Domestic Subjects

Domestic Subjects

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Domestic Subjects
    Book Description:

    Amid the decline of U.S. military campaigns against Native Americans in the late nineteenth century, assimilation policy arose as the new front in the Indian Wars, with its weapons the deployment of culture and law, and its locus the American Indian home and family. In this groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, Piatote tracks the double movement of literature and law in the contest over the aims of settler-national domestication and the defense of tribal-national culture, political rights, and territory.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18909-4
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. A Note on Terminology
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. 1-15)

    A photograph from 1892 shows three Nez Perce girls kneeling on a grassy slope, their faces turned away from the camera, their hands and minds intent upon the worlds of their making. Rising on her knees, the girl on the left draws a tipi canvas taut across miniature lodge poles, perhaps playing house. In the middle of the frame, a girl nestles a cradleboard in her lap, gently tugging the laces to secure a baby doll inside. The beaded flowers of the cradleboard create a floral interplay with the petals of the girl’s lace collar. Emerging from different aesthetic and...

  5. 1. ENTANGLED LOVE Marriage, Consent, and National Belonging in Works by E. Pauline Johnson and John M. Oskison
    (pp. 17-47)

    The “indian girl of modern fiction” suffered a great deal at the pen of popular American and Canadian writers in the nineteenth century, a fact lamented by the Mohawk writer E. Pauline Johnson in an essay she wrote in 1892. According to Johnson, popular fiction could conjure only one “regulation Indian maiden.” She was ever the daughter of a chief; her appellation was invariably Winona or a similar sounding name; and her tribal affiliation was undefined, as she was “merely a wholesome sort of mixture of any band.” To this template add the possession of “a suicidal mania. Her unhappy,...

  6. 2. UNNATURAL CHILDREN Adoption and Loss in S. Alice Callahan’s Wynema and E. Pauline Johnson’s “Catharine of the ‘Crow’s Nest’”
    (pp. 49-89)

    During the assimilation period “sentiment” drove Indian policy. The wholesale removal of Indian children from their families in order to place them in government-sponsored residential and day schools depended upon public understandings of family and tribal-national domesticities as aberrant formations that were hostile to the settler states of the United States and Canada.¹ Promoters of the compulsory education policy, including the Friends of the Indian, tended to frame the policy through two interlinked concepts of the settler-national family: one, that the federal government was responsible for educating its wards, the Indians; and two, that Indian parents were jeopardizing the welfare...

  7. 3. PREOCCUPATIONS Labor, Land, and Performance in Mourning Dove’s Cogewea
    (pp. 91-131)

    In the opening chapters of Mourning Dove’s western novelCogewea: The Half-Blood, the workers on the Horseshoe Bend Ranch are caught up in the seasonal roundup of horses, an activity that alters their regular schedules. The heroine, Cogewea, who under normal circumstances is free to ride the range, read books, and take part in domestic duties as she pleases, is enlisted full-time in cooking, housework, and the care of her two young nephews. The work is relentless: while Cogewea and her sister Julia “were weary of the endless cooking and constant clatter of dishes,” the male ranch hands, some hired...

  8. 4. THE LONG ARM OF LONE WOLF Disciplinary Paternalism and the Problem of Agency in D’Arcy McNickle’s The Surrounded
    (pp. 133-172)

    The landscape of d’arcy mcnickle’s dark novel,The Surrounded, is storied before the novel begins. The frontispiece points to long histories of the place through an epigraph: “They called that placeSniél-emen(Mountains of the Surrounded) because there they had been set upon and destroyed.”¹ The epigraph, positioned outside of the narrative, bears both historic and prophetic properties. In a Salish history of the Treaty of Hellgate, the termSi-ni-el-le-emis defined as “surrounded” or the “place that is surrounded.” It is “thought to take its name from a sheltered place enclosed by mountains. Tradition relates that a band of...

    (pp. 173-179)

    Throughout this book i have sought to advance a central claim: Indian wars are wars on Indian families. During the assimilation period the Indian family home and relations served as the locus of settler-national efforts to diminish or eliminate the tribal-national polity. Policies such as child removal, compulsory boarding school, marriage regulation, and land allotment shattered Indian families and homelands alike. In revealing the violence of the assimilation era, I have tried to illuminate the responses of indigenous writers and the critical role they played in articulating critique, creating alternative visions, and producing anticolonial imaginaries. These writers both drew upon...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 181-184)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 185-206)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-220)
  13. Index
    (pp. 221-234)