Blood Will Tell: Native Americans and Assimilation Policy

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2017-05-30 20:55Z by Steven

Blood Will Tell: Native Americans and Assimilation Policy

University of Nebraska Press
2017-08-01
252 pages
5 illustrations, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-2543-5

Katherine Ellinghaus, Hansen Lectureship in History
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies
University of Melbourne

Blood Will Tell reveals the underlying centrality of “blood” that shaped official ideas about who was eligible to be defined as Indian by the General Allotment Act in the United States. Katherine Ellinghaus traces the idea of blood quantum and how the concept came to dominate Native identity and national status between 1887 and 1934 and how related exclusionary policies functioned to dispossess Native people of their land. The U.S. government’s unspoken assumption at the time was that Natives of mixed descent were undeserving of tribal status and benefits, notwithstanding that Native Americans of mixed descent played crucial roles in the national implementation of allotment policy.

Ellinghaus explores on-the-ground case studies of Anishinaabeg, Arapahos, Cherokees, Eastern Cherokees, Cheyennes, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, Lakotas, Lumbees, Ojibwes, Seminoles, and Virginia tribes. Documented in these cases, the history of blood quantum as a policy reveals assimilation’s implications and legacy. The role of blood quantum is integral to understanding how Native Americans came to be one of the most disadvantaged groups in the United States, and it remains a significant part of present-day debates about Indian identity and tribal membership. Blood Will Tell is an important and timely contribution to current political and scholarly debates.

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Taking Assimilation to Heart: Marriages of White Women and Indigenous Men in the United States and Australia, 1887-1937

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, United States, Women on 2009-09-01 23:52Z by Steven

Taking Assimilation to Heart: Marriages of White Women and Indigenous Men in the United States and Australia, 1887-1937

University of Nebraska Press
2006
278 pages
Illus.
hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-1829-1
paperback ISBN: 978-0-8032-2487-2

Katherine Ellinghaus
University of Melbourne

Taking Assimilation to Heart examines marriages between white women and indigenous men in Australia and the United States between 1887 and 1937.  In these settler societies, white women were expected to reproduce white children to keep the white race “pure”–hence special anxieties were associated with their sexuality, and marriages with indigenous men were rare events. As such, these interracial marriages illuminate the complicated social, racial, and national contexts in which they occurred.

This study of the ideological and political context of marriages between white women and indigenous men uncovers striking differences between the policies of assimilation endorsed by Australia and those encouraged by the United States. White Australians emphasized biological absorption, in which indigenous identity would be dissolved through interracial relationships, while white Americans promoted cultural assimilation, attempting to alter the lifestyles of indigenous people rather than their physical appearance. This disparity led, in turn, to differing emphases on humanitarian reforms, education policies, and social mobility, which affected the social status of the white women and indigenous men who married each other.

Shifting from the personal to the local to the transnational, Taking Assimilation to Heart extends our understanding of the ways in which individual lives have been part of the culture of colonialism.

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