funds financially compensated her and others with whom she worked. Sometimes she and others held written contracts that clearly outlined this relationship, and other times it was less clear to outsiders. This led to controversy in Oneida, Wisconsin, as some tribal members and federal officials questioned the group's fundraising. All of this contributed to Kellogg's combative nature as she testified.
        In wide-ranging and defiant testimony, Kellogg called for the federal government to be held accountable for its inaction in New York State, listing many of the issues that were to have increasing importance in the years to come--the problems of leasing to non-Natives in Salamanca, New York, the difficulties of jurisdiction when tribal land was bisected by the US-Canada border, the danger of Cayuga termination. She linked the Wisconsin Oneidas to the Haudenosaunee through the Oneida National Committee, through which both she and her husband were retained as paid adviser and attorney. Merritt believed the Kelloggs and others were taking financial advantage of tribal members, testifying that the Bureau of Indian Affairs had "information in our files which shows that they have gone so far as to require these poor helpless Indians to sell their chickens in order to pay for them." He testified that Kellogg and her husband had been arrested for their activities, but under further questioning admitted that they had been exonerated (Congress 4895).
        Merritt's concern for Native people was met with derision from Kellogg. She argued that her fellow tribal members were sophisticated in their understanding of their rights and shrewd in hiring someone to fight for them. She called for Congress to support their broader effort of a "reconstruction program," whereby the Haudenosaunee would incorporate a village at Onondaga to address both fiscal and social concerns of tribal members. Kellogg was clearly referring to her plan of Lolomi, which she said would eventually create a trust from which "all the Indians of the United States" would benefit. Far from taking advantage of Native people, the Oneida National Committee was filling a void left by the inaction of the federal government to uphold their rights, Kellogg asserted. She ridiculed the hypocrisy that the federal government needed to protect tribal members from the Oneida National Committee, but not from private businesses or New York State. At times eloquent, and certainly aware of the effects of her performance in front of the Senate subcommittee, Kellogg defended herself and the Oneida National Committee from Merritt's accusations and also defined Lolomi in terms of self-help:

A propaganda was started on the ground that here were these thieves, who were filling their pockets with money, because we had instituted the policy of self-help, having discovered this protected autonomy though an action in the court. . . . We are sick, all the Indians of the United States, of our being forced into that status practically by the action of the bureau, or everlastingly being {132} submerged like penitentiary wards of the United States Government. . . . We called our original people together, the chiefs of the great confederacy, and we said, "We will take inventory. Let us see what we are able to do." (Congress 4861)

        In casting Lolomi as a plan by which Native people would be self-supporting financially, Kellogg presented Haudenosaunee people as capable and active in directing their lives, provided the federal government acknowledged the unique political status (the "protected autonomy") that they needed to safeguard their collectively held lands. Far from needing protection from the Oneida National Committee, she and others argued, those who contributed funds were thoughtfully asserting their rights in creating places that would eventually benefit all Native Americans.
        During the hearing Kellogg made a show of trying to restrain herself from attacking the Bureau, at times relying on her seemingly unruffled husband to interject calming words during her testimony--brief statements that seem scripted, given that she paused and turned her attention to him at specific points. After Merritt's comment about the "poor, helpless Indians" selling their chickens, Kellogg sarcastically responded that she was "very much concerned about those poor chickens Mr. Merritt referred to" (Congress 4860). She argued that much of the accusations against the Oneida National Committee and their Lolomi village plan were the result of Bureau sabotage and self-serving Native people, whom she painted as agents of the federal government who were brought out to legitimate the work of assimilation ("they put on fine clothes because they have fine jobs"). Particularly outraged by Merritt bringing up the arrests of members of the Oneida National Committee, Kellogg contemptuously dismissed him as one of the Bureau's "anaemic, slimy-fingered, hothouse fellows." Shrewdly recognizing the political space as theater, when she was asked if she had concluded her statement, Kellogg retorted, "I have not concluded it. I have rested it now. I am never through, so far as the Bureau is concerned" (4862).


I have referred to several speeches and testimony by Kellogg in which she sought to gain support for Oneida places. Perhaps readers could imagine her speaking assuredly (even combatively) to the Senate sub-{133}committee in 1929. These speeches, or performances, were an integral part of her vision for Oneida places. Today some Wisconsin Oneidas are reclaiming her ideas. In 2010 the Oneida Social Services building was the site of several performances focused on Oneida history and culture. Sponsored by the Green Bay branch of the American Association of University Women, the Dreamers and Doers events honored a number of leaders, and the main recipient for that year was Oneida tribal member Maria Hinton, a noted linguist and leader who cofounded the Oneida tribal school. An important part of this annual event is the Dreamers and Doers Tour. Over several nights, attendees traveled to various historical sites in the home communities of the honored women and were given a social and political context for several Oneida community leaders and their place in history. Participants, both Native and non-Native, were then treated to performances where Wisconsin Oneida tribal members brought to life honored women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Audience members could ask questions while the performer, still in character, responded. On the Dreamers and Doers Tour, Judith Jourdan portrayed Laura Cornelius Kellogg as a Dreamer. In a performance that stressed her confidence--some might even say arrogance--Jourdan skillfully portrayed Kellogg as someone to be reckoned with, much as she was during her testimony before the Senate in 1929 (see fig. 6).
        Work at the national level, particularly with the Society of American Indians, provided Kellogg an important opportunity to work through her ideas and dreams about Native places, particularly the industrial village plan. She then moved beyond the SAI in her work with her home community to balance modernity with tradition in modern Oneida placemaking. She was very much a Dreamer, but she was also a Doer as well, and her legacy can be seen more concretely in the ways the Oneida reservation continues to be a place of business and industry, self-governance, and an ongoing autonomous relationship with the federal government. Her strategy of maintaining connections to the Oneida homeland through personal connections, litigation, and lobbying continues to be followed today. Kellogg had a wish "to do something great," as she told the New York Tribune in 1903, and the contemporary re-enactments of her life and ideas have helped to ensure that she could deliver on that promise, as tribal members recognized the contributions she has made.
        The Dreamers and Doers performances in 2010 gathered Oneidas


Fig. 6. Judith Jourdan's portrayal of Kellogg in 2010. Photograph by Steven J. Gandy. Reprinted courtesy of the Kalihwisaks.

together to pay respect to individuals who had contributed to their understanding of what it meant to be Oneida, creating moments of Oneida identity and connection that were both fleeting and enduring. Audience members asked questions about Kellogg's work and were asked to consider what implications her work for the land claim might hold for the Wisconsin community. What might the reservation look like without Kellogg and the others, audience members were asked that night. By recognizing the common bonds they shared as Oneidas, an experience that took place in a tribal building--a tribal space--the performances contributed to making Oneida places. By stressing oratory and tradition, and the resiliency and autonomy of Oneidas, these performances prove that Oneida places are created, Oneida places endure, and place-making matters.


Special thanks to my fellow panelists at the SAI Centennial Symposium, Renya Ramirez and Cristina Stanciu (particularly Cristina, who has {135} provided the essential encouragement and support to move this project along), as well as coeditors Beth Piatote and Chadwick Allen. Staff at the Cultural Heritage Department and Division of Land Management of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin (particularly Loretta Metoxen, Nic Reynolds, and Tyler Webster) were very helpful in locating documents and giving valuable feedback. Sara Summers-Lubtke of the Oneida Nation Museum and Dawn Walschinski of the Kalihwisaks secured the necessary permissions for the photos. Susan G. Daniels and Arlen Speights read and commented on multiple draft s. Yaw^ko.


        1. There is a rich literature on placemaking, most notably in the fields of urban planning and geography. Broadly speaking, the term placemaking refers to the design, planning, and management of public spaces. For the purposes of this article, I consider tribal spaces, specifically the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin.
        2. Kellogg said that lolomi was a Hopi word meaning "perfect goodness be upon you."
        3. For an in-depth look at Kellogg's proposal to buy the school, see Stovey 143-75.
        4. For more on the federal policy of allotment and the experiences of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin, see "Dawes Allotment Act, 1887-1897." The piece was prepared by the Oneida Cultural Heritage staff and also includes firsthand accounts of Ida Blackhawk and Jessie Peters and discusses the rapid land loss that resulted from the policy.
        5. For a positive recollection, see Miriam Cornelius in Lewis and McLester, 46. For a negative one, see John A. Skenandore, 304-07.
        6. The early twentieth century saw great changes in Oneida tribal governance of the reservation, moving away from the hereditary system of government in place during much of the nineteenth century. Correspondence from this period refers to tribal council meetings as well as to influential Oneida leaders. Kellogg also became involved in the Oneida National Committee, whose membership went beyond the Wisconsin reservation to include other Oneida people in New York State and elsewhere. In 1936 the Oneida Executive Committee (later changed to the current Oneida Business Committee) was established as the legislative body of the Oneida Tribe, while the Oneida General Tribal Council is the governing body.
        7. In 1919 Superintendent Edgar A. Allen reported on a dispute among the Oneidas about what should be done with the Oneida Boarding School. Letter
{136} to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 5 Oct. 1919, Oneida Nation Department of Land Management (ONDLM). Complaints were made against Kellogg by Eli Skenandie. Letter to J. C. Hart, 17 Jan. 1919, ONDLM.
        8. Letter to Hon. John Barton Payne, 24 June 1920, ONDLM. The letter was signed by Peter Danforth, Joseph Skenandore, Thomas Skenandore, J. M. Cornelius, Thomas Metoxen, L. King, and L. C. Kellogg.
        9. Letter to Secretary of the Interior, 21 May 1920, ONDLM. The committee was made up of President Samuel Plantz of Lawrence College, Attorney F. S. Bradford, Attorney T. H. Ryan, and W. E. Fairfield, MD.
        10. Kellogg represented a group of Oneidas who were known variously as the Oneida Improvement Association, Oneida Advancement Association, and the Oneida National Council. Commissioner Charles Burke to Senator Irvine L. Lenroot, 1 Feb. 1922; letter from Laura Cornelius Kellogg to Commissioner Charles C. Burke, 28 Aug. 1924, ONDLM.
        11. See Stovey. Stovey emphasizes Kellogg, with less emphasis on the Oneida National Committee or its members.
        12. In August 1924 a letter from the Oneida National Committee to Commissioner Charles H. Burke (28 Aug. 1924, ONDLM) protested the sale. Members of the committee included Thomas King, Hira Doxtator, M. N. Powless, and John Powless.
        13. Many Oneida tribal members worked to have the property returned to the Oneidas. Loretta V. Metoxen, Oneida tribal historian, recounts many afternoons she spent with the Catholic bishop of Green Bay informally negotiating to buy the property (she said she "drank quite a bit of tea!"). My grandfather, Manuel Torres Sr., worked at Guardian Angels Orphanage as a custodian and landscaper for many years, transitioning to work for the tribe when the land was sold back to the Oneidas. As a child in the 1970s I remember using the property often, mostly for swimming in a small pond, but thinking of it as an Oneida place, as opposed to a Catholic one.
        14. Kellogg believed that the federal government should honor and protect the unique political status of Native nations, most famously known as "domestic dependent nations" in the Supreme Court decision Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 US (5 Peters) 1 (1831). Kellogg may have accepted the concept of domestic dependent nation, but she clearly believed that Native people should not be in a subservient position to the federal or state government.
        15. See Ackley for a discussion of the ceremony and Kellogg's role.
        16. Senator Irvine Lenroot to Cato Sells, January 31, 1921, ONDLM. The letter quotes at length a letter Lenroot received from Kellogg.



Ackley, Kristina Lyn. "Renewing Haudenosaunee Ties: Laura Cornelius Kellogg and the Idea of Unity in the Oneida Land Claim." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 32.1 (2008): 57-81. Print.

"Asks Indians [to] Live in Model Villages: Woman, Herself of Aboriginal Blood, Urges Government [to] Give Plan Trial." Washington Times 10 May 1914: 8. Print.

The Church's Mission to the Oneidas: Oneida Indian Reservation, Wisconsin. 2nd ed. Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber, 1902. Print.

"Dreamers and Doers," Kalihwisaks 18 Mar. 2010. Print.

Hapgood, Joseph. "Indian Maid in Europe: Her Mission, the Betterment of Dying Race; Iroquois Princess Gives Her Ideas in London; Garden Cities among Others of Her Plans." Los Angeles Times 26 Sept. 1909: II, 14. Print.

Hauptman, Laurence M. "Designing Woman: Minnie Kellogg, Iroquois Leader." Indian Lives: Essays on Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century Native American Leaders. Ed. L. G. Moses and Raymond Wilson. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1985. 159-88. Print.

Holm, Tom. The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era. Austin: U of Texas P, 2005. Print.

"Indian Maid in Europe." Los Angeles Times 26 Sept. 1909. Print.

Lewis, Herbert S., and L. Gordon McLester, eds.. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2005. Print.

Kellogg, Laura M. Cornelius. "Industrial Organization for the Indian." Society of American Indians 43-55. Print.

_ _ _. Our Democracy and the American Indian: A Comprehensive Presentation of the Indian Situation as It Is Today. Kansas City: Burton, 1920. Print.

_ _ _. "Some Facts and Figures on Indian Education." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1 (15 Apr. 1913): 36-46. Print.

Oneida Nation in Wisconsin Division of Land Management (ONDLM). Archives. Ernie Stevens Sr. Collection. Oneida WI.

"One Indian Maiden: Her Literary Plans for the Uplifting of Her Race." New York Tribune 15 Feb. 1903: A5. Reprinted, Society of American Indians. Print.

Society of American Indians. Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians. Washington DC: 1912. Print.

Stovey, Patricia. "Opportunities at Home: Laura Cornelius Kellogg and Village Industrialization." Oneida Voices in the Age of Allotment, 1860-1920. Ed. Laurence M. Hauptman and L. Gordon McLester III. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2006. 143-75. Print.

United States. Congress. Senate Subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs. Survey of Conditions of the Indians of the United States: Hearings on S. Res. 79, New York Indians. 71st Cong., 2nd sess., 1929. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1931. Print.

United States. Dept. of the Interior. Statistics of Indian Tribes, Indian Agencies, and Indian Schools of Every Character. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899. Microform.


A Prescription for Freedom
Carlos Montezuma, Wassaja, and the
Society of American Indians


The presence of Yavapai doctor Carlos Montezuma at the Society of American Indians' initial April 1911 organizational meeting indicates his early optimism about the SAI's capacity to serve as a positive force toward achieving assimilation and emancipation, what he called "freedom," for Native people. At the April meeting several Native luminaries came together in Columbus, Ohio, including Montezuma, Charles Eastman, Laura M. Cornelius, and Henry Standing Bear. As The Proceedings of the First Annual Conference explains, the Society was founded with an agreed-upon aim to serve as a voice for Native people across tribes, since at present the Indian "is allowed no voice in his destiny, for it is the paternal hand of 'the Great White Father' that assumes the right to guide him" (SAI, Report 2). As an organization whose membership would be composed of Native leaders, with non-Natives allowed to participate only as "associates," the Society began its existence with what seemed a stridently freedom-oriented, pro-Indian agenda and declared that it would use this "race organization . . . as the means by which many . . . vexing problems" would be solved (3).1 While Montezuma's attitude concerning the productivity and focus of the Society would shift significantly over the subsequent decade, in early 1911 he endorsed the SAI's founding precepts. By October, however, when the first conference occurred, Montezuma's ambivalence had grown to such a degree that he did not return to Columbus to attend the organization's first large event.
        In examining the founding tenets of the Society, as codified in April 1911, we can see precisely upon which issues Montezuma's growing aggravation with the Society would hinge in the coming years, particularly between 1916 and 1919 (in 1919, the Society shifted in a presumably Montezuma-endorsed direction under President Charles Eastman, {140} elected in September 1918). Aspects of the "purposes and policies" foretell the points of alignment and disunity between Montezuma and the Society that would develop between 1911 and 1922. His correspondence with Society leadership (particularly Arthur C. Parker) reveals his contributing efforts, whereas his own newsletter, Wassaja (published from 1916, after a half-decade of involvement with the SAI, to 1922), captures his points of sharp disagreement with the SAI. One founding policy of note declares that the Society itself would "exercise the right to oppose any movement which appears detrimental to the race" and would encourage "broad and free discussion of all subjects bearing on the welfare of the race" at all "conferences and meeting[s]" (Report 7). In Montezuma's assessment, the SAI came to figure as an organization that could only "meet and discuss."2 As Wassaja's issues of 1916-1919 show, Montezuma saw the SAI's inaction impeding, rather than facilitating, his multifaceted goal of Indian emancipation.
        I begin this study by examining Montezuma's correspondence with and ideological differences from Arthur C. Parker, the SAI's secretary-treasurer and editor of the Society's journal (later "magazine"). Montezuma's profession as a medical doctor informed his disagreements with Parker: he preferred surgically precise action over "discussion." Montezuma's medically informed approach to problem solving, which was based on treatment and cure, marked his relationship with Parker and his broader experience of the SAI as an organization. Other life experiences also created the strong differences in vision between Montezuma and Parker. Montezuma was both an urban Indian (a long-time resident of Chicago) and a person with personal and experiential ties to reservations across the country. As a physician, he served at Ft. Stevenson (South Dakota), at the Western Shoshone agency (Nevada), and at the Colville agency (Washington) between 1889 and 1893. His approach to Native rights issues was also deeply and complexly influenced by his lasting connections to his home Apache communities in San Carlos and Ft. McDowell, Arizona.
        Despite his disagreements, though, Montezuma did believe in the SAI as a collective; he felt that all strong "races" needed organizations that could generate power and political agency. Yet, by 1916, when he saw that freedoms for Native people had not expanded despite the SAI's existence and annual meetings of mostly urban and educated Native people, Montezuma's frustrations drove him to devise his own platform from {141} which he could boldly and unapologetically call for "freedom for the Indians": this platform was his newsletter Wassaja. In Wassaja's first three years, on which I focus in the second half of this study, Montezuma unrelentingly criticized the SAI's elected leadership. His broader focus was the abolition of the federal Indian Bureau. To make the necessity of the bureau's demise clear, he used Wassaja to publicize the real circumstances of Native people's suffering on reservations throughout the United States. A look at Montezuma's founding role in the SAI and his initial three-year assault on the Society's leadership can afford scholars today a more nuanced understanding of Montezuma's attitudes and tactics concerning pan-Indian organization and the absolutist concept of Native "freedom" in the late-1910s.


In her study of pan-Indian movements, Hazel W. Hertzberg characterizes Montezuma's early involvement with the Society as marked by a single-minded focus on the dissolution of the Indian Bureau. Montezuma's open attacks against the bureau were delivered boldly at SAI annual meetings, notably at the 1914 meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. Hertz-berg writes that the "moderate tone" of the platform of the 1914 meeting, coupled with the "SAI's kind words for the Bureau," "further antagonized those who believed the organization was only a puppet of the Bureau and the missionaries" (127). Certainly, one of the loudest voices among those who perceived the SAI as a puppet was Montezuma's.
        By the annual meeting in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1915, Montezuma's feelings concerning what he saw as at best a complacent attitude by the SAI toward the bureau, and at worst a cozy relationship between the two, developed the sharpness that would eventually be expressed on the pages of Wassaja. In Lawrence, Montezuma's emergence as a "radical" member of the SAI was clear, as particularly demonstrated in the speech he delivered at the meeting, entitled "Let My People Go!" (later published in the American Indian Magazine). Of the speech, David Martínez writes that it was "Montezuma's declaration of independence from the status quo. Not only was he fed up with the Indian Bureau and its authoritarian tactics; after four years of meetings, he was also fed up with the SAI's inertia" (112). The speech powerfully begins: "The iron hand of the Indian Bureau has us in charge. The slimy clutches of hor-{142}rid greed and selfish interests are gripping the Indian's property. Little by little the Indian's land and everything else is fading into a dim and unknown realm" (32). With imagery of monsters and iron hands, Montezuma made his provocative and confrontational attitude towards the bureau--and its handmaidens--unmistakable.
        While the more uncompromising and perhaps problematically polemical radical contingent (the so-called abolitionists) of the SAI would take charge of the organization in 1918 with Eastman's election, in 1915 Parker and others were still trying to ensure that the Society retained allegiance to the tenet of its founding platform that insisted on "broad and free discussion of all subjects bearing on the welfare of the race." Such proclamations as Montezuma's--the demand for the immediate dissolution of the Indian Bureau--did not conform to this more measured ideal of Parker's. Hertzberg sees Montezuma's attitude, shared by others in the abolitionist wing, as an adoption of "a simple solution to a complex problem," which was thus "doomed to failure" (178). Parker refers to these ideological divisions in the Quarterly Journal and the American Indian Magazine and points to the acrimony at Society annual meetings. Parker's article "The Fifth Conference," following the 1915 meeting, notes the "dangers and great possibilities of the organization" (282). He writes of the presentations at Haskell during that year's event, where "not every speech was flattering to the Indian Bureau and its employees" (283). Parker could well be alluding here to Montezuma's attitude and speech-making in Lawrence. Obviously, with someone like Arthur C. Parker--a unifier, a "consistent and creative organizer"--Montezuma was bound to clash, as Montezuma's positions were unwavering, and he was not interested in just "discussing" (Hertzberg 176).
        Parker was well aware of the attitude of others whose feelings aligned with Montezuma's in regard to the Society not being aggressive enough, not pro-Indian enough, in its policies and statements concerning the Indian Bureau. In his editorial essay "Are Your Officers Traitors?" for the January-March 1916 issue of the American Indian Magazine, Parker refers to those who believe that Society officers are "working in harmony with the Indian Bureau in matters which are irreconcilable with justice or even improvement for the present status of the Indian proposition" (16). Parker strongly rejects this accusation of complicity with the bureau, stating that the SAI's platform urges "the elimination of the Indian Bureau's system for a commission plan" (17). In another article by Parker {143} in the same issue, "The Indian, the Country and the Government," he explains the "commission plan," which would require a "thorough reorganization" of the bureau so that Indian affairs might be dealt with in an absolutely "non-political" fashion (49). Montezuma could not agree with Parker's alternative to the bureau, this "commission plan," since Montezuma would see the commission as a conciliation and half measure; he also would not agree with the composition of the commission. Parker believed that "educated men" must be trusted with the formation and work of a commission because, as he writes:

In this age of science . . . let us not forget that there is a human science and that it can be applied to the task of race regeneration. With a definite purpose, with a scientific method, with logical application we shall have genuine results, and our laboratory may view its finished product, a vigorous American Indian citizen. (49)

Parker indicates that improvement of the conditions that face Native people could be tackled only by logic, purpose, and academic precision--by educated "experts."
        Montezuma, himself an "educated" expert in many ways, believed in a more complete and (perhaps obliquely) populist approach to "race regeneration." Montezuma's "Let My People Go!" also appears in the January-March 1916 issue of the American Indian Magazine, suggesting that, as editor, Parker strived to ensure that the SAI's founding principle of open debate and discussion was apparent in the pages of the Society's magazine. Montezuma, his name appended with "M.D.," revealing his own education and expertise, similarly employs the rhetoric of scientific modernity on which Parker's essay's conclusion hinges. But Montezuma's scientism is of a very different flavor than Parker's systematic, scholarly variant. Montezuma begins his second paragraph with an allusion to an ill body: "The Indian's prognosis is bad--unfavorable, no hope" (31). In an essay that began by lamenting the loss of "the Indian's property," Montezuma the doctor equates, in his second paragraph, Indian Bureau graft with the systemic illness that has befallen Native people across tribes. With his recognizable rhetorical amplitude and speed, Montezuma declares that preceding this "bad" prognosis, there were ample "visible" "foreboding prodromic signs," all predicting that the Indians' property would be "taken from them," their money in the "United States Treasury" would be "disposed of," and that they would "have no {144} rights, no place to lay their heads" (31). And what will the Indian Bureau do to help? he asks. "Nothing, but drop them" (31).
        Montezuma's approach to ending persisting wardship for Native people was an in situ one. He hoped to immediately attend the ill body and eradicate all contaminants, namely, the hobbling superstructure of "Bureauism." Such was a plague that struck Native people in the places where they lived. The contrast with Parker's bureaucratic, "laboratory" proposal is obvious. Montezuma writes, "If we depend upon the employees of the Indian Bureau for our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, we wait a long time. They are too busy looking after the machinery of Indian Affairs; they have no time to look ahead; they have no time to feel the pulse of the Indian" (32). This distinction between one who inspects machinery and one who "feel[s] the pulse" clearly positions Montezuma as this pulse taker. The attitude that characterizes "Let My People Go!" is the one that marks the first issue of Wassaja, which appears a few months later in 1916. Between 1916 and 1919 (the period that is the height of Montezuma's opposition to SAI leadership), Wassaja figures as a venue in which Montezuma could freely air his disagreements with the Society while also constructing the newsletter as a pan-tribal textual domain of unapologetic protest.


Hertzberg refers to Wassaja as a "personal publication" in which Montezuma "passionately attacked the Society of American Indians" (142). Rochelle Ranieri Zuck considers the newsletter's larger agenda and value, declaring that it was a "pamphlet" that should be studied not just because of its "fiery" commentary on the SAI and the bureau but because it can help us understand better the "understudied genre" of American Indian journalism pre-1960. David R. M. Beck calls attention to Wassaja as a "monthly newsletter" focused on "the abolition of the Indian Service," featuring over its seven years three analysis-worthy mastheads. While there were four mastheads, not three, Beck is right to point out the evolution of sentiment across them: the first shows "the Indian Bureau crushing Indians," while the second and third "show Indian people fighting back" (122). The fourth (1921-1922), however, which Beck does not address, represents one older Indian still locked in a pillory while another salutes the morning sun for its potential promise of freedom. {145} Susan Schweik refers to this "activist newsletter" as a publication dedicated "issue after issue to advocacy for immediate national citizenship for all Native Americans" (422). Scott Richard Lyons, in his brief reference to Wassaja, situates the newsletter among other SAI "mechanisms," as he terms them, thereby suggesting that Wassaja was but one SAI-related publication used by the Society in the interest of "public formation" (148).
        Like Beck's commentary on the Wassaja mastheads, Lyons's remarks about Wassaja's SAI affiliation are partially misleading. For Lyons to indicate that even though Wassaja was "dissenting" and "unauthorized," it was somehow an SAI "mechanism" effaces both Wassaja's broader purpose and obscures the reality of its editorial independence. While Montezuma did use Wassaja to both advertise SAI meetings and criticize SAI leadership, Wassaja's greater significance lies in its existence, as Peter Iverson notes, as a forum in which Montezuma "carried on the good fight against the Bureau and for a place for Indians in the America of the twentieth century" (109). In Wassaja Montezuma spoke "out freely," wrote "slashing editorials," and printed "news of Indian life from around the nation" (Iverson 106). As these various comments on Wassaja reveal, it is a publication noteworthy not only because Montezuma was its editor and principal author, but also because it serves current scholars as a valuable resource in the study of pan-Indian community formation, activist Native journalism, and Indigenous polemical rhetoric.
        April 1916 saw the release of the first issue of Wassaja. Montezuma immediately revealed his intention for the publication: to make "acting as one" possible, a call delivered earlier in "Let My People Go!" As he writes in the "Introduction" to the inaugural issue, Wassaja's purpose is to "present the real conditions, for the public, and for those in power to consider and be in position to remedy the appalling slavery and handicap of the Indian race" (1). While he invokes a broad audience in this statement, he establishes a presumed readership throughout the issue constituted of Native people primarily, along with those non-Natives who might be able to absorb the urgency and pointedness of his claims. Without equivocating, Montezuma declares in his introduction:

This monthly signal rays is to be published only so long as the Indian Bureau exists. Its sole purpose is Freedom for the Indians throughout [sic] the abolishment of the Indian Bureau. . . . It is {146} supported by subscriptions and by private contributions from Redmen and everybody who has a heart interest in the cause. . . . Its object is not to form a society, but to free Indians by exposing the actual conditions of their imprisonment. (1)3

Montezuma's reference to "form[ing] a society" is a direct challenge to the SAI, which in its very founding purposes declared a commitment to "promoting" positive changes for Native peoples in rural and urban places and across class and educational lines. The jab in the first paragraph of Wassaja's first issue to the "form[ing]" of societies indicates that the SAI was, in Montezuma's opinion, stuck in the circular process of "meeting and discussing"--words he directly uses to describe the Society's activities in the second issue in May 1916--at the expense of pursuing direct actions that might "free Indians."
        As his Apache name connotes, Montezuma hoped to shine a light on injustice and to "signal" or "beckon" others to join his effort. Since he employed the term "my people" in his "Let My People Go!" speech, one might conclude that Montezuma establishes a proprietary vantage, perhaps a superior stance, relative to the Native people he hoped to aid with Wassaja. Yet, as a physician who compulsorily considered the sick "his patients," thus using a possessive pronoun, Montezuma established himself as simultaneously a member of the "race" group suffering from a potentially fatal ailment and a person who might potentially bring to this group a remedy, in this case through the ardent efforts of exposure and analysis delivered in each issue of Wassaja.
        Montezuma does not often refer directly to his profession as a doctor in the pages of Wassaja (other than self-identifying as "Dr. Montezuma"), instead employing oblique comments or medical metaphors. An example of such is this statement from the "Arrow Points" section of the October 1916 Wassaja: "The Indian Bureau was created to be an anti-toxin for the Indians, but it has turned into a poison virus" (3). Yet, there are instances where he uses examples drawn directly from his career. The following wisdom comes from his experiences with patients, however cynical it might sound to us: "The best time to get your money from a patient is when he is very sick. If you present your bill after he gets well, he will tell you to 'go to the place where it does not snow.' So Indians, strike while the iron is hot to have the Indian Office abolished[,] which means your freedom and true citizenship" ("While the Iron" 2). {147} By "striking while the iron is hot," Montezuma means that mid-1918 was an opportune time when global sentiment, as a result of the war, was trained on "freedom, equal rights and humanity"; in this climate, he felt that Native people could well justify their own emancipation and connect it to the struggle of peoples in Europe. By using his own professional experience with "striking while the iron is hot" to receive compensation for a service provided, Montezuma strives to prove that if one waits, there is no incentive for compensatory action from the other party. Yet while Montezuma arrays himself in such anecdotes as an experienced leader/healer due to his profession, a self-assessment also reflected in the self-referential images on his Wassaja's masthead (those between June 1917 and December 1920), his root hope was to channel the interests of a diverse people whose education, class, and home circumstances, though they might exhibit some stark differences, revealed similar suffering at the hands of the Indian Bureau. His deliberate reach across these groups allows his approach to contrast with the organizing and in-practice ideology of the SAI leadership in the late-1910s and early-1920s.
        As Lucy Maddox has pointed out, Arthur C. Parker could be "condescending and simplistic" is his correspondence with reservation Indians (105). While Parker stressed that he had not "forgotten the poor uneducated Indians on reservations," his main purpose in the publications and conventions of the SAI was "to appeal to the white man's intelligence so that he will be [the Indians'] friend" (Maddox 105). Maddox explains that Parker, in various contexts, made it clear that the audience for the American Indian Magazine "lived somewhere other than the reservation" (105). While Parker trained his focus on educated and usually urban Native leaders and their white "friends," Montezuma, himself educated and very much "urban" in his residence in Chicago, managed to insist upon an agenda of expansive embrace as necessary for the SAI. Other SAI leaders, such as Gertrude Bonnin, also believed that a focus on reservation Indians needed to be more central to the SAI, but it was Montezuma whose activities and textual products, namely Wassaja, made this belief both plain and very public.4 Montezuma positioned reservation Indians as central and their concerns as the most demonstrative indices of the need for such legislative and social changes.
        Still, Montezuma's calls for the dissolution of reservations would seem to position him against many reservation-based Native people and against Native sovereignty. Many scholars today have read him this way. {148} But in the second issue of Wassaja Montezuma makes his rationale for this demand quite clear: "reservations were established as a temporary means of fixing a locality for the Indians where they would be protected from the marauding wild westerner of the plains" ("Repression" 1). The institution of reservations persisted not because it benefited Native people but because it "furnishes a living to a large number of persons," non-Native agents and bureaucrats who specifically relied on the continuation of the reservation system (2).5 Montezuma's declared anti-reservationism has been criticized by Robert Allen Warrior and William Willard, to give but two examples; Willard even attaches the multivalent phrase "colonial surrogate" to Montezuma. Yet, Wassaja itself complicates such assessments, and it is this more contextualized approach to Montezuma, within his body of written work, that other scholars are now pursuing. Zuck, for example, positions Montezuma not as one among other "Christian and secular assimilationist [writers]" of the SAI, in Warrior's phrase, but as a Native activist-journalist who via Wassaja "create[d] a space for intertribal dialogue . . . to combat the divisions fostered by institutions such as the bia" (Warrior 4; Zuck 73). What Montezuma strived for, I argue, was both intertribal and sovereign, a space of Native activist protest wherein Native people could share their own voices and not be reduced to performative "types"; his Wassaja is this space.
        Despite his vocalizations against reservations in Wassaja and as an orator, Montezuma himself sought enrollment among the San Carlos Apaches in 1922 and had long fought for the land, water, and farming rights of "his people" at the San Carlos and Ft. McDowell agencies in Arizona. Biographical realities such as these indicate that what might seem unilateral anti-reservation polemic cannot simply be taken as such; Montezuma believed fervently that he gained something ineffable from being with "his people." While he believed that reservations hobbled Native assimilation, he personally felt an insuperable connection to his homeland. One particularly relevant letter (June 24, 1922, from Montezuma to Joe Latimer) demonstrates the complexity and passion of his position:

Ever since then [1901, when he first visited] I have been affiliated with San Carlos in one way or another. My affiliation with San Carlos Indians may help request, but there is a stronger tie that {149} binds me to San Carlos, and that is, I belong there" [emphasis in original]. Another thing that seems to trouble the Indian office--that I am a citizen. The Indian Bureau does not like to see Indians as citizens; they want them to be wards forever. As an Apache Indian, I am proud of my American citizenship, but what has that got to do with my rights as approved by the Indians of San Carlos? . . . I told the truth of my father and mother being San Carlos Indians. If I am not an Apache, there is [sic] no such Indians as Apache Indians . . . You can see they are trying to bring me in with the McDowell Indians. The truth is that most of the McDowell Indians were enrolled on San Carlos reservation before they went to McDowell. From the Bureau's viewpoint, I am under-rated and do not deserve my request, because of my citizenship, and for actively striving to aid my people nearly half a century.

The schism that this long passage reveals, between the personal and the political, might, for some, discredit Montezuma. Frederick Hoxie suggests, however, that the schism simply must be accepted: Montezuma "never worked out the contradictions of his position[.] He believed the Indian Office was incapable of providing . . . encouragement, but implied in his writing that even though the government agency's efforts had been a failure, some source of assistance would nevertheless be needed" (92).6 This complexity is sometimes belied by Montezuma's aggressive and absolutist statements, which seem flatly anti-reservation. Despite Montezuma's possession of personal and anecdotal information about the various tribe-and reservation-specific challenges Native people faced, in Wassaja he strived to avoid subdividing Native people by tribe. Wassaja aimed to serve as a discussion and activism site for a range of issues and crises, most of which could be attributed to one single source: the Indian Bureau and its rampant inefficacy and hostility to Indian uplift. Because the SAI's position regarding the bureau was less unilateral, the SAI often became the focus of Montezuma's invective.


After its first year in 1916, Wassaja's mission gained complexity and breadth, and the polemics specifically against the SAI appeared, disappeared, and reappeared, a reality that reflects Montezuma's continued {150} involvement with the Society despite his strong disagreements with platform issues over the years. From its first issue to its final issue in November 1922, Wassaja regularly mentioned the SAI, ranging from strident criticism between 1916 and 1918, renewed hope between 1919 and 1921, and returned doubt in 1922. In this final section, I offer an overview of Montezuma's particular engagement with the SAI via the pages of Wassaja, indicating his initial ideological difference from Parker and other so-called accommodationists. When the general tenor of the Society's attitude toward the Indian Bureau eventually shifted to a position more in line with Montezuma's, we see him laud the Society as finally seizing its early promise. By 1922, though, Montezuma's doubts about the Society return, which he conveys in Wassaja with solemnity and disappointment.
        Letters between Parker and Montezuma in 1915 and 1916 reveal that these men attempted to retain civility despite their disagreements concerning strategy and practicality. Parker's main objection to Montezuma's unilateralism concerning bureau dissolution was that Montezuma's approach to Native "freedom" was, at its core, unfeasible. Whereas Montezuma's rhetorical tactics in Wassaja were direct, unapologetic, and accusatory, Parker erred on the side of caution. In his letter to Montezuma of March 1, 1915, he explains that he published an article by Montezuma in the Quarterly Journal "just as [he] wrote it with the single exception that personal reference to the Commissioner was eliminated" (Papers). Montezuma would interpret such editorial changes as signaling conciliation; Parker saw such decisions as necessitated by practicality. Parker explains to Montezuma that "there will be a time, no doubt, when it will be all right to mention names, but just at present as a matter of good policy," a better approach is to "lay low and gather evidence." A few months earlier, in a January 22, 1915, letter, Parker had encouraged Montezuma not to criticize the "present Indian Commissioner" directly in print and indicated that Montezuma's own mentor, Richard Henry Pratt, agreed: "the General's advice to me the other day [was] not to commence fire in our magazine" (Papers). Montezuma's unilateralism continued, unabated, and on April 7 Parker explains to Montezuma that he too hoped for "Freedom for the Indian"--Montezuma's proposed theme for the 1915 SAI conference in Lawrence, Kansas--but that this cannot be simply achieved, as the Indian Bureau cannot be abolished until "the government has fulfilled its obligations in the way of treaties, trust funds and {151} other contracts" (Papers). Because of this persisting entanglement, Parker would not endorse immediate dissolution of the bureau. He explains this again in an April 26 letter to Montezuma, appending statements of practicality with the declaration that he has "constantly refused to identify myself with the work of the Bureau." Nevertheless, the bureau cannot be instantly eradicated, as it has great "power . . . over the land and financial rights of [Native] people" and it has power "for doing good through the schools" (Papers).
        All of these "practical" matters are dismissed by Montezuma. His mantra in Wassaja--"Liberty!"--might thus appear naively simplistic as compared to Parker's more paced approach. But Montezuma's comparatively "simple" plan signals his foundational conviction that other matters (education, trust fund issues, other contracts) might be sorted out after the dissolution of the bureau, since this particular bureaucratic monster had not addressed these lingering concerns during its long existence and had instead worsened conditions for Native people. There was, Montezuma believed, no incentive for the bureau to act, to do right by Native people; it persisted in a state of slothful entrenchment. So, in 1916 Montezuma used Wassaja to engage fully with the Indian Bureau and, when necessary, the SAI. In a sign of the difference in philosophy between himself and Parker, Montezuma unabashedly named names.
        In October 1916 Montezuma writes in the "Arrow Points" section that SAI "Ex-President Coolidge . . . says that he can be loyal to the Indian race and at the same time serve the Indian Bureau. WASSAJA wonders if he serves God and the Devil the same way" (1). A few pages later, in the continuation of "Arrow Points," he asserts his belief that the SAI weakens resolutions related to the bureau because they are crafted in an un-Indianlike way, as they are loaded up with other issues. To "elaborate at length . . . gets one into deep water and weakens the main issue. That is not the Indian way of expressing himself." Montezuma favors unapologetic succinctness and clarity. In addition to the SAI's inability to craft resolutions in such a way, Montezuma declares, in boldface, that "THEIR ELECTION OF OFFICERS IS A LITTLE SHADY" (3). In the December 1916 article "Preparing Indians for Freedom Is Foolishness," he accuses the SAI of not believing in Native people's capacity to function as free people. Presumably regarding the persistence of reservations and Indian schools, Montezuma argues that such institutions "keep [the Indian] in prison with the object of preparing him to meet the world so that freedom will not hurt him so badly" (3). "That is precisely the {152} way it is proposed to free the Indians, by the Society of American Indians," Montezuma writes; "It does not take much thought to see the foolishness of this method of setting a prisoner free" (3). While, as I have shown, Wassaja's sole purpose was not the delivery of anti-SAI polemic, direct attacks at the SAI can be located easily in the pages of Wassaja alongside other regular features.
        Obviously, Montezuma was not one to equivocate when it came to airing his disagreements with the SAI. Yet he used Wassaja still to promote SAI conferences because he felt, despite his disagreements with leadership, that the organization had merit and that many benefits could accrue as a result of Native people from various tribes gathering as one force. His announcement of the 1917 SAI conference (which he announced for Minneapolis, though the location would be changed to Oklahoma City, and then the conference would be canceled altogether) indicates his continuing faith in the positive possibilities of a "race organization" such as the SAI:

WASSAJA has written a great deal against--not the Society--those who are steering the Society, because they are working with the Indian office. . . . If we are progressive, then let us see each tribe in the United States represented at Minneapolis. Just think what that would be to the aboriginal American! . . . The true Americans are not all dead. Let us show that we are alive by our presence at Minneapolis. ("Next Conference" 2, emphasis in original)

Montezuma was very disappointed that the SAI meeting of 1917 was canceled because of the World War.
        In the climate of wartime, Montezuma sought to address issues of Americanization vis-à-vis the problems of Indigenous emancipation. Employing resonant terms like "savagery" (to distinguish so-called Native "savages" from those fighting brutally to the death on European battlefields) and "melting pot" (referring to the Carter Bill of 1918 as not allowing Native people to immediately enter the "melting pot" of freedom), Montezuma ensured that Wassaja was up-to-date, politically relevant, and unrelenting in its identification of those Montezuma assessed as antagonists to the cause of Native "freedom." By treating Native people differently than "other Americans," the Indian Office functioned as supremely autocratic, and the SAI was of no help to the Indians in standing up to such autocracy:


A law for each nationality in America would be very much un-American; then why should this be done with the Indian race? What will the cunning Indian Office spring up next in order to use the Indians? Who are its helpers? The Society of American Indians, the Indian Rights Association, the Indian Friends and the Missionaries. It is too bad to pounce upon these splendid organizations. But WASSAJA would not be true to his race if he did not. They are the very people from which the Indians expected the most help, but they are mum and stiffened with pride. ("Truth" 1)

Yet, by April 1918 Montezuma could sense that the "faction" of the SAI with which he might affiliate himself was in the ascendancy, as he writes in the "Arrow Points" section blurb "Indian Factions": "There is a faction in the Society of American Indians. It is clear-cut. One side favors the Indian Office, its domination over the Indians and its reorganization. (They are in power now.) The other side is for the abolishment of the Indian Office, for freedom and true citizenship for all the Indians" (3). At the September 1918 meeting in Pierre, South Dakota, Montezuma's "faction" secured leadership of the SAI. In the January 1919 issue Montezuma published a letter, "To Dear Friend and Fellow Member," from new SAI president Charles Eastman indicating the sea change in the Society regarding its attitude toward the bureau. Eastman writes that "the mass of Indian people" suspected that the Indian Bureau had had a "controlling interest" in the activities of the Society. But, with his election as president, he would lead the Society toward what he takes as his and the Society's "ultimate project": "THE FREEDOM OF THE INDIAN FROM BONDAGE" (4, emphasis in original).
        Though Eastman's presidency would last but one year and Montezuma's faction's strength was also short-lived (partially a result of what Hertzberg sees as the impossibility of their goals), Montezuma's treatment of the SAI in the pages of Wassaja would remain comparatively favorable until the very final issues of the newsletter, when once again Montezuma reveals himself as opposed to the SAI leadership and as "disappointed" in the annual meeting of 1922. The incidences of mention of the SAI decreased significantly, with the only consistent references being announcements of SAI annual meetings.
        In 1919, however, Montezuma was in a celebratory mood about the Society. He exclaimed that now the Society could move away from in {154} action toward action, away from simple and endless discussion toward solutions. He envisioned the Society, under new leadership, as redefining one of its foundational policies, the Society's commitment to "broad and free discussion of all subjects bearing on the welfare of the race," as a necessary antecedent to aggressive political agitation and action. In April 1919 he brims with confidence regarding the SAI's future under its new leadership, as he writes in "Choose Ye the Day!": "It is certain that the Society of American Indians is on the right road to face the foe, namely the Indian Bureau. The S. A. I. is earnest in the matter" (1). Montezuma proceeds to encourage all Wassaja readers to attend the next conference; all "should speed the news that we are going to have a great gathering to discuss, and at the same time, act upon questions that need our help. Waiting on the Indian Bureau is like waiting for the devil to get us to heaven" (1, emphasis added). Finally, Montezuma believed, action by the SAI would secure freedom for Native people.

While Montezuma's prescribed "cure" to Native suffering struck some as improbable and impractical, his belief in the necessity for this cure was tightly tied to his profession as a physician. Of course, the dissolution of the Indian Bureau was not achieved by the new leadership of the SAI, and the SAI itself failed to survive more than four years beyond Montezuma's 1919 statement of faith, yet Wassaja represents the passion that Montezuma unendingly poured into the cause of Native emancipation from what he saw as hobbling wardship. As related to the Society of American Indians in particular, Wassaja reveals Montezuma's ardent dedication to the pan-Indian cause, a dedication evidenced by his vociferous criticisms and celebrations of the Society in his newsletter. His treatment of the SAI, as we have seen, directly corresponded to the Society's sympathy for or antipathy toward his own long-avowed prescription for "freedom for the Indians."


I appreciate the support I have received from the following organizations: the South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA), the Newberry Library, and Brigham Young University's Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. Short-and long-term fellowships from these entities facilitated the research for this project. I also appreciate the helpful {155} comments of Cari Carpenter and Cristina Stanciu following my presentation of an early version of this study at the Native American Literature Symposium (NALS) in April 2012 at Isleta Pueblo.


