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Wilson, Pamela. "Disputable Truths: The American Stranger, Television Documentary and Native American Cultural Politics in the 1950s." Dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1996.
PART I: MEDIA DISCOURSES
CHAPTER TWO: DISCURSIVE IMPERIALISM: NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE AMERICAN POLITICAL AND CULTURAL IMAGINATION
CULTURES AND HISTORIES As borders of nations and empires around the globe have crumbled or been toppled in recent years, cultural formations have become both more fluid and more potent--frequently grounded in sociopolitical and historical struggles which have defined a group's sense of difference and distinctiveness, yet linked inextricably to reconfigurations of personal identity politics and shifting pragmatic allegiances. The language of naming and defining cultural groups, as well as attributing cultural identities, has become increasingly problematic both theoretically and politically. Structuralist and empiricist practices of sorting and labeling, of assigning and categorizing--understood more recently as exercises of symbolic subjugation--are in some contexts gradually being replaced with a realization of the empowering aspects of cultural self-definition as well as political self-determination. 1 However, post-structuralist scholarship has pointed out the need to understand the mechanisms by which identity is and has been discursively constructed and ascribed, and the powerful cultural politics which have surrounded struggles for control of representation. Henri Giroux has recently claimed that "challenges raised by feminism, postmodernism and postcolonialism have contributed to a redefinition of cultural politics that addresses representational practices in terms that analyze not only their discursive power to construct common-sense, textual authority, and
34 particular social and racial formations," but also, quoting Tony Bennett, the "’institutional conditions which regulate different fields of culture'." 2 This chapter investigates the representational practices of the American mass media of the 1950s, particularly the new medium of nonfiction television, in their attempts to articulate the cultural politics of Native America and its relationship to the cultural, political and economic hegemony of American society. These media discourses frequently problematized the construction of "American Indian" as a sociopolitical category, and sometimes explicitly (though more often implicitly) situated the cultural politics of Native America in the context of broader issues of race, ethnicity, nationalism and empire. Even at their most progressive, these dominant media representations offer a conflicted and ideologically contradictory portrayal of Native American issues, a tormented and schizophrenic conjuncture of discourses which tell us as much or more about the cultural anxieties of a white, masculinist, bourgeois colonial culture nearing the end of its comfortable regime than they provide deep cultural verities about Native American life. Yet these representations also provide us with insights into the confluence of counterhegemonic forces which were working to deepen cracks in the dominant regime, particularly with regard to strategies for gaining increments of control over media representations. An examination of the issues which crystallized around the production and reception of nonfictional media representations of indigenous Americans can provide contemporary scholars of media and culture with new insights into the media's role in the social construction of "difference," variously articulated in terms of race, ethnicity, nationhood, class or gender.
35 Conceptualizing Native Americans as a sociopolitical category in American society is no less a difficult and daunting task today, primarily because of the multiple axes of difference which discourses about Native America invoke. These different ways of thinking about how Native Americans are “different” from mainstream America correspond closely to the three major twentieth-century “paradigms of race” that Michael Omi and Howard Winant have conceptualized in their work on African-American racial theory. 3 They explain that each paradigm--formulated around conceptions of ethnicity, class and nation, respectively--has its own particular core assumptions and highlights particular key variables which serve as guides both for research and for policy formulation and political action. These theorists explain that, in the case of African Americans, essentialist notions of racial difference which dominated social and scientific thinking in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were replaced (at least in public discourses) by a paradigm which conceptualized racial difference as equivalent to ethnic or cultural difference. However, the concept of a biologically-based racial distinctiveness with regard to Native Americans is still a central factor in discourses of legal identity: questions of "blood" quantum have been used at both federal and tribal levels to determine legal membership and eligibility for federal Indian services and benefits--a mechanism for policing political borders based upon physiological criteria. Ethnicity has been more difficult to legislate, and sociologists Joane Nagel and Matthew Snipp attribute the staying power of American Indian communities, in the face of three centuries of cultural genocide and forced assimilation, to adaptive strategies of cultural survival--"ethnic reorganization"--which have resulted in a dynamic definition of ethnicity as emergent, situational, volitional,
