"The pen among our people" : strategies of survivance and assimilation resistance in indigenous rhetoric from Indian newspapers, lawsuits, and society journals, 1870-1924
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In "The Pen Among Our People," I explore three different strategies that Indigenous peoples utilized from 1870 to 1924 to both ensure their survival and resist systematic oppression. During this period, the malicious transformation of sovereign Indian nations into dependent wards of the United States oriented Indigenous resistance toward ensuring the survival of Indian peoples, lands, and resources. I argue that strategies of survivance -- a literary theory describing actions designed to ensure Indian survival and endurance/resistance/persistence -- are a useful lens through which historians can re-interpret assimilation. I do so by highlighting the rhetoric of an Indian newspaper, litigation before the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska and the United States Supreme Court to secure rights under the law, and the campaign for American citizenship by the first Indian rights organization consisting of all-Indigenous members. My hope is to highlight the many ways Indigenous peoples utilized contemporaneous mediums to challenge the loss of sovereignty, culture, and life.
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