        1. Scott Richard Lyons addresses the role of the "race" concept within the SAI, as opposed to other unifying principles such as "culture" or "nation." He notes Hazel Hertzberg's analysis of the Columbus conference proceedings, which reveal the power of the "biological definition of 'the Indian race'" over SAI leaders; this power was so complete that "references to race proliferated" and other group-formation notions (as mentioned, "culture" or "nation") did not emerge (Lyons 150). "Considering the historical moment and education backgrounds of [SAI] participants," Lyons writes, "'race' seemed more plausible than culture (to which no serious attention would be paid), and so SAI formed a public based on biology" (150). We can see the imprint of this racialized "public formation" on Montezuma's writing, as he too wields "race" as a unifying concept.
        2. In the May 1916 issue of Wassaja Montezuma poetically refers to this "meeting and discussing" propensity. He presents the SAI as blithely naive: "The sky is clear and we meet only to discuss. / There is nothing wrong, only we meet to discuss. / It is so nice to meet and discuss" ("Clear Cut" 4).
        3. In the versions of Wassaja I referenced, some in hard copy at the Newberry Library and some in the Montezuma Papers microfilm reels (which I used at the Brigham Young University library, but which are more broadly available), there exists in the hard copy of issue 1 some hand-writing, annotation, and arrows, such as the line-through on "throughout." It is unclear who made these annotations.
        4. The Society of American Indians papers include correspondence between Gertrude Bonnin and Arthur C. Parker that reveals Bonnin's attention to reservation-based Native people as her involvement with the SAI grew. Like Montezuma, she believed that the needs of people on reservations should figure centrally in the SAI's activities. She tells Parker, in a letter on April 15, 1916, that in her work as secretary of the SAI the concerns of the people at Ft. Duchesne were paramount. In particular, her work in community service leadership at Ft. Duchesne gave her "an opportunity to assist in this great work for our race."
        5. Montezuma's 1905 A Review of Commissioner Leupp's Interview in the New York Daily Tribune indicates the early clarity of Montezuma's convictions concerning reservations and assimilation and offers us another, earlier published text in which Montezuma lays out his philosophy and his prescription for resolution. In the thirteen-page pamphlet, Montezuma addresses many issues he
{156} will take up later, relative to his involvement with the SAI and in Wassaja. In the pamphlet, Montezuma endorses, and wishes Leupp had the courage to endorse, "the complete abolition of the reservation system, including, of course, the Indian Bureau" (3). "But," says Montezuma, "this is not what the Commissioner has in mind" (3). With the persistence of the reservation system, the Indian will be "imprisoned . . . by the more artful fellows or his superior outside pale-face . . . because, in his confinement, the Indian is mentally and physically in a fixed state of helplessness to resist encroachments upon his rights" (3). Montezuma does insert some medical metaphor into his appeals for abolition of the bureau. Leupp endorses a "bolt and screw . . . remedy" to the problems on reservations, failing to see that his proposed measures "will no more effect a cure of the reservation evil than the deadening of sensibility to pain will eradicate disease" (3).
        6. In Talking Back to Civilization, Hoxie writes that Montezuma sought enrollment at Ft. McDowell, yet Montezuma's own letters reveal that he in fact sought enrollment among the San Carlos Apaches (see, for example, his letter to Joe Latimer cited in the text). Peter Iverson corroborates this information, that Montezuma sought enrollment at San Carlos, not Ft. McDowell (see Iverson 146-47).


Beck, David R. M. "Developing a Voice: The Evolution of Self-Determination in an Urban Indian Community." Wicazo Sa Review 17.2 (Fall 2002): 117-41. Print.

Bonnin, Gertrude. "Letter to Arthur C. Parker." 15 Apr. 1916. SAI, Papers of the Society of American Indians. Microfilm.

Eastman, Charles. "To Dear Friend and Fellow Member." Wassaja 3.10 (Jan. 1919): 4. Papers. Microfilm.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Hoxie, Frederick E., ed. Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era. Boston: Bedford, 2001. Print.

Iverson, Peter. Carlos Montezuma and the Changing World of American Indians. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1982. Print.

Lyons, Scott Richard. "The Incorporation of the Indian Body: Peyotism and the Pan-Indian Public, 1911-1923." Rhetoric, the Polis, and the Global Village: Selected Papers from the 1998 Thirtieth Anniversary Rhetoric Society of America Conference. Ed. C. Jan Swearingen and Dave Pruett. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1999. 147-55. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race, and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2006. Print.

Martínez, David. Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society P, 2009. Print.

Montezuma, Carlos. "Arrow Points." Wassaja 1.7 (Oct. 1916): 1-4. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "Arrow Points: Indian Factions." Wassaja 3.1 (Apr. 1918): 3. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "Choose Ye the Day!" Wassaja 4.1 (Apr. 1919): 1-2. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "Clear Cut Attitude of Procedure of the Society of American Indians at the Lawrence Conference as Seen by Wassaja." Wassaja 1.2 (May 1916): 4. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "Introduction." Wassaja 1.1 (Apr. 1916): 1. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "Let My People Go!" American Indian Magazine 4.1 (Jan.-Mar. 1916): 32-34. Google Books. Web.

_ _ _. "Letter to Joe Latimer." 24 June 1922. Carlos Montezuma Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago. Print.

_ _ _. "Next Conference of S. A. I." Wassaja 2.1 (Apr. 1917): 2. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "Preparing Indians for Freedom Is Foolishness." Wassaja 1.9 (Dec. 1916): 3. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "The Repression of the Indian." Wassaja 1.2 (May 1916): 1-3. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. A Review of Commissioner Leupp's Interview in the New York Daily Tribune. 1905. Carlos Montezuma Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago. Print.

_ _ _. "The Truth Is Coming to Light." Wassaja 2.12 (Mar. 1918): 1-2. Papers. Microfilm.

_ _ _. "While the Iron Is Hot, Strike." Wassaja 1.7 (Oct. 1916): 2. Papers. Microfilm.

Papers of Carlos Montezuma, MD, including the Papers of Maria Keller Montezuma Moore and the Papers of Joseph W. Latimer. Ed. John William Larner Jr. Reel 6. Scholarly Resources Inc., 1984. Microfilm.

Parker, Arthur C. "Are Your Officers Traitors?" American Indian Magazine 4.1 (1916): 15-18. Google Books. Web.

_ _ _. "The Fift h Conference." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 3.4 (1915): 281-83. Google Books. Web.

_ _ _. "The Indian, The Country and The Government." American Indian Magazine 4.1 (1916): 38-50. Google Books. Web.

Schweik, Susan. "Disability and the Normal Body of the (Native) Citizen." Social Research: An International Quarterly 78.2 (2011): 417-42. Print.

Society of American Indians. Papers of the Society of American Indians. Microfilm.

_ _ _. Report of the Executive Council on the Proceedings of the First Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians. Washington DC: 1912. Print.

Warrior, Robert Allen. Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1994. Print.

Willard, William. "A Study of Colonial Surrogates and Indigenous Others." Wicazo Sa Review 9.2 (1993): 70-78. Print.

Zuck, Rochelle Ranieri. "'Yours in the Cause': Readers, Correspondents, and the Editorial Politics of Carlos Montezuma's Wassaja." American Periodicals 22.1 (2012): 72-93. Print.


Plank 3
To exercise the right to oppose
any movement which appears
detrimental to the race.


{blank page}


The Peyote Controversy and
the Demise of the Society of
American Indians


The Society of American Indians was not a long-lived organization. During its existence it was beset by a series of problems, including insufficient funds, personality conflicts, if not outright factionalism, and significant differences on policy issues. One such issue was the SAI response to the emergence and expansion of the Peyote faith, known as the Native American Church after 1918. The SAI took an official position in support of the criminalization of the use and possession of peyote. However, since its founding, the SAI included Peyotists as members and others who were supporters, such as attorney Thomas Sloan (Omaha), who served as president, and Francis LaFlesche (Omaha). Individual members were on both sides of this issue; for example, Gertrude Bonnin, an important SAI official, was a leading advocate for the criminalization of peyote. It proved to be a difficult issue since compromise was virtually impossible. One was either for or against the criminalization of the use and possession of peyote, creating internal discord that contributed to the Society's demise.
        Peyote, a small cactus, has been used as a religious sacrament, or "medicine" as it is commonly called, for hundreds of years in Mesoamerica. The top is cut off and dried and is sometimes referred to as a peyote button. It may be chewed, made into a tea, or ground into granular form and, with the addition of water, ingested during peyote services. The use of peyote as a sacrament spread north into what is now Texas and Oklahoma and developed into a religious complex in the 1870s and 1880s on the Kiowa-Comanche Reservation. As the Peyote faith expanded throughout the southern and northern Plains, it came under assault by federal and state governments and by many nongovernmental organizations, which believed it threatened their assimila-{162}tion, "civilizing," and Christianizing agendas. As Peyotism emerged, it developed a moral and ethical system to guide its members along the so-called Peyote Road. This included a prohibition against alcohol, since it was believed peyote was a manifestation of God that had the power to heal, especially to cure the disease of alcoholism. Peyotism continued to spread throughout the twentieth century, providing a degree of spiritual and cultural autonomy to its members. It also developed variations in its nightlong service, such as the Big Moon, Half-Moon, and Cross-Fire versions, the last incorporating elements of Christianity. As a defense against legal assaults, Peyotists sought constitutional protection. In 1918 Oklahoma Peyotists incorporated as the Native American Church, followed by similar incorporations throughout the western states. Today there are more than three hundred thousand members. Most belong to either the Native American Church of North America or the Azee' Bee Nahaghá of Diné (Navajo) Nation, the peyote community of the Diné.1
        The peyote issue was not mentioned at the SAI's inaugural conference in Columbus, Ohio. The controversy over peyote was just becoming a national issue, although the Office of Indian Affairs was already expressing concern and looking for ways to stop peyote distribution. After the conference Arthur Parker wrote to Charles E. Dagenett (Peoria) that he had received two types of criticisms of the SAI. One was a suspicion of government control; the other was a suspicion that the Society might be too "pagan" in its sympathy toward the "mescal-peyote element." He explained why Sloan was feared by some, especially the missionaries, for his sympathy for the so-called "mescal [peyote] eaters," and that this antagonism toward Sloan would have a negative effect on the SAI. Parker later sent a letter to SAI president Sherman Coolidge, pointing out that they were being accused of having exponents of the "Mescal religion" among their members.2
        Among those in attendance at the second national conference, also in Columbus, was William "Pussyfoot" Johnson, a former employee of the Indian Office. In his presentation Johnson mentioned peyote only once, but his presence alone would have been discomforting to Peyotists. He had spent several years in south Texas buying and destroying peyote under the guise that it was covered by the 1897 Indian Prohibition Act that outlawed "intoxicants" for American Indians. He claimed that peyote was an intoxicant and, like alcohol, should be regulated; however, possession of peyote was not illegal, although a campaign to make it so had {163} begun. The fear was that many SAI members, especially the associate members, and various organizations supported the eradication of the Peyote faith. The SAI needed their support to accomplish its goals (Johnson 207).
        Thomas Sloan, who had been chair of the temporary Executive Council, was elected first vice president at the second convention, but he stepped down, partially as the result of rumors about questionable activities in his past. The Executive Council, however, appointed him as the SAI's first attorney. Oliver Lamere, a well-known Peyotist, was elected to the advisory board. At the 1913 national conference in Denver, he presented a paper on the "Indian Culture of the Future." He did not mention peyote, but he outlined a plan that today one would call cultural pluralism. He wanted Indians to engage in the civic life of America, but to keep what was good in Indian cultures, such as ethical and moral teachings, something a Peyotist would support.
        Peyote people were part of the SAI from the beginning. In hindsight it seems inevitable that peyote would become a contentious issue, especially since Parker was involved with various organizations that were part of the assault on Peyotism. For example, he corresponded with Samuel Brosius, attorney for the Indian Rights Association (IRA), who was lobbying Congress to criminalize the possession of peyote. They discussed how they could get the government to list peyote as an intoxicant. Parker's concern was that Peyote people would not associate with Christian missionaries. Parker went out of his way to convince missionaries that Christian issues were part of SAI conferences, pointing out the active participation of Christian members. Henry Roe Cloud also supported a similar strategy. He wanted the Indian Office to simply declare peyote an intoxicant and any objection could become a test case in court.3 Parker's views are essential to understanding the development of the controversy. As long-time secretary-treasurer and as editor of the SAI Quarterly Journal, he was in contact with many people. His opinion was significant, since it affected the opinions of others. It seemed at first that he was concerned about the image of the SAI among associate members and potential new members. He was certainly aware of the view that peyote was a dangerous drug, but he also was aware that others saw it as beneficial. His close friend and SAI member Reverend Joseph K. Griffis (Osage), also known as Tahan, related his recent experiences on the Omaha Reservation where he spoke with many people and attended a nightlong {164} Peyote service. He said that some of the worst men on the reservation had been changed by "peyote worship."4 Parker also had cordial relations with Peyotists who were SAI members. He exchanged letters with Lamere and Hensley (both Ho-Chunks/Nebraska), never mentioning peyote but discussing ways they could work together to achieve the aims of the SAI. Hensley was quite renowned within the Peyote community. He helped develop the Cross-Fire variation of Peyote services and had traveled widely extolling the virtues of the Peyote faith.
        Parker was also aware of various organizations, such as the IRA, Board of Catholic Indian Missions, the YMCA, and the Lake Mohonk Conference On The Indian, that were supporting the assault on peyote. Some SAI individuals were members of these organizations and attended their conferences. Parker in particular attended these conferences and sometimes made presentations. The Lake Mohonk group was particularly important. It was a so-called "reform" group of prominent Americans who supported the government's assimilation policies. In 1914 they officially called for federal legislation for the suppression of peyote. SAI members, such as Parker, Henry Roe Cloud, and John Oskison (Cherokee), regularly attended these conferences, listening to a steady diet of anti-peyote rhetoric. They heard talks such as "Liquor and Peyote: A Menace to the Indian" and heard a litany of "scientific evidence" on the harmful nature of peyote. SAI associate members also belonged to these organizations. Fayette McKenzie, General Richard Pratt, and archeologist Warren K. Moorehead, for example, were members of the Lake Mohonk Conference. The strategy of these organizations was to have the federal government declare peyote an intoxicant. Parker encouraged Franklin E. Lane, commissioner of Indian affairs, to use his office to stop the interstate distribution of peyote. Nevertheless, Parker admitted to a friend that he really did "not know anything about this peculiar habit of eating mescal buttons." Parker also told Senator Harry Lane of Oregon that he believed alcohol was more damaging than peyote and pointed out that Thomas Sloan and Judge Hiram Chase (Omaha), both SAI members, defended the use of peyote. The SAI had yet to take an official position on peyote, although Parker had earlier supported the Indian Appropriation Bill of 1913, which included funds for the suppression of liquor and peyote. To the dismay of many, peyote was deleted from the final bill. The Indian Office followed the next year with a campaign to have peyote included in the Harrison Narcotic Act. Again, this effort failed.5 Mean-{165}while, Parker published his first editorial on peyote under the headline "Drug-Induced Religion." He described the peyote cactus and said that it is a misnomer to call it mescal, since mescal is an unrelated plant. He explained how the "peyote religion has spread like wild fire" in spite of missionary efforts to stop it, detailing Albert Hensley's role in its development and propagation. He called peyote a narcotic and claimed it induced hallucinations, but he did not use the harsh language of his later writings, nor did he call for the criminalization of peyote in this editorial (99-101).
        By 1915 Parker was convinced that peyote was a menace and that the SAI should be committed to its suppression. This was in spite of his commitment to keep the SAI as apolitical as possible. In a letter to Henry Roman Nose (Southern Cheyenne), he spelled out a series of arguments to convince him to give up peyote and use his influence as a chief to stop the use of peyote on the Cheyenne-Arapaho Agency. Roman Nose was well known. He had been a POW at Ft. Marion in Florida, attended Carlisle Indian School and Hampton Institute, participated in the Ghost Dance movement, and was now a successful businessman and a Peyotist. Parker used a strange argument to try to convince Roman Nose that peyote was a dangerous narcotic. He gave an elaborate description of the intelligence of "white men" who had made exceptional inventions such as the telephone, trains, and modern medicine. Since these same wise people say peyote is bad, Roman Nose should listen to them. Parker added that peyote was not given by the Great Spirit: "it [peyote] is after all only the Devil's way of getting hold of you." Parker's arguments proved ineffective, and Roman Nose remained a Peyotist.6
        By the time of the fifth annual conference in 1915 in Lawrence, Kansas, the SAI and Parker were under continual pressure from the associate members and nonmembers. They received many letters, especially from clergy, asking for cooperation to suppress the use of peyote in order to stop the "peyote craze." The factionalism over peyote deepened at each conference. Representatives from twenty-five western tribes attended the 1915 conference, including a number of Peyotists from Oklahoma. These included Howard Whitewolf (Comanche), Paul Boynton (Cheyenne/Arapaho), James R. Murie (Pawnee), and Cleaver Warden (Southern Arapaho). The last three had attended Carlisle, and they played a major role in the defense of the Peyote faith, later testifying in defense of peyote before a 1918 congressional committee. Gertrude Bonnin (Yank-{166}ton Sioux), also known as Zitkala-Sa (Red Bird in Dakota), traveled from Utah to attend her first SAI conference. She had taught at Carlisle and became part of the anti-peyote faction. The conference was well attended, with almost one hundred Indians and non-Indians present. The platform voted on by the delegates included support for state and federal legislation to suppress "the liquor traffic in Indian country." Surprisingly, the suppression of peyote was not mentioned in the platform. It is difficult to assess why. Possibly it was the Peyotists at the conference or, as Parker noted, that the conference was disorganized, with people speaking out of turn on topics that were not germane.7
        The year 1916 was a watershed year for the SAI and the peyote issue, since outlawing peyote became a full-blown controversy. As peyote increasingly became a national issue, it became a more intense SAI issue. The Indian Office was lobbying Congress to criminalize the use of peyote through the recently introduced Gandy bill, which would make it a crime to transport, sell, or use peyote, punishable with fines up to $500 and a year in jail. Representative Harvey Gandy from South Dakota led the legislative effort to suppress peyote. There was considerable publicizing of pro and con positions. For example, Francis LaFlesche, Smithsonian ethnologist and an SAI member since 1913, worked to defeat the bill. By this time Parker had gone from concern about Peyotism to full-fledged opposition. For the first time he clearly articulated the view that peyote was a disaster for American Indians and must be eliminated by federal legislation. At the same time a considerable number of sectarian and secular organizations supported passage of the Gandy bill. (The Lake Mohonk Conference had been lobbying for it since 1914). In spite of the many other contentious issues, the controversy over peyote came to the forefront in the American Indian Magazine (AIM). Although general editor Parker argued that taking a pro or con position on political issues would be disruptive to the Society, he nevertheless went ahead and reprinted a controversial article by Gertrude Seymour, "Peyote Worship: An Indian Cult and a Powerful Drug." Seymour, a journalist, had contacted Parker for information for the article. She said she had read his 1914 editorial "Drug-Induced Religion"; she wanted to know how peyote was imported and what impact it had on students in school. Parker responded that the peyote traffic was now commercialized, and school children who experienced peyote could not concentrate. Seymour wrote a harsh indictment of peyote and Peyotists and called for {167} passage of the Gandy bill. What is significant is Parker's decision to have the article reprinted.8
        Meanwhile, two weeks before the sixth conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the SAI became indirectly involved in a peyote case when Attorney Thomas Sloan, an SAI official, assisted in the legal defense of a Peyotist. Harry Black Bear (Lakota) from the Pine Ridge Reservation was arrested for the distribution of peyote under the 1897 statute prohibiting the distribution of intoxicants. That September Black Bear went on trial in federal court in Deadwood, South Dakota. Sloan went to Deadwood to serve as an adviser and a witness for the defense. The jury found Black Bear guilty; however, his attorney asked the judge to overturn the verdict since the statute he was accused of violating did not include peyote. The judge agreed and vacated the jury's decision. The local press reported on Sloan's testimony and cited comments by Black Bear's attorney, who credited Sloan's testimony for the judge's decision. Sloan said that peyote is not an intoxicant and has no serious effect on the body for long-term use. The news article also pointed out that Sloan had been a user of peyote. The most significant point is that Parker chose to reprint the newspaper article in AIM. Sloan's defense of peyote was contrary to SAI policy, so one could speculate that the reprint would have had a negative effect on Sloan's standing in the SAI and would have caused him embarrassment.9
        The sixth conference proved quite contentious, especially when Carlos Montezuma and Sherman Coolidge had a public confrontation over the Indian Office and whether the conference platform should call for its immediate abolition. The peyote issue was also on the agenda. The general theme was to link peyote with alcohol and seek federal or state legislation for its suppression. A strong anti-peyote group was in attendance, including Parker, Coolidge, Montezuma, General Pratt, Gertrude Bonnin, and Father Philip Gordon (Ojibwe). There was more determination, since the Gandy bill had failed but was soon to be reintroduced in Congress. Bonnin spoke about the evils of peyote, citing the damage it had caused to the Utes in Utah and even describing how they had become "crazed," running wild and some committing suicide. Hers was a powerful appeal; the local press said she spoke with much fervor. Henry A. Larson, an associate member and chief special officer for the Indian Office, attempted to link the use of peyote with alcohol. He claimed that all the evils of alcohol also applied to peyote and that "peyote, whiskey, {168} cocaine, hashheesh [sic] are all the same." He added that peyote also "excites unusual passions." Larson's speech was followed by that of retired General Richard Pratt, an associate member, who argued the campaign to suppress peyote should be tied to the temperance movement. Pratt moved that the SAI convention urge Congress to pass the Gandy bill. His motion was seconded and carried. The resolution entered into the final conference platform read: "We urge unequivocally upon Congress the passage of the Gandy bill to prohibit the commerce in and use of peyote among our people, because of its known baneful effects upon the user's mind and morals."10 The SAI was now on record officially supporting federal legislation to criminalize peyote. The vote was not unanimous. Delos K. Lone Wolf, a Carlisle graduate, a Peyotist, and a prominent Kiowa leader, spoke on behalf of the Peyote faith. He said talk about peyote killing people, as some had alleged, is ridiculous. "I know," he said, "I used peyote for fifteen years." He added that Peyotism and Christianity were not mutually exclusive, since he was also a Christian. With such a variety of perspectives and individuals with strong personalities, a reporter from a Native newspaper, the Tomahawk, wrote that poor attendance and internal dissensions threatened the organization. It was also an opportunity for new leadership. Parker was elected president and Gertrude Bonnin the new secretary.11
        Bonnin emerged as the leading SAI spokesperson for the criminalization of peyote. She became a member of the advisory board in 1916, SAI secretary for 1917-1918, secretary-treasurer for 1918-1919, and editor of aim for 1918-1919. As a political activist and publicist she used a wide range of strategies. She tried, one-on-one, to convince individuals to give up peyote as she had on the Uintah and Ouray Agency in Utah where she worked. For example, she traveled with several SAI members through the reservation, meeting with John McCook, a Northern Ute Peyote leader, trying to convince him to give up peyote.12 She also wrote to government officials such as Cato Sells, commissioner of Indian Affairs, urging him to use his influence to convince Peyote leaders to desist. She successfully lobbied state legislatures: Nevada, Utah, and Colorado criminalized the possession of peyote in 1917. She wrote to organizations such as the IRA and the Lake Mohonk group to support congressional legislation to outlaw peyote, and in 1918 she testified before Congress on the "evils" of peyote. She and her husband Raymond had written to Brosius of the IRA, outlining their concerns, a docu-{169}ment that became well known when the ira published it under the title "Ravages of Peyote." It was later entered into the Congressional Record during the 1918 hearings. The Bonnins wrote that peyote "was undermining the uplift work of churches and our benevolent government." They compared peyote to opium, morphine, and cocaine and claimed that people die from ingesting it. They ended with a rhetorical flourish, calling for "the prohibition of peyote, twin brother of alcohol, first cousin of habit-forming drugs" ("Prohibition" 24). Bonnin shared these viewpoints with Parker, arguing the physical and psychological danger of peyote and claiming that its spread was due to "peyote agents" who were pushing it for profit. Since these anti-peyote efforts were not successful, Bonnin, Parker, and others tried to explain peyote's growth by arguing that drug dealers and drug agents were involved and were part of a "peyote lobby" to keep it legal. As it became more and more difficult to get Congress to suppress peyote, the anti-peyotists used harsher language and more extreme arguments to make their case, thus creating more dissention within the SAI.13
        After 1916 the SAI was on a downhill trend. Factionalism had taken its toll. Few Peyotists were involved. Delos Lone Wolf remained on the advisory board, but Sloan no longer held an official position. There were also fewer members. In a letter to General Pratt, now her ally in the struggle against peyote, Bonnin lamented the decline in active members. "I feel like a grain of sand against an organized army of crooks," she wrote. Yet she remained hopeful, adding that "a grain of sand can stop a smooth running machine."14 Calling Pratt a "Friend of the Indian Race," she pleaded with him to attend the next conference. In 1917 she moved to Washington DC to run the SAI office and became fully engaged in the politics of peyote legislation. The Gandy bill of 1916 had failed but was reintroduced in June 1917. Bonnin visited Congressman Gandy and began writing letters in support of the legislation. She and Parker also used the Society's magazine to encourage passage of the Gandy bill. Bonnin wrote a poem titled "The Red Man's America." Written to the cadence of America the Beautiful, it included phrases like "Peyote in the temple hills" and "Let Gandy's Bill awake." For his part, Parker wrote "The Perils of The Peyote Poison." He focused on the issue of paid agents defending Peyotism as a religion. He reiterated many of the same arguments heard at Lake Mohonk conferences: "babies poisoned, the death of adults, the poverty of confirmed users and lowered moral standards." {170} He condemned the use of peyote and called for immediate passage of the Gandy bill.15
        Hoping to put more pressure on Congress, Parker and Bonnin decided to reprint Reverend Lyman Abbott's article "The Menace of Peyote." Abbott, an associate member, prominent author, member of the Mohonk Conference, and an outspoken advocate for abolishing the reservations, claimed that Peyotism was not a religion and should not receive any protection, since it destroyed will power and could produce blindness and suicide. He called for Congress to pass the Gandy bill. Abbott represents a basic weakness of the anti-peyotists' approach. He said he never visited a reservation and had no firsthand experience (Abbott).
        In spite of widespread support for the Gandy bill from the Indian Office and many organizations, including the SAI, it failed again after being challenged on constitutional grounds. Meanwhile, the SAI was concerned about the upcoming conference planned for Oklahoma City. The choice was also in response to a long-standing criticism that the SAI conferences were held too far from reservations. With the nation's attention focused on the global war, the Executive Council canceled the conference, but Parker used his editorial to comment on an SAI weakness: there was "too much of a belligerent spirit and even personal animosity."16
        In early 1918 several small conferences were held to keep Indian interests at the forefront, given the nation's massive war effort. Again peyote was an issue, since a new anti-peyote bill would soon be introduced in Congress. In January a "friends of the Indian" conference was held in Philadelphia. It was attended by several SAI members, including Arthur Parker, Dennison Wheelock, and Nora McFarland; associate members such as Pratt, McKenzie, and Robert D. Hall; and prominent individuals from various "friends" groups. On the first day the "peyote question" was the primary agenda item. Speaker after speaker attacked peyote as a substance and Peyotism as a religion. Robert D. Hall of the YMCA said he was concerned about young men becoming part of this "new cult," since it was not a religion and was instituted to make money. He urged the "friends" to support a resolution calling on Congress to pass the new anti-peyote legislation. Other speakers, including Parker, supported the proposal. At the end of the conference a resolution was passed stating that since peyote was detrimental to health and destructive to the sacredness of the family tie, Congress therefore must adopt the anti-peyote legislation. This conference was followed in early February by an {171} SAI meeting in Washington, organized by Bonnin and Eastman. They discussed various Society matters, such as choosing a site for the next convention. This would not be an easy choice; they were warned not to choose Oklahoma, since the Peyotists there were upset about the SAI's policy on peyote. They were also preparing for the intense struggle over peyote at the hearings in the House of Representatives, which would pit SAI members against each other.17
        The congressional hearings were scheduled to begin on February 21, and anti-peyote advocates used the opportunity to lobby in Washington and give interviews. For example, on February 17 an interview with Bonnin appeared in the Washington Times. She appeared for the interview wearing "traditional" Indian clothing, and her photograph and the interview were printed under the headline: "Indian Woman in Capital to Fight Growing Use of Peyote Drug--Mrs. Gertrude Bonnin, Carlisle Graduate, Relative of Sitting Bull, Describes Effects of Mind Poison." It was certainly a headline to attract attention, especially since Bonnin did not graduate from Carlisle, nor was she a relative of Sitting Bull. Meanwhile, SAI member Delos Lone Wolf and his wife visited the office of Representative Snyder of the Indian Affairs Committee to lobby against the Hayden bill, explaining that they were long-time participants in the Peyote faith and that they were a healthy, successful family. At the request of the Indian Office, Representative Carl Hayden (R-Arizona) sponsored the bill (HR 2614). This was the most determined effort by the Indian Office to outlaw peyote. The plan was to marshal a virtual army of experts to support the bill. At the same time, the peyote community marshaled its own experts to oppose the bill. The Hayden bill differed from the Gandy bill in that, instead of directly outlawing peyote, it amended the liquor suppression laws to include peyote, as had been attempted in earlier versions. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate. It stated that any one "who shall sell, give away, dispose of, exchange, barter, or otherwise furnish" any of a long list of intoxicating beverages--now including peyote--shall be subject to sixty days to one year in jail and to a $100 to $500 fine. There was also a clause that any "teams, wagons, sleds, boats, or automobiles" involved in the transportation of intoxicating items would be seized (Congress, "Peyote").
        The Indian Office made an all-out effort to have Congress enact the Hayden bill. They wanted extensive hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs in order to convince the public that {172} peyote was a dangerous narcotic. They assembled a powerful team of witnesses that included Indian Office officials, other federal officials, prominent individuals from various organizations such as the IRA, scholars, and American Indians who were opposed to peyote, including Gertrude Bonnin and Charles Eastman. Those opposed to the Hayden bill also included federal employees, especially from the Bureau of American Ethnology, scholars, and many American Indians, including Francis LaFlesche and Thomas Sloan of the SAI.
        The hearings were quite amazing, with federal employees on opposite sides, scholars on opposite sides, non-Indians on opposite sides, American Indians on opposite sides, and SAI members on opposite sides. Those favoring the Hayden bill argued that peyote was an addictive, dangerous narcotic similar to cocaine and opium that led to physical, mental, and moral deterioration and had caused numerous deaths. They also claimed that peyote excites the passions, leading to promiscuous behavior. The rapid expansion was blamed on drug dealers and drug agents who defended the use of peyote while making significant profits from the sale of a drug. Given the above, the argument followed that Peyotism was not a religion and did not deserve constitutional protection, since it was just a subterfuge for using drugs.
        Those against the Hayden bill had opposite arguments: peyote was not an intoxicant, it was not habit forming, and it did not have a negative impact on one's well-being, in fact, the opposite was true. They argued that those who were part of the Peyote faith had given up whiskey, since peyote kills the desire for alcohol. In addition, peyote was not used casually; it was only used during religious services as a sacrament, similar to wine in Christian churches. All of these witnesses denied that there was any immoral behavior associated with the use of peyote. On the contrary, they argued that peyote, with prayer, leads one to an upright moral life, concluding that the Peyote faith is a legitimate Indian religion deserving of constitutional protection.
        The SAI members engaged in heated debate. Bonnin and Eastman were supported by General Pratt, while LaFlesche and Sloan were bolstered by James Mooney of the Bureau of American Ethnology. The hearings became heated when various witnesses--especially Pratt, Mooney, and Bonnin--attacked the credibility of their opponents. Bonnin, the only female witness, was quite impressive, exuding confidence and appearing credible. She grew up on a reservation, worked among {173} the Utes for fourteen years, was fluent in Dakota (she even served as a translator for several witnesses), and a published author. She continued to claim peyote caused deaths as well as caused immoral behavior between adults and children. She challenged LaFlesche, who said he never saw any such behavior, by saying that the services were prearranged when he attended (Congress, "Peyote" 123-30).
        Mooney was the first witness to oppose the Hayden bill. He had a long history, almost thirty years, with Peyote communities and was one of their chief defenders. He attacked Bonnin's credibility and authenticity, going so far as to ask that a copy of her Washington Times interview be entered into the official record. He referred to her as the woman who claimed to be a Sioux, and he pointed out that her dress was from a southern tribe and included a man's Navajo belt, and that she carried "a man's peyote fan." He repeated her words from the interview that peyote caused "wildest intoxication" and orgies in which men, women, and children participated. He also pointed out that she did not attend Carlisle (which she later admitted) and was not a relative of Sitting Bull. This was high-level character assassination, which apparently the committee did not appreciate. Mooney proceeded to describe the history of peyote use and gave a detailed explanation of a basic peyote ceremony, thus challenging her various accusations (Congress, "Peyote" 60-68, 77-79).
        LaFlesche followed Mooney, saying he heard all the horror stories but never witnessed any such thing. Indeed, he said peyote had the opposite effect, leading many away from alcohol into much better lives. He also included something he had written earlier: if half of what was said about peyote was true, many of his family and friends would either be dead or committed to an asylum. Sloan followed with the same defense of the Peyote faith as Mooney and LaFlesche, concluding with a plea for constitutional protection (Congress, "Peyote" 80-82, 100-102, 114-16). As Native Americans, Bonnin and Eastman were considered important witnesses for the Hayden bill. Bonnin defended all she had said in the newspaper interview, including her accusation of orgies and the death of thirty Utes from peyote. She challenged previous witnesses, saying they were fooled in that they attended ceremonies that were prearranged so they could not see anything negative. She asked the committee to stop the spread of peyote before it was too late. Eastman, now involved again with the SAI, testified along the same vein. He argued that the "church" was a subterfuge for drugs and, like the "ghost-dance {174} craze," was initiated by irresponsible individuals. This was a not-so-veiled reference to Mooney for his studies on the Ghost Dance and peyote. Eastman also tried to discredit longtime SAI member Delos Lone Wolf by saying he was "old in mind and body as a result of Peyote" (Congress, "Peyote" 123-29, 139-41).18
        The House subcommittee voted in favor of the Hayden bill. They accepted the arguments of the supporters that peyote was a dangerous narcotic and should be "absolutely prohibited." They rejected the arguments of the opponents as "interested" parties. While waiting for the full House to vote, Bonnin continued her campaign to get the bill passed. She wrote to President Woodrow Wilson and to Cato Sells, commissioner of Indian affairs, asking for support for the Hayden bill. In October the House passed the bill, but it failed in the Senate, where constitutional issues were raised. The Indian Office and all the supporters, including Bonnin, were extremely upset at the outcome. As some scholars have asserted, in the long run the hearings backfired and produced an unexpected result.19
        The Indian witnesses returned to Oklahoma determined to protect their faith. Constitutional protection would be ensured, they believed, if they became a nonprofit institution, and in October 1918 they incorporated as the Native American Church of Oklahoma. Delos Lone Wolf signed the charter, and the three Peyotists who testified in Washington became trustees. The turn of events was not good for the SAI, since some perceived them as out of touch with local communities, especially as the Peyote faith was spreading. There were fifteen to twenty thousand Peyotists, some very prominent in their communities. Former and present SAI members, such as Hiram Chase, Francis LaFlesche, and Thomas Sloan, continued to support the use of peyote. Some resentment was aimed at Bonnin. Cleaver Warden, who had testified, wrote to Mooney: "A true Indian is one who helps a race and not the secretary of the Society of American Indians [Bonnin]." Parker also told Coolidge that Indians from South Dakota did not like his objection to peyote.20
        While the battle over peyote proceeded through the summer, the SAI planned its next conference in Pierre, South Dakota. Peyote was not a main agenda item, although the SAI scheduled a speech by Brosius titled "Peyote Menace." This conference marked another turning point for the SAI when the members voted on a clear policy concerning the Indian Office. After speeches by Bonnin, Pratt, and Montezuma the Society {175} voted to support the immediate abolition of the Indian Office. A change in leadership ensued. Eastman, although not present, was elected president; Bonnin was elected secretary-treasurer and became the editor of the society's magazine. These changes effectively ended Parker's influence in the SAI. The new leadership began a campaign to revive the SAI, hoping that the new policy on the Indian Office would bring in new members and donations.21
        The new leadership also continued to support anti-peyote legislation. In January 1919, before the Hayden bill was voted on in the Senate, there was another conference held in Philadelphia called "Friends of the Red Men." Bonnin, Eastman, Roe Cloud, and Parker attended. The agenda included citizenship legislation and urging the Senate to pass the Hayden bill. Bonnin continued to play a lead role in the assault on peyote. Along with General Pratt, she became frustrated with the slow movement toward suppression as well as with the establishment of the Native American Church in Oklahoma. They blamed James Mooney for this situation. Bonnin, through Pratt, tried to get Mooney fired from his position in the Bureau of Ethnology. She blamed him for encouraging the use of peyote for his own scholarly ends. This did not bode well for Mooney. The Indian Office had him removed from reservations in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Bonnin was able to use AIM to continue her struggle against peyote. In the spring 1919 issue she reprinted Dr. Harvey Wiley's testimony before the Senate. He worked for the Bureau of Food Sanitation and Health and attacked Peyotists as drug fiends. He concluded that if we have a "peyote church" will we eventually have a "cocaine church" or a "morphine church"?22
        At the annual conference in Minneapolis, there was another dramatic shift in leadership. The theme of "American Citizenship for the Indian" was contentious, since there were varying options for implementation. However, there was agreement over Montezuma's plea to abolish the Indian Office. The Society voted to send a resolution to Congress demanding the closing of the Indian Office. The conference was somewhat chaotic, with "heated discussions," some provoked by Montezuma, who interrupted speakers. A resolution on citizenship was tabled. The election of officers was also chaotic. Sloan bested Eastman and Raymond Bonnin (Gertrude's husband). Montezuma was nominated for vice president, but he declined. Bonnin was nominated to continue as secretary-treasurer, but she declined. Eastman and Montezuma were nominated as editors of AIM, but both declined, thus there was no editor. The elec-{176}tion of Sloan meant that the negative opinions about his support for the Peyote faith were now in the background; in fact, throughout the speeches peyote was not mentioned at all. Eastman and Bonnin disengaged from the SAI. Eastman felt it was now too political, since Sloan was campaigning to be appointed commissioner of Indian affairs, and believing the Republicans would win the presidency, he was openly supporting Warren Harding, something previous leadership had avoided.
        The following conventions were poorly attended and not very productive. In St. Louis in 1920 some of the stalwart members were there, such as Coolidge, Montezuma, and Pratt, but Parker, Bonnin, and East-man were missing. Peyote was less controversial, although the Indian Office was still committed to its suppression, while the SAI was now committed to the abolition of the Indian Office. The future of the journal was debated, and as it turned out, the August 1920 issue (7.4) was the last. Nevertheless, President Sloan was optimistic: a new era had opened and the SAI would go all out in lobbying for full citizenship. Sloan and most of the other officers were reelected. However, the entrance into partisan politics led to further problems. There were several resignations and some very angry letters. Sloan did not retreat from this path.23 In Detroit in 1921, however, Sloan made a plea for religious freedom, saying that Indians could not worship as they pleased. This was new. No previous SAI president had made such a plea, since many SAI members and supporters were opposed to Peyotism and Indigenous ceremonial practices. He did not mention peyote, but given his lifelong support for the Peyote faith, one can assume it was included in his plea.24
        The end of the SAI was a slow deterioration. At Kansas City in 1922 the local press said only a score attended the conference. The meeting in Chicago in 1923 was not an SAI conference. It was billed as an American Indian Convention in which the SAI and other organizations could participate. Eastman, who was in Chicago at the time, wrote a sad commentary on the Society's demise:

The papers spoke of the Society of American Indians also to have a meeting, but I found no trace of such a meeting. It is possible that Thomas Sloan tried to revive the defunct society but apparently was not successful.25

In the early years of the SAI, peyote was not an issue. As the Indian Office and various secular and sectarian organizations began a coor-{177}dinated effort to suppress the use of peyote, it became a central focus of debate. The founders of the SAI believed they needed support from non-Indians. A category of nonvoting associate membership was established for non-Indians, who believed that the Peyote faith hindered the assimilation of American Indians into American society. Many SAI members accepted the view that peyote was a dangerous narcotic and was a menace to American Indians. The turning point was 1915-1916. At the 1915 conference the SAI had not yet called for the criminalization of the use of peyote. Parker was convinced that peyote was dangerous, but he was also pragmatic. Just before he launched the first issue of the newly named AIM in January 1916, he wrote to the staff, "We can therefore stand for no political principle or oppose any, not even the peyote drug habit, without rousing the ire of large divisions of Indians."26
        By the fall much had changed. The Peyote faith was spreading rapidly in spite of efforts to stop it. The Indian Office mounted an intensive campaign for the Gandy bill. The SAI was under pressure from some of its members, the associates, and "friends of the Indian" groups to follow suit. The associate members were important, not necessarily for their ideological contributions, but for the perceived value they brought in terms of funds and status. Parker felt that the SAI could not afford to lose their support. At the 1916 conference the membership voted on a resolution to support the suppression of peyote. This decision created more internal turmoil, but more important for the future, it frustrated many who felt the SAI was out of touch with local communities where there were many Peyotists. Several scholars, such as David Martinez, have also made this observation that members of the Society isolated themselves from a "major movement within the Indian community."
        What does the failure of the anti-peyote effort say about the SAI? Several conclusions can be reached. As time would tell, they were on the wrong side in this issue; nevertheless, they articulated a point of view based on a belief in progress for American Indians, arguing that the Peyote faith hindered that progress. The controversy over peyote was acrimonious. It affected the working relationship among the membership, especially after 1915. It complicated the relationship with the associate members, who were dismayed that some of the leadership supported the Peyote faith. At times harsh language was used and extreme accusations made at conferences, in publications, and in correspondence. Much of this played out in the election of SAI officials, which led to inconsistent {178} policies on a variety of issues, especially over the status of the Indian Office. The controversy also contributed to the decline in SAI membership and created difficulty in attracting new members, since the Society's public stance in opposing Peyotism made it seem out of touch with local communities, especially from the Plains states. The membership problem also affected SAI's finances, since they were constantly struggling over funding.
        Nevertheless, the SAI left a significant legacy. For example, in 1923 the Indian Office appointed a Committee of One Hundred to reassess federal Indian policies. Seven had been members of the SAI: Henry Roe Cloud, Sherman Coolidge, Charles Eastman, Philip Gordon, Arthur Parker, Thomas Sloan, and Dennison Wheelock. They recommended that a study of peyote be conducted before proceeding with legislation. One could argue that lessons had been learned from the controversy within the SAI. These former members had learned to pay less attention to the "friends of the Indian" and to pay closer attention to local leaders and Indian communities, since one of the problems for the opponents of peyote was that almost no one had firsthand experience with Peyote communities. In future reform movements, consultation with local communities would be a necessity.


        1. For in-depth studies of the Peyote religion see Stewart and Maroukis. The terms Peyote faith and Peyotists are capitalized as one would capitalize Christian faith or Christians.
        2. Arthur Parker to Charles E. Dagenett, 4 Dec. 1911; Dagenett to Parker, 22 Dec. 1911; Parker to Samuel Coolidge, 12 Sept. 1912, SAI Papers, roll 2. 3. Lamere 361-63; Parker to Samuel Brosius, 16 June 1913, SAI Papers, roll 1; Parker to A. L. Riggs, 12 Apr., 19 Oct. 1912, SAI Papers, roll 6; Henry Roe Cloud to Mary W. Roe, 8 Apr. 1914, SAI Papers, roll 9.
        4. J. K. Griffis to Parker, 17 Sept. 1912, SAI Papers, roll 3.
        5. Parker to Franklin Lane, 3 July 1913, SAI Papers, roll 4; Parker to George Masququa, 31 Oct. 1914, SAI Papers, roll 4; Parker to Senator Harry Lane, 3 July 1913, SAI Papers, roll 4; Stewart 213-15.
        6. Parker to Henry Roman Nose, 16 June 1915, SAI Papers, roll 6; Stewart 103-04.
        7. Fifth Annual Platform, SAI conference, Lawrence KS, 2 Oct. 1915, SAI Papers, roll 9; Parker to Dagenett, 4 Nov. 1915, SAI Papers, roll 2; "Editorial," Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 3.4 (1915): 324.

       8. AIM 4.2 (1916): 160-63, original in Survey 34.7 (1916): 181-83; Gertrude Seymour to Parker, 12 Apr. 1916, Parker to Seymour, 22 Apr. 1916, SAI Papers, roll 6.
        9. Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times 8 Sept. 1916, reprinted in AIM 4.4 (1916): 345-46.
        10. Henry A. Larson, "The Indian and His Liquor Problem," presentation at sixth SAI conference, Cedar Rapids IA, 1916; General Richard Pratt, "Remarks," AIM 4.2 (1916): 234-38.
        11. Pratt, "Remarks" 257-58; Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, 27-30 Sept. 1916; Tomahawk (White Earth MN), 5, 12 Oct. 1916, SAI Papers, roll 10.
        12. Gertrude Bonnin to Parker, 11 Nov. 1916, SAI Papers, Roll 1.
        13. Bonnin to Parker, 11 Nov. 1916, SAI Papers, roll 1.
        14. Bonnin to Pratt, 4 Sept. 1917, SAI Papers, roll 9.
        15. Bonnin to Pratt, 13 June 1917, SAI Papers, roll 1; "The Red Man's America," AIM 5.1 (1917): 64; Parker, "Perils."
        16. Arthur C. Parker, "Editorial," AIM 5.3 (1917): 137.
        17. Arthur C. Parker, "Editorial," AIM 6.1 (1918): 12-14, 52-53; "Conference of Indian Friends: Proceedings," AIM 6.2 (1918): 65-99; "Program: SAI Conference," 8 Feb. 1918, SAI Papers, roll 8; Philadelphia Press, 22 Jan. 1918, SAI Papers, roll 10; Bonnin to Parker, 17 Feb. 1918, SAI Papers, roll 2.
        18. For a full summary of the hearings, see Hertzberg.
        19. Congress, "Prohibition" 26; Bonnin to Woodrow Wilson, 22 June 1918, Bonnin to Sells, 29 June 1918, SAI Papers, roll 9.
        20. Cleaver Warden to James Mooney, 25 Feb. 1918, reprinted in Congress, "Peyote" 107; Parker to Coolidge, 20 Feb. 1918, SAI Papers, roll 2.
        21. Speeches are in AIM 6.3, 6.4; 7.1 (1918/1919).
        22. "Dangerous Drug, Rum Substitute, Menace to Indians," Philadelphia Press, 23 Jan. 1919, SAI Papers, roll 10; Bonnin to Pratt, 29 Jan. 1919, SAI Papers, roll 9; Harvey Wiley, "Peyote," AIM 7.1 (1919): 37-42.
        23. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 11 Nov. 1920, SAI Papers, roll 10.
        24. Detroit Free Press, 27 Oct. 1921, SAI Papers, roll 10.
        25. Charles Eastman to Charles H. Burke, commissioner of Indian affairs, 9 Oct. 1923, SAI Papers, roll 9.
        26. Parker to Staff, n.d., SAI Papers, roll 7 [written Dec. 1915].


Abbott, Lyman. "The Menace of Peyote." AIM 5.2 (1917): 134-36. Print. Originally published in the Outlook.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Johnson, William E. "Address." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.2 (1913): 207. Print.

Lamere, Oliver. "Indian Culture of the Future." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.4 (1913): 361-63. Print.

Maroukis, Thomas C. The Peyote Road: Religious Freedom and the Native American Church. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2010. Print.

Martinez, David. Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society P, 2009. Print.

Parker, Arthur C. "Drug-Induced Religion." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 2.2 (1914): 99-101. Print.

_ _ _. "The Perils of Peyote Poison." AIM 6.1 (1917): 12-14. Print.