36 and interactively negotiated. It has also resulted in the redefinition of what Nagel and Snipp call "a multi-tiered American Indian ethnic mosaic": kinship or band affiliations, tribal identities, and a supratribal (regional or national pan-Indian) identity which became politically effective in the decades following World War II. 4 The class-based paradigm has existed in tandem with that of ethnicity, and as I shall discuss more fully, was a dominant factor in the conceptualization of Native America during the 1950s. Omi and Winant historicize their third paradigm, that of nation, as developing during the 1960s with the insurgence of power movements which ideologically challenged the underlying assimilationist assumptions of the “melting pot” approach to the dominant ethnicity paradigm, and through which Black, Latino and Native American radicals attempted to establish their bases of social/cultural “difference” as distinct from the ethnic differences of European immigrants. This paradigm dominates Native American scholarship today. Today, Native American scholars and activists increasingly frame their political struggle as one prioritizing nationhood over issues related to oppression by virtue of class, race or ethnicity. For example, Ward Churchill has declared: The liberation struggle we wage is not extended against the discrimination and class exploitation visited by a dominant society and its bourgeoisie upon ethnic and racial minorities within the United States, although we staunchly oppose these conditions and fully support those who actively resist them. Rather, as colonized nations we are pursuing strategies and courses of action designed to lead to decolonization within the mother country. . . . This goal of creating government-to-government relations is pursued with utmost seriousness because, in the end, it is through recognition of themselves as fully sovereign entities within the international arena that indigenous people in the Americas perceive the sole possibilities of a just and permanent resolution of the difficulties that they now confront. 5
37 The insights of contemporary Native American scholars, cultural critics and historians intersect in pointing to a model of American internal colonialism as a way to elucidate the complex legal relationship between Native America and the U.S. government--and to a partial degree, the cultural relationship between Native Americans and "white" (non-Indian, Euroamerican) America.
The first section of this chapter examines the cultural politics and history of the relationship between the United States government and Native American tribes and people, in legal terms, as well as the historical relationship of cultural and political imperialism by non-Indian American people as well as their government. This account draws primarily upon secondary sources, but attempts to provide multiple voices and views regarding how those histories have been constructed. There are many difficulties inherent in writing this kind of “straight” historical account. Although it appears at first to be a rather simple task of distilling and selecting, and reconstructing for my own purposes, an historical narrative from the existing literature already written on the history of what is known as “U.S.-Indian Affairs,” the task is made more complex by my commitment to a post-structuralist historical approach. Summarizing the existing literature implies accepting the perspectives which undergird each of those existing accounts, and in most cases that is not acceptable, since, as Deloria and Lytle have pointed out, Native American history "has been written largely from the non-Indian point-of-view by advocates of that position, . . . [which] has rarely coincided with the view from the reservation." 6 Many academic historical accounts on Native American history and politics, even
38 those of the last 20 years, accept archival or empirical evidence as objective fact, and take as their task the compilation of those “facts,” with some interpretation, into an (at best) compelling narrative about a particular topic. The writers' own perspectives and ideological positionings, which have structured the entire historiographical undertaking, are generally implicit, with a few notable exceptions. The mask of neutrality and objectivity works to deny the importance of this positioning to the final authority of the historical account. According to Geoff Eley, "History in the sense of the (mostly unreflected) practice of many or most historians does tend to a definite epistemology, which usually amounts to some brand of empiricism--that is, the belief in a knowable past, whose structures and processes are able to be distinguished from the forms of documentary representation, conceptual and political appropriations, and historiographical discourses that construct them." 7 In That Noble Dream, his controversial critique of the ideological underpinnings of the American historical profession, historian Peter Novick exposes the norm of historical objectivity by which “Truth was [considered] one, the same for all peoples. It was, in principle, accessible to all and addressed to all. Particularist commitments--national, regional, ethnic, religious, ideological--were seen as the enemies of objective truth.” 8 He provides an account of the new particularist--and in some cases, separatist--consciousness expressed by black, feminist and “public” historians which challenged universalist norms of historiography (and discourses of objectivity) during the 1960s and 1970s. Since the 1970s, the humanities and social sciences have experienced what Eley calls "a general epistemological uncertainty" which has decentered the authoritative voice and the master narrative of the
