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Title: "A strife in the blood" : miscegenation, the half breed and the racial logics of Dawes Act America, 1887-1934
Author: Roberts, Rachel
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2010
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The 'Indian' as an allegorical figure is highly significant in American cultural history, representing not only the assumptions and racial logics surrounding the Native American but also engaging with beliefs about the frontier experience, the nation's origins, and American exceptionalism. By 1887 this figure had been formed into the 'vanishing' and 'noble' Plains Indian, which remains the popular image of the Native American today. Between 1887 and 1934 however the national policies on Native American issues experienced a revolutionary change from the enforced assimilation of the Dawes Act to the preserving concerns of the Indian Reorganization Act. By examining the way in which cultural productions of the time negotiated the figures of the 'Indian' when brought into contact with the 'white' in tales of interracial relationships, and the resultant 'half breed' which was the outcome of such contact, this study highlights the consistencies in the racial logics which supported both acts and illuminates their shared roots. By analysing over seventy novels and short stories along with numerous early films and images this study adds depth to our understanding of the images of the 'Indian' and the 'half breed' as well providing a new perspective on both the Dawes Act and the Indian Reorganization Act. It clarifies the racial logics at the heart of late-nineteenth and early- twentieth century American society and examines how these logics were constructed in new ways around old assumptions. In this way the importance of immutable racial classification and a belief in inheritable racial 'character' is highlighted, in an America shown to be particularly concerned with racial demarcations to support its political and social structures. Ambiguity is shown to be the greatest challenge to these structures and to have given rise to new ways of reasserting essentially racist ideologies. This study is a contribution to a growing body of research into marginality in American history and racial belief, and brings a new perspective on the image of the 'Indian' in American culture while shedding light on the little studied figure of the' half breed' .
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available