Society of American Indians (SAI). Papers of the Society of American Indians. 10 rolls. Ed. John William Larner Jr. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1986. Microfilm.

Stewart, Omer. Peyote Religion: A History. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1987. Print.

U.S. Congress. "Peyote: Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs." HR 2614, 65th Cong., 2nd sess., 1918. Print.

_ _ _. "Prohibition of the Use of Peyote." HR Documents and Reports, 65th Cong., 2nd sess., Report 560, May 13, 1918. Print.


Singing at a Center of the Indian World
The SAI and Ohio Earthworks


In 1911 the American Indian leaders who began the Society of American Indians understood that they were standing between the chaos enveloping tribal communities and the vast changes taking place within American society. For this group recent American Indian history encompassed far-reaching social change: tribes had been separated from their traditional residences to live in other areas of the country, warfare ended on the northern and southern Plains, tribal land was lost through force and treaty, the reservation system was established. In the South, American Indians were subject to segregation policies. American Indians could not vote. Most American Indian people lived in impoverished and desperate conditions. The education and life experiences of the Society's leaders informed their belief that this was a crucial time for progressive reforms. The strategy was to work within the system to build resources, authority, and power. They established the SAI to bring attention to the most urgent problems facing tribes, to organize their efforts, and to recruit allies. The pressing issues of the day included civil rights, local government, cultural preservation, land rights, and education. The leadership proclaimed the situation as dire. Dismay and outrage fueled their determination to address the events occurring in Indian communities. Each SAI leader in 1911 was a survivor of a terrible history. Each had come of age at the turn of the twentieth century. 
        At the first meeting of the Society of American Indians, the members found themselves in Ohio. The SAI delegation had learned of ancient earthen enclosures built by their ancestors in nearby Newark. It is said that they visited the Octagon Earthworks and sang "America." The concerns of the SAI were urgent and immediate, while the ancient earthworks were situated within a public park. The beautiful woodlands


Fig. 1. Concentrations of earthworks in Ohio. Reproduced from William C. Mills, Archaeological Atlas of Ohio (Columbus: Fred J. Heer on behalf of the Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society, 1914). Scan courtesy of The Ohio State University Libraries, Rare Books and Manuscripts Depository and OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons.

setting might have seemed surreal. Did they know that two thousand years before, Ohio was a center of the Indian world?
        Brilliant American Indian cultures flourished two thousand years ago, leaving in the lands around the Ohio Valley a spectacular concentration of monumental earthen architecture (for overviews see Lepper; Pacheco; Mainfort and Sullivan). Hundreds of embankments, mounds, walled walkways, effigies, and enclosures were designed to be precise, geometric, and extraordinarily large. Earthen enclosures in the shapes of circular rings with entryways facing east, squares with rounded corners and entryways, octagons with eight entrances, long passageways bordered by smooth earthen walls, conical mounds, low walls bordering


Fig. 2. Survey map of the Newark Earthworks. Reproduced from Ephraim George Squier and Edward Hamilton Davis, Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1848). Scan courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Repository.

large areas, and huge flat-topped rectangular burial mounds were placed along rivers, creeks, and natural land formations, with earthworks traversing the landscape for miles. The Indigenous people of the so-called Hopewell culture constructed them using precise geometry and a single unit of measure, equivalent to 1,054 feet. This measure was used to create giant circles throughout the Ohio Valley. The builders used its multiples to mark the distance between earthworks located far apart from each other and to create smaller circles and squares. Early reports from scouts and settlers indicated finding more than 60,000 conical mounds and approximately 600 earthworks "complexes" with two or more earthen enclosures with mounds and walkways. Today in Ohio, approximately 16,000 conical mounds and earthworks still exist. About 10,000 are conical mounds, 600 are geometric earthen enclosures, and there are a few animal effigies, including the world-renowned Serpent Mound.
         The Newark Earthworks are the largest geometric earthen enclosures {184} in the world, and of the four original enormous earthen enclosures, the octagon and the giant circle still stand. Each of the four shapes on the original nineteenth-century survey map apparently served a different purpose. The complex can be described, but its meaning cannot yet be accurately interpreted. The Octagon Earthworks consists of an octagon joined to a circle by a walled walkway. The oval was a cemetery. Between the earthen circle known as the Great Circle and the cemetery stood an enormous square. The design of the complex indicates that the earthworks were connected in specific ways with walkways bordered by earthen walls. People could not walk directly between the Octagon Earthworks and the Great Circle because walkways were not built between them. Processions could occur between the giant square and all the other enclosures. The Great Circle could be reached only by traveling through the square. The oval cemetery was directly connected to the square and the Octagon Earthworks. Within each of the earthworks, entry and departure were also prescribed. For example, the only way to enter the Octagon Earthworks was through the octagon side of the enclosure, because the circle was continuous except for the spacious entryway, which measured the width of the walled walkway that connected the two geometric enclosures. The entire complex was well planned, built on perfectly level, well-drained gravelly terrain, safely out of reach of erosion and flooding.
         The Great Circle opens to the east with only one entryway leading into the twelve-hundred-foot diameter circle flanked by fourteen-foot walls. A ditch built along the inside of the circle, lined with clay and large slabs of slate, held water. This moat would have encouraged wildlife and vernal pools, signaling spring with the sounds of peepers, insects, and birds. In the center stood a raised triangular shape, today called the "eagle" mound. Except where waterways are natural boundaries, the entire complex was encircled by a low earthen wall; a section of the wall can still be seen on the northeast side of the Great Circle. We believe the SAI's leaders visited the Octagon Earthworks in 1911. There, the group would have observed what can be seen today: a park setting with grassy six-foot earthen embankments in the shape of an enormous circle joined by a long walled walkway to a giant regular-shaped octagon with wide entryways at the corners and barrier mounds just inside the entryways, blocking the view to the inside. The large circle has an area of twenty acres; the octagon has an area of fifty acres. On


Fig. 3. The Great Circle in snow. Photograph by Timothy E. Black/Newark Earthworks Center.

the southern side of the earthworks, just outside the Octagon, stands a smaller perfect circle with an entryway opening to the east. Perhaps some of the SAI leaders had read about the earthworks in the Smithsonian Museum's first volume, Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, published in 1848 (Squier and Davis). If so, they knew the Octagon was just one section of the entire Newark Earthworks, and that the Newark Earthworks was one of many complexes that had been surveyed and recorded before settlement, urbanization, and industry destroyed them. The exact age of the earthworks was not known then, but the Smithsonian had convincingly established that the earthworks were built by ancestors of American Indians and not by a separate race of people.
         The SAI visitors likely made their way to Observatory Mound, a flat-topped mound capable of accommodating thirty people or more situated at the midpoint of the giant circle and marked by two low, parallel walls extending outside beyond the platform mound and aligned with the ceremonial walkway that connects the circle to the octagon. This was where the group likely gathered and sang together. Observatory Mound


Fig. 4. Aerial view of the Octagon Earthworks. Photograph by J. Hancock of the Ancient Ohio Trail website. Reproduced courtesy of the Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historic and Architectural Sites, University of Cincinnati.

at the Octagon Earthworks was engineered to serve a special purpose, one that modern science did not understand until 1982 when Ray Hively, an astronomer, and Robert Horn, a philosopher, published their remarkable findings as the essay "Geometry and Astronomy in Prehistoric Ohio." The authors had surveyed the Octagon Earthworks to demonstrate that, similar to Stonehenge in England, solstice solar alignments could be easily found at any site. However, their research confirmed no solar alignments. To their astonishment, they found that the Octagon Earthworks were built to serve as a lunar observatory designed to mark the singular event known as the "major lunar standstill." In their attempt to debunk the idea that ancient sites were deliberately associated with astronomical alignments, Hively and Horn had recovered Indigenous scientific knowledge dating back at least two thousand years.
         Major lunar standstills occur at the peak of the long lunar cycle (see Young for a user-friendly explanation). A lunar cycle consists of a total of eight lunar moonrises and moonsets and takes 18 years and 219 days to complete. The peak of the cycle is accompanied by a year leading up to the peak year of the standstill and a year following it. During each month of the major lunar standstill years, the moon's rising tran-


Fig. 5. Diagram of the Octagon Earthworks. Reproduced from the Ancient Ohio Trail website courtesy of the Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historic and Architectural Sites, University of Cincinnati.

sits farther along the eastern horizon than the sun. This means that for two weeks the moon travels north along the eastern horizon, and then it reverses direction and travels south along the eastern horizon for two weeks, each time going farther than the sun's transits. An explanation of the lunar cycle is complicated because it is the result of astronomical relationships among the sun, the earth, and the moon in addition to several factors that affect movements of the moon, including the angle of the moon's tilt in its orbit around the earth, the twenty-nine and a half days it takes for the moon to revolve around the earth, during which the appearance of the moon changes in what we know as "moon phases," and the twelve to thirteen cycles of lunar phases the moon completes in the course of a year.
         As complex as the moon's cycle is, lunar standstills have been observed for thousands of years by many cultures at sites around the world using different kinds of materials and methods. More to the point, the {188} Indigenous people of the Eastern Woodlands built the Octagon Earthwork's walls and entryways to track all eight of the alignments during the entire lunar cycle. The architects intended six-foot earthen embankments to create a smooth artificial horizon for viewing the moonrises and moonsets from within the Octagon Earthworks. On specific and predictable dates, people standing on Observatory Mound viewed the moon rising above the parallel walls connecting the circle to the octagon through the octagon's farthest entryway.
         What would have compelled SAI leaders to take time from their conference agenda and travel thirty miles from Columbus to the Newark Earthworks in October 1911? Why might they have chosen to gather at Observatory Mound to sing? Had knowledge of the relationship between the moon and the carved land in the heart of the Eastern Woodlands been lost to their elders and spiritual leaders? Or had some of the participants heard stories from an earlier time but chose not to reveal this sacred knowledge? Perhaps they did not see how this knowledge could be used to address the urgent issues of the day when, all around them, unprecedented social changes were taking place. As educated and accomplished American Indian leaders, the Society's members were keen to confront the new society for the improvement of American Indian lives.
         Indians were being left behind in the transformative rush sweeping the nation and, worse, were being denigrated as being incapable of participating in American life. Would ancient knowledge have been considered relevant for the goals set by the SAI membership as they looked to the future? In the SAI's "Provisional Platform of the American Indian Association," under the heading "Objects of the Association," the group writes: "While the Association and its founders most sincerely appreciate the splendid elements and achievements of the old-time Indian culture and the methods by which early conditions were met, it realizes most keenly the inefficacy of these methods in meeting the conditions of modern times."
         Even so, the group likely stood together on the ancient Observatory Mound amid beautiful fall foliage and meditated on what had been and what was yet to be--surely with a mixture of grief, outrage, and the highest of expectations.

The American Indian scholars attending the SAI Centennial Symposium held at The Ohio State University in 2011 had a grasp of North American


Fig. 6. Diagram of lunar standstill moonrise at the Octagon Earthworks. Reproduced from the Ancient Ohio Trail website courtesy of the Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historic and Architectural Sites, University of Cincinnati.

history that provided insight to both the struggles of the 1911 Society of American Indians and the cultural significance of the ancient Ohio earthworks. Research and analysis had identified factors contributing to the anguish of American Indians at the turn of the century. The Society's inability to bring about social and political change had been the result of some of these factors. At the turn of the century, when millions of immigrants were arriving in America, 250,000 American Indians were alive in the United States ("1900s"; Thornton). This demographic represented the nadir of a population of millions that had existed before Europeans began to colonize the continent, and the implications of this outcome were understood only in the latter third of the twentieth century (see, for example, Mann 1493; Stannard). Indians were emerging from catastrophic historical events that occurred over the course of four centuries. In 1911 the SAI leaders may not have comprehended this history with the clarity possible today.
         Much has changed in the country since 1911. Many of the goals im-{190}portant to the SAI are still being addressed, and some have long been resolved. American Indians won the right to vote in the 1920s. Organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund, and the American Indian Movement were established to represent tribal interests and to redress injustices through the legal system and activism. Tribal sovereignty has been upheld, and the United Nations' Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People was endorsed by the Obama administration in 2010, with the promise of tribal negotiations based on nation-to-nation relationships with the US government. These rights and policies have been utilized to protect sacred sites and cultural items throughout the country on both federal and private lands. Almost none of these strides, however, influence Indian affairs in Ohio.
         Ironically, visitors to the Octagon Earthworks in 2011 had less access to the earthworks than the SAI participants would have had in 1911. In 1911 the Great Circle and Octagon Earthworks were public parks, although the Octagon Earthworks had already been leased by a private golf club; part of the agreement was that the public was welcome to tour the grounds. By 2011, the Great Circle was a state park, while the Octagon Earthworks were owned by the Ohio Historical Society and the lease with Moundbuilders Country Club had been strengthened over the years to protect the club's use of the site. In the interim, the country club built a clubhouse, swimming pool, maintenance buildings, and parking lots. A professional eighteen-hole golf course had been constructed on the grounds of the Octagon Earthworks, trees planted and memorial plaques set in the ground, an underground irrigation system installed to maintain the greens, and sidewalks for golf carts built into the walls of the giant circle and along the length of the ancient walkway connecting the octagon and circle.
         Public access to the earthworks was restricted for decades while the Moundbuilders Country Club expanded its membership and golf course with hardly any reaction from the community. However, Hively and Horn's revelation that the Octagon Earthworks was built to track the moon's eighteen-year cycle attracted the attention of archaeologists, the local community, and the central Ohio American Indian community. In addition, by the 1980s federal legislation was enacted to uphold American Indian religious rights and to preserve sacred sites on federal lands, raising general awareness of Indigenous issues. When the country {191} club announced plans to build a much larger clubhouse, the local community organized an activist group, Friends of the Mounds, and held public meetings in 2000 to halt further expansion of the club's activities at the earthworks. This effort was successful. Further, pressure from the Friends group led to negotiations between Moundbuilders Country Club and the Ohio Historical Society that provided for limited public access whereby visitors can view the earthworks from a ten-foot observation platform and walk around the southern perimeter during the day. The public outcry did not occur in time to prevent the extension of the club's lease to the year 2078 (see "Newark Earthworks"). By then the Moundbuilders Country Club will have occupied the Octagon Earthworks for 168 years.
         As part of the 2011 Centennial Symposium activities, organizers planned a trip to visit the Newark Earthworks to echo the events of the 1911 conference. Arrangements for a tour of the earthworks were labored, and after negotiations between the country club and the Ohio Historical Society a compromise was reached to allow the scholars to tour the Octagon Earthworks for about an hour and, in the absence of golfers, climb atop Observatory Mound and walk from the circle to the octagon through the connecting walkway.
         In 2011 many of the American Indians who participated in the Centennial Symposium and traveled to Newark experienced the earthworks for the first time, some literally as strangers in their own ancestral homelands. They passed through the entryways to the Octagon or Great Circle or moved along processional walkways defined as "visitor" rather than "relative." American Indians have not been granted cultural authority at earthworks sites to take on roles such as steward, spiritual leader, or tribal interpreter, because there has been no formal tribal presence in the region for more than 160 years. There are currently no federally recognized tribal governments in the state of Ohio.
         As recently as 2010 Gail Zion, a community member, first observed that a "history of erasure" explained the contradictions inherent in a region that had so many earthworks and conical mounds but no federally recognized tribal nations. Although the Indians who lived in the Ohio Valley during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries successfully thwarted permanent American settlements, by 1795 crowding and increasingly violent and frequent conflicts with settlers and militia caused tribal groups to begin to leave Ohio. By 1850 the Wyandotte Na-{192}tion was the last tribe to be forcibly removed by the federal government (see Mancall and Merrell for a description of the impact of Removal). Earthworks, formerly inhabited villages, earthen architecture, and burial mounds that had stood undisturbed for hundreds and thousands of years disappeared rapidly under the settlements, towns, and cities established throughout the region, accompanied by transportation infrastructure and factories. The term Hopewell--as in Hopewell people or Hopewell culture--refers to an American landowner rather than to the Indigenous people of the area, because there were no known people associated with the earthworks at the time.
         During the mid-nineteenth century, farming and construction activities at mound sites revealed tens of thousands of artifacts, many from gravesites, most of which were not documented or cataloged. The people who built the earthworks also produced resplendent objects made from materials found in all regions of the eastern woodlands of North America and interred their relatives and honored leaders with jewelry, art, and regalia. Obsidian from the Rocky Mountains was carved into huge ceremonial spear points. Cutouts of exotic designs were made of copper from the Upper Great Lakes and mica from the Carolinas. Copper was used to make ear spools and pan pipes, while gifted artists sculpted stone tablet carvings and stone pipes in the shape of animals (for an overview of art related to earthen architecture see Townsend).
         Without any tribal presence to observe, resist, or influence events, the unearthed cultural objects triggered an aggressive agenda in the developing scientific community to excavate, survey, and catalog ancient and historic sites (Thomas). Unknown numbers of items collected from farm fields and riverbanks were auctioned and sold in a robust artifact collection trade that continues into the present (for a description of artifacts see Hothem; for examples of auctioned items see Johnson). Legislation was not enacted to protect ancient or historic graves, or to protect the earthworks. But laws were passed to protect gravesites dating less than 120 years (Wallace). By the time of the 1911 conference--and continuing far into the twentieth century--scientific excavations of huge burial mounds to ground level and the looting of ancient and historic sites on private land were considered acceptable practices (see Thomas; Baird; Massle).
         In the fall of 2011, as a shimmery frost covered the ground on a beautiful sunny morning, approximately fifty Native professors, artists, and {193} community members gathered on Observatory Mound. Many stepped forward to sing songs of their nations. The group listened intently to the director of the Newark Earthworks Center, as he meticulously described everything known about the earthworks. As it happened, there were few golfers on the grounds, and the group was able to experience most of the features of the Octagon Earthworks. Once the group arrived at the Great Circle, where access is unrestricted, individuals began peeling off from the tour. They wanted to relate to the Great Circle on their own terms. They wanted to be quiet. Several stood in silent contemplation along the edge of the enormous circle. Others lay on the ground to feel the earth, hear the cicadas in the trees, and listen for earthworks harmonies. This is not unusual behavior when Native people visit earthworks.
         The Newark Earthworks Center at The Ohio State University's regional campus at Newark was established in 2006. The center's educational and research mission promotes new ways of thinking about Ohio's past and the Indigenous people who created the earthworks through interdisciplinary research, educational resources for teachers and students, and partnerships with communities and tribes. The center has reached out to representatives of Ohio's tribal governments who left Ohio in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to discuss preservation and interpretation of the earthworks and to invite them to share their views, to participate in events and projects, and to tour the earthworks. From its inception the center's partners anticipated that American Indian experts would be identified who are able to enrich the understanding of earthworks cultures specific to the Ohio Valley. However, the NEC has not encountered American Indian people with specialized cultural knowledge about the Ohio earthworks before they learned of them through the center and were invited to visit. This situation seemed puzzling. It was not difficult to locate scholars, architects, historians, and archaeologists with no Native ties that had expertise relevant to the ancient Ohio cultures or to monuments encoded with astronomical alignments in other places. At first we did not consider this lack of specific Native knowledge an urgent matter. Non-Native experts provided a wealth of information for understanding how and when earthworks were built, what materials were used, and the postcontact histories of ancient sites.
         Over time, there has been recognition of the obligation to develop more nuanced interpretations of the so-called Hopewell culture and the {194} earthworks. Until Choctaw writer and intellectual LeAnne Howe visited the earthworks and observed that the ancient Indigenous games of "base and ball" and stickball could have been played at the Newark Earthworks (Howe), our tour narratives emphasized the sites themselves, as physical entities, rather than how the earthworks might have related to people's lives, and they focused primarily on the idea of somber ceremonial activities. Howe's enthusiasm reinvigorated the narratives to include descriptions of gatherings infused with familiar Indian activities: feasts, singing, games, races, meetings, storytelling, and trading.
         A balanced approach would include American Indian traditions and knowledge alongside the historical, architectural, and archaeological knowledge. American Indian traditions will provide insight into the purpose and meaning of the earthworks. Archaeological study has provided answers about the earthwork sites: when the earthworks were built and descriptions of construction methods, their locations identified and cataloged, and their proximity to notable geographic features. Aerial photography and remote sensing of level ground have once again made visible earthworks foundations under plowed and fallow fields. After thousands of years, these constructions continue to exist and could be recovered. Early excavations--often rushed, unregulated, and incompetent--set the stage for the earnest interpretations of the earthworks most often repeated now. The prominence of burial mounds within earthworks complexes and findings of extravagant gifts adorning those interred within them likely contributed to a romanticized view of this culture, which were then embellished with aspects of histories from other continents.
         The astronomical function of the enigmatic Octagon Earthworks became clear only after the application of astronomy, science, mathematics, and history. But the cultural meaning still eludes us. The earthworks are evidence of the physical, spiritual, and intellectual vitality of Indigenous people in North America. The cultural achievements of the so-called Hopewell were not isolated; they were the result of accumulated knowledge (see Diamond). Perhaps they are one path to understanding the breadth of Indigenous experience in North America before contact. But we need to develop an approach to understanding the cultural significance of the earthworks and the historical significance of the region over time that includes Native knowledge as central.
         Tribal participation in the interpretation and management of the an-{195}cient and historical landscape is vital to the Indigenous legacy of Ohio. The tribes who lived in the Ohio Valley during the historical era were the most recent Indigenous caretakers of the earthworks (see "Historic American Indian Tribes"). They lived among the earthen complexes, the effigies, and the grave mounds. They knew earthworks existed, understood they were made by their ancestors, and did not disturb them. They did not excavate (see Gamble). These tribes, including the Shawnee, Miami, Wyandotte, Seneca-Cayuga, Delaware, and Ottawa, deserve gratitude and recognition for their stewardship. Much was lost during the Removal Era, perhaps even earthworks knowledge from a prior time from among the numerous Indian groups living in the Great Lakes region.
         For thousands of years, mounds and earthworks have been built by many cultures throughout the eastern third of North America. The implications are intriguing: travel along the waterways between places in the Eastern Woodlands would have been facilitated by familiarity with wildlife and plants. Trade might have easily brought travelers into contact with groups engaged in earthen architecture. Research showing the existence of mounds and earthworks across the Eastern Woodlands and the origin of imported materials found in Ohio might identify possible links between the ancient earthworks and the traditions of contemporary tribes. So-called Hopewell earthworks are unique in both design and concentration. However, contemporary tribes who maintain traditions and language relating to mounds and earthen monuments might contribute by providing guidance for the interpretation and development of management plans. Several tribes who continue to build mounds and earthworks are actively engaged in cultural maintenance and research about their histories.
         The earthworks exemplify Indigenous accomplishment, collaboration, extensive planning, and the application of scientific understanding in which American Indians can find inspiration for future generations. Indians have been willing to support the current preservation strategies with minimal consultation and participation in decisions concerning the interpretation of cultural matters and sites, archaeological research, legislative reform, and so on. But as more Indian people and tribal governments learn about the so-called Hopewell culture, this may change.

While American Indian stewardship does not appear to be a likely outcome in the near future, legal remedies are still needed to protect ancient and historic sites and graves, and the institutions that own earth-


Fig. 7. Time elapse of Lunar Standstill Moonrise, 2005. Photograph by Timothy E. Black/Newark Earthworks Center.

works need to incorporate American Indian and tribal consultation into their management plans. The Newark Earthworks are owned by the Ohio Historical Society, as are many of the major earthworks sites in the state. The National Park Service owns the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. There are many mounds and village sites on private land. The determination of the SAI leaders can be informative. Although the SAI may not have achieved its goals while the organization existed, their priorities continue to be relevant for tribal governments today: recognition of tribal sovereignty, civil rights, local government, cultural preservation, and access to educational and economic opportunities. One legacy of the SAI is the understanding that change is difficult to achieve, that it can fracture alliances and be derailed by historical forces, but, over time, it is nonetheless possible.
         Those who imagined and constructed the Newark Earthworks used the earth and sky to bring into existence something central and transformational to their communities. The form of the Octagon Earthworks is a pictograph of two different shapes joined together. The small perfect circle outside the walls of the octagon calls for ceremony. The open entryways of the octagon invite people to enter the site. Following the walkway, people enter the circle. Observatory Mound offers a view of {197} the rising moon at its peak standstill moments. The circle, ubiquitous among Indigenous cultures as a symbol of life's cycles, could represent the physical world, while the rising moon above the octagon brings the spiritual world closer, signaling that it is time for community events to begin--or end. The Newark Earthworks await a more thorough interpretation than the one offered here, one based in Indigenous traditions, languages, and histories.
         Historian Donald Fixico (Shawnee/Sac and Fox/Muskogee) was among the first contemporary American Indian scholars to see the Newark Earthworks. As a guest of the Newark Earthworks Center, he toured the earthworks and casually met with community members and colleagues over lunch. He was asked about his thoughts concerning the earthworks and all he had seen. Everyone leaned forward. He raised his arms, and without intending to speak for American Indians in the twenty-first century, he said: "All of us who are Indian are descendants of the Mound builders, and their blood runs in our veins."


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Mancall, Peter C., and James H. Merrell, eds. American Encounters: Natives and Newcomers from European Contact to Indian Removal, 1500-1850. New York: Routledge, 1999. Print.

Mann, Charles C. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. New York: Vintage, 2012. Print.

Massle, Jim. "Ohio Indian Mounds Often Disturbed." Columbus Dispatch 20 Jan. 1991: 6D. Print.

"Newark Earthworks: Historic Site Management Plan." 2012. Ohio History Center. Web.

"The 1900s: Lifestyles and Social Trends: Overview." American Decades. 2001. Web.

Pacheco, Paul, ed. A View from the Core: A Synthesis of Ohio Hopewell Archaeology. Columbus: Ohio Archaeology Council, 1996. Print.

Squier, Ephraim G., and Edwin H. Davis, eds. Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. 1848. Washington: Smithsonian, 1998. Print.

Stannard, David E. American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.

Thomas, David Hurst. Skull Wars: Kennewick Man, Archeology, and the Battle for Native American Identity. New York: Basic Books, 2000. Print.

Thornton, Russell. American Indian Holocaust and Survival. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1990. Print.

Townsend, Richard F., ed. Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South. New Haven: Yale UP, 2004. Print.

Wallace, Glenna. Chief of Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Statement to the Ohio Legislative Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History. 13 May 2010. Newark Earthworks Center Archives. Print.

Young, Judith S. Moon Teachings for the Masses at the UMASS Sunwheel and around the World: The Major Lunar Standstills of 2006 and 2024-25. Amherst: U of Massachusetts. 27 May 2003; updated Dec. 2010. Web.


"Help Indians Help Themselves"
Gertrude Bonnin, the SAI, and the NCAI

P. JANE HAFEN         

Zitkala-Sa, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Yankton Sioux), witnessed tremendous change during her lifetime. Born in Yankton, South Dakota, in 1876, the same year as the Battle of the Little Big Horn, she lived a life of political activism. She died in Washington DC in 1938 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. During the span of her life she was removed from her tribal community into the assimilative boarding school system; she was a teacher, a musical performer, a writer, an employee of the Indian Service (forerunner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs), a public speaker, a major player in the Society of American Indians (SAI), and the president of the National Council of American Indians (NCAI). She was never a professional historian, yet her personal and published writings chronicle the changing lives and politics of American Indians. She developed a powerful Indigenous voice and seemed aware of the need for complex rhetoric to reach her audience.
         As Kathleen Washburn argues, the primary documents from this era provide valuable resources for "a wide range of indigenous practices and forms of knowledge" (380). Vine Deloria Jr. asks, "Who really knows what documents, letters, publications and commentaries are really available?" (663). An examination of the archives, especially in regard to the NCAI, shows that Bonnin's rhetorical themes reveal a consistency of resistance, tribal nationalism, and call for civil rights that was evident in her early writings and her work with the SAI (see also Staley). She seemed aware of her audience and often presented her ideas in a pattern that affirmed tribalism while paradoxically utilizing ideologies of the colonizer with biblical references and appeals to basic rights.
         Bonnin was an intense letter writer and record keeper. Her corre-{200}spondences and documents are housed in a number of university libraries and archives, especially at Brigham Young University and the National Archives. These documents outline a life and purpose that played out on a national stage of Indian issues. Gertrude Simmons married Raymond Bonnin (1880-1942), fellow Yankton Sioux, in 1902. They converted to Catholicism and moved to Utah, where both worked for the Indian Service for the Uintah-Ouray Utes. This period would be influential throughout their lives. Upon taking their son, Ohiya, to boarding school in Illinois, Gertrude saw Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai Apache, 1866-1923) face to face for the first time since breaking their engagement ten years earlier. In 1913 he invited her to the SAI meeting in Denver, but she declined, saying her duties kept her at home.1 Nevertheless, she expressed interest in the conference and in Montezuma's writing.
        In 1914 Bonnin joined the SAI advisory board, and in the fall of 1915 she started teaching classes directed toward social welfare and social education on the Uintah-Ouray Ute Reservation (Welch 41). Her first writing to appear in the American Indian Magazine was a 1916 article titled "A Year's Experience in Community Service Work among the Ute Tribe of Indians." This article gives an account of her service work under the auspices of the Society of American Indians. Although the narrative of this article could be read as a straightforward recounting of activities, there are subtle indicators of tribal traditions and rituals and an emphasis on community. For example, the article begins:

We began our Community Center work in the fall of 1915, by starting sewing classes among the women. There was no time to consult the fashion books. We met one day each week, devoting it to charity work for the aged members of the tribe. Plain, warm garments cut in the loose style they are accustomed to wear, were made for those who could neither see to sew nor buy their clothing ready made, with money they did not have. Sometimes members of the sewing classes helped one another with their necessary sewing. Later they learned very rapidly to crochet little caps, jackets and bootees for their babies. Old comforters were repaired; new quilts were pieced and quilted quite creditably by the women. (307)

In the first paragraph Bonnin refers to "the charity work for the aged members of the tribe." More current parlance might refer to this activity as honoring the elders; however, Bonnin demonstrates a "shared {201} responsibility" or an emphasis on community over individuality. That responsibility continues with a description of the ways the Indian government service workers accommodate the "Monday Indians": "Monday, Indians from far and near came to the Government office. Some came to receive their monthly subsistence checks, others to sign papers or to give testimony in an heirship hearing." Yet, these Indians had no access to facilities or "hospitality." In an act of resistance, Bonnin criticizes the bureaucratic system that drives employees into debt and fails to service tribal members. As a solution:

The wives of these Indian employees agreed with me that by locking up their homes and donating their service to prepare and serve a simple, wholesome lunch to these "Monday Indians," a mutual benefit would be gained to all concerned. The Monday lunch and rest-room were started. (308)

Not only does Bonnin create a liberation narrative and denounce the current failures of the Indian Bureau, but she follows through with decisive action. At the same time, she clearly values an industrious work ethic that counters the image of the "lazy" Indian and embraces mainstream ideals.
         Even while remaining in Utah, she had a steady correspondence with Arthur C. Parker, editor of the SAI's Quarterly Journal. They had basic differences, with Parker preferring to foreground progressive and educated Indians while Bonnin remained immersed in tribal work, but at that point the two remained cordial. Lucy Maddox notes that "Unlike many of her SAI colleagues--certainly including Montezuma--Bonnin continued to put the reservations and a traditional Sioux ethos at the center of her philosophy as a reformer and thinker" (150). In 1916 Bonnin attended the Fifth Annual SAI meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was elected secretary.
         Despite Bonnin's representations of the SAI work in Utah, both she and Raymond Bonnin experienced conflicts with the Indian Bureau appointees on the Uintah-Ouray Reservation. In letters to Father Ketcham of the Bureau of Catholic Missions, Bonnin outlined discrepancies in the pay scale between Raymond and other employees; described how her son, Ohiya, was turned away from a Christmas party social on the basis of his Catholicism; and enumerated disagreements with bureau employees. In 1917 Bonnin wrote to Father Ketcham:


My rehearsal of our experiences was more for your better information of prevailing conditions than that you should speak with the Commissioner--for our sakes.
         I do appreciate your kind thought but we are considering quite seriously leaving the Indian Service--to venture upon an independent business of our own.
         It is far wiser--we have concluded--to leave before we are driven to commit some act of desperation. We love our people and are able to help them for after fourteen years--we have earned their confidence. But we are weary and worn out with the unjust and petty persecution of political appointees who would make the Godess [sic] of Liberty to blush could she get one peep into the despotic reign of pin heads! on an Indian Reservation. . . . Thank you for your reminding me to pray. I have been so very much discouraged at times that I could not pray. And yet the very cause of persecution has been because I was doing work to advance real uplift work for my race.2

The religious tone of this letter is a far cry from the young woman who penned "Why I Am a Pagan." While asserting her purpose to work for Indian causes, Bonnin nevertheless judges the Indian Bureau workers against the mainstream standards of "liberty." Additional reports from the time indicate that Bureau of Indian Affairs agent Albert H. Kneale was accused of mismanaging land allotments and water reclamation (Lewis 60). The Bonnins relocated to Washington DC, where Gertrude worked with the SAI and Raymond joined the army, achieving the rank of captain.
         A year later, in 1917, Bonnin again published from her Ute experience in the American Indian Magazine. However, in the article, titled "Chipeta, Widow of Chief Ouray, With a Word about a Deal in Blankets," the author byline is Zitkala-Sa, as it is for the poems that appear in the magazine. The creative nature of the poems makes sense for the return to the name Zitkala-Sa, and perhaps the passion of this article lends to her literary persona as well. The article describes how Chipeta, a respected elder, is deceived by those pretending to honor her. She is susceptible to deception, according to the essay, because of her dependence on peyote. This is the first of Bonnin's many assaults on peyote use, which was common among the Utes.3
         Bonnin's anti-peyote stance was one symptom of the factionalism that divided the SAI. There was also an increasing dominance of Sioux members. According to Debra Welch, Bonnin "maneuvered" Arthur C. Parker and Marie Baldwin out of their positions. In 1918 Bonnin wrote to Parker, saying if he did not respond she would assume control of the magazine. Additionally, because of Baldwin's employment with the Indian Bureau, which some in the SAI wanted abolished, her loyalty was questioned (Welch 43).
         In 1918 Bonnin assumed editorship of the American Indian Magazine, writing four editorial comments. James Cox summarizes her association with the magazine: "[S]he . . . addresses many of the topics that held her interest in the previous issues: her tribe, the loyalty of Indian soldiers, the benefits of integration, and blatant racial discrimination" (190). In other words Bonnin, as editor, assumed the power to foreground her own concerns and alliances. The 1919 winter issue, for example, featured fellow Sioux Charles Eastman on the cover and included two of his pieces. In her first column as editor, Bonnin summarizes the St. Pierre conference.4 She lists the military activities of some of the SAI members and advocates for full rights for Indians as American citizens. She also lambasts the Indian Bureau:

The Indian Bureau system was naturally defended by its representative. The members of the Conference expressed a decided preference for Public Schools and American institutions. The Bureau representative advocated the alleged sweet oil of Government Schools under the Bureau System, while the Conference members protested against what they believed to be the fat fly of paternalism in this particular brand of ointment. (14)

Her distrust of the Indian Bureau would continue, and it often appeared as an object of contempt in her writing. That attitude aligned with Carlos Montezuma, who crusaded to "Abolish the Bureau."5
         Bonnin proceeded to pursue rights for "the Red Man" under guarantees of American citizenship, especially for the Indian soldiers fighting for America in World War I. In a 1919 editorial comment, she discusses the Paris Peace Conference and places the quest for Indian rights and citizenship in a global context. After listing constituencies, labor organizations, "the Black man," and Irish, who are requesting representation at the Paris conference, she asks:


The Red man asks for a very simple thing--citizenship in the land that was once his own, America. Who shall represent his cause at the World Peace Conference? The American Indian, too, made the supreme sacrifice for liberty's sake. He loves democratic ideals. What shall world democracy mean to his race?6

On one hand she asserts Indian land and sovereign rights to representation in an international forum, while at the same time she embraces a political framework of "democratic ideals" of the United States, which had deprived Indigenous peoples of their lands and their political voices. In her editorial commentary in 1919, she discusses Ute land and grazing rights. As the Utes were not successful farmers, they depended on grazing (Lewis 66). Bonnin passionately declares:

In the United States Treasury are some two million dollars belonging to these Utes. Why have they not been encouraged to purchase cattle for their Grazing Land, instead of spending vast sums of money in farming desert lands allotted to them without water? It remains for the American people to say if "in the future" the Indian Bureau shall continue to hinder the Utes from making adequate use of their Grazing Land. These Indians are natural stockmen and have long wished to engage in more extensive stock raising.
         Were the Indians' dream to come true, the Utes would be free to invest their money in livestock, with the hands of the Indian Bureau strictly off! The Utes would become producers in the beef supply of America. They would find at last the joy of active participation in an American enterprise!7

Bonnin uses a specific tribe and a familiar experience to plea for justice, to cry for independence from governmental interference and to demand tribal sovereignty. A continuing paradox of Bonnin's writing, even from her earliest works, is that she writes with the voice of resistance while incorporating mainstream values. Just as she uses biblical metaphors to frame her fall from innocence in her childhood memoirs, she identifies injustices and advocates independence, yet she also urges "American Enterprise."
         During the period after her work with the SAI, Bonnin peripherally affiliated with the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the American Indian Defense Association (AIDA). With the AIDA in 1924, she in-{205}vestigated and cowrote with Charles H. Fabens and Matthew K. Sniffen "Oklahoma's Poor Rich Indians: An Orgy of Graft and Exploitation of The Five Civilized Tribes, Legalized Robbery." Although Congress resisted the information and was slow to respond to the Oklahoma report (see Hafen), the persistence of the Indian Rights Association led to a full-scale investigation and prompted the Meriam Report of 1928, which o  pened the door for the reforms that would follow in the next decade.
      Additionally 1924 finally saw the passage of legislation granting US citizenship to Indians.8 Along with her husband, Raymond, Bonnin prepared testimonies for congressional committees on Indian affairs that discussed Indian issues and argued for Indian rights. Their premise was a consistent tribal identity compounded with the rights of every other American citizen.
         On February 27, 1926, the Bonnins cofounded the National Council of American Indians. According to Raymond, a number of Indians had gathered in Washington DC to protest some legislation perceived as anti-Indian. Afterward they met together and "agreed that all Indians should get together into one big organization to help each other and protect each other against all persons who tried to do harmful things to Indians."9 Thirteen tribes were represented: Apache, Assiniboine, Klamath, Yakima, Comanche, Chippewa, Miami, Osage, Crow, Oneida, Ponca, Sioux, and Kiowa. The idea was to have local lodges among the tribes who would then communicate their concerns to the officers who lived in Washington DC. Minimal dues of one dollar per year, for those who could afford it, would be divided between the local organizations and headquarters.
         Bonnin's reputation and experience from the Society of American Indians made her a natural choice for president. Raymond commented that the SAI "did well as long as she was in charge of it but went to pieces as soon as she ceased to have anything to do with it."10 Whether or not she was singularly responsible for the success or failure of the SAI, apparently those leaders meeting in Washington DC had sufficient trust in her abilities to elect her president, a position she would hold throughout the rest of her life. Raymond served as executive secretary, the only paid position.11
         Gertrude Bonnin described the organization and her role: "The National Council of American Indians was created by the Indians themselves and I was elected to my office, which carries no pay whatsoever. I {206} devote my whole time to its work and never have I sought any personal benefit."12 Raymond identified the primary purpose as "THE PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS AND THEIR PROPERTY."13 With this declaration, the members of the organization claimed their rights as ordinary American citizens, but they also reclaimed what they had lost. Raymond Bonnin notes that prior to receiving citizenship "Indians were jailed if they held meetings without permission from a superintendent." Consequently, the organization itself, with headquarters and with local groups, was revolutionary in the minds of the Bonnins.
         The tone and language of the organization is clear in a petition prepared and presented to the US Senate. It was entered into the Congressional Record on April 24, 1926. The title page of the document declares its intent and sets its tone:

PETITION OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF AMERICAN INDIANS TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ASSEMBLED. UNDER AMENDMENT I OF THE CONSTITUTION. "Congress shall make no law * * * abridging * * * the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The document as a whole asserts a legal rhetorical voice. By the time of its writing, Raymond was well experienced by taking law classes and working with Congress. The document runs forty-three pages, and although its authorship is not clearly stated, it is signed by Gertrude Bonnin as president of the NCAI.
         The petition begins with a remarkable declaration of what Simon Ortiz (Acoma) would call "'resistance literature' . . . decolonization and liberation" (365):

When in the course of human events a civilized state asserts by virtue of an alleged right of discovery the power of preemption in an aboriginal territory, it assumes before the Great Spirit who rules over the destinies of mankind, and under the Law of Nations, an obligation for those whose possession it displaces which neither emperors nor sovereign peoples may avoid.

The echo of the Declaration of Independence is certainly intentional and consistent with assuming the audience's familiarity and reverence {207} for the original document. Additionally, rather than referring to "Laws of Nature and Nature's God," this statement identifies a common reference to an Indigenous deity, the Great Spirit. The Doctrine of Discovery, the right of European/Christian nations to claim property rights, is challenged.14 The document focuses on land and acknowledges the displacement and sovereignty of Native peoples. Next, the petition claims treaty rights and reasserts tribal sovereignty.
         The petition is then divided into several sections. Section 1, "The Constitutional Rights of Indian Citizens," recounts the legal and judicial history of Indians with the United States. It cites court decisions, congressional reports, and legal theory. This section concludes:

Yet, the plain facts of history are that the people of the United States shed their blood without stint to confer those human rights guaranteed to all men by the Constitution [ . . . and they] shed their own blood and that of the Indians to deny to the Indians those same human rights. (11)

This general claim for civil rights calls out the hypocrisy evident in American history, where "rights" are defended for those with privilege and power yet denied for the first inhabitants, including those who fought for American ideals in world conflicts. Despite the NCAI's desire for reform, the denial of these civil rights continues through the twentieth century, as outlined by John R. Wunder in "Retained by the People": A History of American Indians and the Bill of Rights.
         Section 2 is more of a legal argument and cites the unique status of American Indians, who must apply for remedial jurisdiction through Congress. That requirement not only delays justice but also puts individuals at the mercy of unscrupulous lawyers. Section 3 cites case law to demonstrate the inconsistencies of the federal government in its dealings with Indians and a general violation of due process.
         In Section 4 the narrative addresses "The Social and Economic Situation of the Indian Citizens of the United States" (24). Again, the history of Indians in the United States is rehearsed, but with attention to tribal community and land dispossession. The narrative invokes the Shawnee freedom fighter Tecumseh and then later leaders from a range of tribes, including Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Little Turtle, Black Hawk, and Osceola, pointing to a broad history of resistance and survival. Opposing the Dawes Act, the narrative argues that severalty leads to pov-{208}erty and loss of land. Citing population statistics, it demonstrates that Indians had nearly become extinct. And noting the troubled history and sacrifices that led to survival, the petition says:

It was only after 55 official wars had been waged against the dependent Indian subjects of the United States that President Grant was able at last to stay the Government's mailed hand. But even then, in 1870, he was compelled to adopt the reservation system as the only possible means to save the remnants of the race from complete destruction. (31)

In other words, the reservation system was far from perfect, but it was a necessary alternative to continuing wars. This particular observation is a reminder that both Gertrude and Raymond Bonnin saw tremendous change in their lifetimes. Born in the 1800s, they probably each knew survivors of military encounters. They were survivors of virgin soil diseases, the epidemics that decimated many tribes because of lack of natural resistance to animal-borne and natural contagions like smallpox and measles. Their own lives were evidence of survival.
         To conclude, the document makes a final assertion about the objectives of the NCAI:

The Council has but one purpose--the organization of a constructive effort to better the Red Race and make its members better citizens of the United States. These objects it cannot attain unless the Indians are accorded the rights essential to racial self respect and a spirit of loyalty of the United States. It is for that reason alone that it presents their grievances. (36)

Similar to the duality noted earlier, this document outlines the history of injustice and current social and economic problems. Yet there is an idealism here grounded in the concept of citizenship and loyalty that should be rewarded. The NCAI calls Congress to the task of protecting the rights of Indians two years before the crucial Meriam Report that would also demand reform.
         In an echo of the Declaration of Independence, the petition of the NCAI claims basic human rights. However, it does so within the rubric of the federal system, arguing for rights as American citizens, free from discrimination. Additionally, the NCAI claims the proprietary Indigenous rights related to land and community.
         While some of the objectives may seem familiar to the indignant rhetoric Bonnin deployed in writing for the SAI, there are significant differences. The documents of the NCAI take on a legalistic tone, probably under the influence of Raymond and his legal training.15 They cite case law to substantiate their arguments. The NCAI is composed of chapters within tribal nations, emphasizing community over individuals. The NCAI will directly approach Congress and pay attention to specific legislation regarding Indians. Now that American citizenship has been attained, there is a more direct appeal for civil rights under the auspices of the US Constitution.
         With the purposes of the organization established, the Bonnins then set out to organize local chapters throughout the United States and to raise money to support the council. They left Washington DC in June and returned in late November or early December 1926; traveling "10,600 miles by auto, [they] started 25 Local Lodges."16 After their return, additional tribes contacted the Bonnins about also joining the council.
         Within the year Gertrude Bonnin used the authority of her position to lobby senators, testify, and engage in federal Indian policies. Among the matters about which both Gertrude and Raymond testified in 1927 were certain violations of Indian rights under a proposed reservation courts bill; the Rio Grande Conservancy; land claims from the Sisseton Agency; claims for Ute lands and forests; and incorporation of Klamath Indians. Along with her oral testimonies, Bonnin wrote a ten-page diatribe to Senator Lynn Frazier from North Dakota, chair of the Senate Sub-committee on Indian Affairs, in which she argues for the abolishment of the Indian Bureau. She supports her argument with a general description of social circumstances in Indian Country. She quotes from Indian Truth, the magazine of the Indian Rights Association, and from archaeologist Warren K. Moorehead's Plan for the Reorganization of the Indian Service (1925). Moorehead's pamphlet had been sent to every member of Congress. The themes are familiar: land rights, social issues, civil rights, and Indian welfare. Bonnin also laments the lack of schooling on reservations and argues that education is a tool for survival. Rhetorically, she appeals to her audience's sentimental instincts:

The Indians are now a helpless people unable to force the great and mighty United States into doing anything. All that the Indians can do now is to state their grievances to Congress and trust that this good Christian Nation will do the right thing by them.17

{210} As in her award-winning speech from her student days, "Side by Side," Bonnin knew how to win her audience to her side.18 She appealed to the Christian conscience.
         In addition to writing and testifying before Congress, the Bonnins carried on correspondence with the lodges and many individuals. Sometimes the Bonnins were asked to investigate, recommend, or intervene in Indian Bureau personnel matters with specific agencies on reservations, such as an allotment and enrollment case for Robert Clarkson of South Dakota.19 They were asked to represent individuals for judicial remedy before Congress, such as Ben Ghostbear, also from South Dakota, who was inquiring for judicial compensation for an injury.20
         However, the financial situation was shaky, and money was slow to come in. The Bonnins went from renting office space to occupying donated office space and finally to using a post office box and running the organization from their home. In the early years John Collier solicited funds for the organization. The Bonnin files include letters of denial for funds from various organizations.
         The local lodges were also struggling with low participation and with financial constraints. Gertrude Bonnin wrote to Mr. and Mrs. R. Youngblood of Cherokee, North Carolina:

All tribes write us that they are having very hard times; that money is scarce; and they are poor, sick and dying. It is a sad story; and makes me feel like working harder (if that is possible). I mailed a copy of a Senate Sub-Committee Hearing; read it and you will see the real dangers of extinction that our race is facing today.21

The imperative of survival was a very real issue for the Bonnins. At this time they had one son and two grandchildren. However, by the 1970s there would be no known direct survivors of the family.
         In 1927 Father Philip Gordon (Chippewa) wrote Bonnin with the idea of reorganizing the Society of American Indians. An ally of Carlos Montezuma in the early days of the SAI, Father Gordon stuck with the SAI and said he had been elected president, but it was functioning "feebly if at all."22 Bonnin responded by inviting him to join the NCAI. She emphasized the local lodges. She criticized the SAI as "top-heavy, without any body," and thought it better to start with their new organization.23
       The Bonnins had some contact with other former members of the SAI. Gertrude thought Laura (Minnie) Cornelius Kellogg unfriendly toward the NCAI. In a tangential investigation of a rumored organiza-


Fig. 1. National Council of American Indians Newsletter, May 18, 1928. Reprinted from the Gertrude Bonnin and Raymond Bonnin Collection. MS 1704, box 9, folder 2. L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Harold B. Lee Library. Brigham Young University.

tion called the American Indian Order, Bonnin noted that Rev. Sherman Coolidge was listed as "Honorary Chief."24 Bonnin was also interrogating the possible fraudulent Indian identities of Red Fox James and "Princess Chinquilla," who were associated with that organization.25
         Despite dwindling support from nationwide lodges, Gertrude and {212} Raymond Bonnin continued their pattern of traveling when they could, testifying, and writing. Bonnin also gave public speeches, such as her 1930 address to the Lake Mohonk Conference on the Indian. She touted the NCAI and spoke on the themes that characterize her work: help Indians help themselves. She concluded her address by reprising the lure of the red apples in the boarding school, learning to speak English. She acknowledged the Quaker Friends who had helped her.
         In 1932 only six tribes attended the annual meeting of the NCAI, and the officers were reelected. Bonnin noted that they served without pay. In a 1933 newsletter she recognizes the contributions of Charles Curtis, member of the Kaw tribe and former vice president of the United States. She concludes with this admonition for reform:

HELP INDIANS HELP THEMSELVES. You have a mind, a heart and a life. Make use of them daily. Our stay on Earth is short, after all. Make use of life wherever you are. Yours for the Indian Cause, Gertrude Bonnin. President, National Council of American Indians, Inc.