39 academic-as-expert. Just as a generation of reflexive anthropologists began to question the bases upon which their ethnographic authority traditionally rested, so too has the encounter between post-structuralism and the endeavor of historical writing been put into crisis. 9 Not only have crises of representation occurred within established academic disciplines, but the boundaries between disciplines have become more permeable--as Eley describes changes in the discipline of history around 1980, "The discourse of social historians was beginning to disobey, outgrowing the present disciplinary containers, and spilling across the boundaries its practitioners had thought secure." 10 This has lead to a reconceptualization in the carving out both of research topics and methodological approaches, with an intellectual merging, to some degree, of concerns from social history, anthropology, women's and ethnic studies, sociology and media studies (though at the same time maintaining a distinct space on the margins of each discipline). A post-structuralist theoretical approach informs this new multidisciplinary endeavor, and it is changing our very notion of what constitutes a "historical account," for example, by foregrounding the contradictory ways that power structures have privileged and legitimated certain constructions of culture or history while denying or omitting others. This new awareness of the political implications of writing culture/history has led to work in several areas: (1) an attempt to uncover and validate histories which provide alternate or oppositional perspectives to those which have been officially sanctioned (e.g., women's history, working class history, popular memory, etc.), (2) a supplementation of histories of officialdom ("top down" approaches) with a new emphasis on the culture(s) and politics of everyday life (a
40 "bottom up" approach), focusing upon the interface between the official and popular cultures from the perspective of the popular, (3) a focus, following the work of Michel Foucault, on the interrelationship between power and knowledge: in the way that certain forms of knowledge become institutionalized to support certain structures of power, and the correspondence between particular discourses and different social groups with differential access to power. My strategy, then, in approaching the task of providing a historical background overview regarding the longstanding legal, cultural and political encounters between Native American peoples and the state apparatus of the U.S. government, is to proceed with caution. I treat any secondary source not as "true" and unproblematically factual but rather as an account written from a particular perspective to serve some particular interest. Some of these perspectives and interests are easier to ascertain than others: for example, many of the more recent interpretations of Native American political history are overtly and explicitly positioned as radical counterhistories and cultural critiques, written by both academic and nonacademic writers who identify their tribal affiliations or alliances with Native activist groups (for example, the work of Ward Churchill). Other works can be positioned by their rhetoric, their use of culturally-contested language, and the degree to which they defend, rationalize or denounce certain political practices by the United States government and its agents. It is also important to continually distinguish between at least four levels of social attribution; however, this distinction is made more difficult by our limited choices in language. In this dissertation, for example, I will at various times discuss (1) people at the level of individuals, be they historical or social subjects or social actors, and as
41 they are recognized as individuals by legal systems (citizens, individuals of Native/Indian identity or descent, tribal members, etc.); (2) groups of people who share certain attributes, values, practices and/or cultural identities, who may or may not interact socially or as part of a community, but who would identify themselves as belonging to a certain category (Americans, Native Americans, American Indians); (3) interest groups or organizations which form for social or political reasons, have a defined membership and stated principles (the National Congress of American Indians, the American Indian Movement, and so on), and (4) official legal, administrative or governing bodies (the Blackfeet Tribe, the State of Montana, the U.S. government and its agencies such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Congress, its legislative body) and their official representatives, administrators or agents (tribal leaders, officials, bureaucratic agents, etc). The frequent collapse of (or indeterminacy in the use of) the distinctions between these various types of attributions (by talking about “Indians” versus “the government,” for example) blocks an understanding of the specific social, political and legal relations which may be involved. To speak of the attitudes of “Indians” might mean the collective perspectives of all those people in the United States who consider themselves to be of Native American descent, or those individuals who are legal members of federally-recognized tribes, or it could mean the views set forth in tribal resolutions, or those of a national body such as the National Congress of American Indians. My point is that these are very different samples of data upon which one might form interpretations--and the risk of overgeneralizing with respect to subcultural groups is already an inherent problem in American social life. In fact, there has often been a range of conflicting positions regarding Native American
42 issues within what is considered “the government”: the policies voted upon by Congress may establish a legal position, yet those who are involved in implementing such policies in federal agencies, as well as those in state and local agencies, may have strong dissenting opinions at a personal level which affects the way they carry out their professional responsibilities. Therefore, just as there is no singular “white” position on political, philosophical or legal issues, neither is there a univocal Native American perspective.