Bonnin had used the sign-off for many years, and it characterized her life's devotion to Indian causes.
         By the mid-1930s the Bonnins were raising their four grandchildren. Gertrude's health was failing, and Raymond was preparing the Ute claims. Even though they traveled through the West to argue against the Wheeler Howard Act (also known as the Indian Reorganization Act) in 1934, their influence and public appearances were waning.
         Gertrude Bonnin passed in 1938. A year later, Raymond applied for continuing nonprofit status for the NCAI. He indicated that between 1932 and 1938 the organization's gross income was less than $500. He was still using the NCAI letterhead, which features the image of a white buffalo. Gertrude had explained:

It is the Sioux symbol of purification and power according to our ancient mythology. To become a member of the Order of the White Buffalo one had to do public work for the benefit of the people; and to be invited to join by a member. Capt Bonnin and I have been eniciated [sic] into this old old order. And we are very happy.26

        The aspirations of the NCAI were noble, and the leaders were able to directly participate in decision-making forums in Washington DC. Not


Fig. 2. National Council of American Indians Newsletter, December 31, 1936. Reprinted from the Gertrude Bonnin and Raymond Bonnin Collection. MS 1704, box 9, folder 2. L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Harold B. Lee Library. Brigham Young University.

{214} only did the Bonnins have personal contacts with legislators, but they were familiar with other Indian rights organizations, such as the American Indian Defense Association and the Indian Rights Association, both led by non-Indians. The rift with John Collier, however, was a severe blow after Collier became commissioner of Indian Affairs and denied Raymond's legal work. The Bonnins were personally left behind in the Roosevelt policy of the New Deal for Indians.
         Despite their hard work, the Bonnins were hampered by some of the practical aspects of their time. Communication was limited to overland mail service and telegraph. While they were traveling, the letters piled up in the Washington office regardless of promises to have mail forwarded. The Bonnins were continually apologizing for late responses. There were occasional rivalries among tribes and individuals. Even as Raymond had observed that the SAI had functioned because of Gertrude, the NCAI really did depend on her leadership. The organization itself receives mere mention in many historical and policy discussions of the period 1926-38, and it is nearly always associated with her name.
         As the Allotment Era ended and the New Deal began, new legal strategies fell into place. Although Raymond Bonnin was involved in settlement claims for the Utes, Klamaths, and Paiutes, his passing in 1942 left many of those issues unresolved. Once again, American Indians served the United States in a world war. With a greater need than ever, a representative national Indian organization emerged in 1944 in the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and exerts its influence through today.27
         Gertrude Bonnin was a significant participant in the Society of American Indians during its brief period. Her whole life, however, left a legacy of political action, resistance, justice, and voluminous writings, both published and unpublished. Her experiences, combined with Raymond's legal expertise, led to efforts to represent Indians during a time of crucial change for Native peoples. Bonnin knew her audience and how to shape her rhetoric to influence them. Regardless of the changes around them, the Bonnins remained committed to the Indian cause.


1. Letter from Gertrude Bonnin to Carlos Montezuma, 23 June 1913. This and subsequent documents are from the Gertrude and Raymond Bonnin Collection unless otherwise noted.
         2. Letter from Bonnin to Father Ketcham, 26 Feb. 1917.

         3. For an account of peyote use among Utes see "The Ute" in Stewart, 195-201. Stewart's account also includes a picture of Gertrude Bonnin from American Indian Stories and describes the Bonnins as "intelligent and educated Indians" (198). He reprints the Bonnins' list of the evils of peyote, from a 1916 letter to S. M. Brosius and published in the Annual Report of the Indian Rights Association:

  1. It excites the base passions and is demoralizing--similar in its abnormal effects to that of opium, morphine, and cocaine.
  2. It creates false notions in the minds of the users, preventing sound logic and rational thought with which to meet the problems of their daily lives. Believing that peyote is the comforter sent by God, they reject the teaching of Church. . . . Believing peyote a cure-all for every human ailment, they ignore the advice and aid of physicians. Attending the weekly peyote meetings, they waste time, strength, and money.
  3. It has spread with alarming rapidity within the last two years . . .
  4. It appears to have been the direct cause of the deaths of 25 persons among the Utes within the last two years.
  5. . . . it appears to us that an unscrupulous organization, through its agents, is promoting the Peyote Cult, under a religious guise, solely for the easy money gotten from their superstitious victims. . . .
  6. Since the use of peyote is spreading rapidly . . . we do implore all earnest citizens of America for a Federal law to protect us against the traffic in and the indiscriminate use of peyote. (198)

         4. Gertrude Bonnin, editorial commentary, American Indian Magazine 6.3 (1918): 113-14.
         5. Bonnin, editorial commentary, American Indian Magazine 7.1 (1919): 9-20; Carlos Montezuma, address from the 1918 conference at Pierre SD.
         6. Bonnin, editorial commentary, American Indian Magazine 6.4 (1919): 161-62.
         7. Bonnin, editorial commentary, American Indian Magazine 7.1 (1919): 8-9.
         8. Although American Indians gained the rights to citizenship, full voting rights were not granted until 1948 in New Mexico and 1962 in Utah. For a discussion of citizenship and voting rights see Wilkins.
         9. Letter from Raymond Bonnin to John Duncan, 17 Mar. 1926.
         10. Bonnin to Duncan.
         11. Memo from Board of Directors to R. T. Bonnin, 16 Dec. 1926.
         12. Gertrude Bonnin, address before the Indian Rights Association to discuss the report "Problem of Indian Administration" by the Institute for Government Research, Atlantic City, 14-15 Dec. 1928.
         13. Letter from Raymond Bonnin to James Irving, 18 Dec. 1926.
         14. For a thorough discussion see Miller.

         15. Although Raymond Bonnin studied law for four years at George Washington, he never took the bar exam. That became a point of contention when John Collier became commissioner of Indian affairs. Collier issued an executive order that only lawyers could represent tribes. That position put Raymond into a circumstance where he contracted his preparatory legal work for the Indian Claims Commission to the Washington/Utah law firm of Moyle and Wilkinson. See Metcalf.
         16. Letter to from Gertrude Bonnin to "Jacob," 15 Feb. 1927.
         17. Letter to Gertrude Bonnin to Lynn J. Frazier, 23 Feb. 1927.
         18. As a student at Earlham College, Bonnin won second place in a statewide oratorical contest in 1896. She describes the experience in American Indian Stories, 76-80. It was published in the Earlhamite 2.12 (16 Mar. 1896): 177-79.
         19. Letter from Raymond Bonnin to Robert Clarkson, 31 Mar. 1927.
         20. Letter from Raymond Bonnin to Ben Ghostbear, April 5, 1927.
         21. Letter from Gertrude Bonnin, no salutation [to Mr. and Mrs. R. Youngblood], 9 Apr. 1927.
         22. Letter from Father Philip Gordon to Gertrude Bonnin, 11 Apr. 1927.
         23. Letter from Gertrude Bonnin to Father Philip Gordon, 13 Apr. 1927.
         24. Letter from Gertrude Bonnin to Father Philip Gordon, 18 Apr. 1927.
         25. See Carpenter. The history of Indian fakery is well documented and stems back to tribal rolls and treaty obligations. Despite the analysis of a number of critics, there is little evidence Gertrude Bonnin dwelt on her own sense of being a Yankton Sioux.
         26. Letter from Gertrude Bonnin to Cuwe, 19 Dec. 1936. "Cuwe" means older sister in Dakota language, but the recipient of this letter is unknown. Inasmuch as Bonnin had no living older sister, it is probably more a term of endearment.
         27. The organization originally called itself the National Council of American Indians, but changed to "Congress" to avoid confusion with Bonnin's Council. See Cowger 43. Even some of the most noted scholars in American Indian Studies have confused the National Council with the National Congress of American Indians.


Bonnin, Gertrude. "American Indian Problem." Address for the Indian Rights Association to discuss the report "Problem of Indian Administration" by the Institute for Government Research. Atlantic City. 14-15 Dec. 1928. Print.

_ _ _. American Indian Stories. Washington DC: Hayworth, 1921. Print.

_ _ _. "Editorial Comment: The Ute Grazing Land." American Indian Magazine 7.1 (1919): 8-9. Print.

_ _ _. "Newsletter." National Council of American Indians. Jan. 1933. Print.

_ _ _. "Why I Am a Pagan." Atlantic Monthly 90 (1902): 801-803. Print.

_ _ _. "A Year's Experience in Community Service Work among the Ute Tribe of Indians." American Indian Magazine 4 (1916): 307-10. Print.

Bonnin, Gertrude, and Raymond Bonnin Collection. MS 1704, box 9, folder 2.

L. Tom Perry Special Collections. Harold B. Lee Library. Brigham Young U. Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. Archives, Marquette U.

Carpenter, Cari. "Detecting Indianness: Gertrude Bonnin's Investigation of Native American Identity." Wicazo Sa Review 20.1 (2005): 139-59. Print.

Cowger, Thomas W. The National Congress of American Indians: The Founding Years. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1999. Print.

Cox, James H. "For the Indian Cause." Blue Pencils and Hidden Hands: Women Editing Periodicals, 1830-1910. Ed. Sharon Harris. Boston: Northeastern UP, 2004. 173-97. Print.

Deloria, Vine, Jr. "The Rise and Fall of the First Indian Movement." Historian 33.4 (1971): 656-64. Print.

Hafen, P. Jane. "'I Deplore Propaganda': Response to Zitkala-Sa and 'Oklahoma's Poor Rich Indians.'" Unpublished paper.

Lewis, David. Neither Wolf nor Dog: American Indians, Environment, and Agrarian Change. New York: Oxford UP, 1994. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.

Metcalf, Warren R. Termination's Legacy: The Discarded Indians of Utah. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2002. Print.

Miller, Robert J. Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny. Westport: Praeger, 2006. Print.

Ortiz, Simon. "Interview." Journal of the Southwest 31.3 (1989): 362-77. Print.

Papers of Carlos Montezuma, MD. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1983. Microform.

Staley, Robert A. "Congressional Hearings: Neglected Sources of Information on American Indians." Government Information Quarterly 25 (2008): 520-40. Print.

Stewart, Omer C. Peyote Religion: A History. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1987. Print.

Washburn, Kathleen. "New Indians and Indigenous Archives." PMLA 127.2 (2012): 380-85. Print.

Welch, Debra. "Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa)." The New Warriors: Native American Leaders since 1900. Ed. R. David Edmunds. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2001. 34-53. Print.

Wilkins, David. "An Inquiry into Indigenous Political Participation: Implica-{218}tions for Tribal Sovereignty." Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy 9 (2000): 732-49. Print.

Wunder, John R. "Retained by the People": A History of American Indians and the Bill of Rights. New York: Oxford UP, 1994. Print.

Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Bonnin). "Chipeta, Widow of Chief Ouray, with a Word about a Deal in Blankets." American Indian Magazine 8.5 (1917): 168-70. Print.


Plank 4

In all conferences and

meetings of this association,

there shall be broad, free

discussion of all subjects

bearing upon the welfare of

the race.


{blank page}


The SAI and the End(s)
of Intellectual History


In the penultimate paragraph of an essay I wrote for a recent special issue of the journal interventions on indigeneity and postcolonial theory, I stated the following: "The intellectual historical project that challenged the primacy of theory in my generation will play itself out" (94). That special issue, edited by my Illinois colleagues Jodi Byrd and Michael Rothberg, came out of a conference at the University of Illinois in which Native studies and postcolonial scholars grappled in various ways with the status of theoretical discourse in Native and Indigenous studies, and my comment about intellectual history served an argument through which I sought to reinvigorate theory, not to mention theorists, in our field. The focus of this special issue and the conference that gave it impetus is prima facie evidence to the contrary of my assertion, but I want to start with it as a way of creating an alternative way in which to think about the legacy of the Society of American Indians a century and more after its founding.
         My invocation of the primacy of theory, I should say, was not a reference to Native studies--what we know as theory in academic circles has never had primacy there--but rather to the academic world those of us who came into Native studies faced in the 1980s. Embracing Native intellectual history, as I did as one response to that world, was a way of navigating between the theory-heavy broader world and versions of Native studies that had not, at least as of yet, established a satisfying basis for what our highest intellectual and scholarly aspirations were. But that navigation strategy, as I tried to articulate in the interventions essay, had come at the expense of a richer engagement with theory, or had at least delayed that engagement, and what we missed in the process was {222} what haunted my remarks. As I said of my prophesied playing out of the intellectual historical project, achieving that end is "the easier part. The harder part is taking the next step forward. Eventually that step will not just involve theory, but will be theory, and the sooner we get there, the better. So, let's get there" (94).
         Among theorists at the conference for which I wrote the paper, I apparently felt emboldened to make that statement about intellectual history, but in my basement home office staring at the page proofs, alone except for the shelves and stacks of books by the Native authors who produced the history of writing I referenced in my remarks and whose lives and works have become so central to the way that many of us define Native studies, I faced doubts about both the truth and the efficacy of what I had said. Did I really mean that, or some version of it? In the context of the essay, it was something of a throwaway line, so I could have done just that--thrown it away.
         By keeping it, I unknowingly set myself up for this occasion, which is, of course, built around the idea of the history that a certain kind of intellectuals make. If the primacy of what I have called the intellectual historical project is ending, what do occasions like the one that prompted these essays on the Society of American Indians mean beyond pausing to recall with admiration some of those who paved the road that brought us to where we are today? My purpose here is to grapple with some of the trends in the doing of Native intellectual history that prompted my consideration of that project's pride of place.
         What was missing from the theory conference essay was something I have been working out since, which is the need for Native and Indigenous studies to work more explicitly in ways that recognize, generate, respect, and proliferate alternative versions of and practices within our field. A formal way of thinking of this is through the language of dialectics--Native studies benefits from living within the tension between and resolution of varied positions. More informally, this version of Native studies seeks out and values those people and places in the Native world that have typically been occluded by a focus on the leaders who are the most legible, the moments that are most visible, and an established world of Indian affairs with its narrow way of promoting agendas.
         Thus, the "end" of intellectual history I am employing here is less of a throwaway line but, importantly, more playful than my earlier articula-{223}tion of it. What I mean by that will make sense, I hope, if I offer a preview of where I am headed. First, I want to discuss some of the ways that Native writers of the SAI saw themselves as living through the end of a certain kind of history--that many of these people we celebrate through these essays looked at the changing world around them and saw, if not exclusively, at least primarily, a world of traditional Native ceremony, philosophy, language, and lifeways that had been, not just as Leslie Marmon Silko would later say, "irrevocably altered" by modern life, but, in actuality, erased from the continent in nearly every meaningful way (6). This was, by and large, a given among educated Americans, including American Indians, a century ago, even if articulating a new sort of future featuring a new sort of Indian, adjusted and acculturated to the demands of modernity, was the particular challenge of a broad range of SAI-era writers.
         Second, I want to suggest that those of us in Native studies who continue to engage the intellectual work that emerged from the SAI generation need to confront to a much greater extent than we have to this point the limits that are all too easy to inherit from this intellectual patrimony. Along with the tremendous benefits that can derive from a greater understanding and appreciation for the well-known and the lesser-known figures from this era, I want to urge us toward a keener awareness of the ways in which we in Native studies continue to bind ourselves and even blind ourselves in some of the ways these progenitors did, caught in the same "ends" as them.
         Finally, I want to work through one alternative to an intellectual historical practice that leads to such circumscribed ends. That alternative focuses away from intellectual history toward solidarity, which is effectively a proposal for a more philosophical and theoretical approach to Native studies, one that takes seriously the generational gravity of intellectual projects across centuries. That gravity pulls us in a forum like this appropriately toward the SAI, but it can and should pull us at other times toward other positions, moments, and even toward radically different conceptions of the category of the intellectual and of intellectual history. That gravitational pull, I hope, will help me illustrate the sort of dialectical, alternative-seeking Native studies that can emerge from reorienting how we think about Native intellectual history and the part the SAI plays in it.



Attendees of the first SAI meeting traveled from Columbus to the Newark Earthworks, a side trip that those of us who attended the anniversary gathering replicated. While there, as Lucy Maddox reports in her book Citizen Indians, the group apparently stood atop one of the mounds and sang "America" (50-51). Imagine for a moment these educated Indian people dressed up in vested suits and foofy dresses standing on the evidence of the continent's ancient Indigenous accomplishments singing "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty." Apropos their widely shared belief in the passing by the wayside of older forms of Indianness, we could caption this photo, ironically, "The End of History."
         A less ironic caption might be "Civis Americanus sum," or "I am an American citizen," a phrase that invokes the particularly Euro-Western privileges of citizenship going back to the Roman Empire. Sherman Coolidge, the Arapaho minister who was the Society's first president, ended his first presidential address at the 1912 SAI meeting, also at Ohio State, with this phrase (24). With little doubt, civis americanus sum stands behind the famous, haunting last line of Charles Eastman's From the Deep Woods to Civilization, "Nevertheless, so long as I live, I am an American" (195).
         Those SAI founders who climbed the earthworks to proclaim their Americanness, of course, did so with lots of different senses of what it meant to seek belonging in the "land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride." Indeed, Maddox quotes the local paper that reported the moment at the mounds as writing, "following ['America'] the younger Indians gave an impromptu war dance on the same elevation" (54). I suspect the reporter saw something different from a war dance, but the account provides a likelihood that not everyone on the earthworks had the same opinion on how to close the conference. In this way the SAI reflected the diversity of viewpoints among Native professionals at the time.
         Carlos Montezuma defines one end of the spectrum, saying as he does of his abduction at age six and being raised afterward almost exclusively with white people, "it may have been cruel to have been raised away from paternal love, care and protection, but after all these years, to me it has proven the greatest blessing" ("Light" 52). Coolidge, in that 1912 presidential address to the Society, is perhaps more gentle but steers {225} in the same direction. He writes: "The patriotic Indian American['s] . . . life has been along different lines. The time to change his condition and habit has come. He is now asked to adjust himself to the new order of things. He must modify his customs, language, and religion" (21).
         Only a few years later, in his book From the Deep Woods, Eastman would similarly mark his present as a moment in which something had come to an end. As he writes, "I have been much interested in the point of view of . . . older Indians. Our younger element has now been so thoroughly drilled in the motives and the methods of the white man, at the same time losing the old mother and family training through being placed in boarding school from six years of age onward, that they have really become an entirely different race" (164).
         Some SAI founders, including Laura Cornelius Kellogg and J. N. B. Hewitt, were not so quick to let go of the customs, languages, and religions that so many of their contemporaries were willing to jettison, but they, too, worked with an awareness of the fundamental shifts that were taking place in the Native world. But it did not take a college degree to understand how dire things had become in the Native world, or that the process of change was accelerating with each passing year, whether you had a formal education and lived in Chicago or remained on a reservation in the Dakotas, Oklahoma, or upstate New York. That is the zeitgeist that prompted this early rhetoric from a booklet by a legal committee of the SAI that states that Natives then were seeking "[a] just settlement, a prompt settlement, and a final settlement" (5).
         The point I want to make, in short, is that in seeing themselves in a liminal space between the end of one thing and the beginning of something else, Eastman, Montezuma, Coolidge, Kellogg, Hewitt, and the others make complete sense in those times, under those circumstances, and in those conditions. But however much it makes sense, that doesn't mean we cannot find ourselves in a different space. Indeed, except perhaps for a moment in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, it is hard to imagine any group of faculty members or conference-going professionals singing "America" in our time (I had been to three conferences at Ohio State in the seven years before the SAI centennial gathering and nothing close to it happened).
         The Society's focus on belonging, on proclaiming in so many ways their desire to participate in the forward march of American progress, makes sense as well in 1911, even if it is important to note that for ev-{226}ery SAI member willing to mount ancient earthworks to sing "America," there were plenty who did not know the words or resented having had to learn the song at boarding school--and many, as well, who could barely understand the language in which the lyrics were sung.
         Native intellectuals of the SAI generation generate anxiety exactly because of this overdetermined commitment to American belonging, and my guess is that they always will. What they said and how they said it, what they wore and why they wore it, the ways in which they displayed their patriotism--who can deny that it seems nearly constantly over the top? We in the twenty-first century tend to recoil from that sort of formality and display unless it is connected to highly specific Indigenous protocols.
         The anxiety these figures generate, though, is not simply a matter of their being misguided or disconnected. They regularly and easily outshine subsequent generations in their careful deliberations and presence in the Native world in the work they did. But all the talk of patriotism and acceptance of US exceptionalism is tough to ignore, and even tougher to read through the lenses of subversion of resistance.
         Yet we forget at our own peril that 1911 comes on the cusp of so much of what would come to define the twentieth century in the Native world. The next year, Jim Thorpe and Louis Tewanima would have their success at the Stockholm Olympics. In a few more years, large numbers of Native men would sign up to fight in World War I, followed in the next generation by a massive war effort by Natives on the home front and in every major and minor theater of World War II. In between the wars, the SAI's fight for American Indian citizenship was realized. These signal events in the Native world may not have all had broad recognition in mainstream America, but I think it is fair to assume that Native people by 1945 felt more connected to the United States than those who gathered in Columbus in 1911, and it is easy one hundred years later to negate just how tenuous being in that position must have been.
         As important, let us remember that many figures from the SAI ended up with positions much closer to Kellogg and Hewitt than they had in 1911. Most famously, the great apostle of radical acculturation, Carlos Montezuma, eventually made his way back to the Yavapai community from which he had become separated a half-century before. He sought enrollment there as hard as others sought US citizenship, and he lived out his last days in the desert, living in a brush shelter (Warrior, Tribal {227} 14). Eastman, too, worked himself further and further from the ideals he espoused in the first decade and a half of the century. From the Deep Woods is built around his growing disillusionment with "civilization," and his last two decades were spent on a search for a semblance of the life he thought by 1911 had faded from existence (Eastman 166; Warrior, Tribal 14).
         So, even as we celebrate the SAI's founding, it is worth remembering that its own members would in many cases come to recognize its limits. Those limits, however we contextualize them, deserve to define the era of the SAI as much as anything else, which is the focus of the second section of what I want to work through here.


These limits that I want to talk about are familiar to anyone who spends much time around these Native figures from the Progressive Era. I have told the story before, but it is worth repeating here, about my own awakening to this topic. I was taking a seminar with William Cronin while a graduate student at Yale in the 1980s, when I discovered that Yale's Beinecke Library held the papers of Richard Henry Pratt. I decided I would take a look, fully expecting to find Pratt's record of villainy laid out in great detail in unguarded moments in his own words.
         Pratt, like most historical subjects, was much more complex than the broad-stroke portrait of him in my mind, but it was not so much Pratt who surprised me in the intimacy of his papers as it was his Native correspondents. All those Native intellectuals who passed through Carlisle as students or faculty show up in the Pratt papers, and their unguarded moments communicating with the progenitor of the boarding school era was quite a slap in the face. I had read some of the published work of these authors, but these letters in which they paid so much deference to Pratt demonstrated just how different those times were, and how different the basic consciousness was that arose among Native intellectuals in those conditions.
         Montezuma, of course, was the harshest of these reality checks. Though not from the Pratt papers, here is an example of Montezuma from 1898: "I wish that I could collect all the Indian children, load them in ships at San Francisco, circle them around Cape Horn, pass them through Castle Garden, put them under the same individual care that {228} the children of foreign emigrants have in your public schools, and they are matured and moderately educated let them do what other men and women do--take care of themselves" (Indian Problem).
         A basic problem, then, of situating ourselves in 2011 with these Native leaders from 1911 is the extent to which nearly no leader or intellectual in the Native world espouses anything close to these positions today. That is not to say there is not at least a little bit of extremism in the Native world in the Internet age, but you would be hard-pressed to find Montezuma's equivalent today, except on the margins and probably even there primarily in the blogosphere.
         Yet, it always seems like an incomplete thought to decide that Montezuma et al. were unfortunate dupes to colonialism and are, thus, examples of what we should strive not to be, or, against all evidence to the contrary, that they were resistance fighters in disguise. Instead, they were smart, critical, knowledgeable about the Native world, shrewd users of their identities to advance their agendas, and deeply committed to their vision of what was best for the Native world of the future. But what was that vision? Are we it?
         I like to think that all of these SAI figures, especially given what we know of how they developed in their thinking in the decades that followed 1911, would be pleasantly surprised to find that one purchase of their work has been a continuation of Native life in such a way that scholars, including plenty of Native ones, are doing something called Native studies, valuing much of what they believed was passing out of currency. Whatever else is true of what has been lost in the past century, more remains than nearly anyone present at that first gathering expected.
         But this focus on how different things were then and how different things are now than anyone in Columbus one hundred years ago expected misses an important point, which is that Native intellectuals now and then are often much more alike than we would like to think. This is not only true of the dimension of these SAI-era figures that contemporary scholars like David Martinez show us are laudable and relevant ways of being scholars and intellectuals. It is also true of how we ourselves pursue our work in ways that will just as likely have the next generation of Native studies scholars wondering just what we were thinking of by pursuing the "ends" we do. This leads to my third and final point, that our consideration of the SAI can help us as we consider the trajectory and ends of Native intellectual history in the second century after the SAI.



Having worked in the archive of written Native intellectual history for the past two decades, I have come to believe that the most debilitating legacy of this patrimony has been a tendency--usually a predominant one--toward rallying points, calls for unity, narrow definitions, and singular solutions. Often, of course, the situation at hand has called for that sort of decisiveness, but just as often Natives who have emerged into the space of public writing careers have dedicated themselves to these monoliths out of devotion--to churches and doctrines through the early periods, to ideological categories like progressivism later on, to versions of culture and tradition today, or sometimes even disciplinarity.
         Thinking about the founding of the SAI in the unfolding of its centennial and this volume, though, has helped me see with some clarity a distinction between Native intellectual history and Indigenous studies. That is, Native intellectual history focuses on the ways in which Native scholars, writers, and other intellectuals have responded to the intellectual dimensions of Native crises and other exigencies of modernity. Native or Indigenous studies is primarily, on the other hand, an academic enterprise based almost always in institutions of higher education; it focuses on the production of knowledge and can, should, and does inform those same crises and exigencies. The overlap between these is big, but not complete, and the non-overlapping part is crucial.
         The distinction implies many unresolved issues, and I do not intend here all that much in the way of resolution. I do, however, want to suggest that my posited "end" of intellectual history is wrapped up in these implications. The SAI, after all, was built around the powerful and productive principle that Native people had an exclusive role to play within the constitutive aims of their own advocacy organizations. Native and Indigenous studies could never succeed academically if a similar exclusion was deployed. Yet I would argue that for Native studies to thrive intellectually requires similar attention to the importance of Native leadership and, as importantly, attention to Native articulations of knowledge making. In the same way the SAI makes little sense without attention to the role whites played in its development, Native studies succeeds most when insistent attention is given both to inclusion of the broadest array of how knowledge can be produced and who produces it and the need for Native knowledge producers to be central to how things develop. For the purposes of reconsidering the SAI, then, the great legacy of {230} the Society is not a vessel to refill with better, more relevant ideological commitments, but a point from which to break out of the model of separation, exclusion, and paternalism altogether. This, indeed, is what these leaders did by changing course from what was happening to the friends of the Indians movement.
         So, what if we regard that moment one hundred years ago as one side of a bridge that we have since crossed and that continues to inform us? What has the intellectual project in which the SAI participated become along the way, and what remains from their journey? From ours? The generations between? This perspective, I hope, helps us see ourselves as having shared in significant ways with the SAI's founders. Specifically, it reminds us that we can and should define Native studies not as something that has been bound only to academic institutions, but instead as something that has been part of an intellectual project that reaches back to the Ohio State meeting and before (Martinez 155-56). That project, I want to suggest, has been the primary Native intellectual response to modernity, one that has taken various forms over the course of more than two and a half centuries.
         But more than simply celebrating sharing a bridge with Coolidge, Kellogg, Eastman, and the others, what I hope happens when we think of then and now as two ends that help define a process is that our end of the bridge looks clearer when looking at the span itself. For instance, I find it enlightening that Arthur Parker and others in the SAI sought out higher educational institutions to hold their meetings. That choice demonstrates an aspirational goal that was decidedly against the grain of the industrial model that dominated Native education in that era.
         To be clear, though, if all we do is cheer the SAI for its aspirations and think of contemporary Native studies as a part of their realization, we miss an opportunity to give careful thought to what the purchase of realizing those aspirations has been. In gaining and securing spaces within academic institutions for Native studies, and, further, successfully orienting Native studies toward Native leadership in a way that was not true even twenty years ago, we have achieved something crucial. But without further reflection on how we will relate to both the obdurate problems of American higher education--the steady drift away from accessibility and toward corporatization--and our own unresolved relationship to some of the academy's highest ideals--with academic freedom at the head of the list--we are poor stewards of our own patrimony.
         Yet, even beyond a necessary consideration of how to better consoli-{231}date the project of Native studies--or, more accurately, important parts but never all of it--within the academy, I want to suggest that we need to confront, in a way that the founders of the SAI needed to but did not, the inadequacies of the foundation on which we have built and are building as a sole or primary home of that intellectual project. In this way it is not that the bridge I have asked you to consider between then and now goes nowhere, but it does not span the distances that have always plagued Native studies between the academy and the people and communities at its center.
         This is where it would be easy to slip into an old litany of how much better Native studies ought to be at bringing the benefits and insights of the scholarly world to Native communities, but that is a conversation that has been had so many times in venues like this that I am not interested in going there again. I do, though, want to suggest two things as I bring these remarks to a close that I hope will point us toward a productive discussion of where we can head after spending time in consideration of the SAI and its founding.
         First, I would like to suggest Native studies has suffered from its lack of willingness to accept the limits of being within the academy by focusing on its connections to a broader intellectual project in both the historical and contemporary sense. It seems to me that until we understand academically based Native studies as having a constitutive identity as a creature of the academy, we limit our abilities to also move beyond that identity to other sorts of identifications within contemporary and historical communities. We too often refuse, in effect, dialectical tension in favor of false confidence in a too-easy conflation of communities and the academy. In critical ways in this regard we share with the forebears we commemorate in reconsidering the SAI an awareness that neither those figures nor contemporary Native studies can or should want to encompass the intellectual project of which it is a part. We should want, rather, to participate in the vibrant and profound development of effective, truthful, and knowledge-based responses to the intellectual needs of Native people and communities.
         The second point is at least as complex but derives from the first, and it has to do with how we conceptualize the connections between academic Native studies and the rest of its larger intellectual project. Rather than rehearse the myriad ways in which we have tried to make those connections, I want to suggest what was most missing in this regard in the SAI era and has also been missing in our own time, which is solidar-{232}ity with those who suffer the most at the margins of the Native world we aspire to impact in our work.1
         Solidarity, specifically race solidarity, had currency during the SAI era. Though perhaps not has highly developed as it was among African Americans of the time, the idea of American Indian people coming together as a unified whole operated in important ways for SAI leaders. I want to sketch an alternative way of considering solidarity that focuses less on unity and more on ways of asking with whom and where we as Native studies scholars stand. Tommie Shelby's work on the history of African American thought informs my understanding of what solidarity can be in the Native context.
         As Shelby argues, the idea of solidarity among black people has been "rooted in the unfinished project of achieving racial justice" (11). His work is valuable because of the critical framework he provides for thinking about solidarity and intellectual work. For Shelby, the lines of solidarity among black people have been too "thick." That is, too many of the concepts that have guided the unfinished project of achieving racial justice have posited a too-easy equation between different sorts of black experiences, suffering in the process from a lack of appreciation for the varieties of contemporary African American experiences in the world. A focus on thickly construed notions of black group solidarity, Shelby says, "underestimates the sociopolitical significance of class and status stratification within the black population; and it fails to appreciate and truly respect differences within the group--for instance, along the lines of gender, sexuality, national origin, multiraciality, generation, region, religion, cultural affiliation, and political ideology" (10).
         The thickness of various conceptions of black solidarity, for Shelby, hinges on a cohesiveness that in fact does not exist in the stratified world of black America. What does tie black people together more thickly, according to Shelby, is the stigma of race and the injustice that flows from it (252). This shared history of being shaped by race and racism is, for Shelby, the ground upon which a reconstructed tradition of solidarity is built.
         Shelby's approach to solidarity is critical to where I want to suggest we go in response to our reconsideration of the SAI a century after its founding. This is, perhaps, a helpful way of understanding what has been missing not only from Native studies but also from Native politics. While the laundry list of what Native studies needs in order to more ful-{233}ly realize its potential is long, at the top of that list is a need for more and better discourse about what the lines of fissure and disruption among Native people mean, and what those fissures call on us to do in response as scholars and intellectuals.
         That discourse would meet a pressing need for us to focus more exclusively on the deep wounds and ruptures that Indigenous people face wherever they are. An alternative configuration of solidarity is one way of posing the challenge of standing against the injustice that results from those ruptures. That sort of solidarity can help us address situations where tribal governments sponsor corruption and shut themselves away from the scrutiny of the people they are supposed to serve. By this same token, standing with Native people in poverty who are most injured by inept bureaucracy is perhaps more important that forging alliances with traditional leaders. More than being inclusive, the sort of solidarity I am suggesting demands that I understand the work of Indigenous intellectuals as leaders being to seek out in more active ways the least powerful, the most vulnerable, and most reviled people from our communities and to stand with them as intellectuals and, as scholars, to promote the visibility of their lives and realities.
         One hundred years after the founding of the SAI, Native studies still faces the challenge of reflecting the Native world back to itself in productive, challenging, and disruptive ways. I am not sure what songs we should sing when we visit the earthworks as Native intellectuals and scholars of Native studies in our own era, but I know we should be thinking not only about our predecessors from one hundred years ago, but also about the judgment of those one hundred years from now who will be asking of us some of the same questions we have been asking during the centennial of the SAI.
         The lives and realities these Native scholars, intellectuals, and artists need to reflect back to the Native world are hard to see while standing on the Newark Earthworks singing "My country 'tis of thee," just as they can be while sitting in our offices on university campuses. Still, the places we stand and the songs we sing there tell us a lot about ourselves. I would ask that we give thought on our end of the span of history to what our choices tell us about ourselves even as we remember those who have gone before. When we mount the earthworks, what song or songs will we sing?



Those earthworks are a lot harder to climb than you might think from looking at the photos from 1911. When those of us from the 2011 gathering got there, the dewy, Sunday morning grass was slick and the sides were challengingly steep. We made it to the top, though, and some of us managed to find good, strong songs to sing. Joy Harjo was there, and she never lacks for songs. Jane Hafen shared a Hopi song. Meg Noodin sang in Anishinaabemowin. The part of the earthworks we visited is on a golf course, and the sounds of golfers hitting their balls punctuated these rising voices in the crisp fall air. We probably looked and sounded as improbable to those golfers as the SAI founders look to us in the pictures from a century ago.
         The highlight of the morning (and really the whole weekend) for me was Phil Deloria stepping forward and sharing a Dakota song, which he told me later his grandfather, Vine Deloria Sr., had taught him. I already knew Phil as a wonderful musician, but I was blown away to hear him so capably and comfortably render that northern Plains song. As his essay in this volume tells us, Phil's great-grandfather had been at the SAI founding meeting. A hundred years later, there was the great-grandson, offering a song that served as a bridge from past to future, and from ancient earthworks to our many living communities and the traditions that remain in them.
         My grandfather, Robert Warrior, has an honor song that was written in his memory after he died in Normandy less than two months after D-Day in World War II. I came close to sharing it on the earthworks, but I do not know the words, which are in Ponca. I learned the tune using way-ya-hey vocables, and I sing the song as a lullaby to my kids or as I calm myself amid the vicissitudes of life. But it did not feel right to share it in that form in that setting.
         After Columbus and Newark, I decided to see if I could learn more of the song, including the words. Scott George, the Osage head singer at the Grayhorse War Mothers dance where my grandfather's song is sung each May, offered to help me. Scott subsequently found a transcription and translation, which he sent. So, now, thanks to Phil, Jane, Joy, Chad Allen, and everyone else on the earthworks that morning--not to mention all those who sang "My country 'tis of thee" up there a hundred years before--I am working on learning how to sing the words to my grandfather's song.
         I am not likely to be in attendance at the SAI bicentennial gathering to sing it, but maybe I will have a great-granddaughter or great-grandson who will. If so, I hope she or he will have had a chance to learn the words, and I hope they will feel like sharing.


1. David Martinez makes a strong case that Eastman's tepid involvement in the SAI between the first meeting and 1919, when he served as the Society's president, was in large part based in his dissatisfaction with the lack of attention to the needs of grassroots Native people in the SAI's governance.


Coolidge, Sherman. "The Indian-American--His Duty to His Race and to His Country." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.1 (1913): 20-24. Print.

Eastman, Charles. From the Deep Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian. Boston: Little, Brown, 1916. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race, and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.

Martinez, David. Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society P, 2005. Print.

Montezuma, Carlos. The Indian Problem from the Standpoint of an Indian. 1898. Pamphlet. The Papers of Carlos Montezuma, MD. Including the Papers of Maria Keller Montezuma Moore and the Papers of Joseph W. Latimer. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1983. Print..

_ _ _. "Light on the Indian Situation." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.1 (1913): 50-55. Print.

Shelby, Tommie. We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2005. Print.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. 1981. Storyteller. New York: Little, Brown, 1981. Print.

Society of American Indians. An Appeal to the Nation: Legal Aid for Indians. Revised ed. Pamphlet. 1913. Print.

Warrior, Robert. "The Subaltern Can Dance, and So Sometimes Can the Intellectual." interventions 13.1 (2011): 85-94. Print.

_ _ _. Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1995. Print.


{blank page}


Bundling the Day and
Unraveling the Night


To mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Society of American Indians, a group of friends and scholars traveled from The Ohio State University to a golf course in nearby Newark. There, among the tended greens, they climbed to the center of Observatory Mound and gazed across the Octagon Earthworks built by the Hopewell people between 100 BC and 400 AD. What can be known when gathering in a place centuries old? How have the shadows shifted? What traces left by others are real and what traces of today can be left in places where the layers of time are so visible?
         We knew these mounds, like the ancestors of those gathered, were Indigenous, crafted by people who planted, sowed, traded, and traveled near the waterways of the Great Lakes. People who fashioned small figurines and built vast geometrically perfect shapes centered on the arc of the lunar cycle. They wore large earrings, mined copper, gathered meteors, and buried their dead carefully, with precision, in mounds of earth. The stories they carved in stone included bears and severed heads. It is difficult to know much more for certain.
         We also knew that our more immediate predecessors came from many Native nations and were not yet citizens of the United States. Yet, when they gathered on the mound they sang the song Martin Luther King wove into his Dream speech, the song sung at both of Barack Obama's inaugural celebrations, a song many forget is based on the British national anthem . . . "My Country 'Tis of Thee." It is easy to understand the force with which they must have sung, "My native country, thee . . . I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills." But the poignant irony of this particular group singing "Land where my fathers died . . . Land of the pilgrims' pride" provokes a sort of melancholy that {238} postcolonial theorists might today connect to historical trauma. The first American lyrics were proudly written in 1831, shortly after President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act setting in motion decades of removal, including the infamous Trail of Tears.
         Standing on the mounds in 2011, we knew the impact of the Reorganization Act, the cataclysmic ripple of the American Indian Movement, the importance of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and the ongoing struggles to uphold the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. These laws came together here, these longitudes of practice and latitudes of purpose. Standing in a place that connected minds on earth with celestial time, I finally understood the theory of relativity. Space and time are related. Light and sound have speed. And perhaps the best way to stop time or cross time or step out of time altogether is to make sound.
         Not one of us moved one archeological spoon of earth, but we offered instead waves of sound across the day. We came to this ancient place and traded feelings with the unknown. Like those who came before us, we sang of the nations we wished most to represent. Many of us, already citizens of beautiful America, sang of our sovereign nations. Like those before us we stood in a space marked by the past and sang into the future.
         Jane Hafen sang a Hopi harvest song of gratitude she learned from her brother, John Rainer Jr. Alice Te Punga Somerville sang a Maori song from the other side of the world.
         LeAnne Howe sang a warrior's song and pointed out that Choctaws were mound builders in the not too distant past. "I sing it quite a bit," she said, "especially when I need strength to fight off something. I didn't like the feeling of the invasion I had there: The men at work blowing away leaves, the grounds keepers' keeping an eye on us, the rude men driving their golf carts over the mounds . . . just because they could."
         Monique Mojica said hers was not a "traditional" cultural song but one she created for her play Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way. She explained, "I chose it over other prayer songs I could have offered because in the context of our visit to the Octagon Earthworks and the bizarre juxtaposition of the golf carts whizzing by, I wanted to sing a song that culturally I had the right to sing and, more importantly, because of the alignment of the mounds to the moon and the stars--the cosmos: negaduu." The words were in her grandfather's language, Dule-{239}gaya, the language of the Guna people from the autonomous Indigenous territory of Guna Yala, Panama. The last line of her song is a quotation from Sahila Tomás DeLeón:

         Buna Siagua negaduu gi gabdage
         Chocolate Woman the Milky Way dreams

         Gabgagmai negaduu gi, negaduu gi gabdage
         Dreaming the Milky Way, the Milky Way dreams

         Anmar burwa yobi anmar gabdager
         We are only free when we dream

         Phil Deloria also sang a song connected to his grandfather, who was one of the master storytellers of his generation. Phil says, "he knew, through his family, a lot of stories from Yankton and the middle Missouri River country. But he grew up at Standing Rock, so he learned stories there too, from the upper-middle Missouri people. And then, when he was at Pine Ridge and Rosebud, he learned stories from the Western people, the Oglalas and Brules. So he always had a story and many of them had songs attached." In a place of gathering and remembering, his memory was a good choice to invoke. Phil's song "comes from a famous old story about Red Leaf, who carried a bird's nest in a forked branch with him. At night, he would plant the branch in the ground and sing, and he would be in the nest and carried up high as the branch became a tree. From up there, he could see the future, so he was a very powerful man." As a musician, Phil speaks of the music the way we might speak of the mounds. The song "drops, as a lot of those songs do, from high to low pitch wise, and ends with a beautiful low minor third interval. I remember when my grandfather sang those kinds of songs, he'd get down low and his voice would just rumble. Now, my voice kind of does that too. And the song was in my head, and I wanted--though I rarely do this kind of thing--to sing with everyone else."
         Joy Harjo explained, "When my [Muscogee] people were forced to walk what is called 'The Trail of Tears' from our homelands in the southeastern United States after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, two beloved women sang this song. One stood near the front of the people, and one near the back. When either faltered, the other would sing this song to hold them up." The words of her song echoed our pose there on the green earth that morning:

         Chenaorakvtes Momis komet
         Awatchken ohapeyakares hvlwen
         Do not get tired.
         Don't be discouraged. Be determined, to all come in.
         We will go to the highest place. We will go together.

         The desire to sing was great. The song I chose looking across the octagon marking moon phases was one that I sing often with my daughters as we gather around a sage and cedar fire, eating berries, sipping water, and thinking about the way the moon has been there for centuries of cycles . . . mothers and babies, grandmas and grandchildren, the pain and pleasure of life washing over us. My song, "Shkaakaamikwe," is a song of Mother Earth and her four daughters, the cardinal directions, who rise and care for her each day.
         I have been taught to hear the songs, sometimes poems, in the world around me. The song I found that day, while seeking equilibrium, came to me as I walked along the ancient edges. It reminded me to recognize the fact that I know as little of the past as I do of the future.

         Niisaandwe dibikad / Descend the night
         Kwaandwe giizhigad / to climb the day
         Epaaskaakonised nese / with bright breath.

         Niibiishag bwezowag / Leaves sweating,
         Bapakineg nagamowag / cicadas singing
         Zaagakii aki / the earth is risen.

         Nokii ji-anamed / The work of praying
         Bizaanan kaanan / for the peace of bones
         Aabanaabi bimaadizi/ is like looking back in life

         Gashkibidoon giizhig / Bundling day
         Aabaabigin dibik / unraveling night
         Waawiyebiigendamo / we measure our thoughts.

         For many of us the SAI centennial was put into perspective by our visit to the mounds. Like hands carrying baskets or bowls of dirt, we were faceless but essential. Like stars charted by the circles squared, like bones becoming dust, we were making history one word, one voice, at a time.


Plank 5

This association will direct its

energies exclusively to general

principles and universal interests,

and will not allow itself to be

used for any personal or private

interests. The honor of the race

and the good of the country will

always be paramount.


Transnational Progressivism
African Americans, Native Americans,
and the Universal Races Congress of 1911

KYLE T. MAYS         

On February 27, 1916, Joseph F. Gould, a white associate member of the Society of American Indians (SAI), sent a letter to W. E. B. Du Bois, suggesting that African Americans and Native Americans collaborate. "Certain of the Indian's problems are the same as those which beset the Negro, especially that of exploitation," he wrote, "and for that reason it seems to me that cooperation in some lines might be secured between the NAACP, and the Society of American Indians."1 Why did Gould think that American Indians and African Americans should work together? He did not elaborate. His letter, however, illustrates the frequent intersections of Black and Native histories. The letter also suggests a similarity between these histories. But broad similarities are only the beginning. How might we explore such intersections? One place to begin is to connect these histories to African American and Native American responses to colonialism during the Progressive Era. More specifically, we can focus on African American and Native American involvement in the Universal Races Congress (URC) held at the University of London, July 26-29, 1911.2
         This essay explores the link between African American and Native American intersecting histories and their responses to colonialism. While scholars have speculated why Blacks and Natives were not close allies, few have discussed the parallel opposition of Blacks and Natives to similar forms of oppression or their common stance against colonialism. I argue that Black Americans and Native Americans found common ground in responding to colonialism, at least in part, by traveling to London.3
         The implications of this investigation are at least twofold. First, it il-


Fig. 1. Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois; Dr. C. A. Eastman. Reprinted with permission from the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, W. E. B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

lustrates that there was a relationship between African Americans and Native Americans in the early twentieth century, long after the familiar scenes of alliance and conflict in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is useful, then, to place Black and Native histories in conversation with each other by focusing on their engagements with major events of the early twentieth century where agitation against racial discrimination and colonialism was prominent, including the Universal Races Congress. And second, this investigation places Afro-Native history firmly upon the international stage, demonstrating that both groups understood themselves within a global context: as not simply national but significantly transnational progressives.
         Charles Eastman and W. E. B. Du Bois attended the URC in order to respond to colonialism. They believed that a central component to fighting injustice was to advocate for full citizenship, for at this time both groups suffered a citizenship that was at best partial. Their relationships to the US nation-state were distinct in obvious ways. Though Black Americans were US citizens, their citizenship was impaired; they were disenfranchised from voting and excluded from all manner of equality in the public sphere. By 1911 most American Indians still did not possess US citizenship and lived impoverished lives on neglected reservations. Although manifested in different forms, partial citizenship affected both Black Americans and Native Americans.
Historian Frederick Hoxie argues that members of both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Society of American Indians (SAI) believed that "securing US citizenship . . . would empower their members to become forceful actors in the nation's democracy" (Indian Country 225). Hoxie stresses further that Indians, in particular, believed "this new legal status could enable them to live outside the control of the Indian office and battle against hostile assaults from white neighbors" (231). This does not mean that either group was simply assimilating, giving up Black or Native ways of life. Nor does it suggest that full citizenship would end all forms of oppression. But their attending the URC challenged, internationally, the very notion of who was to be excluded and included as US citizens, especially because of what both Blacks and Native peoples contributed to US society.


Although the Universal Races Congress receives little attention in Progressive Era history, it emerged out of the general spirit of Progressive Era moral and social reform. Its formation was rooted in the international peace movements and the International Union of Ethical Societies. Grounded in Christian and Judaic principles, the societies were meant to provide avenues for spiritual satisfaction and to promote children's education as well as moral and social reform (Martin). In July 1906 the leaders of the International Ethical Societies Conference met in Eisenach, Germany. July 3 marked the most significant day: Felix Adler, president of the Ethical Society of New York, proposed an international races conference. It was not until 1908, however, that the Union took active steps to make the conference a reality, and not until 1909 that they formally began to gather monies for the meeting of races (Spiller, Proceedings 4, 23).
         A major aim of Progressive Era reform was to bring about understanding through international meetings and education. Du Bois found the URC to be one of those international opportunities. "The chief outcome of the Congress will be human contact," he reasoned. And it was "not simply the physical meeting" but "the resultant spiritual contact which will run round the world."4 In a meeting between the Global North and South, {246} with discussions of the problems created by Western imperialism and exploitation, Du Bois reasoned that instead of northern whites discussing the "Indian problem" at Lake Mohonk, or southern whites discussing "Negro education, with barely any representation from those respective races and nationalities," Natives and Blacks would speak on their own behalf: "the voice of the oppressed alone can tell the real meaning of oppression and, though the voice be tremulous, excited and even incoherent, it must be listened to if the world would learn and know."5
         The secretary and organizer of the URC, Gustav Spiller, wrote to Eastman, thanking him for sending in a paper on Native Americans. On January 27, 1911, six months before the URC, Eastman wrote to General Richard Henry Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle Indian School in 1871. Although the majority of the letter is devoted to asking Pratt for assistance in securing money to write a book on his people, the Dakotas, Eastman could not help but briefly promote the URC. "The Secretary of the Universal Races Congress has just written thanking me for my 'very able paper' also asking my co-operation in several ways," he wrote. "He asks for a list of the best books on the Indian and especially on Indian Education."6 It appears that Eastman did submit a pamphlet with information on the American Indian (Spiller, Proceedings 6).
         Eastman likely participated in the URC for at least two reasons. On the one hand he needed a steady income to support his growing family, as well as to help combat the financial troubles that plagued him throughout his life (Wilson 151-53). By 1910 Eastman earned income primarily from lecturing and book sales. On the other hand he wanted to share with international communities and the white world the stories of American Indians, specifically his own people, the Dakotas, and to demonstrate how they could contribute something of value to white culture. Eastman, then, used what we might call enlightened self-interest. Although he hoped to cash in on his status as a prominent American Indian intellectual, he also hoped that his work would help in "preserving and presenting the truth about [his] people."7 Furthermore, he likely attended in order to try to reconcile the incompatibilities of white and Indigenous worlds (Wilson 153). Yet Eastman understood himself beyond these goals. He wanted to share the American Indian experience with an international audience in order to declare the rights of Indigenous peoples as both Americans and Indians.
         Eastman appears to have been invited to the URC because he was ar-{247}guably the most well known Native American not only in the United States but perhaps the world. As one of Eastman's contemporaries asserted, "Dr. Eastman is the best known Indian in the country."8 According to Eastman biographer Raymond Wilson, by the first decade of the twentieth century, Eastman's "national reputation was secure," and his "books, articles, and lecture engagements continued to bring him greater recognition, even beyond the United States" (150). Eastman was also conscious of his international reputation. "Like every one else who is more or less in the public eye, I have a large correspondence from unknown friends," he wrote, and, "among the most inspiring letters received have been those from foreign countries." He also wrote that his books were translated into several European languages (Deep Woods 192-93).
         Eastman saw his attendance at the URC as a political project as well, one that would promote both his own work and also the struggles of Native peoples in general. In a January 27, 1911, letter written to Yavapai Apache doctor Carlos Montezuma, Eastman discussed both his forthcoming book, The Soul of the Indian--a title resonant with Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk--and his upcoming attendance at the Universal Races Congress. Eastman stated that all of his efforts up to that point in his life were "to show that the Indian is capable of receiving a higher civilization much easier . . . if properly and honestly dealt with." He also sought to show how the plight of Native peoples was caused by settler colonialism:

My chief object has been, not to entertain, but to present the American Indian in his true character before Americans. The barbarous and atrocious character commonly attributed to him [was] dated from the transition period, when the strong drink, powerful temptations, and commercialism of the white man led to deep demoralization. Really it was a campaign of education on the Indian and his true place in American history. (Deep Woods 187)

Here Eastman refers to his life's objective to show the virtues of American Indian people. But it was also something more. Eastman went to the Universal Races Congress in that humid July week to put forth--to the world--Native America's "true place in American history." So Eastman's transnational Indigeneity was both a critique and an embrace of the US nation-state, for the future of all American Indian peoples. In this respect, then, Eastman is on par with perhaps the most important African American intellectual of the twentieth century, W. E. B. Du Bois.
         Felix Adler, professor of political and social ethics at Columbia University and founder of the Ethical Culture Society of New York in 1876, invited Du Bois to serve as a co-secretary of the US branch of the URC.

This is hardly surprising. Du Bois was the first African American to graduate from Harvard University with a PhD in history, and he spent time studying abroad in Berlin, Germany. He also participated in the 1899 Paris World Exposition. His exhibit, showcasing the progress of Black Americans since slavery, won a gold medal (Lewis 247). Furthermore, by 1910, with the publication of Philadelphia Negro (1899), arguably the first urban sociological study conducted in the United States, and The Souls of Black Folk (1903), as well as having been a part of the First Pan-African Congress in 1900, Du Bois had solidified an international reputation. It appears that Du Bois noticed that Charles Eastman would be attending the URC. Quoting an article published in the Gazette Times, as editor of the Crisis Du Bois wrote in his own publication, "The United States will be represented . . . by Charles A. Eastman and W. E. B. Du Bois."9
         Thus far Afro-Native studies scholars have not explored these early twentieth-century intersections in any depth. After the scenes of slavery and Removal, it is assumed that Black and American Indian histories and experiences rarely intersect. This is, of course, not true. When comparing these experiences, especially in the twentieth century, a generation of scholars has tended to view these comparisons through the lens of noted Native intellectual Vine Deloria Jr., based mostly on his important early work Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (1969), in which he articulates the stark differences between Black Power and Indian Nationalism. But it is important to state that Deloria's manifesto was written during a period in which many oppressed groups were challenging US hegemony across the board. And for the most part Indian voices were ignored. Still, even Lucy Maddox's excellent study Citizen Indians (2005), in which she adequately documents how Black Americans during the Progressive Era typically held unsophisticated views of the "Indian Problem," employs the lens of Deloria to argue that "the US government's attitudes toward blacks and Indians had been, historically, so different . . . as to make collaboration between the two groups politically illogical" (74-75). Furthermore, Maddox argues that neither Du Bois nor Eastman took notice of the other man. Although Du Bois did not directly mention Eastman, he surely took notice of him, placing a picture of Eastman in the September 1911 issue of the Crisis.10
{249}The Progressive Era is a period in American history that one might expect African Americans and Native Americans to be discussed in tandem. After all, both groups suffered discrimination. Blacks experienced Jim Crow segregation, and the majority of American Indians were denied citizenship until 1924. Both groups suffered economic hardship, and both were victims of violence that the public viewed with indifference. Although differing from white middle-class norms, both groups generally believed in moral, political, and social reform. There are more commonalities between African American and Native oppressions than most scholars have acknowledged. We must move beyond relying on binary assumptions about who had it worse, or how different their respective experiences were. There are moments in US imperial history when we can see similar patterns of oppression.


Du Bois and Eastman embody transnational Blackness and transnational Indigeneity. If we take tribal nations as just that, sovereign nations--with distinct forms of government, customs, religions, and geographic boundaries--then the spaces where they held meetings, the conversations between sovereign tribal peoples during the Progressive Era, were transnational, or perhaps what literary scholar Chadwick Allen has called "trans-Indigenous." Eastman was influenced by aspects of the US nation-state and the Dakota world, as well as his interactions with other tribal peoples. He attempted to navigate "two worlds," not simply in a metaphorical sense, but at a time when Indigenous peoples were trying to forge alliances with one another and with white sympathizers within the broader context of the global thrust of US empire.
         Du Bois, too, embodies transnationalism. He was one of the key architects of modern transnational blackness--wresting it away from the historical vestiges of the transatlantic slave trade. His interest in the African diaspora marked him as distinctly transnational. As historian Manning Marable contended, Du Bois's "color line included not just the racially segregated Jim Crow South" but also "colonial domination in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean among indigenous populations" (Marable and Agard-Jones 4). And I would add US Indigenous peoples to his list of global concerns, especially since Du {250} Bois became an associate member of the Society of American Indians.11 This detail should not be overlooked, for there was no one more critical and calculated than Du Bois in joining any cause for racial or social justice.
         Neither Du Bois nor Eastman considered himself bound to the US nation-state. In part this shared idea was based on each man's partial citizenship. Neither did either man define himself solely by his particular community. Each defined himself through his community and through those beyond the US nation-state, embracing, respectively, transnational Blackness and transnational Indigeneity. These positions were sites of struggle that gave Du Bois and Eastman the tools to critique settler colonialism and neocolonialism throughout the African and Indigenous (US) diasporas.
         Transnational Blackness and transnational Indigeneity were certainly distinct. Indeed, it is more fruitful to juxtapose than to compare them.12 But the concerns of Du Bois and Eastman were never static, focused solely on their own communities. They were shaped both by the (US) Progressive Era's transnational flows (i.e., imperialism as well as calls for international reforms) and by their own desires to connect their respective communities to diasporic Black and Indigenous worlds. Literary scholar Chadwick Allen's concept of the trans-Indigenous is useful here. Although referring to Indigenous-Indigenous interactions, his emphasis on juxtaposition might help us refine our approach to comparing Black and Native experiences with US colonialisms. "The point is to invite specific studies into different kinds of conversations," he writes, "and to acknowledge the mobility and multiple interactions of Indigenous [and African] peoples, cultures, histories, and texts" (xiv). Transnational Blackness and transnational Indigeneity, juxtaposed in parallel, not only tell us how distinct the experiences of Black and Native Americans were but, more importantly, how closely related they are--at particular moments and in particular locations.
         Although the Progressive Era is generally considered a period of middle-class reform, increased urbanization, the fight for women's suffrage, and large-scale immigration, it was also a time of increased transnational border crossings of people and ideas. These interactions came in the form of global humanitarianism and economic trade, but also in the form of colonialism. Just as transnational progressives and ideas flowed across seaways, so too did US colonialism. The acquisition {251} of colonies in the Caribbean and the Pacific thrust American power into the global nonwhite world at an unprecedented level. The United States, hoping to assert its dominance in the Western Hemisphere through the colonization of land and labor, participated in the Philippine-American War and the Spanish American War in Cuba.13 This replication of US colonialism abroad is a basis for Chickasaw theorist Jodi A. Byrd's argument in The Transit of Empire that "Indianness becomes a site through which US Empire orients and replicates itself by transforming those to be colonized into 'Indians' through continual reiterations of pioneer logics, whether in the Pacific, the Caribbean, or the Middle East" (xiii).
         The enslavement of African peoples challenges the Indigenous-white settler colonial dichotomy. This is especially true in the US multiracial settler society. Theorist Patrick Wolfe argues, "different racial regimes encode and reproduce the unequal relationships into which Europeans coerced the populations concerned." He further contends that Blacks and Natives in the United States "have been racialized in opposing ways that reflect their antithetical roles in the formation of US society" (387). US settler colonialism was not simply about the expropriation of land from Indigenous people and then controlling them; it was also concerned with creating what Wolfe calls a "regime of difference" in order to create and maintain complete domination over both land and bodies. Thus, the particularities of Black and Native histories should not obscure the fact that both groups suffered under a settler colonial society predicated upon structuring a "regime of difference."
         While Jim Crow policies strove to maintain Black second-class citizenship through terrorist violence and segregation, US reformers concerned with the so-called Indian problem sought to implement what Frederick Hoxie has called a "final promise." The reformers implemented this in two ways. They first tried to transform "Indians into 'civilized' citizens." The second phase took a different form: they attempted to dissolve Native peoples of their culture entirely (Final Promise xviii, 112). "Kill the Indian in him, and save the man" was the word of the day (Pratt 261).14
         Two policies undergirded the final promise. The first was the passing of the Dawes Act (also known as the General Allotment Act) in 1887. Named for Massachusetts senator Henry Dawes, the act began the process of parceling out American Indian lands to whites, producing severe consequences. In 1887 tribal lands were at approximately 138 million {252} acres; by 1934, they dwindled to a measly 52 million. In addition, historian David Chang has argued that by making lands private property, "allotment made it possible for Native individuals to lose them through direct sales, defaulted mortgages, tax forfeiture sales, and other means" (108). The second policy was the Supreme Court's 1903 decision in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock. The decision effectively gave Congress plenary power over American Indian land rights.15
         Although the transnational white supremacy of the Progressive Era proved to be tragic for the colonized both in the United States and abroad, the country had long linked the oppressions of African Americans and Native Americans. This is an example of what legal scholar Cheryl Harris calls "whiteness as property." She argues that whiteness became fortified through the dispossession of Native peoples--land and property--and the enslavement of African peoples--as property (1714). In a seamless continuation of this pattern during the Progressive Era, Black Americans and American Indians became the subjects through whom US colonialism forged its ideas about nationhood and how to subjugate others. It is important to point out that, historically, the US treatment of African Americans and Native Americans differed. There-fore, their particular colonialisms produced distinctive outcomes. However, Blacks and American Indians were never passive, and organizing became one of their most effective strategies. Thus came the NAACP in 1909 and the SAI in 1911. Du Bois and Eastman were instrumental in the formation of these activist organizations.
         Historians have long argued that there were similarities between Black and Native reform organizations during the Progressive Era.16 While we should be careful not to wrest away the agency of Native peoples in forming the SAI, we should also acknowledge the Society's antecedents. Fayette McKenzie, a white sympathizer with both American Indian and African American causes, taught at the Wind River Government Indian School in Wyoming while earning his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1915, after leaving his faculty position at Ohio State, he became president of Fisk University, a Black institution, for which Du Bois sent a letter of congratulations.17
         As a white reformer, McKenzie sent a letter to Du Bois, seeking his thoughts on forming an all-Native reform organization, led by the "talented-tenth." A concept put forth by Du Bois, the so-called talented-tenth were to be the college educated of the race who would go on to {253} raise up the less fortunate members of their community (Du Bois, Talented Tenth 31-76). On January 9, 1904, McKenzie wrote to Du Bois, believing that if he "could persuade 50 or 100 or 200 Indians to combine for the good of their race into an association which stood for the unity and solidarity, the intelligence and progress," those American Indian intellectuals would "guide the whole race to a higher civilization." It is not known whether Du Bois took active steps to assist McKenzie; seven days after receiving McKenzie's letter, however, he did send a brief response. "Dear Sir: I think your plan most excellent," he wrote, and "[I] would be glad to aid it in any way." Committed to a belief in the talented-tenth, Du Bois stressed further, "The uplift must always come from the top and the training and unification of leaders is the great thing."18
         On the surface the lives of Du Bois and Eastman were quite distinct. Eastman was born in 1858 on the Plains among his people, the Dakotas, during a time of systematic US genocide against Indigenous nations. Du Bois, on the other hand, was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1868, three years after Black emancipation. At the same time Blacks were set free from the chains of slavery, American Indians were being pushed off their lands onto prison-like reservations. At the age of fifteen, Eastman, who did not grow up in the white world, was encouraged by his father, Jacob Eastman, who had converted to Christianity, to also convert and adopt white ways. Du Bois, in contrast, lived among whites from birth. The men's lives seemed to be going in two different directions. Yet the parallels between these men are striking.
         Both men believed education was a way to combat white racism. Both received support for their own educations through white philanthropy. Eastman earned a medical degree from Boston University in 1890. Du Bois earned a PhD in history from Harvard University in 1895. Both men also dealt with the dilemma of living in two worlds. A part of their life's work was devoted to easing the tension of living in these parallel but distinct worlds. Still, they fundamentally believed that education provided a way to challenge colonialism and racism. This belief provoked both men to write extensively on these tensions. Du Bois would go on to write about what he called "double-consciousness" (Souls); Eastman would write about the movement from the "deep woods" of Indian life to white "civilization" (Deep Woods).
         Du Bois and Eastman were well aware of international movements, and they were eager to present their causes to the world. Scholars such {254} as Daniel Rodgers have astutely argued that transnational progressives "fought across a hundred fronts," and "in their defeats as well as their victories," they "tried to forge with progressive ideas and movements elsewhere and the battles those efforts precipitated" (4). But the creative, combined efforts of Blacks and Natives to challenge US colonialism have been relegated to the periphery of US history. Du Bois's and Eastman's goals were in line with the mission of the URC.
         The objective of the URC was to "discuss, in the light of the science and the modern conscience, the general relations subsisting between the peoples of the West and those of the East, between so-called white and so-called coloured peoples, with a view to encouraging between them a fuller understanding, the most friendly feelings, and a heartier co-operation" (Spiller, Papers v). Secretariats, representing at least thirty countries, advertised the URC. In addition, some twenty governments were officially represented there, along with some fifty-three nationalities (Spiller, Proceedings 3).
         Du Bois, as co-secretary, actively promoted the URC in the Crisis, the official organ of the NAACP. "We Doubt," he wrote, "if the Twentieth Century will bring forth a better idea than the First Universal Races Congress held in London, in the summer of 1911."19 Eastman also did his share of promoting. Although he held no formal positions within the URC organizational structure, he was apparently asked by Gustav Spiller to provide a few photographs of prominent American Indian intellectuals.20 He sent a letter to Carlos Montezuma asking him to submit a photograph of himself. He also asked Montezuma to send him the address of Reverend Sherman Coolidge, an Arapaho Episcopal minister, who would be elected the first president of the Society of American Indians.21
         The URC solicited papers a month in advance so that members could contribute to a large volume that would be precirculated.22 The papers were to be translated into several languages. Eastman likely submitted his essay as early as January 1911.23 Precirculation appears to have had two purposes. The first objective was to use the papers as propaganda to spread the word about the first URC and also to build momentum for the proposed second conference, which was to be held in Hawai'i (although World War I prevented it from happening) (Spiller, Proceedings 3). The second intention was to use the papers to spark discussion before members came to London. Because of this, sessions were well attended and conversations were robust. While there were no specific requirements {255} for paper content or format, authors were urged "to make practical suggestions in their contributions" (Spiller, Proceedings 5).
         The conference was divided into eight sessions. Du Bois and Eastman participated in the sixth session, "The Modern Conscience (The Negro, the American Indian, etc.)," held Friday afternoon, July 28, 1911. It was here that Du Bois and Eastman brought the problems of African Americans and American Indians to light on an international stage. From all accounts the sixth session appears to have been lively. Papers ranged in subject and objective, but they shared many commonalities, including discussions of interracial marriage, characteristics of the Black and American Indian races, social law and custom, and brief histories, illustrating how the "lower" races came into their situations of poverty and "backwardness."
         Du Bois's paper, "The Negro Race in the United States of America," and Eastman's paper, "The North American Indian," read as broad--perhaps even unexciting--histories of Blacks and Native Americans. Yet beneath the surface of these works lie subtle critiques of US colonialism. During a time of racial discrimination and constant assaults against Black and Native humanity, it was necessary to adopt a less-than-inspiring prose style. Still, as scientific racism was a part of public and intellectual discourses, the two men found it imperative to explain how Black Americans and American Indians were products of transnational white supremacy and not simply "less able" races. The papers sought to critique the logic of white civilization and to assert how Black Americans and American Indians could help usher in a truly democratic, anticolonial future.
         Du Bois's paper offered a broad social history of Black Americans. Beginning with the movement of Africans to the Americas, he plainly stated, "the African slave trade to America arose from the desire of the Spanish and other nations to exploit rapidly the resources of the New World." In starting this way, Du Bois placed blame for the current condition of Black Americans squarely on the shoulders of European nation-states. Perhaps uncritically, Du Bois reasoned that Europeans were unable to exploit American Indian labor because of "the weaknesses and comparative scarcity of the Indians" (Spiller, Papers 348). After explaining the population growth of enslaved Blacks, Du Bois attempted to show the resilient spirit within the African diaspora through a brief discussion of slave rebellions. "Only two of these [revolts] were {256} large and successful," he wrote, "[that] of the Maroons in Jamaica in the seventeenth century, and of Touissant L'Ouverture in Hayti in the eighteenth century" (351).
         After identifying the social discourses that justified slavery, Du Bois illustrated the agency of Black Americans during Reconstruction. Once they learned of the US political system, "the Negroes secured a better class of white and Negro leaders." With these new leaders, reasoned Du Bois, came "a more democratic form of government," "free public schools," and "the beginnings of a new social legislation" (Spiller, Papers 353). These relative successes were short lived. Beginning in 1890 the neocolonialism against Black Americans took full hold. Virtually all Blacks were excluded from voting, as well as from other dominant social formations. "With this legislation have gone various restrictive laws to curtail the social, civil, and economic freedom of all persons of Negro descent," wrote Du Bois. The legitimacy of Black exclusion from social, economic, and political arenas, Du Bois reasoned, constituted "the Negro problem" (354). Of course, Du Bois told his large, international audience, the "Negro problem" was actually an American problem rooted in white supremacy. The "Negro problem" was neocolonialism.
         Eastman's paper offered a similarly broad history of American Indians. His intention, however, like his life's focus, was to bridge the white and American Indian worlds, to show the former the virtues of a "simple" life and what a civilization that purported to promote democracy could learn from Indians. Eastman began with a general geographic and physical description of the American Indian. He then described the virtues of American Indian political philosophy and institutions. After explaining the structure of tribes and clans and the roles of chiefs, he switched gears, telling the world that "American historians have constantly fallen into error by reason of their ignorance of our democratic system." Because of their belief in a superior white civilization, Eastman reasoned, historians failed to learn from a true "government of the people, one of personal liberty," one that gave "equal rights to all its members" (Spiller, Papers 368). For Eastman, a true democracy did not exist only in political terms, but also in terms of economics. Eastman began the "Economic" section of his paper by pointing out the contradictions of the settler nation-state: "it appears that not freedom or democracy or spiritual development, but material progress alone, is the evidence of 'civilization.'" However, the "American Indian failed to meet this test," {257} Eastman wrote, "being convinced that accumulation of property breeds dishonesty and greed." The American Indian "was unwilling to pay the price of civilization" (369).
         Similar to their life paths, at first glance Du Bois's and Eastman's essays appear to have little in common. Du Bois's subject experienced slavery and exclusion through social and political law. Eastman's subject suffered from dispossession of resources and culture because of warfare and white greed for land. Beneath the explicit content of their essays, however, lies an important, previously unnoted link: their similar belief in the virtues of "the souls of Black folk" and "the soul of the Indian." In spite of slavery and colonialism, they believed their people could usher in a new, democratic society, one based upon social, political, and economic inclusion, not white supremacy.
         Du Bois located the roots of Black disenfranchisement not with the passing of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. Rather, he began in 1890--the year of the US cavalry's slaughter of Dakotas, mostly women and children, at Wounded Knee. If 1890 marked the beginning processes of Jim Crow segregation, for American Indians it marked an end to using war as a means for securing sovereignty. It also required a new generation of Native women and men to assert their right to citizenship claims and sovereignty within a new US political domain that claimed social and political reform but continued to subjugate people of color the world over. Du Bois and Eastman understood these changing times, as well as the connection between the exploitation of land and labor, both at home and abroad. Eastman called the reservation system a "miserable prison existence" (Spiller, Papers 374). Du Bois argued that, following slavery, those former masters who wanted cheap labor turned to criminalizing Blacks: "Crime and long sentences for petty offences have long been used as methods of securing cheap negro labor" (360).
         Eastman believed that a future free of colonialism would begin not only with education but also as soon as the "huge, unwieldy system that has grown up both at Washington and [on reservations]" ended (Spiller, Papers 376). He referred, of course, to the Office of Indian Affairs. Du Bois believed that only through the equal treatment of Black Americans could a truly democratic US society emerge. White society would not be able to bring in civilization. Instead, Du Bois argued, "the destinies of this world will rest ultimately in the hands of darker nations" ("Souls of White" 49). {258} For Du Bois, the Universal Races Congress was significant because "it marked the first time in the history of mankind when a world congress dared openly and explicitly to take its stand on the platform of human equality."24 "What impressed me most," said Eastman, "was the perfect equality of the races." He also said that it was a great privilege to see fifty-three nationalities "come together to mutually acquaint themselves with one another's progress and racial ideals" (Deep Woods 189). Their attendance was meant not simply to crack the door to full US citizenship, which was still closed. Rather, it was their attempt to assert a human rights agenda on a global stage, so that one could be both an American and a Black American or Native American. This they did on behalf of all Black and Native Americans.
         Still, for these transnational progressives, the URC had even greater implications. It showed that the histories of Blacks and Natives in the United States, while distinct, were also intimately related. If Progressive Era and African American and American Indian historians cannot find the URC significant, at the very least we can use Du Bois's and Eastman's participation in the URC as a foundation for better understanding of subsequent twentieth-century Black and Indigenous social movements. Sometimes Black and Native histories flow in parallel; sometimes they intersect; at other times they diverge. Too many of these stories, however, remain largely untold.


         1. Joseph F. Gould to W. E. B. Du Bois, 27 Feb. 1916, Papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, Reel 5, Frame 404.
         2. Hereafter I refer to the Universal Races Congress as the URC.
         3. The Radical History Review dedicated a special forum to the URC in its issue 92 (2005).
         4. Crisis 1.2 (1910), in Du Bois Papers, Reel 1.
         5. Crisis 1.2 (1910).
         6. Charles A. Eastman to Richard Henry Pratt, 27 Jan. 1911. Papers of Richard Henry Pratt, Box 3, Folder 85.
         7. Eastman to Pratt.
         8. Fayette McKenzie to Arthur C. Parker, 31 Oct. 1911. Papers of the Society of American Indians.
         9. Crisis 1.6 (1911): 23.
         10. Crisis 2.5 (1911): 201.

         11. Arthur Parker, ed., "Proceedings of the Second Annual Conference of the Society of American Indians," Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.2 (1913): 251. According to the SAI Constitution, associate members "shall be persons of non-Indian blood interested in Indian welfare." Society of American Indians, Constitution and By-Laws: The Society of American Indians, Lawrence KS revision (Washington DC, 1916), 4. Edward E. Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.
         12. See Allen xvii-xviii.
         13. Lake and Reynolds 106-09. To consider the gendered politics of this, see Hoganson 1-14.
         14. Pratt's paper was presented at the 19th Annual Conference of Charities and Correction, held in Denver, Colorado, in 1892. Ironically, in the same speech Pratt based his reasoning for assimilating Native Americans on the experiences of African Americans who were forced into white civilization. However, he does not mention slavery. "Left in Africa, surrounded by their fellow savages, our several millions of industrious black fellow citizens would still be savages," he wrote. After being brought to America and "forced into association with English-speaking and civilized people," they became civilized (263).
         15. For an extensive look at the development of US policies toward American Indians, see Deloria and Lytle; Hoxie Final Promise 155.
         16. See, for example, Hertzberg 310; Hoxie, Indian Country 225.
         17. Hertzberg 32. W. E. B. Du Bois to Fayette McKenzie, 26 Jan. 1915; McKenzie to Du Bois, 19 Jan. 1915; Papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, Reel 4, Frame 41-43. It seems likely that because Du Bois was perhaps one of the most famous urban sociologists at the time due to his publication of The Philadelphia Negro and The Souls of Black Folk, McKenzie sent him a letter after consulting with the likes of Eastman and other prominent American Indian intellectuals.
         18. Fayette McKenzie to W. E. B. Du Bois, 9 Jan. 1904, in Aptheker 71-72.
         19. Crisis 1.2 (1910).
         20. Eastman to Pratt, 27 Jan. 1911.
         21. Charles A. Eastman to Carlos Montezuma, 27 Jan. 1911; Papers of Carlos Montezuma, Reel 1, History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Wilson 155.
         22. Papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, Reel 4, Frame 141-193 (1911 U).
         23. Eastman to Montezuma, 27 Jan. 1911.
         24. Crisis 2.5 (1911).


Allen, Chadwick. Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2012. Print.

Aptheker, Herbert, ed. The Correspondence of W. E. B. Du Bois. Vol. 1, Selections from 1877-1934. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1973. Print.

Byrd, Jodi A. The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2011. Print.

Chang, David. "Enclosures of Land and Sovereignty: The Allotment of American Indian Lands." Radical History Review 109 (2011): 108-19. Print.

Deloria, Vine, Jr., and Clifford Lytle. The Nations Within: The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty. New York: Pantheon, 1984. Print.

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. 1903. Chicago: Dover, 1994. Print.

_ _ _. "The Souls of White Folk." Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil, 21-38. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921. Print.

_ _ _. "The Talented Tenth." The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of To-Day. New York: James Pott, 1903. 31-76. Print.

Eastman, Charles A. From the Deep Woods to Civilization. Boston: Little, Brown, 1916. Print.

Flanagan, Maureen. America Reformed: Progressives and Progressivisms, 1890s-1920s. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

Harris, Cheryl. "Whiteness as Property." Harvard Law Review 106.8 (1993): 1710-91. Print.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Hoganson, Kristin L. Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. New Haven: Yale UP, 1998. Print.

Hoxie, Frederick E. A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2001. Print.

_ _ _. This Indian Country: American Indian Political Activists and the Place They Made. New York: Penguin, 2012. Print.

Lake, Marilyn, and Henry Reynolds. Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men's Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Inequality. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. Print.

Lewis, David Levering. W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919. New York: Holt, 1993. Print.

Maddox, Lucy. Citizen Indians: Native American Intellectuals, Race and Reform. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005. Print.

Marable, Manning, and Vanessa Agard-Jones, eds. Transnational Blackness: Navigating the Global Color Line. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.

Martin, Alfred W. "Distinctive Features of the Ethical Movement." Aspects of Ethical Religion: Essays in Honor of Felix Adler, on the Fiftieth Anniversary of {261} His Founding of the Ethical Movement, 1876, by His Colleagues. Ed. Horace J. Bridges. New York: American Ethical Union, 1926. 71-112. Print.

McGerr, Michael. A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.

Papers of Richard Henry Pratt. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yale U.

Papers of W. E. B. Du Bois, 1803 (1877-1963) 1979. Sanford NC: Microfilming Corp. of America, 1980. Microform.

Pratt, Richard H. "The Advantages of Mingling Indians with Whites." Americanizing the American Indians: Writings by the "Friends of the Indian," 1880-1900. Ed. Francis Paul Prucha. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1973. 260-261. Print.

Rodgers, Daniel. Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998. Print.

Society of American Indians. The Papers of the Society of American Indians. Ed. John W. Larner. Wilmington: Scholar Resources, 1987. 10 rolls. Microfilm.

Spiller, Gustav, ed. Papers on Inter-Racial Problems. Boston: World's Peace Foundation, 1911. Rpt. New York: Arno, 1969. Print.

_ _ _. Record of the Proceedings of the First Universal Races Congress. London: O. S. King and Son, 1911. Print.

Wilson, Raymond. Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1983. Print.

Wolfe, Patrick. "Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native." Journal of Genocide Research 8.4 (2006): 387-409. Print.


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The Soul of Unity
The Quarterly Journal of the
Society of American Indians, 1913-1915


The Society of American Indians (SAI) published the first issue of its Quarterly Journal in 1913. For two years, prior to it being renamed the American Indian Magazine in 1916, editor-general Arthur C. Parker worked tirelessly to establish the Quarterly Journal as an "organ" that would unite Native Americans across tribal and political boundaries. In pursuit of this objective Parker editorialized in 1914 that to "live, any organization dedicated to the regeneration of mankind, to the promulgation of happiness, and the stimulation of usefulness in men must have a soul."1 Parker urged American Indians to unite and direct their "soul energy," or the disparate forces that connected "the body and the mind," to the task of Indian "regeneration," "happiness," and "usefulness" in the early twentieth century.2
        Parker's words were well chosen. Virtually all early twentieth-century Native Americans considered the "soul" a vitally important life-giving source. Some, such as the Havasupai Indians of Arizona, believed that a person had one soul. Others, like the Apache and Navajo, held to the belief that the soul was divided into two parts. And still others, like the Mojave in the Southwest and the Cherokees in the woodland South, insisted that individuals possessed four souls (Brown 95; Johnston 19; Crawford and Kelley 589). By using the language of the "soul" and "soul energy," Parker highlighted how the Quarterly Journal strove to encourage Indigenous people to unite and direct their "soul energy" to the pan-Indian objectives of the SAI.
        Reflecting on the SAI's accomplishments in 1915, Parker emphasized how Native American "soul energy" had produced a publication that provided Indigenous people "with the means for expressing their ideas {264} in a united way."3 Parker believed the Quarterly Journal was making a unique contribution to Native American culture and politics. Despite Parker's lofty assertions, there has been little scholarship analyzing the SAI and its journal of record. Hazel W. Hertzberg's The Search for an American Indian Identity (1971) remains the most sustained scholarly analysis of the SAI. Hertzberg provides insightful biographies of key players in the SAI--such as Charles Eastman (Santee-Sioux), Carlos Montezuma (Mohave-Apache), Sherman Coolidge (Arapaho), and the influential non-Native educator and sociologist Fayette A. McKenzie (ch. 1). Hertzberg does not focus on the historical significance of the Quarterly Journal in twentieth-century American Indian history; instead, she uses the journal as a primary source that situated the SAI in the early twentieth-century tradition of American progressivism. Similar to the era's "progressive" political reformers elected to state and federal offices and African American leaders committed to the liberal ideals of American democracy, Hertzberg portrays the SAI as an organization committed to unifying American Indian people behind a program of "race pride," education, and birthright citizenship.
        More recent scholarship, such as that by David E. Wilkins and Heidi K. Stark, reinforces Hertzberg's conclusions. Wilkins and Stark argue that the SAI was "similar to the white reform organizations and the developing black movements of the Progressive Era. Middle class, well-educated, they preached self-help, race pride, and responsibility" (195). While such analysis has its merits, there remains a dearth of attention focused on the Quarterly Journal's contribution to early twentieth-century American Indian intellectual history and the terms upon which Parker and the journal's contributors attempted to outline an intellectual platform from which to shape its social and political message. Indeed, in trying to understand the SAI and its journal of record on its own terms, we should not forget that while groups such as the Philadelphia-based Indian Rights Association, the Indian Citizenship Association of Boston, or the Indian Board of Cooperation in California staked out the rhetorical parameters of Indian reform by the time the SAI was founded in 1911, the SAI and its journal of record were alone in being run and operated by Native American people (Hagan, Indian 165; Maddox 16, 123).
        Under Arthur C. Parker's editorship and the input of five contributing editors--Coolidge, Montezuma, Howard E. Gansworth (Tuscarora), Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago), and John M. Oskison (Cherokee)4--{265} the Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians attempted the difficult task of crafting a coherent narrative that represented Native Americans as a rapidly improving, "modern" collectivity of "individuals." Parker often editorialized about the social and political "condition" of Native Americans. In one editorial Parker explained, "In these days of science analysis" the so-called Indian problem was not a product of innate racial differences, but a social and political dilemma.5 As such, the Quarterly Journal maintained an editorial line that emphasized how the social and economic conditions of American Indian communities constituted a "human problem" requiring "sociological study" and legislative reform.6 This meant that Native traditionalists, or as Parker called them, "extremists and the older element" in Indian communities who "hold to the 'old way,'" should be divested of their local political power and cultural influence so that the "Indian race" could unite and advance educationally, economically, and politically by uniting their "soul energy" in lobbying for birthright citizenship and an education fit for life in the early twentieth-century American republic.7
        Parker thus used the Quarterly Journal to advance the social scientific proposition that "The problem of raising the average efficiency of the race is simply a work of race development, in other words, human culture."8 As Parker and the contributors to the journal developed (and disagreed on) the different facets of this argument between 1913 and 1915, the emphasis on education and the acquisition of birthright citizenship came to be highlighted in an intertwined narrative focused on elevating the "Indian race's" soul, uplifting "his" physical condition, and setting in place the conditions needed to ensure a unified "Indian race" worked together in the pursuit of "regeneration," "happiness," and "usefulness" (A. C. Parker, "What Makes" 105).9 By focusing on education and citizenship, Parker and the journal contributors believed that the "Indian race" would become aware and feel "his own responsibility and then respond. He must realize that first of all there is something for him to do."10

Arthur C. Parker was born on the Cattaraugus Reservation in western New York in 1881. He attended Dickenson Seminary before dropping out to become a largely self-taught archeologist and folklorist (Porter 45). His interests in "American aborigines," as he explained to a correspondent in June 1918, were twofold: intellectually, Parker's archeological and ethnological interests inspired his more scholarly writings; po-{266}litically, his "mind and pen" were absorbed by the "sociological and civic side" of Native American affairs.11
        Parker was certainly a hardworking scholar and prolific writer. He was also prone to bouts of depression, a condition often inflamed by his work at the Quarterly Journal. Parker became so consumed with the well-being of the journal that his private correspondence reveals how he found it difficult to stop thinking about Indian affairs and his responsibilities at the journal.12 Sherman Coolidge, an SAI president and one of its founding members, recognized the burden that Parker carried. Coolidge used words of encouragement to keep Parker's spirits buoyed, urging him to "go to it, old boy," and to "keep a stiff upper lip."13 Behind Coolidge's words of encouragement, however, lay the realization that Parker would need vast amounts of personal energy, vision, and perseverance if he hoped to use the Quarterly Journal to awaken "the consciousness of widely scattered units" and inspire the "soul" of the "Indian race" to aspire for, as the epigraph under the journal's masthead declared, "The honor of the race and the good of the country."14
        Parker had a difficult task in front of him. While the Quarterly Journal's message of reform, "uplift," and, most importantly, citizenship rights echoed that of African American and white progressive-era reformers, the challenges that faced early twentieth-century Native Americans were not the same as those confronting black Americans, Eastern and Southern European immigrants, white women, or the urban poor. As editor-general, Parker had the challenge of instructing Native American readers about the complexities of the political and economic challenges they faced, such as the erosion of Indigenous sovereignty; loss of vast amounts of land because of the allotment process; the federal government's withholding of payments to tribal members for the sale of allotment land; or the poverty and disease that the reservation system bred under bia governance.15 These were problems deeply embedded in the fabric of settler colonial history in the United States.16
        In being the "organ" of this cause, Parker and the editorial board were committed to the Quarterly Journal's independence from government interference (especially interference from the Bureau of Indian Affairs), and the corrupting influence of advertising revenue.17 Parker said as much in his correspondence with prospective subscribers. Careful not to criticize Native American publications that were backed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, such as the Carlisle Institute's Red Man, or the {267} Indian School Journal, published out of the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma, Parker highlighted the importance of the Quarterly Journal's independence. In a letter to a Canadian correspondent in 1915, for example, Parker emphasized that the Red Man and the Indian School Journal were "not independent of the government," whereas the Quarterly Journal was.18
        While pleased that the Quarterly Journal received support from sympathetic whites, Parker was disinclined to sacrifice the journal's independence to maintain such endorsements. Parker had good reason to guard the journal's independence. In the early twentieth century the independent press played an important role in shaping American social and political discourse. In the years between 1890 and 1913, a period that historians refer to as the Progressive Era, independent, reform-minded journalists--sometimes referred to as "muckrakers"--pressured elected officials to stamp out the government and corporate corruption that characterized much of the late nineteenth century (Filler; Rynbrandt 29; Piott 13). Emerging at the back end of the Progressive Era, the journal under Parker's control brought a reform ethos and an independent media activism to early twentieth-century pan-Indian politics.
        The independent press had a long and storied history of helping to bring about social change and political reform in the United States. From William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery newspaper the Liberator in the first half of the nineteenth century to any number of the five hundred anarchist and leftist newspapers (published in at least twelve languages) in circulation between 1870 and 1940, the independent press was an important part of the American cultural landscape (Topp 125; Hutton 6; Bacon; Risley 24). By the early twentieth century the independent press differentiated itself from the "mainstream" news media by taking strong editorial positions on social and political issues. Additionally, the independent press received little, if any, advertising revenue.
        The differentiation between the independent and "mainstream" press during the early twentieth century constituted a significant departure in the history of American journalism. For most of the nineteenth century American newspapers took explicitly partisan editorial positions on a raft of issues. This changed during the first decade of the twentieth century, with the ideal of "objectivity" emerging as the measure of good journalism. In this context newspaper journalists and staff writers were trained to separate "facts" from "values." The changing tone of Ameri-{268}can newspapers was not, however, driven entirely by altruistic motives. An increasing number of newspapers had become reliant on advertising revenue to stay afloat. Owners feared that publishing politically partisan or value-laden editorials might jeopardize income from advertisers. Thus, a growing number of American newspapers adopted a conservative tone in their coverage of political, social, and economic affairs, reporting "objectively" on the news of the day and allowing readers to make their own value judgments (Schudson 4-5; Nord 258; Ponce de Leon 32; Rhodes 31).
        Amid these changes the independent press regained a degree of prominence. This was especially true among immigrant and working-class readers, African Americans, and Native Americans. The "facts" being reported in mainstream newspapers like the New York Times did not seem to be "objective" or value-free to many of the readers from these groups; in fact, they tended to mirror the views of Americans who wielded political and economic power. In response journalists such as Joseph Pulitzer, who published the New York World, adopted populist political and economic perspectives in opposition to corporate and government interests, winning a growing working-class readership in the process (Brian 208; Morris 189). Alternatively, African American newspapers such as the Amsterdam News, Chicago Defender, and the National Advancement for Colored People's (NAACP) journal the Crisis, addressed issues such as lynching, racialized poverty, disenfranchisement, and Jim Crow segregation, which were routinely ignored or superficially reported by the mainstream (white) news media (Gourgey; Jordan 180; Washburn xi).
        This spirit of journalistic activism and independence can been seen in Parker's aspirations for the Quarterly Journal. Parker's editorship of the journal was punctuated by didactic editorials and an "objectivity" born of the historical experiences of the diverse Native American membership of the SAI and readers of the journal during its formative years of publication.