THE “INDIAN PROBLEM”: NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT American Indians have occupied a special and often confusing status as an indigenous peoples within a larger and more powerful nation. As Ward Churchill and others have pointed out, what we call "Native America" actually consists of hundreds of sovereign indigenous nations whose lands were occupied and colonized by the encroaching settlement of the United States, which has maintained a relationship of internal imperialism. During several hundred years of colonization, the United States government signed treaties with tribal groups, dispossessed them of their lands, waged wars against them, committed human rights violations through the implementation of policies guaranteed to physically, economically and culturally debilitate the colonized, and then implemented paternalistic structures of social, economic and political control to attempt to forcibly assimilate native individuals into a mythicized "mainstream" culture. In spite of these colonizing efforts, "Native America" today remains a somewhat unified coalition and cultural force struggling to maintain
43 cultural distinctiveness and to legally regain human and tribal rights. Most recently, the legal status of American Indians (as individuals) has been related to their relationship with the federal government, the states in which they reside, and the tribes of which they are members. The historical record of United States policy decisions and practices regarding American Indians is a frequently-recounted narrative, so I will merely touch upon the themes here relevant to subsequent discussion regarding constructions of race, ethnicity and nation by the media. The policy of the United States towards indigenous peoples during the first century of the federal government was committed to "civilizing" yet segregating native populations. The basis of federal regulatory policy during this 19th century period was the concept of "Indian country," or the setting aside of territory exclusively for Indian occupancy, within which they were not to be "molested or disturbed." The Constitution provided for Indian rights in two ways: that "Indians not taxed" should not be included in population counts upon which representatives were apportioned, and that Congress had the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." During its first century as a nation, the United States government signed treaties with tribes as sovereign nations, and set aside an area of segregated and protected Indian country, administered under the Department of War. 11 However, as Stephen Cornell points out, "Struggles between sovereign powers were replaced by rigid patterns of dominance and subordination." 12 Rebecca Robbins asserts that the "unilateral assertion of U.S. ‘plenary power' over Indian affairs” has been a doctrine which has subordinated indigenous governments to that of federal
44 government. 13 After a period of dispossession, relocation and removal of indigenous peoples beyond the ever-expanding frontier borders, reservations were established in the mid-1800s, and federal jurisdiction over Indian Affairs was shifted from the War Department to the Department of the Interior. This established a new relationship between tribes and the federal government. Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford Lytle point out that "sustenance on the reservation was almost wholly dependent upon some kind of annuity assistance from the federal government. Christian missionaries and teachers flooded the reservations in an attempt to ‘civilize' and assimilate the Indians." 14 U.S. policy had ironically turned many tribes from productive, self-sufficient and self-governing social groups into a defeated people who were now wholly economically dependent upon their federal "guardians." The growing assimilationist sentiment became further institutionalized in the 1880s, with U.S. policy set to "absorb" Indians into the mainstream of "civilized" American life. The Indian Bureau's overt agenda was to break down tribal relations within Indian communities, since "so long as tribal relations are maintained so will individual responsibilities and welfare be swallowed up in that of the whole," stressing that the Indians must "give up their savage customs." 15 Though assimilation-framed-as-integration may have appeared a progressive humanitarian concern, it was closely connected to the perception that the huge western land holdings of the various Indian tribes "unnecessarily impeded the orderly [white] settlement of the western states." 16 During this period, the Congressional passage of the General Allotment (Dawes) Act in 1887 began a process of alienation of land away from the tribes, a