Arthur C. Parker lived and breathed his work.19 Utterly dedicated to the Quarterly Journal, Parker wanted to publish an "organ" that would unite readers and inspire them to strive "for the highest good in all things."20 In an age when white Americans typically perceived Native Americans through the distortions of popular culture--such as Buffalo Bill Cody's {269} Wild West--or the eccentricities of wealthy white Americans, such as department store millionaire Rodman Wanamaker--who charged his head of education, Joseph K. Dixon, to lead efforts to erect a National American Indian Memorial on Staten Island at the entrance to New York Harbor--"real" Indians were represented as trans-historical, unchanging, costumed relics of a bygone era.21
        Parker wasted no time in using the Quarterly Journal to attack stereotypical representations of Native American people. In the first issue of the journal in April 1913, he lambasted Wanamaker's proposed memorial as a farce, intoning that the "irony of building a gigantic statue to a race of men who have been grossly injured by the evils of civilization can not but be apparent to those who think even superficially" (Maddox 45). SAI president Sherman Coolidge observed the scorn with which Native Americans viewed the proposed statue. Repeating the comments of one speaker at the Third Annual Conference in Denver, Coolidge paraphrased: "They [Native Americans] do not need that memorial. The Indian is not dead. He is very much alive, and needs greater things than statues" (Coolidge, "American Indian" 33).
        The Quarterly Journal confronted other similarly topical issues. This was the case with politically and culturally charged questions about Indian "blood" and racial mixing. While the journal did not devote a great deal of attention to the issue of "blood" and miscegenation, Parker did pause in the fourth edition of the journal in 1914 to insist that "American Indian blood is in America to stay . . . its virtue shall live in the achievements of the proud men and women whose arteries it flows" (A. C. Parker, "Indian Blood").22 Such commentaries foreshadowed the focus of the Quarterly Journal in the months and, after its renaming as the American Indian Magazine, in the years to come: racial stereotyping and cultural tokenism would not placate the SAI's members or the journal's contributing editors; only meaningful reforms focused on granting citizenship and educating Native Americans so they could grow to adulthood free from the social and economic disadvantages imposed on them by the "reservation system" and federal Indian policy of allotment and assimilation (Wilkinson and Biggs; Genetin-Pilawa 155).
        During the first two years of the Quarterly Journal's life, Parker regularly reminded readers of the distortions embedded in white America's representations of Native American people. In a 1914 editorial he turned his scorn to the Wild West show. Parker insisted that the "Wild West {270} show has done a lot of harm in the way of deceiving the public. It has made most persons think that the Indians are still wild savages" (A. C. Parker, "Menace" 175). The portrayal of these "show Indians" in "traveling exhibitions," Parker cautioned, homogenized the Indian's identity--they all wear "the Sioux war bonnet"--and present the paying public with little more than "the 'white man's idea of an Indian'" (174-75). As Parker reminded readers, the "show Indian is not the real Indian any more than the circus white man is the real white man." In essence, Buffalo Bill's Wild West show was little more than "injurious fakery!" (175, 176).23
        This type of strong editorial line mirrored the activist scholarship of W. E. B. Du Bois during his tenure as editor of the NAACP's Crisis. Du Bois used his editorial power to focus on the various manifestations of racial injustice and racist representations of black people--from feckless "Sambos" to loyal Mammies and sex-crazed "Mulattoes" (Bogle; Markovitz 37). The Crisis aimed to expose American racism for the oppressive force that it was, and in the process unify its readers in a pan-black community by disseminating its message with the assistance of a "little army of agents scattered over the world."24 At the Quarterly Journal, Parker and his staff also hoped to increase circulation. Parker insisted that the journal could "extend its usefulness by widening its scope of appeal."25 Prior to its renaming, the Quarterly Journal struggled to increase its readership among Native Americans and its non-Indigenous supporters. Ascertaining circulation and subscription levels of the journal is not a straightforward task. In theory the $2 membership fee entitled all SAI members to a copy of the journal. In 1912 Parker estimated that 150 of the Society's members attended the annual conference. Parker did not state how many SAI members did not attend the conference. What is clear is that Parker saw the need for a membership push. He informed a Montana correspondent in May 1912 that the Society was on a drive to have 1,000 members by year's end.26 SAI records indicate that this target was never met. In fact, during the last quarter of fiscal year 1916, the year the Quarterly Journal's title changed to the American Indian Magazine, 157 members renewed their membership for 1917. However, individuals and institutions did not have to join the Society to acquire the Quarterly Journal. An annual subscription fee of $1.50 secured a quarterly copy, delivered by second-class mail. Such subscriptions, however, were rare {271} during the formative years of the journal. During its initial years of existence, then, it appears unlikely that the journal had a circulation of much more than 200 quarterly recipients.27
        Increasing the circulation of the journal was vital to the Society's efforts to unite Native American people in a pan-Indian political identity and affect political discourse on issues related to Native Americans. To build a readership around the journal's message of unity, contributors regularly challenged racial stereotypes of "costumed Indians" and "primitive natives."
        A useful starting point for uniting Native American people, SAI leaders believed, was to declare a memorial day of celebration. Over the initial three to four years of the SAI's life, efforts were made to define the commemorative significance of such a day. In the December 1915 edition of the Quarterly Journal, the resolution of the Society's Fifth Annual Conference, held at Lawrence, Kansas, proclaimed the second Saturday of every May as "American Indian Day" (Coolidge, "American Indian Day" 288). Just as people of African descent in the Caribbean and throughout the Americas held festivals, parades, and memorial days to designate their respective emancipations from slavery, so the "Red Race of America" was to have its own memorial day in which Native Americans throughout the United States could pause and acknowledge the "heroic struggle of our fathers against forces which they had no means of measuring or appreciating yet which they fought against for homes, for family, for country and the preservation of native freedom" (288). The Quarterly Journal helped to promote American Indian Day as a public display of the endurance of the Native American people and of the specific challenges posed to Indigenous people. Where people of African descent were forced to migrate to the Caribbean and the Americas as slaves, ultimately working plantations on lands once owned and occupied by Native peoples, the American Indian experience of settler colonialism was represented as a violent struggle over land and the fight to defend home, family, and "native freedom" from the piracy of white settlers. Nothing, according to the declaration of American Indian Day, was more American, more in keeping with the "honor and dignity . . . of our Country" than a memorial day celebration to commemorate noble ancestors as they fought to defend their homes, their families, and their freedoms (288).28
        Editorials of this nature were a useful first step in the creation of a col-{272}lective past that might unite all people of "Indian blood" in the United States. However, if, as Parker publically stated in the Quarterly Journal, "there must be a new beginning" in the way American Indians identified themselves, something more profound than a memorial day holiday was needed. Remembering the atrocities committed by the "Pale invader" and subverting caricatures of the "desperate savage" were enough to grab people's attention, but holding that attention long enough so that Indigenous people might unite in a common political identity that transcended "tribal nationalism" and united "Indian Americans" around the SAI's banner required more concrete, practical rationales that addressed contemporary educational, socioeconomic, and political concerns (A. C. Parker, "Road" 179).29

The substance of the program that the contributors to the Quarterly Journal debated between 1913 and 1915 were published in editorials, social commentaries, and social scientific inquiries focused on the collective self-interests of Native American communities throughout the United States. According to Parker, a judicious combination of industrial and vocational education was fundamental to any effort to nurture "self-help" and "race pride" among Native Americans. The education narrative developed in the journal bore a striking resemblance to the "uplift" programs espoused by middle-class African American leaders such as Booker T. Washington and Mary Church Terrell. Like black leaders, who openly disagreed about the merits of manual and classical forms of education, SAI members and supporters also debated American Indian education (see Moore; Mitchell). Charles H. Kealear (Sioux) insisted in 1913 that the "more education that is pounded into us the further we will wedge into the better standards of life" (Kealear). Laura Cornelius Kellogg, one of the founding members of the SAI, also called for an expansion of Native American educational opportunities. She did so, however, with an eye to undermining the ruinous system of reservations that the federal government imposed on Indigenous Americans. Kellogg believed that a system of education that freed American Indian children from Western pedagogies and empowered Native peoples with skills that would enable them to become self-supporting would eventually produce independent Native American communities that were free of government interference (Hoxie 52-54; Hilden and Lee 74).
        In her analysis of the SAI, historian Hazel Hertzberg argued that {273} Parker devoted much of the Quarterly Journal's pages to education (103). Hertzberg was correct in this assertion, but her analytical focus on the institutional development of the SAI meant that she missed an opportunity to explore the nuances in SAI education theorizing and its links to the SAI's economic and political objectives as presented to readers of the journal. Since Hertzberg's study, a rich historiography focused on the BIA's system of boarding schools has emerged.30 This literature is sophisticated in its analysis and generally thorough in its treatment of how Indian boarding schools were established to "assimilate" Indigenous children into white society. While this scholarship has enriched our historical understanding of how Native Americans understood the bia's system of Indian education, the historical significance of American Indian thinking on educational systems and pedagogy continues to be developed by scholars of Native American education. By studying how the Quarterly Journal contributed to this decision we can continue to deepen our historical understanding of early twentieth-century Indigenous thinking on issues of education.
        SAI leaders and contributors to the journal were overwhelmingly male, products of BIA schools, and middle-class in their values. These "Red Progressives," as Hertzberg described them, became embroiled in often-intense debates over the efficacy of BIA boarding schools and whether to admit Indigenous children to public schools or establish independent Indian schools (Gilcreast; Adams 48-50). This is not to say that SAI members, such as Carlos Montezuma, agreed unconditionally with the educational philosophies of off-reservation educators such as Richard Henry Pratt, but it is to note that in debating a system of education to prepare American Indians for the social and economic demands of twentieth-century America they could see the utility in some of Pratt's methods (Hertzberg 94; Iverson 96). As the Cherokee writer John Oskison informed readers of Collier's magazine, the ideal in Indian education should be to preserve that which is "distinctive" of the best aspects of the old ways and marry them to the principles of human progress (Hertzberg 64; Patterson 48). SAI president Sherman Coolidge expressed a similar sentiment in the inaugural issue of the Quarterly Journal: "The Indian American has something new and fresh to contribute. His noble traits ought to be, can be, and must be guided into national usefulness." Laura Cornelius Kellogg captured this sentiment succinctly when she declared, "I am the old Indian adjusted to new conditions" (Hertberg 65).
        Ohio State University's Fayette A. McKenzie provided important theoretical insights about education, with many of his essays appearing in the Quarterly Journal. McKenzie is generally remembered as the racist and autocratic president of Fisk University, a historically black college in Tennessee. According to historian David Levering Lewis, McKenzie "ran the university like a plantation" (Lewis 463). In the 1910s, however, McKenzie devoted himself to formulating an improved system of Indian education, a pursuit that defined his involvement with the SAI and his contributions to the journal.31 McKenzie's essays generally emphasized the importance of an education system that was flexible enough to allow Native Americans to compete economically with whites. The "hot-house protection" and bureaucratic bungling of the BIA must be swept aside, McKenzie insisted. He maintained that the Indian must learn how to fend for himself in "the cold atmosphere of the outside world" in which the "old-school Darwinian" wanted nothing more than to see the "melting away of the primitive races" (McKenzie, Indian 32; McKenzie, "American Indian" 135; McKenzie, "Cooperation").
        Such language was in keeping with the social Darwinian rhetoric popular among progressives, American industrialists, and anti-immigration xenophobes--albeit with very different ends in mind. The American version of late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century social Darwinism owed much to Herbert Spencer's nineteenth-century writings. Spencer, an English philosopher and sociological theorist, wrote about human beings as "social units." These "social units" were part of a single "organic creation" that, when they worked in harmony, brought about a state of "equilibrium" in modern "civilization." Many Americans found Spencer's theorizing appealing because its construction of society as a "social organism" that could be molded and shaped as needed appealed to progressive and reactionary groups alike (Spencer 80, 454, 493; Francis 311). Wealthy industrialists like Andrew Carnegie found inspiration in Spencer's theorizing. Carnegie's The Gospel of Wealth (1901) reflected this influence. Carnegie wrote about the importance of a financial "equilibrium" between employers and employees, and cautioned against "surplus wealth" being redistributed among the poor because it fostered "a spirit of dependence." According to Carnegie, the wise philanthropist would ensure an absence of class antagonism and nurture the "body politic" to good health (23, 109).32 Quoting directly from Spencer's work, Carnegie reinforced this point, writing, "Herbert Spen-{275}cer's great law will be further vindicated: 'As power is held arbitrarily by king or chief the military type is developed, and wars and dynasties and aggression ensue. As power passes to the people the industrial type is developed, and peace ensues'" (Carnegie 217).
        Social scientific language appealed to a number of prominent SAI members and contributors to the Quarterly Journal. SAI leaders appropriated such language to demand a complete overhaul of the federal government's management of Indian affairs. These changes would ideally empower Native American communities to eradicate "dependence" on the BIA and implement policies that resulted in the progress of the "Indian race" (A. C. Parker, "Survey" 16; Montezuma 69-74; Hertzberg 43; Iverson 148). This process began in the home. Parker editorialized in 1914, "To be civilized is to be clean in body, in mind and spirit, and clean in surroundings."33 It is reasonable to assume that Parker used this type of language as much to inspire Indigenous readers as to maintain support among white "progressives." In the early twentieth century white "progressives" viewed health, hygiene, and the eradication of "dirt" from the home and the human body as the basis from which individuals might lift themselves out of poverty. Settlement house workers in cities such as Chicago and New York brought this message to immigrants, while middle-class black reformers did the same for ex-slaves and the urban black poor (Mitchell 187; Piott 119-20; Burnstein 5). However, far from the SAI preaching a gospel of "progress" ripped from the pages of a book by Herbert Spencer or Andrew Carnegie, or from a settlement house pamphlet, the essays and editorials in the Quarterly Journal strove to combine the best of Western and Native American intellectual traditions. Just as Oskison recommended that Native Americans adapt the best qualities of old traditions to modern life, so, then, did Parker instruct readers that the "old-time Indian had very strict laws about clean camps and clean villages" (A. C. Parker, "In All Things" 167-68).
        Parker used the Quarterly Journal to preach against idleness and to encourage thinking and industry.34 Parker, like fellow SAI leaders, appealed to every "thinking Indian" to inspire "uplift" among the Indian "race" by encouraging the broadest possible education.35 By early 1915 Parker and contributors to the journal had established what they felt was a blueprint for Indian education. In the April-June edition of that year, the journal outlined a position on education by drawing on social Darwinian concepts and evolutionary rhetoric. As the journal's editorial {276} pages reminded readers during 1915, the "barbarian" is an individualist who lives only for material gain, thinks little of the future--in fact, is not a "thinking man"--and is basically "evil."36
        Parker's alternative to this grim portrait of "barbarian" man was the civilized, "thinking man," the embodiment of what the modern Indian was becoming. In "Industrial and Vocational Training in Indian Schools," Parker argued that an education emphasizing the importance of classical as well as manual training was critical to the "vitality of the race" (87). He insisted that such a "dynamic education" should cultivate in the individual the importance of becoming an "efficient unit of society." And what was an "efficient unit of society"? According to Parker, such a "unit" was a "producer," someone who made things for the benefit of society, and who was "self-sustaining" (86-88).
        Parker's 1915 essay reflected his faith in the idea that both an industrial and classical education was needed to "uplift " and benefit the "Indian race." An industrial education, for example, provided students with "general" skills. Vocational training, a more specialized form of industrial education, equipped students with specific, highly valued skills. Parker also emphasized the importance of a classical education for students he termed the "book minded." This latter cohort of students, Parker envisioned, would ultimately rise and become the future leaders of the "Indian race" (Parker, "Industrial" 88, 91-92).
        The second issue of volume three of the Quarterly Journal was thus an important contribution to the SAI's efforts to define what a modern Indian was, or at least what the "Indian race" should become. By 1915 the journal's message of uplift, self-help, and race pride had been honed around the issue of education. Through the nurturing of intelligence, not "tribal nationalism" or blood quantum, the "Indian race" thrived, progressed in civilizational accomplishments, and resisted the forces of racial extinction.37 As Haskell Institute student Evelyn Pierce (Seneca) insisted in 1915, the "salvation of the Indian youth lies in his education, mentally, morally, and physically" (107-08). Education, in other words, would help demystify Native Americans in white America's popular imagination and correct the "popular belief that no amount of education can prevent the Indian from reverting to the barbaric life of his nation" (Kershaw 37; Knocksofftwo 77). Significantly, such language highlights how Parker and the authors of essays published in the Quarterly Journal found it difficult to detach their arguments from the social scientific and {277} evolutionary rhetoric that framed the way most Americans articulated racial and political issues in the early twentieth century. Indeed, in using such language the journal presents us with evidence of the cultural constraints on Native American reform movements during this period, while also reflecting how the appropriation of social scientific language was used in an attempt to attack the intellectual foundations of racism in "progressive era" America (Jones 47).

While Indian education received a significant amount of coverage in the Quarterly Journal, the appropriation of social scientific and evolutionary language, and praise for white educational theorists and instructors such as McKenzie and Pratt, did not mean that the "assimilation" of white American ideals and socioeconomic practices must correlate to the "Indian race" becoming "white" and effectively erased.38 In an era in which newly arrived immigrants to the United States were exposed to the ideals of "100% Americanism," such assimilationist objectives characterized the immigrant experience, not that of the "Indian race." Oliver Lamere (Winnebago) attempted to clarify this position in 1913, arguing: "We are committed to the idea of absorption, or better union with the civic life of America." To Native Americans who contributed to the Quarterly Journal, assimilation was a political and economic issue. Socially and culturally, the "Indian race" was determined to maintain its distinctive sense of identity, albeit in ways that made "our civilization understandable to him [the white man]" (A. C. Parker, "What Makes" 104).
        The use of the term "assimilation" in the context of education and political activism meant giving Native Americans the cultural, linguistic, and civic foundations upon which to rise from "tribalism" and unite to awaken the Indian "soul." To Indigenous readers of the journal, the invocation of the "soul" bespoke a commitment to "traditional" beliefs and cultural practices. The awakening--or "regeneration"--of the Indian "soul" (or souls) could also be used to appeal to sympathetic whites. Filtered through the early twentieth-century racial sensibilities that informed white American debates about race, the concept of an awakening Indian "soul" resonated with generalized concepts such as "race pride" and "race uplift." Sherman Coolidge's 1914 essay "The Function of the Society of American Indians" certainly appeared to balance these respective audiences. Coolidge argued, "most Indians do not want to become white men." Instead, they wanted to identify, isolate, and rem-{278}edy "the deep-seated disease germ of the whole Indian problem": the "reservation system" (186). The solution to the ills inflicted on Native Americans by this "system" was the "revitalizing and cherishing of race pride" (187). American Indians should know that they "are not alone"; they should instead unite with the SAI in the quest for a thorough and broad education, demand the legal protections of citizenship, and have the opportunity to nurture the pride that accompanies a "distinctive racial identity" (186-87).39 Such unity and a "distinctive racial identity" would prove to be an invaluable asset as the editor-general and contributors to the Quarterly Journal attempted to correct the Native American's "anomalous legal status" in early twentieth-century America.
        In contributing to the SAI's campaign for Native American citizenship, Parker and the contributors he assembled to write for the journal were dismissive of the "hodge-podge" of laws that confusingly defined Indigenous people on the basis of location, tribe, treaty provisions, and degree of Indian blood. As Parker stated bluntly, "The country owes the Indian something better" (A. C. Parker, "American Indian" 110-11). If the state and federal governments of the United States could not agree on what an Indian was, perhaps the journal could help. In the April-June 1914 edition, Parker asked: "In these modern days how can any Indian be an Indian?"40 In his answer Parker equivocated. He cited "blood," genealogy, "natural patriotism," and the importance of "mental and moral qualities" (A. C. Parker, "Common Interest" 116). Taken together or singularly, none of these factors satisfied Parker that they constituted an "Indian." What made an Indian an Indian was "not racial blood, but the attainment of ideals." In the Spencerian language he was fond of using, Parker used the term "race" to refer to a collectivity of individuals joined together in common cause. Just as it was part of the SAI's mission statement, Parker used the Quarterly Journal to campaign for equal rights before the law for all Native Americans, equal access to education, and equality of opportunity with whites in the economy (118). "An Indian," Parker contended, "is a human being having like passions with other men, a descendent of the aboriginal race of America, and a product of a changing environment. The modern Indian is not the old-time Indian" (119).41
        And the "modern Indian," as the Quarterly Journal's editorials regularly declared, wanted citizenship for all Native Americans. Far from the call for American citizenship being an example of the journal's editor-general and editorial board caving to the assimilationist forces of white {279} America, the goal of citizenship was designed to assert that the members of the "Indian race" were the true native-born inhabitants of the United States (Eighth Annual Report 7). In the pages of the Journal, the SAI outlined its position for birthright citizenship, not simply the rights of naturalized citizens.
        The Supreme Court of the United States denied birthright citizenship to American Indians in 1884 in Elk vs. Wilkins (Maddox 178n16). This decision declared that "assimilated Indians" could become naturalized citizens when the federal government judged such individuals fit enough to be granted that condition. This ruling, which was upheld in 1898 when the Supreme Court ruled in United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, placed Native Americans in the same legal category as Asian and European immigrants (Smith 393-94). To add insult to injury, when the Dawes Act had been passed in 1887, Native Americans were granted the rights of naturalized citizens if they accepted individual allotments of land, land that the federal government held in trust for twenty-five years (Harrison 192; Maddox 16-18). The SAI opposed this trust relationship. Parker shared the SAI's views. He used the Quarterly Journal to expose the corruption that this system bred and to rail against the implication, implicit in federal law, that the only "native" Americans were white people born in the United States.42
        The solution to the "anomalous" legal position of American Indians, then, was birthright citizenship. In the first number of the 1914 edition of the Quarterly Journal, Gabe E. Parker (Choctaw) elaborated on the importance of citizenship to American Indian people. Parker stated that of the "approximately 304,640 Indians by blood in the United States," 166,311 were citizens. This meant "138,329 are still without the privileges of citizenship." Parker insisted that this had to change; "tribal relations must be abandoned," he argued, and citizenship granted to American Indians. With the protections of citizenship, Parker prophesied that the American Indian of the future would "become self-supporting and [a] contributing factor in this nation" (61).
        Gabe Parker was born in the Choctaw Nation in 1878. An 1899 graduate of Henry Kendall College, he was an ambitious young man who went on to a career in teaching and public service. He served as the principal of the Spencer Academy in the Choctaw Nation and was appointed to the role of superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes, a position he held from 1915 to 1921. Known as "Great Seal Parker" for his design of Okla-{280}homa's state seal, Parker--who was reportedly one-eighth Choctaw--acquired a mixed reputation in Indian Territory and ultimately Oklahoma. The diminution of tribal sovereignty that Parker seemed to support earned him the wrath of Oklahoma's "traditionalist" Indians, while sympathetic supporters saw him as a role model and a tireless worker who was constantly "striving after better things for his race."43
        In the Quarterly Journal's reproduction of his 1914 paper, Gabe Parker underscored the urgency of his message, stating that American Indians faced a choice between "extermination or assimilation." The former was not an option in Parker's mind, but assimilation required the legal protections of American citizenship for success to ensue. This is what Parker meant when he wrote, "Every inducement to break away from tribal, clannish relations, to learn the English language, to depend upon individual effort for maintenance--in short, to live as and like the white people themselves propose to live" (62).
        Such arguments suggested that the leaders of the "Indian race" were flirting with the idea of encouraging Native Americans to amalgamate--culturally, if not biologically--with white citizens. Gentle correctives were thus needed from time to time to reassure readers that the Quarterly Journal did not view "assimilation" as leading down a path to racial extinction.44 Instead, it was the editorial position of the journal to remedy the fact that Native Americans had "no definite and assured status in the nation," and to assert that they were "real," native-born Americans.45 This was the meaning behind the Journal's editorials and essays calling for birthright citizenship and, thus, legal recognition of their indigeneity. Joe Mack Ignatius (Pottawatomie) said it best in 1914 when he explained his rationale for birthright citizenship: "We are the real American people and we want the rights that we never got from the white people yet" (151). With the granting of birthright citizenship, Arthur C. Parker and contributors to the journal believed that the United States would have to legally recognize the indigeneity of the "Indian race." Moreover, an educated Indian citizenry would constitute a "competent citizenship" and empower Indian leaders to prevent the types of governmental and corporate abuses on Indian lands that the SAI was established to expose and fight against.46

Arthur C. Parker and the contributors to the Quarterly Journal felt they were writing on behalf of the entire "Indian race" and for the benefit of {281} all Indigenous people. The journal's message of educational uplift and political engagement, however, struggled to gain cultural traction with Native American people outside the SAI's membership and supporter base. To borrow from Robert Warrior, the "Loci of enunciation" from which the contributors presented their arguments struggled to capture the support of American Indian people in the way its highly educated, economically mobile, and professional class of scholars and leaders hoped (Warrior 52).47
        That said, the Quarterly Journal's message of educational improvement and birthright citizenship made an important contribution to the trajectory of twentieth-century efforts to "remake" Indian identity into a "modern," unified, and race-proud collectivity. By focusing on education and citizenship, Arthur C. Parker endeavored to use the journal as a propaganda tool to awaken the Indian's "soul" and press for "his" rights as the most authentic, natural-born segment of the American republic's population. As Parker editorialized in 1914, the "soul is the essential part of any group of men who expect to gain results from their unity." To elevate the Indian's soul, then, the journal presented a steady stream of essays and reprinted speeches that emphasized the importance of pan-Indian unity and a coordinated educational effort to "uplift" the "race" and secure birthright citizenship for all Native Americans.48


The author wishes to thank the anonymous readers for their feedback and to acknowledge the excellent editorial work of Beth Piatote and Chadwick Allen.


        1. "Editorial Comment," Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 2.2 (1914): 106. Hereafter cited as QJ.
        2. Charles Eastman, or Ohiyesa (Sioux), writing in his popular The Soul of the Indian (1911), emphasized the importance of "soul" in connecting children to mothers, and Indigenous people to the flora and fauna that they shared on earth and to the "Great Mystery" of the spirit world (28-35).
        3. Arthur C. Parker to Marie L. B. Baldwin, 24 Aug. 1915, The Papers of the Society of American Indians, ed. John W. Larner (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1986), Reel 1. Hereafter cited as SAI Papers.

        4. QJ 1.1 (1913): front cover.
        5. Arthur C. Parker, "Editorial Comment," QJ 3.4 (1915): 261.
        6. QJ 1.2 (1913): 107.
        7. QJ 1.2 (1913): 108.
        8. Here Parker reflected the growing influence of cultural anthropology and developmental sociology at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. See Boas 175; Degler 66-70; Fredrickson 98-104.
        9. See also Dennison Wheelock, "Not an Indian Problem," QJ 1.4 (1913): 366-72.
        10. QJ 1.2 (1913): 112 (emphasis in original).
        11. Arthur C. Parker to Richard G. Badger, 3 June 1918, SAI Papers, Reel 1.
        12. Arthur C. Parker to Mr. Dagenett, 3 July 1914; Arthur C. Parker to Mr. Kershaw, 25 Oct. 1914, SAI Papers, Reel 5.
        13. Sherman Coolidge to Arthur Parker, 7 Mar. 1913, SAI Papers, Reel 2. See also Parker to Coolidge, 5 Mar. 1912, SAI Papers, Reel 2.
        14. "Editorial Comment," QJ 3.4 (1915): 264. My analysis here and throughout this essay builds on the insightful scholarship of Patterson, esp. 45, and Waggoner 189.
        15. Parker suggested replacing the BIA with a Bureau of Race Development. See QJ 1.2 (1913): 106.
        16. F. A. McKenzie and John Parish to John C. Parian, 17 Jan. 1915, SAI Papers, Reel 5. For comparisons with the Canadian context during the first half of the twentieth century see Galois, esp. 3-4, and Drees, esp. 143.
        17. Rancor over the independence of SAI members and contributors to the Quarterly Journal from association with the federal government, especially the Bureau of Indian Affairs, punctuated the internal politics of the SAI from its founding in 1911. For example, when Fayette A. McKenzie, a white supporter, educator, and regular contributor to the journal, agreed to do work for the federal Census Bureau, Carlos Montezuma expressed his displeasure, raising concerns about McKenzie's independence. See Iverson 72.
        18. Parker to Mr. J. Austin, November 23, 1915, SAI Papers, Reel 1.
        19. Several excellent studies and book-length biographies of Parker's life have been completed. See, for example, Berg; Porter; Colwell-Chanthaphonh.
        20. Parker to Wallace Denny, 26 Feb. 1912, SAI Papers, Reel 3.
        21. Warren 93, 124; Maddox, ch. 1. L. G. Moses raises important questions about the extent to which the Wild West shows shaped public perceptions about Native Americans in any uniform manner (62, 75, 117, 151).
        22. See also Hagan, "Full Blood."
        23. See also Yellow Robe 39-40.
        24. "The Colored Magazine in America," Crisis 5.1 (1912): 35.
        25. QJ 3.4 (1915): 274.

        26. Arthur C. Parker to Frank Des Georges, 3 May 1912, SAI Papers, Reel 3.
        27. "Report of M. L. B. Baldwin, Treasurer of the Society of American Indians," SAI Papers, Reel 1; Hertzberg 329.
        28. On the burden of colonialism in Native American history and the ways in which it shaped the historical consciousness of contributors to the QJ see Report of the Executive Council 4.
        29. "Tribal nationalism" had dominated American Indian political identities in the East, Southeast, and Great Lakes since at least the eighteenth century. For an excellent example of historical analysis of "tribal nationalism" see Denson. 30. Of a vast and still growing historiography see Lomawaima; Riney; Child; Vuckovic; Jacobs.
        31. QJ 1.2 (1913): 113-14.
        32. For further analysis of Spencer's ideas and social Darwinian ideas in the United States see Hofstadter; Bannister; Francis.
        33. QJ 2.3 (1914): 167. Spencer also emphasized the importance of "cleanliness," the principles of which begin in the home and do not, he insisted, require legislation and government oversight. See Spencer 417-21.
        34. Arthur C. Parker to Edna H. Clayberger, 26 Oct. 1912, SAI Papers, Reel 2; Parker to William Hoxie, 31 Aug. 1915, SAI Papers, Reel 4; Parker to C. M. Hyde, 28 May 1915, SAI Papers, Reel 4. For similar arguments in the African American press see "Along the Color Line," Crisis 1.3 (1911): 7; "Editorial," Crisis 2.5 (1911): 195.
        35. Arthur C. Parker to Sam B. Davis, 19 June 1915, SAI Papers, Reel 3; Davis to Parker, 22 June 1915, SAI Papers, Reel 3; E. H. Doyle to Parker, 24 Oct. 1912, SAI Papers, Reel 3; Parker to Sherman Coolidge, 13 Feb. 1913, SAI Papers, Reel 2.
        36. "Editorial Comment," QJ 3.2 (1915): 66-69; A. C. Parker, "Persistence of Barbarism," 76-78.
        37. "Editorial Comment," QJ 3.4 (1915): 256. The fourth edition of the QJ contained reprints of papers delivered at the SAI's Fifth Annual Conference in Lawrence, Kansas. The publication of these papers reinforced the SAI's emphasis on the importance of education for the "Indian race" (see 281-320).
        38. On settler colonialism and the logic of Indigenous elimination, see Wolfe 1-3; Harris.
        39. Parker outlined the views of the SAI leadership in 1913 when he declared that the "Indian problem" was not a "race problem" but a product of American Indians' social conditions and anomalous legal status in the United States. QJ 1.2 (1913): 106; Arthur C. Parker to Edna H. Clayberger, 26 Oct. 1912, SAI Papers, Reel 2; Parker to John C. Parian, 17 Jan. 1914, SAI Papers, Reel 5.
        40. "Character Sketches," QJ 2.2 (1914): 112.
        41. "Common Interest" 119. These sentiments are expressed in the inaugural issue of the QJ by Coolidge, "Indian American." See also the poetry by Alnoba Wabunaki, "My Race Shall Live Anew," QJ 2.2 (1914): 125.

        42. "Newspaper Comment: American Indian in Need of Friends Now More Than Ever," QJ 3.4 (1915): 278; "Conference Echoes," QJ 3.4 (1915): 318.
        43. Carlisle Arrow 10 Apr. 1914: 4; Thoburn 1197; Zissu 127n74.
        44. "Skinner's Defense of 'Indian Day,'" QJ 3.2 (1915): 318. Lobbying for birthright citizenship continued after the Quarterly Journal underwent a name change. See "Five Civilized Tribes Doing Their Bit," American Indian Magazine 4.2 (1916): 143.
        45. "The Fifth Conference," QJ 3.4 (1915): 285.
        46. "The Editor's Viewpont," QJ 2.3 (1914): 178.
        47. See also Patterson 45, 56, 62.
        48. "The Soul of a Movement is a Personal Soul," QJ 2.2 (1914): 106-07.


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Ho-Chunk Warrior,
Intellectual, and Activist

Henry Roe Cloud Fights for the Apaches


Henry Roe Cloud (1884-1950), my Ho-Chunk grandfather, an activist, intellectual, and policymaker, was a cofounder of the Society of American Indians (SAI), the first Native American-led, pan-tribal national organization created in 1911. This essay examines Cloud's successful activist work to free Geronimo, an Apache, and his people, who had been imprisoned after being captured by the US military in 1886 (Wishart; Turcheneske), and his efforts to assist the Apaches who chose to stay in Oklahoma with their land allotment struggle against the federal government. I argue Cloud combined his Ho-Chunk and Yale educations, transforming his colonial training into Indigenous intellectual weapons to fight for the Apaches. I discuss Cloud's Ho-Chunk warrior training and its impact on him as a Ho-Chunk intellectual. I then examine his Yale experiences, offering a critique of Joel Pfister's recent study, The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud. Finally, I discuss Cloud's involvement in the SAI, his intellectual work and activism, his fight for the Apaches' freedom, and his work in assisting them in their land conflict with the federal government.


Cloud was born in a traditional Ho-Chunk bark home next to the Missouri River on the Winnebago reservation in Nebraska surrounded by his family and tribe (Ramirez, "From Henry"). Despite facing tremendous settler colonial challenges, including five successive removals from our homelands in Wisconsin (Lonetree; Wolfe), Cloud's Ho-Chunk tribal elders and family kept their Ho-Chunk culture and language {292} strong, which they taught to him.1 Indeed, he declares in a 1909 letter, "Up to the age of 13, I had no other training but Indian."2 Vital to his training was a Ho-Chunk warrior education stressing prayer and fasting, which involved building endurance, strength, and self-discipline, placing the needs of the sick, children, and elders first, and fighting for the survival of his people. His grandmother taught him traditional Ho-Chunk stories, instilling in him Ho-Chunk cultural values and teaching him skills in oratory (Cloud, "From Wigwam"). When Cloud was twelve or thirteen years old, flu epidemics overwhelmed our reservation, killing his grandmother and parents. According to my mother, her father suffered from much grief and terrible loneliness after losing his close family members. These dreadful losses were central to his decision to informally adopt the Roes, a white missionary couple, as his "mother" and "father" when he was in his early twenties. This informal adoption was consistent with the Ho-Chunk cultural custom to adopt others to take the place of those who had passed away.
        My mother discussed how important her father's Ho-Chunk name--Wo-Na-Xi-Lay-Hunka, meaning "War-Chief " and described by him as "the Chief of the Place of Fear"3--was to him. Cloud was a member of the Thunderbird Clan--the clan, as Cloud discusses, that "obstructed and permitted war." Cloud's clan membership and name were pivotal to his roles as a Ho-Chunk leader, man, and modern-day warrior. During a harsh winter when Cloud was a young boy, he did not eat for ten days. Then his father discovered a frozen beaver's home, killed the beavers, and arranged a feast. While his family ate, his father told him his prophecy: "Eat, War Chief, for I am hungry but will not eat until you have tasted food. I am old and it makes no difference if I starve, but you are young. The future of the Winnebagoes [Ho-Chunks] lies within you."4
        My mother emphasized how her father repeated these words to himself, showing how this powerful story defined him, motivating him throughout his life to fight as a Ho-Chunk warrior for the survival of his people. This story teaches a strong warrior value, which is to prioritize the survival of the young, who embody the future and persistence of the tribe, before one's own continued existence. Another core value is to protect one's tribal land base. Indeed, Cloud's Ho-Chunk warrior identity was a great cultural resource to combat colonial adversity, while also assisting him in acquiring an Indigenous intellectual framework.



Cloud's Ho-Chunk warrior identity influenced his viewpoints as a Ho-Chunk intellectual, motivating him to retaliate against settler colonialism (Ramirez, "From Henry").5 In a letter he emphasizes his Ho-Chunk warrior identity by utilizing "warrior talk" while examining General Richard Henry Pratt, the founder of Carlisle Indian School, the first federal boarding school. Carlisle's curriculum included vocational rather than college training, since Native Americans were assumed to be lower on the social evolutionary ladder than whites and therefore not smart enough to grasp college preparatory education. In a 1915 letter to Mary Roe, he wrote:

General Pratt has shown himself a venomous creature and we need to treat him as such. The poor old man is to be pitied for his long lost fight for Carlisle and his one idea. He has the Indian Office in general against him; all the missionaries who know actual conditions are one against him. All he can do is to join forces with people of like mongrel faith and there are many of them--all willing to come down to the lowest kind of muckraking methods. I would not have anything to do with him. If he gets in my way I'll hit him hard and knock him out and go on. The trouble with Pratt is--he is selfishly egotistical . . . he would take the responsibility of recreating the Indian race if he thought he had the power. He little realizes what great harm he has done the Indian race by posing as their greatest friend. He was the man who in the first place limited the Indian education down to the eighth grade.6

Cloud exhibits his intense anger at Pratt, using warrior language to indicate that he will hit the older man hard if he gets in the way. He also utilizes warrior speech by discussing how Pratt can only motivate people of like "mongrel" faith to "join forces" with him, thereby naming him as "the enemy" of Indigenous people. The word "mongrel" has deep racialized meaning regarding African Americans of mixed descent. His use of this white supremacist term against white supporters of Pratt and Carlisle could be viewed as a challenge against colonialism and racism. Cloud underscores Pratt's paternalism, his assumption that he had the power and authority to "recreat[e] the Indian race." The word "mongrel" also refers to a mixed-breed dog, and Cloud's use of the term could be {294} his critique of supporters of Pratt, who he might have thought did not practice a "pure" or valid form of religious faith. This passage alludes to how his Ho-Chunk warrior training was essential to his anticolonial strategies, since this instruction prepared him to fight aggressively against the enemy and defend his people. His Ho-Chunk warrior training also instructed him in a Ho-Chunk intellectual viewpoint, empowering him to criticize Pratt as disrespectful of Native intellectual capacity and paternalistic, thinking an eighth-grade education was adequate for our children. Indeed, Cloud's later coauthorship of the Meriam Report of 1928 helped end federal boarding school policy (Ramirez, "Biographical Account").
        Carlos Montezuma and Cloud were cofounders of the Society of American Indians. Unlike Cloud, Montezuma was Pratt's ally and supporter. In 1904 Montezuma wrote a letter to the president of the United States, arguing to retain Pratt as the superintendent of Carlisle Indian School.7 Montezuma argues that the "educated Indians of our country" supported Pratt's approach to educating Native children, which was a sweeping statement and an overgeneralization, and which was contrary to Cloud's position. In contrast, Cloud challenges Pratt's paternalism and his questionable friendship with Native Americans, since Pratt did not believe we could handle more than an eighth-grade education.


Cloud became involved with the SAI when he was an undergraduate at Yale University. He entered Yale as a freshman in 1906 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1910 and a master's degree in anthropology in 1914; he was the first full-blooded Native to graduate from this elite institution. While he was a student, he was the only Native American at Yale University. How did he shine and stand out in an all-white environment? One strategy was to maintain his Ho-chunk identity and culture through practices, such as storytelling, that helped him not only survive but also become successful. In my 2007 book Native Hubs, the idea of the "hub" is defined and discussed by Laverne Roberts, a Paiute activist. Roberts describes how contemporary urban Native Americans who live separated from their reservations preserve their Indigenous identity by relying upon behaviors based in geographic space, such as ceremonies and powwows, and activities not attached to an exact geographic place, {295} including virtual behaviors such as storytelling. One way Cloud maintained his Ho-Chunk identity was by telling Ho-Chunk stories--an example of Native hubmaking that is not linked to a geographic place. As a college student, Cloud shared his Ho-chunk culture by telling traditional Ho-Chunk stories to white audiences for their enjoyment and for money, helping him pay for his education. He certainly must have known that sharing his Ho-Chunk knowledge was a strategy to become popular in a colonial atmosphere. It was a tactic for him to utilize his cultural difference and dominant ideas of himself as an exotic Indigenous man, a tourist novelty and a commodity, for his own objectives (Ramirez, "Biographical Account"). It was also a way for him to encourage whites to gain an understanding and learn respect for Ho-Chunk culture, Ho-Chunk people, and him as a Ho-Chunk man. At the same time, while telling Ho-Chunk stories he contributed to the continuity of Ho-Chunk oral tradition and cultural identity. Another way Cloud excelled at Yale was by becoming an orator and a debater. He won second place in Yale's prestigious Ten Eyck speaking contest, and he was called the best orator on campus (Tetzloff 22-23).
        Many years later and a year before his death, during a 1949 commencement speech to graduating Alaska Natives from Mount Edgecombe High School in Alaska, Cloud discussed his struggles as an impoverished young Ho-Chunk man at Yale, an elite, mostly white university:

[A]s I entered [Yale] I began to work my way through the institution. I didn't have any money. I entered it with only 60 dollars in my pocket and they required in those days something over 1000 dollars a year. I had the confidence that laboring with my hands, doing all sorts of jobs, waiting on tables, doing jobs for the rich people, selling Navajo rugs, selling all kinds of articles to the student body, selling tickets at the great university games that I could somehow make ends meet. When I graduated I was still 60 dollars in debt, but having paid all the other expenses from my own labors. . . . I gained confidence because I could compete in oratory and debate. And one of my competitors was the president Robert Taft's son. . . . When I stood up against him, debated against him and won prizes on the same platform with a man whose father had been President of the United States before, I began to feel a welling up of confidence in myself. Why I began to realize that I can do {296} things just as this man can and somehow my spirit became ready for the battle or any sort of a battle that might come my way.8

Cloud portrays himself as self-supporting and a hard worker, challenging dominant assumptions that Natives were lazy. He discusses selling Native cultural artifacts, among other things, to help him pay his way through school. The selling of Indigenous cultural objects, unfortunately, was a widespread practice, particularly when Native Americans were impoverished (Denetdale). Like many others facing economic hardship, Cloud quickly learned how valuable Native artifacts were to inquisitive whites, and he used this knowledge to his own benefit.9
        The theme of self-support is inextricably linked to Cloud's assertion of his masculine power as a "self-made" man of substance who came from humble beginnings. During the nineteenth century, the self-made man, embodying personal and economic achievement, became a new type of heroic white American. Horatio Alger Jr., for example, was held up as a self-made man who helped validate ideals of American individualism. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, movements for racial justice made African American leaders into models of heroic masculinity. Men such as Frederick Douglass, Brooker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois were brave warriors, fighting for racial equality. Unlike white notions of the self-made man, these men were heroic not only because they rose from humble beginnings to achieve personal success but also because they showed a deep public commitment to their racially defined communities (Carrol 206). Cloud indigenized the concept of the self-made man, becoming a heroic fighter for Native people, helping him increase his power in the public sphere during a time when Native men were viewed as "non-men" (Ramirez, "From Henry").10 This passage also emphasizes Cloud's prowess as an orator and debater, skills that were grounded in his Ho-Chunk grandmother's storytelling and oratorical training. He brought his Ho-Chunk oratory skills with him to Yale and sharpened them by practicing speeches and developing arguments. His public speaking contest with President Taft's son increased his self-confidence and readied him for "battle."
        Indeed, in his attempt to motivate Alaska Native students to attend college, Cloud emphasizes his Native masculinity and warrior identity: he relies upon word battles to vanquish his rich, white male opponents and to prove his intellectual and verbal skills, challenging colonial ideas {297} that Natives were slow, stupid, and inarticulate. By highlighting his poverty in comparison to the surrounding white community and his success at an elite institution like Yale, he shows that his lack of financial resources did not stop him from attending college or succeeding. Although Pfister also explores Cloud's Yale experiences, he emphasizes the training provided by that elite institution and by the non-Native Roe family, rather than Cloud's Ho-Chunk training, as the most dominant factors in Cloud's socialization.


It is only recently that Cloud has begun to be recognized in published scholarship, including two recent books, three articles, and a book chapter.11 This is surprising, since Cloud has been hailed as the most important Native policymaker in the early twentieth century (Tetzloff). In the following section, I offer a critique of Joel Pfister's 2009 study The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud. I focus in particular on this book because Pfister's methodological approach and his critical perspective are widely divergent from my own, since I write both as an Indigenous scholar and as Cloud's granddaughter. Pfister's primary title, The Yale Indian, emphasizes what I find to be the book's fundamental weakness: the desire to see Cloud as an individual, "the" Indian, removed from his Ho-Chunk tribe. And, indeed, Pfister describes Cloud primarily as a result of white institutional and cultural training, particularly Yale University and Cloud's adoptive white missionary family (Ramirez, "From Henry"). The primary title uses "Yale" as a modifier, and the definite article helps Pfister emphasize Cloud's singularity. In other words Cloud is the "only" Yale Indian, and in a sense he is construed as Yale's property.12 Originally Pfister's investigation of Cloud was part of his 2004 study Individuality Incorporated: Indians and the Multicultural Modern, which discusses how the first federal boarding school, Carlisle, transformed Natives into individuals.13 Later Pfister chose to remove his examination of Cloud from Individuality Incorporated and to use it as the foundation for his next book, The Yale Indian. Here Pfister does not analyze how central Cloud's Ho-Chunk cultural education was, training him to become a pivotal Indigenous activist, policymaker, and intellectual, empowering him not only to endure as an individual but also to help tribal communities endure while surrounded by colonialism.
        A methodological weakness of Pfister's work is his limited range of sources, especially his decision to focus only on the Sterling Library's archive at Yale University. Pfister states explicitly that he decided not to examine Cloud's Ho-Chunk training because it is not emphasized in the archival material available at Yale. Cloud's extensive letters and writings, however, are housed at a number of venues around the country, such as the Presbyterian Church archives, the Society of American Indians Papers, and the US National Archives. In addition, many of Cloud's letters are still in the private possession of Cloud's descendants (Ramirez, "From Henry"). Thus, despite Pfister's extensive research in a single archive, his book is incomplete due to a lack of sufficient research in other relevant archives, as well as his decision not to interview at length Cloud's descendants and other Ho-Chunk people, which would have helped him to contextualize Cloud's life history from culturally appropriate perspectives. As Pfister also acknowledges, he relies predominantly on Cloud's writings and letters directed to his white, informally adoptive parents, the Roes. Many of these letters, however, likely characterize how Cloud tactically chose to present himself while confronting colonial influences regarding gender, class, and race.14 Indeed, power dynamics can interfere with a subordinated person expressing his true feelings and thoughts. Nonetheless, there are letters included in the Yale archive, which I closely scrutinized, that emphasize Ho-Chunk perspectives totally overlooked by Pfister. His errors about Cloud's clan affiliation (a pivotal component of Ho-Chunk identity)--Pfister calls Cloud a member of the Bear rather than the Thunderbird clan--and his mistake in writing that Cloud's wife, Elizabeth, an Ojibwe, was from the Bad River reservation rather than from White Earth, are further evidence of Pfister's lack of adequate involvement with Cloud's descendants and other Ho-Chunk and Ojibwe people.
        Another weakness of Pfister's book is his focus on non-Natives' analyses, including the classic anthropologist Paul Radin, while not including the PhD dissertation of Woesha Cloud North, Cloud's daughter (and my mother), regarding Ho-Chunk traditional education to assist him in his analysis of Cloud's letters. Pfister concentrates mostly on Indian-white relations, and he devotes little space to Cloud's relationships with other Indigenous people, including his wife, Elizabeth. Cloud's powerful and important partnership with Elizabeth is not given enough attention, even though Pfister emphasizes that Cloud's marriage was a pivotal {299} crossroads, encouraging him to pursue his "I-am-We" mission.15 Pfister seems to describe Cloud as a psychological and emotional "captive" of the Roes until he married Elizabeth.16 Even though Pfister argues that Cloud retained his Ho-Chunk self, his overall argument concerns how Cloud became an individual who "digested more than he was digested" (85). In other words, Pfister's focus is on how dominant processes socialized Cloud, and not on how he kept his Ho-Chunk identity. Pfister's lack of emphasis regarding Cloud resisting the Roes' socialization minimizes his Ho-Chunk male masculinity and strength. These many decisions and Pfister's narrow scope exemplify how the book is based upon white, rather than Ho-Chunk, viewpoints of Cloud. Indeed, in contrast to Pfister, who does not emphasize Cloud's role as a Ho-Chunk intellectual, I will valorize Cloud's astute Native-centric intellectual analysis in support of Geronimo and his people.


Cloud was a founding member of the SAI, joining a select group of Native American leaders. Well-known members included Arthur C. Parker (Seneca) from New York, the first editor of the SAI's Quarterly Journal, Charles Eastman (Dakota), and John Oskison (Cherokee), who was editor of Collier's and other Eastern magazines. Gertrude Bonnin (Yankton Nakota), Marie Baldwin (Ojibwe), and Rosa B. LaFlesche (Ojibwe) were other prominent intellectuals who served leading roles in the organization. Non-Indians could be associate members but could not vote. One prominent non-Indian member was General Richard Henry Pratt. By allowing only Native Americans to become full members, the SAI, unlike other Indian reform groups, emphasized that Indians themselves should solve the so-called Indian problem (Maddox 11).17 Native Americans developed the SAI's goals and objectives within the general public atmosphere of white reform groups and the federal government's US law-enforced paternalism. The Friends of the Indian, for example, a white reform group that met at Lake Mohonk, declared they could save Indians from heathenism and change them from savages to industrious American citizens (Maddox 11-12).
        Cloud helped to organize the SAI's first conference in Columbus, Ohio, in October 1911. He was a member of the advisory board in 1911, 1912, 1917, and 1919 and chaired the board in 1912. During 1911-12, he {300} was also vice-president of membership, recruiting Indian members and associate non-Indian members. He was the spokesman of the SAI's educational platform when he was vice-president of education in 1916 and 1918. He was also a member of the editorial board of the Society's journal from 1915 to 1917.18 Cloud never became president of the organization, even though there was discussion about it. In response to Parker's 1914 letter about him possibly becoming president, Cloud emphasized his lack of experience, since he was still in his late twenties.19 Cloud also declined because he was busy working to found a Native college preparatory high school, the American Indian Institute, in Wichita, Kansas. Cloud's work with other Indigenous leaders gave him not only the opportunity to learn from other Natives but also the chance to meet my grandmother, Elizabeth Bender, during the fourth annual SAI conference. She had attended Hampton Institute along with many of her siblings. My grandparents, Cloud and Bender, announced their engagement in 1915 and married on June 14, 1916. They eventually had five children: Marion, Anne Woesha (my mother), Ramona, Lillian, and Henry the second, who died from pneumonia when he was three years old. Both Henry Cloud and Elizabeth Bender Cloud became important leaders in national Indian affairs.


Cloud began his successful campaign to release the Chiricahua Apaches from Fort Sill in 1908, while still an undergraduate at Yale University and in his early twenties. His Ho-Chunk warrior training as a member of the Thunderbird clan, which taught him the importance of becoming a leader and fighting for his people, certainly must have influenced his decision to support Geronimo and resist the federal government. These Apaches were the remnants of Geronimo's people, who had fought white attempts to remove them onto tinier and tinier reservations. After evading US government troops for nearly a decade, the Apaches were captured in 1886. They were ultimately taken to Fort Sill, where they resided in terrible housing, were given insufficient rations, and endured severe weather (Watermulder; Tetzloff 31, 32). At first the government disallowed Cloud from working on behalf of the Fort Sill Apaches, because they had not given him official permission. But Geronimo met with Cloud, giving him permission to act on their behalf.20 In 1933 {301} Cloud discussed how his training at Yale helped him to fight for the Apaches' release, showing how he used the colonizer's education to fight for Indigenous people. In one of his Yale classes, while reading the US Constitution: Bill of Attainder and Corruption of Blood, he learned that children should not be punished for their parents' crimes or debts. The Apaches, Cloud argued, were being penalized for their ancestors' behavior. Cloud used the US Constitution to help him fight as a modern-day Ho-Chunk warrior for Geronimo and his band's freedom.
        In the following, I discuss Cloud's intellectual and activist efforts to support the Apaches' land struggle. The Apache prisoners of war, who refused to move to Mescalero, were pressured to leave Fort Sill as a condition of their freedom. At the same time, these Apaches were pressuring the government to give them unused allotment lands from the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache reservation lands near Fort Sill (see Coppersmith; Turchenske; Stockel). In 1912 and 1913 Cloud wrote to the commissioner of Indian affairs, Cato Sells, to complain that the government had not provided the Apaches with rations and land allotments as promised.21 On October 7, 1913, Cloud met with the Apaches again, who were still at Fort Sill, and learned more about the land allotment issue. Government officials had promised the prisoners 160 acres of improved land, and now they were reneging on this promise, informing them they would receive, instead, only 80 acres of good agricultural land for each head of household. Cloud also learned why government officials had reduced the number of acres from 160 to 80; they believed the Apaches would lease the land and "debauch themselves with laziness and drink," reflecting racist assumptions of this time period.22 After meeting with the Apaches, Cloud began working on a brief to support them in their fight against the government.
        On October 16, 1913, Cloud outlined the key facts of the case. He wrote:

While at Pahuska, Okla. I had a long interview with Special Agent Ellis on the Apache matter . . .
        1. If the appraisements [of] $3200 for 160 acres is correct, (and such are the average appraisement for 160 acres and 80 acres respectively), the $100,000 is barely sufficient to give 80 acres of good agricultural land for each man, woman and child.
        2. The reading or wording of the law relating to the Apaches is subject to the general allotment act of 1887 where it specifies 160 acres of grazing land or 80 acres of agricultural land for each man, woman and child.
        The law leaves the whole matter to the discretion of the Sec. of Int. and Sec. of War as to detailed arrangements. Whatever they (the sec. of war and sec. of Int.) decide upon are called rulings. Stecker claims that rulings are for either 160 acres of grazing land or 80 acres of agricultural land. If all this is true of course we can only have recourse to new legislation, which is a difficult matter.
        3. Granting that the appraisements are reasonable both to the Kiowa-Comanches and to the Apaches and, granting that the law is fixed as specified above, the three men, in my opinion are acting in good faith and are doing the best possible under the circumstances.
        But . . . let me state the other side so far as I have come.
        A. In all three hundred thousand dollars were appropriated for the whole Apache band, $200,000 at first and $100,000 later. It does not take, it did not take all of the $200,000 to move and settle the Apaches in Mescalero. A portion of that sum belongs to those who chose to remain at Fort Sill. This ought to increase the $100,000 immediately available to at least give some of the men at Fort Sill 160 acres of good agricultural land.
        B. The understanding all along has been for 160 acres of good agricultural land.
        C. No farmer unless he irrigates can hope to make a living on 80 acres and it is doubtful on 160 acres.
        I have the facts to support B and C and will get the data for condition A.
        D. The Indians have proved themselves capable of stock farming. They have had an experience of 25 years or more.
        In my telegram to you I did mention the fact that I laid the whole case before [the government officials] Brosius and Sniffen . . . . The next step for me is to go to Washington and determine how the $300,000 appropriated is to be apportioned and to lay the matter before both the Sec. of Interior and Sec. of War. I shall see the Commissioner about . . . the Fort Sill matter also.23

{303} This letter shows how insightfully Cloud understood, as a Ho-Chunk intellectual, key elements of both sides of the case, including the central importance of the Allotment Act of 1887--a settler colonial policy that divided Indigenous land into nuclear family parcels, causing catastrophic land loss and promoting assimilation (Wolfe). Cloud alludes to the progressive identity of the Apaches, who were choosing to stay in Oklahoma, writing that they had "proved themselves capable of stock farming." In support of the Apaches, Cloud argues that secretaries of interior and war ultimately had discretionary power regarding the number of acres the Apaches would receive. In contrast, Stecker, a government official, argues that the number of acres was fixed, meaning only new legislation could increase the Apaches' allotment to 160 acres of improved land. At the same time, Cloud agrees with government officials that only 80 acres would be available if indeed the number of acres was set and the Apaches and Kiowa-Comanches accepted the land appraisement. On the Apaches' side, Cloud challenges government officials' claim that only $100,000 was available for purchase of land, arguing it was not sufficient and there was money left over from the Apaches' resettlement to Mescalero, and that $300,000 in total had been appropriated.
        Moreover, this letter demonstrates how hard he worked in support of the Apaches, including meeting with government officials and traveling to Washington dc to talk to secretaries of interior and war, showing his place on the national stage as a young man. It emphasizes his ability to combine his Ho-Chunk education, which taught him oratorical skills and motivated him to bring Indigenous perspectives to bear on government affairs, with his Yale training, which educated him in colonial strategies of argument. The letter also demonstrates Cloud's understanding of important legal concepts, including "rulings," federal government policy, and "land appraisement," and how systematically and quickly he was gathering evidence to support the Apaches' side of the case. Incredibly, at the time he wrote the letter, only nine days had passed since his initial meeting with the Apaches.


Cloud brought the Apaches' land allotment struggle to the SAI, so that the organization could lobby the federal government on the Apaches' behalf. The Society unanimously adopted a paper Cloud wrote, and cop-{304}ies were sent to the secretaries of war and interior, the commissioner of Indian affairs, and Congressman C. D. Carter.24 Cloud presented his October 25, 1913 brief, "The Case of the Fort Sill Apaches, Again," asking the SAI for support.
        In his Native-centric brief, Cloud recounts how in 1886 an exhausted group of Apaches surrendered to Indian scouts rather than the US military in New Mexico; were forcibly taken to Forts Pickens and Marion in Florida, Mt. Vernon barracks, Alabama, and finally to Fort Sill, Oklahoma; how an Act of Congress freed the prisoners after twenty-seven years of penal servitude; and how the bill that liberated them became law on June 30, 1913. He discusses that $300,000 in total was allocated to assist in providing land for the Fort Sill Apaches to resettle. As a result, 176 Apaches resettled in Mescalero, New Mexico, and 80 chose to stay in Oklahoma.25 Cloud wrote:

At a Council meeting ordered by the Secretary of the Interior on December 1st . . . 1912 . . . it was proposed to buy 160 acres of improved land for each head of a family . . . 160 acres of good agricultural land at least for each head of a family, was the intent and purpose of the law under which these Indians are now being allotted . . . . Actual land conditions . . . make it impossible to make a living on 80 acres . . . In a letter . . . of October 14th, 1913, the President of the Cameron State School of Agriculture . . . ,--a man who knows the region . . . says: "It is my . . . firm belief that the average farmer cannot nor does not make a living on a farm of 160 acres land in this southwestern country." . . . The Apache Indians have been trained as stock-raisers. They have shown fitness for such a life. . . . As to the fitness of these Indians let me read you portions of a letter written by R. A. Bellinger, then Secretary of Interior, to Moses E. Clapp, Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, under date of February 18th, 1910: "During the fifteen years that the Apaches have lived at Fort Sill, under the supervision of the Military authorities, they have become prosperous, peaceful and contented: they have been taught to care for themselves in large measure as agriculturalists, stock-raisers and mechanics: they individually cultivate considerable pieces of land: they own and brand their own cattle as individuals."26

        As a Ho-Chunk modern-day warrior, Cloud encourages others to "prompt action," showing his sensitivity to Apache warriors' experiences {305} by describing their surrender, emphasizing their decision to surrender to Native scouts rather than to the US military, and alluding to their intense warrior pride even in defeat. As a Ho-Chunk intellectual, Cloud uses various rhetorical strategies to argue in support of the Apaches, including stating when government officials promised to provide 160 acres of improved land, the purpose and intent of the law to give them this land, and the harsh land conditions, making 80 acres of land unacceptable, citing an agricultural expert. He also refers to a military expert in order to bolster his Native-centric argument about the Apaches' "fitness" to receive 160 acres of improved land. Cloud's use of the words "fitness" and "individually" shows his ability to utilize the colonizers' categories against them by emphasizing the Apaches' progressive identity as assimilated Natives, who were living the life the federal government intended under the General Allotment Act of 1887. Thus, Cloud challenges government officials' negative racist assumptions that the Apaches would lease the 160 acres and "debauch themselves with laziness and drink."27 He ends the brief, pleading for 160 acres of good agricultural land (rather than 80 acres), summarizing the main points of his argument, and reminding the federal government about "treaty stipulations," "fair dealing," and "justice."
        All of these astute rhetorical strategies demonstrate Cloud's Ho-Chunk intellectual prowess influenced by his Yale educational training. While at Yale, he learned about the colonizers' arguments, how to debate and win arguments as a debater and an orator, as already mentioned. Thus, Cloud indigenized his colonial training in order to fight against the federal government on behalf of the Apaches.28

This essay is a Ho-Chunk-centric analysis of Henry Roe Cloud's involvement in the SAI and his successful activism and intellectual work in support of Geronimo and his people when the federal government imprisoned them. Cloud's Ho-Chunk warrior identity was central to his intellectual abilities, enabling him to look at the world from Indigenous perspectives, while energizing him to fight for Ho-Chunks and Native Americans overall, including the Apaches. Unlike Pfister, who does not adequately analyze Cloud's Ho-Chunk identity or valorize him as a Ho-Chunk intellectual, I discuss how Cloud combined his Ho-Chunk and Yale training, transforming a colonial education into Native-centric intellectual firepower in order to fight in support of the Apaches' struggle {306} against the federal government. Ultimately, Cloud's intellectual work and activism helped. Government officials promised the Apaches 160-acre allotments, facilitating the establishment of the Fort Sill Apache tribe.29


I want to thank the Newberry Library's Power-Tanner Fellowship, Yale's Walter McClintock Fellowship, UCLA's American Indian Postdoctoral Fellowship, my family, Chris, Mary, and Tasha McNeil, Robin Butter-field, Woesha and Tom Hampson, Robert Cloud North, Mirasol, Lucio, Gilbert, and Gil Ramirez, Amy Lonetree, Ned Blackhawk, Chadwick Allen and Beth Piatote, and Steven Crum for support and/or feedback regarding this essay and conducting this research.


        1. Wolfe argues that settler colonialism is a particular formation where settlers move into a region and reproduce, and do not leave.
        2. Henry Cloud to Mary Roe, 5 Dec. 1909, Roe Family Papers (RFP), Yale Sterling Library. Thirteen is the age when he lost his parents, and grandmother, pointing to his feeling that he was protected from the white world until they died.
        3. Henry Cloud to Mary Roe, 18 July 1907, RFP.
        4. "Son Fulfills Prophecy Made By Old Indian," newspaper article, no newspaper name specified, no date, Woesha Cloud North files, author's possession.
        5. The purpose of the federal boarding schools was to assimilate Natives into American society, which was a way to make Natives vanish, a settler colonial goal. Also see Jacobs.
        6. Henry Cloud to Mary Roe, 9 Feb. 1915, RFP.
        7. Carlos Montezuma to Richard Henry Pratt, 29 June 1904, Box 6, Folder 214, Montezuma Papers, Beinecke Library, Yale University.
        8. Henry Roe Cloud, "Speech to Mount Edgecomb Students, 1949," Woesha Cloud North files, author's possession.
        9. See Cloud to Mary Roe, 7 Jan. 1908, RFP.
        10. For analyses of Indigenous masculinities, see Hokowhitu; Tengan; Clark and Nagle.
        11. I review Joel Pfister's book because Pfister focuses on Cloud's colonial training rather than his Ho-Chunk training. In contrast, David Messer discusses Cloud's Ho-Chunk training, but does not analyze or emphasize how this Ho-Chunk training contributed to his activism and intellectual work in support of
{307} the Fort Sill Apaches. Similarly, Jason Tetzloff does not emphasize adequately from a Ho-Chunk perspective Cloud's activism or intellectual work in support of the Fort Sill Apaches. See also Warren; Crum; Ramirez, "From Henry"; Ramirez, "Henry Roe Cloud."
        12. Chadwick Allen discussed this idea with me in an email, 27 Oct. 2011.
        13. See the review of Individuality Incorporated by Allen.
        14. See Furniss, who discusses the difference between deliberate and repressive silence in regards to power dynamics.
        15. My sister, Mary McNeil, told Pfister about this powerful partnership, but her analysis is not footnoted in his book. See Pfister, Yale Indian; Papagianni; Ramirez, "From Henry."
        16. Similarly, Cloud is like Leslie Marmon Silko's character Indigo in Gardens in the Dunes who maintains her indigenous identity and is subversive.
        17. Maddox argues that Cloud's Society of American Indians contemporaries were strategic about what they spoke and wrote about because of power dynamics.
        18. Tetzloff 40; Larner, introduction in Society of American Indians, Papers, 1-9.
        19. Cloud to Parker, August 4, 1914, RFP.
        20. "New Haskell Head Came from Wigwam to Lead His People," Kansas City Star August 6, 1933; Tetzloff 32.
        21. Henry Roe Cloud to Cato Sells, 3 Nov. 1912, 13 Dec. 1913, file 18700/13, Kiowa Agency, Central Classified Agency, Record Group 75, National Archives, Washington DC; Henry Roe Cloud, "The Case of the Fort Sill Apaches, Again," 25 Oct. 1913, frame 0447-52, SAI Papers, Reel 10.
        22. Cloud to Mary Roe, 7 Oct. 1913, RFP.
        23. Cloud to Mary Roe, 16 Oct. 1913, RFP.
        24. Cloud to Mary Roe, 21 Oct. 1913, RFP.
        25. Cloud, "Case of the Fort Sill Apaches."
        26. Cloud, "Case of the Fort Sill Apaches."
        27. Cloud to Mary Roe, 7 Oct. 1913, RFP.
        28. Cloud, "Case of the Fort Sill Apaches."
        29. According to tribal chairperson Mildred Cleghorn, however, the most an Apache received was 158 acres and the least amount was 23 acres, while a majority received 80-acre allotments. See Stockel 125.


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_ _ _. Native Hubs: Culture, Community and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond. Durham: Duke UP, 2007. Print.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Gardens in the Dunes: A Novel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999. Print.

Society of American Indians. Papers of the Society of American Indians. Ed. John W. Larner. Wilmington: Scholar Resources, 1987. Microfilm.

Stockel, H. Henrietta. Women of the Apache Nation: Voices of Truth. Reno: U of Nevada P, 1991. Print.

Tengan, Ty Kawika. Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai'i. Durham: Duke UP, 2008. Print.

Tetzloff, Jason Michael. "To Do Some Good among the Indians: Henry Roe Cloud and Twentieth-Century Native America." Diss. Purdue U, 1996. Print.

Turcheneske, John. The Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War: Fort Sill, 1894-1914. Boulder: U of Colorado P, 1997. Print.

Warren, Kim. The Quest of Citizenship: African Americans and Native Americans in Education, 1880-1935. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2010. Print.

Watermulder, G. A. "Injustice to the Apaches: An Appeal from the Geronimo Band." Southern Workman 50 (March 1921): 130-33. Print.

Wishart, David. "Roe Cloud, Henry (1884-1950)." Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2004. Print.

Wolfe, Patrick. Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Poetics and Politics of an Ethnographic Event. New York: Cassell, 1999. Print.


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Carlos Montezuma's Fight
against "Bureauism"
An Unexpected Pima Hero


What follows is an account of how Yavapai writer and activist Carlos Montezuma (ca. 1866-1923) became a prominent figure in early twentieth-century Indigenous Arizona history. Specifically, it is about how Montezuma became an unexpected hero to the Akimel and Tohono O'odham communities (or Pima and Papago, respectively). This occurred as part of Montezuma's advocacy work for the Fort McDowell community. Because of the courageous way Montezuma battled the Indian Bureau, his reputation spread, as did his ideas and influence. And, while some regard Montezuma's belated reconnection to his Yavapai community as a contradiction to his assimilationist political agenda, this article argues to the contrary that Montezuma's fight against "bureauism" was the culmination of a life devoted to abolishing the Indian Bureau. Montezuma's legacy was made from inspiring the Yavapai, Pima, and Papago communities to assert their rights. The scholarly literature, however, has been unfortunately slow at recognizing Montezuma's role in Arizona Indian history, not to mention American Indian intellectual history. With the latter oversights in mind, this article shows that Montezuma's work is integral to the development of "progressivism" in American Indian politics, as reflected in the work of Pima authors. What the Pima perspective poignantly shows is that Montezuma earned his legacy by being a good relative to his Yavapai tribe and family, in addition to being a truly good friend to the Pima and Papago.
        With respect to the reservation system, Montezuma was unequivocal in his condemnation of the Indian Bureau's mishandling of health and education services. In a 1913 issue of the Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians, Montezuma set a tone that drove his political {312} agenda for the rest of his life. In an address titled "Light on the Indian Situation," Montezuma recounted his life story, including his legendary abduction by Pima raiders, his childhood in Chicago, and his graduation from medical college. He also gave a brief account of his career as an Indian Service physician, in which he said of the Western Shoshone Agency: "There I saw in full what deterioration a reservation is for the Indians. I watched these Indians, cut off from civilized life, trying to become like Yankees with the aid of a few government employes [sic]. Because of my own experience I was now able to fully realize how their situation held them to their old Indian life, and often wondered why the government held them so arbitrarily to their tribal life, when better things were all around them" (51). Based on his Indian Service experience, Montezuma launched a three-pronged political crusade: (1) creating outrage about reservation conditions, (2) calling for the abolition of the Indian Bureau, and (3) advocating for the assimilation of Indians into mainstream American society. "Colonization, segregation and reservation are the most damnable creations of men," Montezuma declares. "They are the home, the very hothouse of personal slavery--and are no place for the free and the 'home of the brave'" (53).
        What Montezuma wanted, above all, was for Indians to enjoy the same rights and privileges that their white--albeit, typically male and especially privileged--counterparts took for granted as US citizens. Benefiting from such advantages as a modern education only occurred for Montezuma because he was reared in an urban environment, far from the oppressive conditions of reservation life. Nevertheless, he could not forsake his birth community altogether. As Leon Speroff notes: "Beginning in 1901, Montezuma returned to Arizona in the early fall of nearly every year" (258). Montezuma consequently became acquainted with Yuma Frank, who led the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation during these years, and his cousins, one of whom, Charles Dickens, solicited Montezuma's help against the Indian Bureau and the Salt River Valley Water Users Association, both of which wanted the Yavapais removed. Dickens broke the news to Montezuma in a letter dated March 29, 1910: "Lately I learned that our agent have [sic] heard from Washington that we are to move to the Pima Indian Reservation" (Speroff 285). Montezuma did not hesitate to answer the call for help and accepted the power of attorney. As Montezuma asserted: "In these forty years' absence from my people I have not forgotten them. They have been in my heart day and {313}night. For them my pen and tongue have not been idle."1 It was only a matter of time, though, before Montezuma became familiar with the situation on the Pima reservation, which faced its own land and water crisis, in addition to the possibility of the Pimas being removed to Indian Territory, Oklahoma. The Pimas also joined Montezuma's evangelical campaign against the Indian Bureau, which Montezuma defined thusly:

The original grand, noble and ideal object of the Indian Bureau was to aid and protect the Indian and prepare him to emerge from his wigwam into civilization, and it has been a total failure. Within my period of years there have been ten or twelve commissioners of Indian affairs. Most of them are dead, and the machine still exists to be greased and tinkered with. It is a political machine, where one goes out and another comes in, taking turns greasing and adjusting the Indian machine. (Montezuma, "Let My People Go")

        The work that the "Indian machine" did on Indigenous people included forcibly removing them whenever the Indian Bureau deemed it in the Indian's "best interest." Forced removal did not end with the Cherokee "trail of tears," as the Yavapais learned. They were simply the latest victims, struggling to retain the rights promised them in the 1903 Executive Order that established the Fort McDowell reservation, which proclaimed: "that so much of the land of the Camp McDowell abandoned military reservation . . . be . . . set aside and reserved for the use and occupancy of such Mohave-Apache Indians as are now living thereon or in the vicinity, and such other Indians as the Secretary of the Interior may hereafter deem necessary to place thereon."2 While clearly implying the possibility of "other Indians" being placed on their reservation, what the Yavapais did not anticipate was the proposal to remove them to the Salt River Reservation. The Pimas, as expected, were alarmed by this development as much as the Yavapais.
        In Cycles of Conquest Edward H. Spicer refers to the Gila River Pima, or "Akimel O'odham," who were in a crisis due to the severe water loss caused by up-river damming. Indeed, many Pimas opted to move from their homes along the Gila to what they hoped would be more fruitful stakes along the Salt River. Naturally, the Pimas along the Salt were now fearful that moving the Yavapais there would only put them in the same predicament from which they sought to escape in the first place. Em-{314}ploying the 1887 General Allotment Act, the Indian Bureau pressured Pimas into accepting ten-acre allotments, which would supposedly be complete with water rights. However, unallotted land would be put on the open market. Montezuma inveighed against the Indian Bureau's plans:

In 1918 [Montezuma] began to devote his time to the problems of Indians and came frequently to the Pima. . . . He published a monthly magazine and espoused the view that the Indian Bureau had no right to allot land, it being the property of the Indians to dispose of as they saw fit. Pimas, called "Montezumas," listened to him and opposed the allotment program. (Spicer 150)3

        Thus, a movement was born. Spicer subsequently notes that in 1925 an opposition group, the League of Papago Chiefs, formed for the purpose of holding out "for traditional ways and a minimum of interference in village affairs by the superintendent and his assistants." Support came, not only from traditionalists, but also from "those conservatives sometimes called 'Montezumas' who had listened with approval to Dr. Carlos Montezuma in his speeches at Sacaton [on the Gila River reservation] denouncing the Bureau of Indian Affairs and advocating its elimination" (Spicer 141). Montezuma voiced Pima and Papago concerns and shaped their political thinking as a result.
        Spicer then makes a surprising claim about Montezuma's role in "religious diversification": "Strictly speaking, it [Montezuma's influence] was not a religious movement in the sense of resting on supernatural belief. Yet it had religious repercussions and in some ways affected Pi-mas and Papagos as a religious movement." Spicer refers particularly to Montezuma's impassioned drive to abolish the Indian Bureau and protect Indian rights: "His meetings at Sacaton on the Pima Reservation gained him many adherents, who were deeply dissatisfied with reservation conditions; at the same time he incurred the disapproval of the Indian Bureau. After several years of preaching he died of tuberculosis on the Salt River Reservation." Spicer evokes a mythic narrative, influenced perhaps by Montezuma's grandiloquent writing style, as well as the Indigenous history that contextualized Spicer's discourse.
        Whatever the influence, Spicer affirms that Montezuma's influence was "based chiefly on the dignity and worth of the Indian racial and cultural heritage," and that Montezuma preached that Indigenous values {315} and beliefs were superior to white Americans; moreover, that Indians ought to turn to their own ways, instead of mainstream society. Montezuma, furthermore, promoted the idea that "Indians should reassume the independence they had practiced before the Indian Bureau had taken them over, take up their land again in their own name, and demonstrate the fundamental greatness of the Indian way of life" (Spicer 530-31). While Montezuma would have disputed this interpretation of his ideas, he did galvanize Indians across the reservation to empower themselves and assert their rights. Indeed, what may explain Spicer's unique perspective on Montezuma is how Pimas and Papagos remembered him, which was based more on what he did for the Indian community than on his speeches and publications (see Hertzberg 44-45, 197).
        Spicer notwithstanding, since the scholarly community is generally more focused on written documents, it is unsurprising that historians have portrayed Montezuma in a different light. Despite his having played a prominent role as a founder and critic of the Society of American Indians, Hazel W. Hertzberg scarcely mentions Montezuma's activism on behalf of the Fort McDowell and Salt River communities. Hertzberg does, however, cite Spicer and refer to those who sublimated Montezuma's story into the Tohono O'odham oral tradition: "Montezumas . . . were older village headmen who came to identify Montezuma with both Jesus and a tribal deity and believed that 'Montezuma would one day return and restore better times and good moral behavior'" (45).4 The Montezuma legend apparently did not survive long, nor did it spread very far. Although his ideas and opinions emboldened "older leaders among Yavapais on the Fort McDowell and San Carlos reservations and to Apaches at San Carlos," neither turned these ideas into a political organization like their Pima and Papago counterparts. Moreover, "by 1950 Dr. Montezuma the man was but a vague memory to the Indians with whom he had come in contact" (Spicer 531). Perhaps it is due to the faded memory of Montezuma's deeds that the Arizona chapter of his illustrious career has been long in gaining recognition.
        William R. Coffeen, for example, mentions Montezuma's name exactly twice in his 1972 article about the Central Arizona Project and the Fort McDowell reservation, in which only a brief reference is made to Montezuma's work for the Yavapais (351-52). Sue Abbey Chamberlain, however, gives a more substantial account of how Montezuma defended the Fort McDowell Indian community from forced removal in her 1975 {316} article on Fort McDowell Indian water rights. Noteworthy is Chamberlain's account of Montezuma's success at frustrating the Indian Bureau's effort to remove the Yavapais to Salt River (32).
        Peter Iverson, however, in his 1982 biography, provides the most detailed and expansive account to date regarding Montezuma's almost single-handed struggle against Indian Bureau imperialism. What were interesting but cursory remarks about Montezuma's return to his childhood home in the previous scholarly works are, in Iverson's work, recognized as a major turning point in his life and activism. More to the point, Iverson makes the key observation that Montezuma not only reaffirmed his identity as a Yavapai but also became enlightened about the need for intertribal alliances: "Thus [Montezuma] transcended the usual tribal boundary to see the common concerns shared by differing Indian communities. The Pimas may have continued to be deadly enemies for George Dickens, but to Montezuma they became friends who needed his assistance" (121).5
        The Pima alliance is meaningful in light of the fact that Montezuma regularly told the story of his abduction by a Pima raiding party, who sold him to itinerant photographer Carlo Gentile for thirty dollars in silver. One might have expected Montezuma to have been biased against the Pimas. Yet, as Iverson quotes Montezuma: "I want the Pimas and the Apaches always to be friends and brothers." Montezuma, in turn, lived up to this platitude by consistently treating Yavapai and Pima leaders and community members with unwavering respect. On the other hand his animosity toward the Indian Bureau was always obvious. Indeed, Iverson observes that a critical advantage Montezuma had over his nemeses in the Indian Bureau was a better education and a sharper mind, which earned him a nefarious reputation: "Montezuma gave voice and power to the misgivings and unhappiness of Indian people. He made life more difficult. He was in the way" (121, 130).
        In spite of his heroics, Montezuma's status in modern American Indian history, Iverson's work notwithstanding, remained marginal (see Khera and Mariella 42; see also Moses and Wilson 62, 154, 170; Wilson 152-56, 160-62, 170-71, 189). While there were occasional references to him during the late 1980s and 1990s, including works by William Willard and Robert A. Warrior, they added little more than meager recognition of Montezuma as an intellectual and activist.6 On the other hand, in 2003 Leon Speroff published Carlos Montezuma MD, a Yavapai American Hero: The Life and Times of an American Indian, 1866-1923. Even {317} more than Iverson, Speroff created a truly epic portrayal of Montezuma from birth to death, including reflections on his legacy. With respect to Montezuma's work in Arizona, Speroff has done the most to fill in this part of his biography. Indeed, the reader is taken from Montezuma's initial return to Arizona in 1901, during which he learns that although part of his tribe was removed to the San Carlos Apache reservation, he is in fact a member of the Yavapai community, which erroneously had been labeled alternately as "Yavapai-Apache" and "Mohave-Apache."7 Speroff then recounts Montezuma's emotional reconnection with his extended family at Fort McDowell, including people who remembered him and told him about the fate of his parents and siblings, all of whom were now lost to him (258-331).8 Nevertheless, with his reclaimed Yavapai identity, Montezuma found new energy for a life-long ambition--to abolish the Indian Bureau. Thus, when Montezuma excoriated the Society of American Indians in his seminal speech "Let My People Go," one can easily imagine that he had his tribe and family foremost in mind. After belittling the SAI for doing little more than "the mere routine of shaking hands, appointing committees, listening to papers, hearing discussions, passing a few resolutions, electing officers, then reorganizing," Montezuma goes on to express what he sees as the genuine urgency facing them:

We are wards, we are not free! In a free country we are not free; our heritage is freedom, but we are not free. Wake up, Indians, all over America! We are hoodwinked, duped more and more every year; we are made to feel free when we are not. We are chained hand and foot, we stand helpless, innocently waiting for the fulfillment of promises, that will never be fulfilled, in the overwhelming great ocean of civilization. (Montezuma, "Let My People Go" 203, 204)

Such proclamations as these are typically analyzed within the context of Montezuma's assimilationist agenda as expressed in Wassaja, his self-published newsletter. Yet, in light of what has been documented about Montezuma's reconnection to the Fort McDowell community, it would be misguided to conclude that Montezuma had simply sold his soul for a middle-class life as a physician. More than anything else, Montezuma wanted the Fort McDowell Indians, not to mention all other Indians, to enjoy the freedom inherent to all, regardless of race or ethnicity. Indians, after all, should not be oppressed into believing that their only option is to be impoverished and uneducated wards of the federal government.

        At this point it is time to introduce the Indian perspective on Montezuma's legacy. Specifically, George Webb (c 1893-1964) and Anna Moore Shaw (1898-1976), both of whom were Akimel O'odham, published books years after Montezuma seemed to be long forgotten that tell stories about him found nowhere in the scholarly record. In fact, the absence of Webb's and Shaw's books from the scholarly discourse on Montezuma--including Iverson and Speroff--represents a common problem in American Indian historiography: the recurrent omission of American Indian writers from topics they have often written about--frequently with firsthand knowledge.
        Before Spicer invoked Montezuma's name in his 1962 epic historical narrative on the Southwest, Webb proffered a more modest portrayal in A Pima Remembers. In a chapter titled "The Old Ways" from his 1959 book, Webb recalls how the Apaches raided Pima fields for the abundant food they offered, during which it was common that some Pimas were killed defending their homes. Consequently, Webb writes, "the Pimas would follow the Apaches to their camp. In the fight the Pima would kill as many Apaches as they could, leaving the women and children" (30). It should be noted that both Yavapais and Apaches were regarded in Pima thinking as ohb, "enemies." This is not to say that the Pimas were unaware they were confronting two different tribes. Nonetheless, the customs regarding battle, casualties, and captives were fundamentally similar, including the adoption of captives: "We have now among our tribe Pimas who have Apache ancestors, descendants of people in that period," among whom Webb counts himself. "But no Pima warrior was allowed to take any Apache woman or child home unless he was capable of giving them a decent home." This principle applied to all captives: "Among the Pimas, it was always a dishonor to kill a woman or child. Sometimes, rather than leave the women and children orphaned, the Pima warriors would bring home an Apache woman or child." It is in this context that Montezuma's abduction is recounted.
        As Webb relays Pima oral tradition, a warrior brought home a boy they called "Hejel-wi'ikam . . . meaning 'Left Alone.'" However, instead of taking him to Florence, as others recounted, including Montezuma, where Carlo Gentile "purchased" him, Webb claims that Hejel-wi'ikam was given to "white people passing through the Pima village." At first rejecting the whites' request to take the little boy, they eventually agreed to terms. "This boy later became a noted man, the famous Doctor Mon-{319}tezuma, a great surgeon." Interestingly, Webb says nothing about Montezuma's illustrious career as a surgeon or Indian rights activist, let alone his fight against the Indian Bureau. Did Webb know anything about these distinctions or about Pimas calling themselves "Montezumas"? One can only imagine, since Webb's brief portrayal ends with seeing Montezuma on his deathbed:

Sometime ago I happened to be at Fort McDowell and one of the boys told me that the Doctor was there and very sick. He asked me if I would like to see him. I said I would like to see him very much.
        He took me to an olas-ki made of willow poles and brushed cover with a canvas. There was a passageway about four feet high, three feet wide and about three yards long. To get in, I had to get down on my hands and knees. There, on the dirt floor, was spread an expensive blanket on which the Doctor lay. To one side was a suitcase full of expensive clothes. The room was full of people. My visit was brief as the Doctor was on his last stage of life.
        A few days later he died.

        Equally remarkable is how Webb segues into a story about a Pima who dream-prophesied an Apache raid. In fact, as Webb recounts, the Pima who foresaw this battle is nearly killed: "The spot where the Pimas and Apaches fought is now marked with good sized rocks, near the hills south of what is now the town of Maricopa." The story ends with an explanation of the purification ritual Pima warriors underwent after killing an enemy, in which the medicine man sang "to drive the evil spirits away" (30-33).
        In 1974 Anna Moore Shaw concluded A Pima Past with "My Indian Hall of Fame," in which she pays homage to five men and one woman she most admired. In addition to William Thomas Moore, Russell "Big Chief " Moore, Dr. Roe Blaine Lewis, and Mae Fern Perkins, a well-known "Apache," Carlos Montezuma, is most distinguished. Shaw fondly recalls hosting the revered pan-Indian leader in her home until relatives took him to Fort McDowell. Montezuma, more than others, met Shaw's criterion of "cultural adjustment," meaning "those whose lives have shed special light on the process of bridging the gap between two cultures and living together in brotherly love" (237). In addition to remembering Montezuma's brief stay in her home, Shaw also retells his life story, which Montezuma famously told in countless speeches. Indeed, he was {320} his own best example that Indians could adapt to and succeed in modern American society, like anyone else. Curiously, Shaw does not mention Montezuma's work on behalf of the Fort McDowell and Salt River reservations. Similar to Webb's account, her recollections conspicuously ignore the latter episode. Shaw instead emphasizes what she and her family experienced firsthand. Accordingly, A Pima Past is about a Pima family making the arduous transition into modern American life, when opportunities for Indians to succeed were few and far between. Yet, the Shaw family story validates the adaptations that they and other Pima necessarily pursued in a world not of their making, affirming by turns their decision to follow Montezuma's example, thus prevailing over social obstacles, especially the racial prejudice in their midst.
        Shaw prefaces her account of Montezuma with an anecdote about her husband Ross, who worked for the American Railway Express Company. After acknowledging Ross's work ethic and his conscientiousness, she observes the special burden that he bore due to the fact that he was the only Indian employed: "The trunks he carried were as heavy as lead, but he was young and strong, and he never dropped one. His customers appreciated the assistance he gave them, and this helped ease the prejudice against Indians which was so prevalent in those early days." Nevertheless, Ross could not avoid prejudice altogether, which occurred when some customers did not want him attending to them. As Shaw confides: "Sometimes Ross would tell me stories of how he had encountered similar attitudes when he was defending his country in the war." Back in the Ross's neighborhood things were much different. The people who knew them well easily accepted and liked their Pima neighbors.
        Montezuma entered the Shaw home by way of Anna's brother, Bill Moore, who was noteworthy for being a musician and living in Chicago, and who took in his nephew, Russell, who became a respected jazz trombonist who played with Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. Moore specifically knew Montezuma when he boarded in his home on Michigan Avenue. It was during this time when Montezuma contracted diabetes, "then an incurable disease." His "Masonic brothers" urged Montezuma to return to Arizona for his health, "where the mild climate might prolong his life." Thus, Moore arranged for Montezuma to stay at his sister's Phoenix home, creating excitement: "We had both heard so much about him since the time when we were children on the reservation. Now we were going to meet him in our home!"
        Shaw is unfortunately elusive about what she and Ross heard about Montezuma as children. Instead, she recalls her nervous arrangements for her distinguished guest, who, upon his arrival, quickly set her mind at ease, telling her how much she reminded him of her brother Bill. The remainder of Shaw's account of Montezuma's stay is relatively brief, a mere nine pages, focusing exclusively on the five days "Dr Montezuma stayed in our home, waiting for his Apache relatives to take him to Fort McDowell." Montezuma constantly wonders when his relatives will come for him, as Shaw recalls. He was also concerned about seeing an "Apache medicine man," who "might be able to cure him." Shaw mentions the latter point matter-of-factly, noting: "Modern medicine had been able to do nothing for his illness." Equally significant is how Montezuma's ideas and opinions, as expressed in speeches like "Let My People Go," taught Shaw and her family how to live in a society that once nearly brought about their tribe's extinction. Striking a personal note, Shaw admits that her political awareness began to grow because of Montezuma's presence in her home:

Sometimes, when he was feeling good, Dr. Montezuma would sit with me and talk about the subject uppermost in his mind--the struggle for freedom for the American Indian. For years he had been giving speeches which urged the Indian to tolerate the white man's prejudice no longer. Now I was hearing those stirring phrases right in the living room of my home! (A Pima Past 160)

        While it may not seem remarkable today to exclaim such principles, we have to remember there was a time when saying such things was uncommon. For many Indians, Montezuma was the first Indian they knew of who dared to accuse the Indian Bureau of racism. Although Shaw does not mention subscribing to Wassaja, she does give a lengthy quote from "Let My People Go," which she carefully notes: "Montezuma made before the Society of American Indians in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1915." In the passages Shaw quotes, Montezuma makes his familiar case that Indians are not free, that they are burdened with prejudice, and that the way out of this crisis is for Indians to reclaim their freedom and assert their place in American society. Emphatically, Montezuma implores his Indian audience to "make yourselves feel at home as one of the units in the big family of America." In an era defined by segregation, this is nothing short of astounding. Indeed, Shaw titles the chapter in which {322} she tells this story "A Unit in the Family of America." Shaw, moreover, does not hesitate to credit Montezuma for empowering her husband to handle instances of prejudice at work, in addition to providing them the courage to move into "an all-white, 'restricted' neighborhood." Once Montezuma finally departed for Fort McDowell, Shaw discovered that her guest had left her "five silver dollars," to which Ross responded: "The white man says we Indians are not a competitive race. Well, I guess they are right, and I am glad of it! The Indian would rather share with his fellow man than to horde money and worldly goods. We cannot take it with us when death calls." Shaw thought that her husband had been so impressed with Montezuma that "he was starting to sound like him!" Thus, the Montezuman tradition takes root in another Pima mind (A Pima Past 162).
        Shaw then recounts in the most economical of terms the funeral services held for Montezuma, which she and Ross attended. She even recalls a deathbed wish that they could not fulfill, which was to bury his remains "on top of Superstition Peak." Instead, Montezuma "was placed in the Fort McDowell cemetery, where a beautiful monument marks his grave." In the aftermath of her husband's demise, Mary Montezuma stayed with the Shaws over the winter, during which time she regaled her hosts with "her reminiscences of her famous husband." In fact, Shaw acknowledges that the biography appearing at the end of A Pima Past "has been based on these conversations with his widow after his death" (163). Shaw then delves further into an account of how Montezuma's words motivated them to move into a new home and neighborhood, where they enjoyed the company of Mexican and black neighbors, whom they and their children befriended, concluding with these reflections:

Throughout our lives this conviction [that minority people can climb the ladder of success by hard work] so eloquently preached by Dr. Carlos Montezuma, was proved out again and again. It was the philosophy we tried to instill in our children as they grew up in the white man's world, still encountering occasional examples of racial prejudice. At such times we would remind them of the words of the great Indian doctor: "To fight is to forget ourselves as Indians in the world. To think of one's self as different from the mass is unhealthy. Make good, deliver the goods, and convince the world by your character that the Indians are not as they have been {323} misrepresented to be." Rod and Adeline [the Shaw's children], today completely at home in the big family of America, bear out the value of this teaching. (166)

        At this point, we have clearly left Montezuma's legendary fight against the Indian Bureau far behind. Yet, the story that Shaw tells about her encounter with Montezuma is not only a poignant example of a Pima perspective on his life and work but also on his legacy and ongoing influence. Although it is true that there is no mention of the struggle for Yavapai land and water rights in A Pima Past, one can argue that this reflects two fundamental facts: first, by the time Montezuma entered the Shaw household, the Fort McDowell community had won its battle against the Indian Bureau, allowing Montezuma to concentrate more on his failing health; second, the Yavapai story simply was not Shaw's story to tell, as it belonged to the people who actually waged this campaign. Shaw's history focuses more so on the change and transition occurring in the Pima community, such as their conversion to Christianity, taking wage labor jobs, acquiring off-reservation homes, sending their children to school, and enlisting in the military.
        Thus, in the spirit of the Progressive Era that Montezuma represented, Shaw's narrative may be read as a demonstration of how the author of "Let My People Go" and Wassaja not only advocated for Indian rights but also valued Indian unity. To forget oneself as "Indian in the world" means, among other things, to overcome those things that keep Indigenous communities divided and at odds with one another, thereby preventing them from pooling their resources to achieve common goals. Insofar as Montezuma thought that thinking of oneself as "different" was tantamount to accepting segregation, then this was problematic for both Indian-white and Indian-Indian relations alike. The Yavapais and Pimas did not want to share a reservation because of their historic rivalry; however, together they prevailed because Montezuma had the acumen to see that they shared a common interest against the Indian Bureau. For Shaw, Montezuma represented a new generation of Indian leader, one who recognized that the Indian struggle for rights was being waged in the battlefield of modern life, not against traditional rivals. Times had irreversibly changed. After the Pimas engaged in their last skirmish with the Apaches in the Bradshaw Mountains, it was their legendary leader Antonio Azul who had the foresight to see that the Pimas had entered a {324} new epoch: "The white man had been pressuring Chief Antonio Azul to lay down his weapons and live peaceably with the Apache. The wise old chief could see that the old way of life was changing and agreed that it was time to stop the earth's rumbling and tremblings in war" (Shaw 63).9
        Yet, Shaw does not fail to recognize that the new era of Indian unity was forged in a past defined by old rivalries and bloody conflicts. "When I gaze at the majestic Four Peaks from my Salt River home," Shaw writes, "the events of a long-ago saga parade before me" (238). Shaw then imagines Montezuma's legendary abduction by Pima raiders that is markedly different than the one recounted by Webb. Even though Shaw's account is based on what she learned from Montezuma's widow, Shaw interprets Montezuma's story from her own Akimel O'odham perspective, beginning with informing her readers that the Pima raiders were not "savages" preying upon their "enemies," but rather had sound reason for embarking on a campaign against the Apaches. The Pima village Shaw mentions without naming was located in Mazatzal, or Snaggle Teeth, which today is called Four Peaks. Unlike Montezuma's explanation, Shaw states that the Pimas were after something more important than the white man's money.10 In contrast to the apprehensive village that Montezuma portrays in his autobiographical piece, Shaw imagines, on one side, an idyllic scene in which a loving Apache mother puts her children to bed; on the other side, however, the Pima raiders do not see the Apache village as idyllic:

The Pima braves who saw the Apache wickiups, which had grown up like mushrooms beside the flowing creek, were not so merry. Their hearts were filled with the bitterness of revenge for the painful personal losses and crop failures they had suffered due to Apache raids. As soon as they had found a moment free from their fields they had headed for these mountains, for they knew that the Apaches, just like the Pimas themselves, could not resist the temptation of mescal ripe for roasting. Surely this area would be the place to find a poorly protected party of Apache squaws and children out gathering the delicacy. Pima revenge would be quick and sure. (238-39)

        Shaw then goes against the grain of most Western scholarly and popular accounts of Indian revenge when she emphasizes the conscientiousness with which captives were treated (239).11 Echoing Webb, Shaw points out {325} that Montezuma and his fellow captives "need not have feared for their lives, for it was Pima custom to adopt women and children captives. They were never tortured but treated with all possible kindness." Yet, as Webb pointed out earlier, one could bring home captives only if they could be supported. She writes, "However, these were days of great poverty for the Indians." Under these circumstances captives could not be taken home--in which case, Montezuma, like so many others, was sold and the money used "to provide for [the captor's] own family."
        After describing his purchase by "Charles Gentile" in Florence, Arizona, which the Pima called "S-auppagk (Many Cottonwood Trees)," Shaw gives a sentimental account of Montezuma's transformative journey back East, where he became a formidable proponent of Indian rights. Leaving tribal rivalry and the reservation hardships behind, Shaw narrates a respectful portrayal of Montezuma's destiny of becoming a renowned Indian leader. However, rather than lionizing his accomplishments as a physician, working first for the Indian Bureau (which gave him his first exposure to reservation conditions), then for the Carlisle Indian School (where he met Richard H. Pratt, who influenced his political ideals), Shaw turns her attention to Montezuma's frequent visits to his Yavapai homeland, where he gave "his speeches and visit[ed] with his cousins, his mother's nephews, Charley and George Dickens of Fort McDowell. These trips must have awakened strong emotions in the doctor." Then, in the spirit of peace and unity, Shaw shares the following tale:

Once he told me how he used his first savings to return to Sacaton just to meet his Pima captor. He called for a meeting, but the Indian warriors eyed him suspiciously. No one wanted to admit the deed for fear Montezuma would seek revenge.
        The doctor tried to convince the braves that he held no rancor. He only wanted to thank his captor for doing him a good deed; without him he would still be an uneducated person on the reservation.