45 policy period which lasted half a century and which reduced the tribal land base by nearly 91,000,000 acres, by one account. 17 “Allotment of land in severalty” was a legal practice designed to “individualize” Indians and break up tribalism through the dissolution of tribal property holdings. This involved the allocation of previously communal lands to individual tribal members, who would then have free and clear title (patent-in-fee) to this private property which had no restrictions about sales as did property in federal trust. The ideology of private property as the key to responsible citizenship was reflected in the “reward” of granting of U.S. citizenship rights to any private landowner and taxpayer. That the tribal practice of communal land was not conducive to "civilizing" the Indian (what a federal employee called "lifting [the Indian] up out of his barbarism into self-supporting Christian citizenship") was a major consideration. 18 This ideological rhetoric emphasized the desire for both cultural and economic hegemony over the lifestyle of Native Americans. Deloria comments on this ideological strategy and its effects: Economic integration, through the vesting of a portion of the tribal land estate in individual tribal members, was believed to be the key in bringing Indians within the social and cultural embrace of American society. . . . Much of the present configuration of Indian country is a product of this ideology. 19 The result of the allocation period was a 65% reduction in Indian land holdings between 1887 and 1934, which included the elimination of tribal cultural and economic bases as well as most of the arable land formerly held by the Indians. "Civilize or die" became the moral imperative which drove the political engine of United States Indian affairs policies as well as the altruistic drive of Christian philanthropists and missionaries. As Brian Dippie characterizes the sentiment: "For a
46 nation under God there could be no choice. The Indians must be civilized. The tribes would have to perish so that the individual Indian might survive." 20 Paternalism became the guiding paradigm of federal relations with both tribes and individual Indians--a fatherly (gentle, though patriarchal) authority tempered with justice became inscribed into a rhetoric of the government as "wise and firm disciplinarian." The Great White Father constructed a controlled environment to transform the “savage” with a system that rewarded those who stayed on their reservations and labored for self-improvement with annuities and services; transgressors were often punished by the U.S. military. During this period of intense assimilation efforts, Congress in 1924 passed the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted 14th Amendment rights of United States and state citizenship to all individual Indians. This was also the period in which the federal government initiated a major drive to establish Indian education programs, primarily through off-reservation boarding schools, to acculturate young Indians into dominant society. As Robert White has described the process, “The tactics of assimilation assumed an Orwellian countenance. Indian children were rounded up by federal officials and delivered to boarding schools far from their homes and families, where faculties composed primarily of Christian zealots made every attempt to beat their cultures out of them and the work ethic into them.” 21 Roosevelt's New Deal brought promises of radical reform to the Indian situation with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. Progressive Indian Affairs Commissioner John Collier invited all major tribes to participate in a series of Indian congresses to develop the foundations of this legislation, although subsequent amendments prior to passage weakened it. The IRA formally ended the allotment
47 policy, prevented the transfer of Indian trust land outside of the tribe, established a credit fund for economic development by tribes, and promised to minimize and decentralize the power exercised by the BIA and invest more authority in tribal self-government. In spite of it progressiveness, however, the IRA has also been criticized as another means of imposing white institutions on tribes, and as being too late to revitalize tribal traditions of self-government which had been crippled during the traumatic cultural interventions of the past century. Several hundered tribal governments were reorganized through the establishment of constitutions and bylaws which followed the Anglo-American system of community organization rather than Indian traditions. According to Deloria and Lytle, "Familiar cultural groupings and methods of choosing leadership gave way to the more abstract principles of American democracy, which viewed people as interchangeable and communities as geographic marks on a map." 22 The provisions of the IRA were negotiated, accepted or rejected by each tribe on an individual basis. The progressive New Deal period of Indian administration was short-lived, however, as it was interrupted by World War II and its accompanying shift in economic priorities. Several major congressional actions in the postwar years brought a reversal in Indian policy aimed at trying to cut federal payrolls and expenditures, yet these actions were framed in the ideological rhetoric of altruistically desiring to "free" the Indians from federal control to enable them to become just like other American citizens. A number of reports and hearings in the late 1940s, from a coalition of both conservative and liberal forces, recommended the unilateral termination of federal assistance to Indians, though for different reasons. The Indian Claims Commission
48 Act was approved in 1946 to settle once and for all Indian claims (primarily land claims) against the federal government, which according to the Meriam Report (1928), stood in the way of "the benevolent desire of the United States government to educate and civilize the Indians." Such claims settlements only dealt with tangible grievances such as property claims, however, and were unable to address inequities of a social or cultural nature. 23 In 1947 and 1948, Congress requested that Acting Indian Affairs Commissioner William Zimmerman, Jr. prepare a “formula” for the eventual discharge of “the Federal government’s obligation, legal, moral or otherwise, and the discontinuance of Federal supervision and control at the earliest possible date,” to determine which tribes were “ready” for termination, and to design a comprehensive withdrawal program. The Hoover Commission issued its report in 1949 recommending the complete assimilation of the Indians into the mainstream as “the best solution of ‘The Indian Problem’, and advocated the transfer of existing social programs for Indians to state governments to substantially reduce Federal expenditures. 24 In 1950, Dillon S. Myer was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and under his leadership the federal agency moved actively towards termination efforts. Myer was the former Director of the War Relocation Authority responsible for the internment of the Japanese during World War II. Myer strongly advocated the government's withdrawal from its Indian programs in order, supposedly, to "lend every encouragement to Indian initiative and leadership," even though, he continued, "I realize that it will not be possible always to obtain Indian cooperation." 25 According to Frederick Stefon, “Myer, ignorant of history, stereotyped the Indian reservations as
49 concentration camps and believed it was his primary task to ‘relocate the Indians out of them.’” 26 He also pursued a course of "development of the latent physical resources of the Indians throughout the country . . . through industrial and agricultural development of their resources." Myer championed the Relocation Program for individual Indians to attain permanent off-reservation employment in urban areas, which has been considered by many as the principal detribalization factor during the postwar period, and reversed earlier policy which had restricted mortgages on land held in trust, opening possibilities of further land alienation. 27 After Eisenhower's election in 1952, more drastic reforms in federal policy were forthcoming.