Shaw concludes her story with how an "old warrior timidly . . . approached Montezuma. The doctor shook his hand, and the old man smiled." Over time, the Pima came to like and respect Montezuma a great deal, regarding him as "kind and generous . . . with no bitterness in his heart for anyone." Then, adding nuance to the stories referred to above about Montezuma's influence on the Pimas and Papagos, Shaw {326} claims that her husband Ross remembered "a group of Salt River old men who called themselves 'Montezuma's Friends,' so great was their respect for this educated Indian" (239, 243-44).
        Despite Montezuma being Yavapai, an ohb, the source of the Pimas' respect for him came from seeing another Indian show the kind of courage in the face of adversity that he showed them. Citing his 1915 speech again, Shaw summarizes the outrage Montezuma felt when advised not to return to Chicago, lest he face the blatant racism that surely awaited him. Montezuma took this as a challenge. Having resigned his Carlisle appointment, Montezuma in 1896 "returned to Chicago to crusade for his cause and to set an example for his people." Of course, as has been documented repeatedly, including by Iverson (31-45) and Speroff (175-205), Montezuma succeeded. Shaw then enumerates brief stories about Montezuma's generosity, especially toward the poor, who often could not pay him for his medical services. Tactfully omitting his tumultuous relationship with Gertrude Bonnin (better known as Zitkala-Sa), Shaw happily describes how Montezuma met his wife-to-be and the happy home they made together.
        As Shaw emphasizes, though, "his active social life did not keep Carlos Montezuma from crusading for his people. . . . Freeing the American Indian from the bonds of prejudice was always uppermost in his mind." Shaw illustrates Montezuma's unwavering commitment with a meeting held at Lehi, Arizona, where he spoke to a group of Pima "with Lancisco Hill as interpreter. 'Get rid of the yoke that weighs you from rising to a higher plane!' he invoked his brothers." The risks that Montezuma took because of his activism are underscored. Because the BIA agent at Lehi did not approve of what Montezuma was telling the Indians under his charge, he ordered the Indian police to break up the meeting. "The officer threatened to arrest the listeners and throw them in jail; then he seized Dr. Montezuma and escorted him to the outskirts of the reservation." Montezuma reacted to this treatment with aplomb (246; see also Iverson 164-65).
        Shaw's biographical sketch concludes with the dignified way in which Montezuma faced his imminent demise, returning to his Yavapai homeland. "During the time he lay dying, many Indians came to see the revered surgeon who had been such an outstanding leader of his people," including, as noted, the author of A Pima Remembers. Finally, in the {327} spirit of brotherhood inspired by Montezuma's life and words, Shaw honors his memory by recognizing the lasting influence he left in the hearts and minds of those who knew him: "Carlos Montezuma spent most of his life in the white man's world, but his heart was always with his people. He came home to us in his dying days, and it was to us that he uttered his last inspiring words: 'Our hearts must throb with love, our souls must reach to God to guide us. In behalf of my people, with the spirit of Moses I ask, "Let my people go!'"" (247-48).
        Sadly, since Shaw's encounter with Montezuma occurred during his last days, we do not have Montezuma's own final reflections on his life's work, let alone his impressions of the Shaws (see Martínez 203-12). For Pima and Yavapai alike, though, Montezuma's lasting legacy is not just seen in his storied opposition to the Indian Bureau, but in something more essential to their existence as tribes. As observed above, both tribes were distressed at the idea of the Yavapais being forcibly removed to the Pima reservation, due in part to the fact that many still remembered their rivalry as living history, preserved in their respective oral traditions. Consequently, when Montezuma prevented the Indian Bureau from carrying out the injustice of removing the Yavapais to Salt River, not only were two rival tribes spared the awkward situation of sharing a reservation, but more importantly they were allowed to keep a vital part of their worlds in balance--their connection to their homelands. While both tribes went on to face other challenges to their sovereignty and well-being, they could now do so from a place of power, where they could look around them, see the mountains named in their Creation Stories, and remember who they are (see Sheridan 255-86).


        1. For comparison, see Montezuma, "The Indian Problem from an Indian's Standpoint."
        2. Gerhard Peters, "Theodore Roosevelt, Executive Order, 1903," The American Presidency Project (1999-2009), Executive Order of 15 Sept. 1903, http://www
        3. The "monthly magazine" is a reference to Montezuma's self-published newsletter, Wassaja.
        4. Hertzberg is referencing Spicer's work, in which the "tribal deity" was I'itoi, an O'odham cultural hero.
        5. Before the appearance of Iverson's seminal biography, the 1970s ended with Montezuma completely overlooked in an essay collection by Margot Liberty.
        6. Montezuma is overlooked in R. David Edmunds, The New Warriors. Timothy Braatz opens his 2007 Yavapai history, Surviving Conquest, with an account of Montezuma's life narrative but scarcely mentions his struggle against the Indian Bureau on behalf of Fort McDowell.
        7. For a Yavapai synonymy, see Khera and Mariella 53.
        8. Speroff visited the Fort McDowell Yavapai Reservation for his research, during which he interviewed some of Montezuma's descendants and other community members. Thus, one can claim that Speroff 's emphasis on Montezuma's renewed kinship ties, similar to Spicer's, exposed his research findings to how the Yavapai Indian community remembers Montezuma, as opposed to relying only on the archival record.
        9. For more on Antonio Azul, see Cook and Whittmore. See also Trennert; and DeJong, "Forced to Abandon Their Farms," "'Good Samaritans of the Desert,'" and "'Left High and Dry.'"
        10. For Montezuma's own account of his well-known abduction by Pima raiders, see Carlos Montezuma, "The Indian of Yesterday."
        11. For more on how Pima treated captives and a note on Montezuma's capture recorded on a history stick, see Russell 55, 197.


Braatz, Timothy. Surviving Conquest: A History of the Yavapai Peoples. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2007. Print.

Chamberlain, Sue Abbey. "The Fort McDowell Indian Reservation: Water Rights and Indian Removal, 1910-1930." Journal of the West 14.4 (1975): 27-34. Print.

Coffeen, William R. "The Effects of the Central Arizona Project on the Fort McDowell Indian Community." Ethnohistory 19.4 (1972): 345-77. Print.

Cook, Charles H., and Isaac T. Whittmore. Among the Pima; or, The Mission to the Pima and Maricopa Indians. Albany: Ladies' Union Mission School Assn., 1893. Print.

DeJong, David H. "Forced to Abandon Their Farms: Water Deprivation and Starvation among the Gila River Pima, 1892-1904." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 28.3 (2004): 29-56. Print.

_ _ _. "'Good Samaritans of the Desert': The Pima-Maricopa Villages as Described in California Emigrant Journals, 1846-1852." Journal of the Southwest 47.3 (2005): 457-96. Print.
_ _ _. "'Left High and Dry': Federal Land Policies and Pima Agriculture, 1860-1910." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 33.1 (2009): 23-45. Print.

Edmunds, R. David. The New Warriors: Native American Leaders since 1900. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2001. Print.

Iverson, Peter. Carlos Montezuma and the Changing World of American Indians. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1982. Print.

Hertzberg, Hazel W. The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1971. Print.

Khera, Sigrid, and Patricia S. Mariella. "Yavapai." Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 10: Southwest. Ed. Alfonso Ortiz. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1983. 38-54. Print.

Liberty, Margot, ed. American Indian Intellectuals of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2002. Print.

Martinez, David, ed. The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2011. Print.

Montezuma, Carlos. "The Indian of Yesterday: The Early Life of Dr. Carlos Montezuma Written by Himself." Chicago: Published for the National Christian Women's Temperance Union, 1888. Print.

_ _ _. "The Indian Problem from an Indian's Standpoint." United States Commissioner of Education. Annual Reports of the Department of Interior for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1897. Report of the Commissioner of Education, Vol. 2 Containing Parts II and III. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1898: 1521. Print.

_ _ _. "Let My People Go." Self-published pamphlet. Chicago: 1915. Rpt. in The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972. Ed. David Martinez. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2011. 203-12. Print.

_ _ _. "Light on the Indian Situation." Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians 1.1 (1913): 50-55. Print.

Moses, L. G., and Raymond Wilson, eds. Indian Lives: Essays on Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Native American Leaders. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1985. Print.

Russell, Frank. The Pima Indians: Re-edition with Introduction, Citation Sources, and Bibliography by Bernard L. Fontana. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1975. Print.

Shaw, Anna Moore. A Pima Past. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1974. Print.

Sheridan, Thomas E. "The Other Arizona." Journal of the Southwest 36.3 (1994): 255-86. Print.

Speroff , Leon. Carlos Montezuma MD, A Yavapai American Hero: The Life and Times of an American Indian, 1866-1923. Portland: Arnica, 2003. Print.

Spicer, Edward H. Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the {330} United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1962. Print.

Trennert, Robert A. "John H. Stout and the Grant Peace Policy among the Pimas." Journal of the Southwest 28.1 (1986): 45-68. Print.

Webb, George. A Pima Remembers. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 1959. Print.

Wilson, Raymond. Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1983. Print.


Plank 6

It is the sense of this committee

that every member of the

association should exert his

influence in every legitimate way

to bring before each member

of the race the necessity of

promoting good citizenship.


{blank page}


The Mutuality of
Citizenship and Sovereignty
The Society of American Indians and
the Battle to Inherit America


US policymakers have long sought to define and regulate the relationship between the American Indian individual and the group, whether Native nation or US nation. In 1910 sociologist Fayette Avery McKenzie called ambiguity in Indian individuals' legal status "the great confusion in Indian policies" ("Indian and His Problem" 228). In the early twentieth century the tension between individual and group dwelt at the heart of the fight for US citizenship for American Indians, which seemed to require abjuring tribal life. The fraught choice between Native nation and US nation bedeviled the Society of American Indians (SAI) and frames the central question posed here: Why did the SAI identify the crucial problem of their day as wardship, an ambiguous legal status deemed curable by citizenship?1 Understanding SAI intellectuals requires more than judging them as sellouts or saviors by our current standards. Studying the SAI requires a decentering from us and now to visualize the options they faced or could imagine, to see the world as they saw it. To gain analytic purchase on the SAI in the early twentieth century, we must survey the landscape where settler colonial society asserted its rights to nationhood and territory and the federal government asserted its plenary powers over Native peoples.2
        The SAI has been criticized for desiring a US citizenship that would render Native sovereignties obsolete, based on the dichotomies conceived at the time: that "achieving" US citizenship meant refusing tribal authority. The settler-colonial concept of citizenship--with the material opportunities it enabled and blocked off for Native individuals--made the mutual exclusivity of Indian "ward" and US "citizen" appear inescapable and natural.3 At the time ward versus citizen looked like the only {334} choice possible. Similarly, contemporary settler-colonial conceptions of sovereignty made the choice for Native nations between domestic dependent nation or nothing at all appear inescapable, natural, and the only choice possible.4 Examining the concepts of citizenship, sovereignty, and their mutuality offers analytic purchase to understand the SAI's fight for US citizenship as a fight for a place as full, modern, and dynamic participants in American life.
        The mutuality5 of citizenship and sovereignty means they are linked in an ideological and material landscape, but not in a causal way. They rise up out of the same ground, shaped by similar contexts and serving similar purposes. In this analysis, the settler-colonial conceptions of citizenship and sovereignty share three characteristics of mutuality: (1) they mark a necessary, enduring difference as Indians for individuals as wards and for Native nations as domestic dependents; (2) to perpetuate Indianness, they use plenary power and trust authority to block access to home ownership for individuals and to economic development for Native nations; and (3) they strategically utilize ambiguity in Indian status to maintain federal powers over Indian individuals and nations. Detailing the mutuality of the terms sets the ideological and material context within which the SAI developed its goals, and against which some SAI members proposed Indigenous alternatives.
        The SAI's papers incisively identify industrial, educational, legal, political, moral, and religious problems whose sharp edges were shredding Indian country. Out of them all, reformers chose wardship as the crucial problem and proposed US citizenship as the cure. How was the concept of citizenship deployed? SAI archives reveal a language confined by false dichotomies as public discourses reiterated the incommensurability of wards and citizens, savagery and civilization, past and future, Native tribe and US nation--you can be or have one but not the other! The SAI's battle for the possibilities of a freedom they could imagine within US citizenship, however, was doomed by entrenched American interests to keep safely domesticated and clearly different "Indianness" under federal control.
        The US possessed powerful reasons to maintain Indian individuals as wards and tribes as domestic dependent nations, even after 1924 blanket citizenship.6 The either/or choices posed to Indians in the name of assimilation were illusions. We must question the rhetoric of assimilation, because abundant practices worked to maintain domesticated traits of {335} Indianness. Even in the federal boarding schools, erase-and-replace assimilation was constantly mitigated by two powerful forces. First, the schools were defined as Indian schools; everything about them reinforced the difference between whites and Indians. No student could easily emerge without a reinforced sense of Indianness, however denigrated that sense might be (Lomawaima; McBeth). Second, the schools were riddled with practices that belied assimilation: Native arts and crafts classes, pageants and performances of Indianness, reconstructions of "camp life" in the playgrounds.7 The apparent failure of nerve in the assimilation campaign must be confronted as more than anomalous or accidental. What purposes might maintenance of Indianness under strict federal control have served? Maintaining American Indians as wards, in circumstances that denied or destroyed economic development, served to legitimate US belief in its just inheritance of lands and freedom from Native peoples. The necessary existence of Indians as "Indians"--marked by selectively maintained cultural differences, economic incapacity, and communal property--reminded the world of the settler colony's assumed rights to nationhood and territory.
        Despite the constraints of the times, however, the SAI and its members sometimes reconciled or revealed the false binaries of public discourse as they fought for Native communities, lands, and resources. The grounded work of the Society offers a powerful legacy of layers. No one-size-fits-all answers exist in Indian country, but an effective strategy layers a political pragmatism attentive to local wishes and goals with determined, long-term work on national issues such as citizenship, treaty rights, or legal status to file claims. The SAI's advocacy for citizenship grew out of their belief in individual Indian's rights to full, valued contribution to the nation's social, economic, and political life. We might say they were also fighting for an inheritance, for an equitable, respected place in modern American society that descended from and remained connected to their indigeneity. The degree to which different SAI members construed the possibilities of coexistence of indigeneity and modernity, of life as a tribal member and an American individual, varied dramatically, and their archive is saturated with that tension. From our twenty-first-century perspective, the SAI's actions and imagination inspire possibilities of multiple, layered, mutually enriching citizenships as well as multiple, layered, partner sovereigns.



To unpack the meanings settler colonialism folded into citizenship and sovereignty we must ask when and why American Indians were included within these concepts, when their presence was obscured, and when access to key rights or resources was blocked off .8 Then, we must consider the concepts' mutuality.
        The US Constitution says little about the duties, rights, and privileges of citizenship, although the Bill of Rights spells out protections to be provided by the nation.9 The Constitution excluded Native nations from the social contract. Despite their pre-and extra-constitutional inherent sovereignty, by 1831 their citizens were treated as wards by the federal government, denied legal standing in the courts as individuals/non-citizens and as tribes/nonforeign nations. As the nineteenth century turned to the twentieth, however, diverse arguments for US citizenship for all American Indians arose from diverse quarters. Some, anticipating the decline of a dying race, wished to conclude Indian dependency and federal noblesse oblige. Some welcomed deracinated, deculturalized American Indians into the fold of citizenship as civilized, or civilize-able, partners. Many Native people were desperate to escape the crushing chokehold of federal paternalism. Some Native people wished to disengage from tribal governance. Citizenship had other attractions, as captured in a vignette published by Gertrude Bonnin/Zitkala-Sa. Bonnin found herself accosted by a white woman, who exclaimed, "You are an Indian! Well, I knew when I first saw you that you must be a foreigner" (Peyer 300). Bonnin thought of ten thousand Native men on World War I battlefields, $12 million in Liberty Loans from Native people, the "Utah Squaw" who donated $500 to the Red Cross, leaving herself $13. "America! Home of Democracy, when shall the Red Man be emancipated? When shall the Red Man be deemed worthy of full citizenship?" (Peyer 301). US citizenship was conceived as a cure for various pathologies: federal handouts sapping initiative; the dangers cultural difference posed to homogeneous national identity; extreme, often brutal, exercise of power; elimination from a national community. These notions of citizenship permeated public debate and influenced SAI strategies and goals.
        The component of US citizenship that grounds this analysis, because it was blocked off for American Indians on tribal land, is the right to fee {337} simple private property.10 US citizens have a fundamental right to acquire fee simple title to land as private property.11 Treaties and the Dawes (General Allotment) Act rhetorically extended this right to Indians as a civilizing mechanism, but implementation was both circumscribed and corrupted at its heart. Indian allottees did not share the same freedoms as non-Native citizens to buy, own, and sell. Allotment pretended to extend civilization and citizenship to American Indians, while the twin doctrines of trust and plenary power blocked off access to civilization's economic wealth and citizenship's right of property ownership.12 The corruption at the heart of allotment, however, goes beyond intentions to consequences: the illusory nature of Native individual ownership and the transfer of vast tracts of real estate to non-Native citizens.13 Importantly, non-Native citizens enjoy the right to own homes on their land. Through the twentieth century, homeownership became an ideal, if not always realizable, goal anchoring US identity. The majority of homeowners depend on the capital investment tool of mortgage loans to achieve homeownership or possession. Trust status of individual allotments and reservation lands blocked off access to mortgages and homeownership, even after Congress conferred citizenship on American Indians in 1924. This example reveals how a key right of citizenship was blocked off for American Indians. Native individuals have simultaneously been invited into the fold of citizenship but held at arm's length, marked as different: citizens-but-wards. We now turn to an analogous analysis of the concept of sovereignty, to see what it has blocked off for Native nations.
        Federalism is the paradigmatic structure of co-existent sovereigns in the US, with the federal government as central authority and the states as constituent (whether cooperating or competing) political units. The Constitution names federal laws (including treaties) as the supreme law of the land, but sovereign relations within federalism have been hotly contested from its inception. Meanwhile, Native nations have operated within as well as beside and often under the radar of federalism, shaping American notions of governance and sovereignty along the way. The role of Native nations has often been obscured because the states' status as constituent sovereigns has been blocked off to Native nations. Native nations have been marked as domestic dependent nations, the useful status fabricated by Chief Justice Marshall, not as political partners within a framework of layered sovereignties.14 Marking the difference of Native nations as domestic dependent nations constitutes a mutuality {338} with citizenship, which marked individuals as wards. Another mutuality between sovereignty and citizenship is economic. Federal trust and plenary powers have blocked off Native nations' access to capital investment for economic development just as they have blocked individual access to home loans.
        Ambiguity constitutes another mutuality between citizenship and sovereignty.15 Progressive intellectuals proposed US citizenship to cure the ambiguous status of Indian wards. Native nations have held similarly ambiguous status in US law and discourse: sovereigns? semi-sovereigns? domestic dependent nations? That ambiguity was not fore-grounded as a problem requiring solution, but was folded into the citizenship debate as an inconvenience that would disappear. Once individual Indians were classed as US citizens, it was assumed, there would be no place for Native nations. However, the Indian Citizenship Act (ICA) itself preserved a place for Native nations by mentioning tribal property: "all non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided, That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property."16 The provision--like Indian pageants within the boarding schools--seems anomalous if we ignore the import for America of preserving Indianness and federal powers over Indianness.
        Citizenship and sovereignty have been designed to maintain Indianness. Interventions of federal trust and plenary power have secured lands and resources to federal and full citizens' hands. Material access to economic opportunities has been manipulated to maintain Indianness, marked by poverty and all its attendant ills.17 The rationale for and consequences of maintaining Indianness are profoundly economic and profoundly ideological. Assimilation must never accomplish its erase-and-replace goals. Indians-as-wards must persist as a progenitor to and foil for American identity; Indians-as-tribes (domestic dependents) must persist as a progenitor to and foil for US claims to "complete" sovereignty. Both conditions are necessary to validate US inheritance.
        Inheritance of identity and land is linked to notions of freedom, labor, efficiency, and technology. Thisba Huston Morgan, a federal teacher on the Lakota reservation in the 1890s, described Sioux "braves" in her memoir: "Their brave spirits were broken. The buffalo was gone. They were utterly bereft of such perfect freedom as no other race of free men {339} had ever known in our free land" (Morgan 29, emphasis added). Colonial supremacy forged this nostalgia and claimed the inheritance of freedom. Labor defined free, civilized citizens, whose work ethic and productivity stood in contrast to the misdirected labor or lack of labor attributed to savages. Inheritance of land has been rationalized by the beliefs that "civilized" societies support more people by more efficient and effective land use through "advanced" technologies. Many at the turn of the last century commented on the American inheritance from Indians. In 1913 President Taft spoke of perpetuating "the memory of the succession from the red to the white race in the ownership and control of this Western Hemisphere" (Maddox 40). McKenzie characterized the philosophy of just conquest of Indians as "the conscious or unconscious comfort of a nation which dispossesses an ancient people and enters into the inheritance of continental wealth" ("American Indian" 135).
        Beyond the rationale of civilization's entitlements, inheritance requires a juridically and morally valid relationship: how and why is x the legal, proper heir to y? Biological descent is the most straightforward relationship of inheritance, but that possibility could not easily traverse early nineteenth-century conceptions of racial divide. The guardian/ ward relationship could juridically and morally validate inheritance, especially when the ward's incapacities remained clearly in view: the poverty, childishness, and communal property associated with savagery. Thus, the just and legal passage of property from Native America to the US required that Native people and tribes persist in controlled forms. One who bequeaths an estate to an heir may be dead and gone when the legal transaction finalizes, but murder by the heir to achieve the estate is frowned upon and may abrogate the inheritance.18 Indianness needed to persist, but not Indians as political and economic equals, full citizens, or partner sovereigns. To demonstrate that lands had been justly transferred to capable heirs, the US and its fully entitled citizens, Indians needed to persist as incompetent wards and incapable tribes. In this logic, fee simple ownership of private property stood as a premier marker of civilized status, and could not be attached to Indians.19


Many SAI intellectuals struggled with the false dichotomy between a "free" civilized individualism and a "shackled" tribal identity; many em-{346}braced the former. At the same time, they consistently supported Native people firmly rooted in Native communities. In addition to seven national planks (including the fight for citizenship), the 1912 Annual Conference platform listed numerous local resolutions regarding the protection of Jicarilla timber; Pueblo legal status; title to Mescalero Apache lands; the murder of Seminole DeSoto Tiger; land restitution to the Turtle Mountain Chippewa; deplorable land conditions in Minnesota, especially at White Earth; and consideration of Cayuga claims for lands sold by New York state.20 Two years later, SAI President Sherman Coolidge lauded work to help free the Apaches held as POWs in Oklahoma; aid a Native woman in Montana to access her individual monies from the BIA; aid the Kickapoo tribe; and advocate for Congressional bills for citizenship and access to the Court of Claims.21 Local to national layering characterized the work of the Society as well as its members. Nationally, Carlos Montezuma supported erase-and-replace assimilation and abjuration of old-time, past-tense Native traditions, but he worked in Arizona to support Yavapai land rights, Pima water rights for irrigation, even rights to Indigenous dance, which he called the "occasional celebration" (Iverson 423). Given the diverse issues with which the SAI engaged, we return to our central question: Why identify US citizenship as the cure for all challenges beleaguering Indian country?
        Defined status and citizenship were foundational planks in the SAI platform, and on January 19, 1912 Congressman Charles D. Carter, at SAI suggestion, introduced House Bill 18334 "to create an Indian Code Commission to codify the laws" regarding the status of Indians taxed/ not taxed, and to define Indian status more exactly.22 On the surface, the SAI and its members appear to have accepted the dichotomy between Indian identity and US citizenship. Henry Roe Cloud wrote: "The economic changes necessarily carry with them the decadence [i.e., demise] of Indian religions" (Cloud, "Future" 529). Yet in the same essay he wrote, "What part have the children of the Red Man in the America that is to be? . . . shall not these contributions of race antiquity, distinctive arts and handicrafts, music and folklore . . . help to make America what she should be?" Every thinking American, he proposed, should engage with the "task of conserving what is distinctive in aboriginal American life" (529).
        What about Angel DeCora, who refused to take a job teaching art classes in the Indian Bureau if she could not introduce Native designs? {341} How do we reconcile that stand with the paper she read at the 1911 meeting, stating that the highest order of art was reached by the Greeks and Italians, "models for the whole world"? In a self-descriptive pamphlet, The SAI, a national organization of Indians, appears this unequivocal statement: "There is no hope in the past, it is dead. Life lies ahead; look ahead; plan ahead."23 Elsewhere, Parker and Coolidge wrote: "While the Society and its founders most sincerely appreciate the splendid elements and achievements of the old-time Indian culture, it realizes most keenly the inefficacy of using ancient ways to meet modern requirements" (1).24 And yet they concluded by asserting their right to an active voice in Indian rights and destiny.
        How do we unravel the tightly knotted bundle that included an assertive Native voice to determine rights and destiny, the locally grounded work done for Indian people, and some Native intellectuals' embrace of the equation opposing citizenship/whiteness/modernity to savagery/Indianness/backwardness? Two readings offer a way through the tangle. The first, suggested by Patrick Wolfe, sets the SAI in the context of Progressive campaigns calculated to make over white homes and gender relations, urban workers, and agrarian families in a middleclass image. Indians were not the only ones being asked to turn away from the past to embrace a new future, as "the ideological transformation [from Victorianism to progressivism] not only drove middle-class people to change themselves and to make new homes; it also demanded that they change the world around them" (McGerr 42). SAI concern over the "the inefficacy of using ancient ways to meet modern requirements" might refer to outdated settler colonial strategies incapable of meeting the requirements of modern Indians living as part of US society. In this scenario, both Indians and US society must change in order to make a place for Indian people. Kevin Bruyneel argues that Eastman and Montezuma argued "simultaneously for US citizenship and for the persistence of a culturally distinct indigenous identity" (107).25
        Sherman Coolidge expressed such an expansive, inclusive vision at the 1911 meeting: "the time has come when the best educated and most cultured members of the [Indian] race should come together from the silence to voice their common demands; to interpret correctly the Indian heart, and to contribute . . . their influence and exertion . . . in all lines of progress and reform, for the welfare of the Indian race in particular, and all humanity in general" (qtd. in Waggoner 189). SAI member {342} Oliver Lamere proclaimed that if absorption meant complete disappearance of what was worth preserving in Indian culture, he would choose to die: "But it does not mean that, and the fact that the Society of American Indians could be organized is the best proof that it does not mean that" (361). Carlos Montezuma had an extreme view of the personal liberties version of citizenship, but he wrote, "The feathers, paint, and moccasin will vanish, but the Indians,--never!" (Iverson 426). In Montezuma's view, the Indian would change externally but survive as "an industrial and commercial man, competing with the world" (Iverson 426). Henry Roe Cloud wrote not only of the "Indian problem" but also "the white man's problems," including great wealth amassed in a few hands, immigrants crammed in tenement slums, alcoholism, and race prejudice (Cloud, "Education" 240). Laura Cornelius Kellogg excoriated White Americans and made radical proposals to restructure Native economies, reclaim Iroquois lands, even reconstruct the old League of the Confederacy (Hauptman; Kellogg). "Bring me the buckskin robe embroidered in the art of the people I love," proclaimed Kellogg, "Bring me the eagle plume that stands for vision and valor. I want to be with the fraternity [of Natives who remain staunch to ancestral standards of truth], for it is very dark before the dawn--and tomorrow emancipation" (Kellogg 33). Wolfe proposes that the SAI's advocacy for citizenship can be read as a strategic move consistent with fighting for Yavapai water rights: both strategies worked to accommodate Indian lifeways within a more plural democracy by devising a pragmatic strategy to change US Indian policy (Patrick Wolfe, personal communication, 2012). The SAI's "ideological common denominator was the postulate of a non-vanishing Indian race as a vital element in a democratic and progressive nation" (Hertzberg, Search 79). Indians were here, and Indians were here to stay, on Indian terms.
        The second reading, suggested by Tom Holm, sets the consolidation of federal plenary power over Indians in a larger context. Increasing governmental control was not unique to Indian country. The Progressive Era increased regulation and federal bureaucratic power across America. Holm points out the control of public lands amassed under the secretary of interior, federal Prohibition and, slightly later, the Red Scare-era acceptance of the federal attorney general's "insidious tactics to rid the nation of communists, anarchists, and sundry other 'un-American' ideologies and ideologues" (180). Power was at the crux of things, and full access to power was blocked off by constructing different kinds of {343} citizens. Did citizenship really mean individual self-determination and "almost unlimited personal liberty in a democratic society" (Holm 171)? That notion of citizenship could easily, from a Native Progressive perspective, have meant protection from overweening federal plenary powers. I think it most certainly was taken that way by intellectuals such as Carlos Montezuma. Others--including federal authorities--undoubtedly had different ideas about what citizenship might mean. Even for white citizens, the twentieth century has meant the increasing regulation pointed out by Holm. Blacks have long known that US citizenship has not meant rights to vote, and Indians before and after 1924 have seen that citizenship does not mean exemption from wardship. That was obvious even as the SAI fought for citizenship.26 Supreme Court rulings from 1908 to 1916 declared that citizen status did not exempt Indians from federal guardianship.27 The need to block off access to power, economic development, and private property ownership, coupled with the need to preserve domesticated Indianness, directed US construction of a distinctive citizen-but-ward status for American Indians.
        From the twenty-first century we can see what did not end in 1924: individual status as wards and domestic dependent status for nations (interestingly, the possibility and reality of Native nations as inherent sovereigns did not end, either). We can see that conceptions of citizen-but-ward and sovereign-but-domestic dependent served the agendas of settler colonial entitlement and federal plenary power. In the ensuing century, citizenship co-existed with wardship for Indians; with Jim Crow laws and denial of the vote for blacks; and with gross inequities in domestic and work settings for women. Citizenship was promised as a cure for the pathological ambiguities of ward status, but the promise was a lie. All the ambiguities attendant to wardship have persisted to the present day precisely because they have been so useful to federal powers, and occasionally to Native people and nations as well.


SAI intellectuals grappled with the ambiguous status of Native individuals and nations and saw citizenship as a cure for both, wagering everything on the alleged promises of liberty, autonomy, and self-determination attached to the concept at the time. They asserted their right to a voice in their own affairs and their position as "a vital ele-{344} ment in a democratic and progressive nation" (Hertzberg, Search 79). The SAI's intellectuals bequeathed us imagination, optimism, and determination to keep fighting for the welfare of Native peoples. In 1922, only a few months before tuberculosis took his life, Carlos Montezuma wrote these words about the SAI in the last paragraph of the last article he wrote for Wassaja:

. . . if the world be against us, let us not be dismayed, let us not be discouraged, let us look up and go ahead, and fight on for freedom and citizenship of our people. If it means death, let us die on the pathway that leads to the emancipation of our race; keeping in our hearts that our children will pass over our graves to victory. (qtd. in Iverson 425)28

In the twenty-first century, Native people and nations know that we are here, and we are here to stay. What might we imagine? What might we work toward? The SAI's legacy of layers can guide us as we ponder these questions.
        Faced with the choice between Indian wardship's bitter subjugations and US citizenship's illusory freedoms, the SAI chose citizenship. Perhaps they chose the possibilities they could imagine within citizenship and a plural democratic nation. In their work for Native people, SAI intellectuals developed layered possibilities that stretched far beyond the false dichotomy of savagery versus civilization posed by settler colonial society. Local work imagined and opened up possibilities of living as fully modern citizens, dynamic contributors to the democratic life of the US, and as nations with inherent sovereignty. In the past century Native individuals, nations, and intellectuals have further developed ideas of multiple, layered citizenships and multiple, layered sovereignties that open up possibilities rather than block them off. Native peoples must have the power to make choices within the realm of possibilities, not the realm of foreclosed opportunities. This requires opening up notions of sovereignty in particular ways.
        Sovereignty can be defined as self-determination, self-government, and self-education (Lomawaima and McCarty; Wilkins and Lomawaima). The self in self-determination is deeply rooted in histories of reaction against control by others. For much (but not all) of the past two centuries, Native American goals have been set by funding agencies and government bureaus; governance has been at the discretion of the secre-{345}tary of interior, Congress, courts, or regulatory agencies; education has been conceived, implemented, and assessed for not by Indians. However, over the past two centuries Native peoples have been inextricably part of US society, the world, modernity, and global economies. How might we think of sovereignty in a less self-centered, reactive way? Native nations know deeply and daily how layers of sovereignty are inextricably woven together: municipality, state, and federal governments and Native nations. Native imagination need not reach far to define sovereignty as proactively planning, governing, and educating in a broad context that percolates far beyond reservation boundaries. That reality has already arrived in the form of overlapping law enforcement jurisdictions (Luna-Firebaugh); regional collaboratives to manage resources (Nesper); and tribal, state, and federal educational offices regulating schools and programs (Lomawaima and McCarty). This list extends into every arena of life. It will, however, require a significant reach of US federal and state imagination to proactively and respectfully cooperate with Native nations as sovereign partners. The question remains open. Can Indigenous persistence and prosperity on Indigenous terms overturn a vested sense of American inheritance that depends upon controlling Indianness and perpetuating Indian poverty?
        SAI intellectuals bequeathed us important legacies to deal with the central questions of our times: a concept of layered citizenships and sovereignties, the certainty that extraordinary commitment is still required, and examples of how Native intellectuals can imagine possibilities, excavate evidence, construct ideas, deconstruct fallacies and, one hopes, gain analytic purchase.29


Thanks to Jean Dennison, Khalil Johnson, John Troutman, David Wilkins, and Patrick Wolfe for generous, constructive advice. All errors of fact, omission, and interpretation remain my own.


        1. The idea of Indian wardship developed incrementally and sporadically. Articulated by Supreme Court Chief Justice Marshall in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), it has never been formalized in treaty or statute. SAI intellectuals {346} frequently used "wardship" to refer to what they termed the ambiguous status of Native people in law and in American society.
        2. Analytic purchase is Jean O'Brien's term, recognizing that few broad theories unify Indigenous studies, but that analysis is crucial. Analytic purchase requires provocative questions, close observation of evidence, and analysis to gain an intellectual grasp--i.e., purchase--on our subjects.
        3. Progressive national discourses about citizenship occurred when many Indians were already citizens. Indians were judged persons in the eyes of US law in Standing Bear v. Crook (1879), which "held that Indians had the right to withdraw from their tribe--to expatriate from their nation and live apart--if they so desired" (Wilkins, American Indian 19). Standing Bear did not settle the question of citizenship, however. In 1884 in Elk v. Wilkins the Supreme Court ruled "an Indian who was born a member of an Indian tribe, although he voluntarily separated himself from the tribe and took up residence among white citizens, was not thereby a citizen of the United States. Some specific act of Congress was necessary to naturalize him" (Prucha 684). Congress responded to this case, in part, with the General Allotment Act but did not resolve the ambiguity of wardship versus citizenship (Prucha; Wilkins, American Indian).

        4. Bruyneel resists "imperial binaries" such as these by proposing a "third space of sovereignty" on the boundaries of, rather than fully inside or outside, the American political system.
        5. Mutuality is Patrick Wolfe's term, which he uses to "move beyond accidental affinities (the two happened both to coexist and to harmonize) towards a more positive explanatory relationship" (Settler Colonialism 43).

        6. Both ward and domestic dependent nation, it must be repeated, are fictive statuses created for federal convenience to erase the reality of Native nations' inherent sovereignty (Wilkins and Lomawaima; Wilkinson).
        7. See Lomawaima and McCarty for full discussion of these anomalies; see Green and Troutman for pageants and performances; see Troutman and Deloria for the early twentieth-century breadth of Indian performance and the performance of "Indian."
        8. "Blocking off " at the abstract level of ideology is porous; practitioners consistently exploit loopholes in policy.

        9. For the Constitution, see; for the Bill of Rights see
        10. I focus here on tribal lands: reservations and allotments. Knack details how fee simple property ownership was also made extremely difficult for Indians off-reservation.

11. Patrick Wolfe argues, "Property starts where Indianness stops" ("Corpus nullius" 134). When Euro-American sovereigns granted fee simple title to their {347} citizens, "settlers became the sort of people who could own rather than merely occupy. . . . only Indian occupancy was detachable from title. Fee simple in the United States, as in other settler colonies, remains traceable to a sovereign grant" (134).
        12. I am not arguing for or against allotment, trust status, or plenary authority; but I am articulating what rights adhered to citizenship, or not, when applied to Indians.
        13. Total Indian landholdings fell "from 138 million acres in 1887 to 52 million acres in 1934. More than 26 million acres of allotted land was transferred out of Indian hands after it passed out of trust" (Wilkinson 20).
        14. An appropriate position for Native nations, as inherent sovereigns who predate the Constitution, is partner sovereign, rather than a constituent unit within federalism. Federalism's utility lies in recognizing how sovereignties can layer collaborative, productive working relationships. Layers need not be horizontal and hierarchical. Maaka and Fleras envision "living together differently" in a "post-colonial alternative . . . that endorses a new social contract based on constitutional partners living in constructive co-existence" (10, 11).

        15. Wilkins sees the ambiguity within the federal government's "indeterminate relationship with tribal nations and their members" as a double-edged sword enabling political and legal flexibility while potentially depriving Indigenous peoples of "clear and consistent understanding or the powers and rights they may be capable of exercising" ("Manipulation" 224).
        16. The Statutes at Large of the United States of America, vol. 43: December 1923 to March 1925, Approved June 2, 1924. Chap. 233, An Act To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue certificates of citizenship to Indians. Available at 285. When the ica was signed into law, about 125,000 of approximately 300,000 American Indians in the United States were made citizens; the rest already were (Bruyneel).
        17. As Alexandra Harmon (Rich Indians) argues, many Americans consider rich Indians anomalous, even dangerous.

        18. Although McKenzie said of those who believed colonial expropriation of Indian lands was God's design: "Deception and robbery, some would imply, may be even the chosen instruments of Providence to place the wealth of the world in the hands of the efficient agents of civilization" ("American Indian" 136).
        19. See Harmon ("American Indians") for extensive evidence of how Progressive reformers and others equated civilization with the exclusive holding of private property. Blocking access to private property, then, cemented Indian status as savage wards.
        20. Platform of the Second Annual Conference of SAI, 1912. Papers of the SAI, Roll 10, Part 2, Series 2-Publications (con't).
        21. Proceedings of Fourth Annual Conference, SAI, 1914. Papers of the SAI, Roll
{348} 10, Part 2, Series 2-Publications (con't). From the website of the US Department of the Interior (DOI), Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians: "An IIM account [Individual Indian Money Account] is an interest-bearing account that is managed by DOI on behalf of a person who has money or other assets held for them in trust by the federal government. An IIM account may also be established as a result of a court-ordered judgment or settlement award." http://www.ost
        22. Carter, Chickasaw, was a Representative from Oklahoma (Hertzberg, "Indian Rights" 307). For more on House bill 18334 see McKenzie, "The Indian and Citizenship."
        23. The SAI: A National Organization of Indians, n. d., 7. Papers of the SAI, Roll 10, Part 2, Series 2--Publications (con't). The pamphlet is not dated but lists officers of 1913-1914.
        24. According to Hauptman, fellow SAI founding member Laura Cornelius "Minnie" Kellogg, at whose home this statement was drafted, disagreed with its paternalistic tone.

        25. See Bruyneel for discussion of active Native resistance to the "gift" of US citizenship, e.g., by Tuscarora Chief Clinton Rickard.
        26. Hoxie discusses "settled legal doctrine" at the time: "that the extension of citizenship to Indians did not alter their status as legal wards of the government" (236).
        27. See Maddox and Wilkins for U.S. v. Nice (1916), which held "that an enfranchised Indian allottee was still subject to congressional power . . . citizenship is not incompatible with tribal existence or continued guardianship, and so may be conferred without completely emancipating the Indians or placing them beyond the reach of congressional regulations adopted for their protection" (qtd. in Wilkins, American Indian 24-25).

        28. Published in Wassaja 8 (November 1922). Montezuma passed away on 31 Jan. 1923 (Iverson).
        29. Gratitude is due to Robert Warrior for his groundbreaking work in analyzing and advocating for the work of Native intellectuals.


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_ _ _. Tribal Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1995. Print.

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Contributor Biographies

KRISTINA ACKLEY (Oneida/Bad River Ojibwe) teaches Native American studies at The Evergreen State College. In addition to coediting a collection of Laura Cornelius Kellogg's writings with Cristina Stanciu, she is completing a manuscript on Oneida placemaking.

CHADWICK ALLEN is professor of English and coordinator for the American Indian Studies program at The Ohio State University. Author of Blood Narrative: Indigenous Identity in American Indian and Maori Literary and Activist Texts (2002) and Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies (2012), he is the current editor of Studies in American Indian Literatures.

CATHLEEN D. CAHILL, associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico, is the author of Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869-1933 (2011).

MARTI L. CHAATSMITH (Comanche), associate director of the Newark Earthworks Center at The Ohio State University at Newark, lives and works in the Ohio Valley near the extraordinary Newark Earthworks. Current collaborative projects include contemporary Native artists' responses to the earthworks;, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities; facilitating Indian participation in the World Heritage Site nomination of Ohio's earthworks; and an interactive computer model of the lunar observatory at Octagon Earthworks funded by Battelle.

PHILIP J. DELORIA is Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor of History and American Studies and associate dean for undergradu-{358}ate education in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Playing Indian (1998) and Indians in Unexpected Places (2004), and coeditor, with Neal Salisbury, of A Companion to American Indian History (2004).

P. JANE HAFEN (Taos Pueblo) is professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the editor of Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems and the Sun Dance Opera by Zitkala-Sa (2001) and Critical Insights: Louise Erdrich (2012), a coeditor for The Great Plains Reader (2003), and the author of articles and book chapters on American Indian literatures.

K. TSIANINA LOMAWAIMA (Muskogee/Creek) is professor of American Indian studies at the University of Arizona. A historian who has focused on federal boarding schools and federal Indian policy in the twentieth century, she is the author of They Called it Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School (1994), Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences (2000, with Margaret Archuleta and Brenda Child), Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law (2001, with David Wilkins), and "To Remain an Indian": Lessons for Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (2006, with Teresa McCarty).

KYLE T. MAYS, of Saginaw Anishinaabek heritage, is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His dissertation explores representations of American Indians, Native political culture, and the relationship between blackness and indigeneity in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Detroit.

THOMAS C. MAROUKIS, chair of the Department of History at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, is the author of Peyote and the Yankton Sioux: The Life and Times of Sam Necklace (2004) and The Peyote Road: Religious Freedom and the Native American Church (2010).

DAVID MARTÍNEZ (Gila River Pima) is associate professor of American Indian studies at Arizona State University. He is the author of Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought (2009) and editor of The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972 (2011).

JULIANNE NEWMARK, an associate professor of English at New Mexico Tech, teaches courses in American and Native American literature, writing, and visual rhetoric, and serves as the editor of the ejournal Xchanges. Her current research focuses on early twentieth-century Native textual activism and on the impacts of specific US legislative actions on Indigenous writing.

MARGARET NOODIN / Giiwedinoodin (Anishinaabe heritage, waabzheshiinh doodem) received an MFA in writing and a PhD in English and linguistics from the University of Minnesota. She is director of the Comprehensive Studies Program and teaches American Indian literature at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on the recovery and maintenance of Anishinaabe language and literature. Current research includes language proficiency and the study of Indigenous literary aesthetics. Visit to hear and see more.

BETH H. PIATOTE is associate professor of Native American studies at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature (2013).

RENYA K. RAMIREZ is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. An associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, she is the author of Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond (2007).

GREGORY D. SMITHERS teaches history at Virginia Commonwealth University. His most recent book, The Cherokee Diaspora, is forthcoming from Yale University Press.

CRISTINA STANCIU is assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she teaches courses in American Indian and multiethnic literatures, visual culture, and critical theory. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in American Indian Quarterly, Studies in American Indian Literatures, College English, Wicazo Sa Review, Intertexts, Film & History, edited collections, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. With Kristina Ackley, she is completing an edited collection of the writings of Laura Cornelius Kellogg.

Contact: Robert Nelson
This page was last modified on: 07/19/14