At mid-century, white America was still plagued by the recurring "Indian problem": how to understand "them", what to do with "them," how to justify or recompense for past treatment of "them," and how to conceptualize Native Americans economically, politically, socially and culturally. Contemporary cultural critics such as Toni Morrison and Jimmie Durham have recently noted that racial/ethnic/class "difference" in American culture, though traditionally constructed by whites as extra-normative, needs to be understood as an important constitutive element in the construction of 18th-20th century American "national identity"--and ultimately, in the construction of “whiteness.” This is particularly true in the case of the tribal peoples of indigenous America, whose presence both literally and in the American mythic imagination has consequentially shaped America's master narrative about itself as a nation. 28
50 The media discourses of the post-World War II era represent a crucial turning point in the relationship between the United States government and indigenous American peoples. They mark an increasing reflectiveness, and public expression of guilt, among white Americans about their responsibilities to America's indigenous peoples, and a growing politicization among the American Indian population. As Oliver LaFarge, a writer, anthropologist and leading pro-Indian activist, expressed in 1954: Year by year, the Indians are making more use of the vote, and have become a ponderable factor in several Western states. Parallel with this, the American conscience has become noticeably tenderer; major developments in Indian affairs [now] get liberal treatment in the national press and produce floods of letters to Congress. 29 This dual politicization--of tribal peoples and of the mainstream "public"-- was manifested by an increasing awareness by tribal peoples of how to "use the master's tools" to counter political hegemony and work toward autonomy and self-determination. Two of the most powerful tools appropriated by Native Americans, and their white allies, were the American legal system--through which they fought for treaty-based tribal justice on legal grounds--and the mainstream journalistic media. In the postwar years, there was an increasing public awareness of the problems engendered by the "special" (i.e. colonial) relationship between American Indians and the U.S. nation. As the nation's primary internally colonized cultural group, Indians were acknowledged as occupying a status which was distinct, both historically and contemporaneously, from other racial and ethnic minorities. The ambivalent and contradictory frames of both perception and action (theory and praxis) toward American Indians were rooted in the multiple differences that "Indianness" presented to white America: differences rooted in race, in culture/ethnicity, in tenacious
51 resistance to assimilation at both corporate/tribal levels and individual ones, and especially in the ongoing problematic of dual citizenship (i.e., how indigenous governments or nations could coexist within the structure of local, state and federal governing bodies). This paradox is what some Native American scholars claim to be at the philosophical heart of the post-colonial relationship: "the collision between the political dilemma of nationhood and the adoption of self-government within the existing [U.S.] federal structure." 30 The construction of, and intersection of, many of these axes of sociopolitical difference--race, ethnicity, gender, class and nationality--can best be understood within a framework of cultural, economic and political imperialism. Historian Amy Kaplan has recently advocated the reinsertion of a model of American imperialism into American historiography, citing an ongoing paradigm of denial of the political practice of empire in U.S. history and in the academic study of American cultures. Kaplan argues for a connection of categories of gender, race and ethnicity to "the global dynamics of empire- building," calling for investigation into . . . how such diverse identities cohere, fragment and change in relation to one another and to ideologies of nationhood through the crucible of international power relations, and how, conversely, imperialism as a political or economic process . . . is inseparable from the social relations and cultural discourses of race, gender, ethnicity and class at home. 31 Kaplan's colleague, Donald Pease, notes: Although the United States' imperial nationalism was predicated on the superiority of military and political organization as well as economic wealth, it depended for its efficacy on a range of cultural technologies, among which colonialist policies (exercised both internally and abroad) of conquest and domination figured prominently. [In] the invasive settlement of the Americas, . . . imperialism understood itself primarily as a cultural project involved in naming, classifying, textualizing,
52 appropriating, exterminating, demarcating, and governing a new regime." 32 In an intriguing claim, Pease describes America as "the theater for colonial encounters" which "spawned the utterly new sociopolitical categories of nationality, race, geography, history, ethnicity and gender. . . ." 33 As Native American scholar Rebecca Robbins explains, American Indian nations within the geography presently claimed by the United States exist in a condition of ‘internal colonization.' That is, their rights to self-government have been usurped by a foreign power, in this case one that claims their very homelands as its own, in order for that power to benefit from the resources these lands provide. Any serious effort on the part of Native Americans to change their circumstances will therefore necessarily assume the form of decolonization efforts. 34 The "Indian problem" has been rooted in multiple and complex ideological differences between colonizing and colonized cultures, at the center of which is land ownership. "Land," Churchill writes, "is the absolutely essential issue defining viable conceptions of Native America, whether in the past, present or future": A deeply held sense of unity with particular geographical contexts has provided, and continues to afford, the spiritual cement allowing cultural cohesion across the entire spectrum of indigenous American societies. Contests for control of territory have been the fundamental basis of Indian/non-Indian interactions since the moment of first contact, and underlie the virtually uninterrupted (and ongoing) pattern of genocide suffered by American Indians. . . ." 35 The communal tribalism of native cultures was considered in direct conflict with the assertion of individual freedoms upon which American democracy was based. Also, communal tribalism, particularly the joint ownership of land by a tribe, was seen as antithetical to the ideological principles of private property and individual ownership. Thus, tribal assertions of nationalism and sovereignty entered into direct competition
53 with the American cultural construction of the "individual citizen," and the argument that Indians needed to assimilate (i.e. foreswear their tribal rights) before they could become citizens was institutionalized in 19th century policies rewarding individual land ownership with U.S. citizenship. Communal tribalism, particularly the joint ownership of land, was seen as antithetical to the ideological principles of private property and individual ownership, and was also considered as potentially "anti-American" during the Cold War. The solution to the "Indian problem" had been based for nearly a century upon a proposition of assimilation, and federal policies and practices had been directed to that end. The relationship between Native Americans and the colonizing society was shaped, according to Cornell, by the intersection of the inverse and conflicting agendas held by each side. The long-term goals and desires of many Indian tribes and their members were in direct contrast to the assimilationist agenda represented by federal policies (as well as the general social trend to publicly deny “difference” in the interest of democratic and universalist philosophies). According to Cornell, the agenda of “Native America” (a manufactured conceptual consolidation of more than 500 distinct tribal and ethnic groups unified after World War II for political purposes to counter the forces of white capitalist hegemony) was, first and foremost, tribal survival and the maintenance of distinct cultural and political autonomy in the face of political and cultural imperialism. 36 Blending into the melting pot of the American mainstream may have been a goal for many people of Indian descent who had left reservations, distancing themselves from their tribal affiliations; however, this assimilationist
54 concept was at odds with the efforts of most tribes and that of the NCAI during the postwar decades. The decades following World War II proved to be a period of increasing dissatisfaction (on both sides) with the colonial relationship between the U. S. government and Native America. All parties acknowledged, in particular, the shortfalls of the bureaucratic colonial administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which was operated as an arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and considered by many to be one of the most inept, expensive and ineffective of federal bureaucracies. At the same time, pressure upon Congress was mounting, from both liberals and conservatives in the political arena, to dismantle the deteriorating federal system of administration over reservations. On the left, a growing sense of white guilt over historical practices of brutal imperialism, and the disgraceful socioeconomic conditions on many Indian reservations, intersected with economic pressures on the right to "get the United States out of the Indian business." Some of the most powerful pressure came from non-Indian Western corporations (and their conservative political allies) desiring to gain access to land and resources held in federal trust as Indian land. Though there was widespread agreement that a problem existed with the existing system, which was serving well neither the needs of the government nor those of Native Americans, there were sharply divergent views as to what should replace the century-old colonial structures upon which both sides had become accustomed. Although many Indians considered the federal trusteeship system to be paternalistic, robbing them of dignity, respect and control over their own affairs, they
55 realized the system minimally provided them with a delineated land base which they could occupy but not necessarily manage as they desired. Many Congressional leaders considered the colonial system an expensive, cumbersome bureaucracy, and realized that the federal lands reserved for Indian use were potential sources of lucrative natural resources. At first, the solutions offered by both liberal and conservative whites appeared similar on the surface, and this period of "termination" was one of extreme ambivalence among whites about how to end the corrupt and paternalistic colonial administration as well as the powerless and substandard status of Native Americans in relation to the rest of American society. Truman's 1950 appointment of Myer as Indian Affairs Commissioner underscored the imperialist nature of the Bureau's mission. Conservatives, building upon a century of assimilation efforts within the structures of empire, now called for full and immediate assimilation of Native Americans through the legal removal of institutionalized rights, privileges and service to Indians. A number of reports and hearings in the late 1940s, from a coalition of both conservative and liberal forces, recommended the unilateral termination of federal assistance to Indians, though for different reasons. However, as legislation developed, it became increasingly clear to liberal "Friends of the Indians" that government interests would be served over those of tribes, and many liberals who originally supported early "termination" talk backed off when the implications became clearer in the mid-1950s. In 1953, the major legislative action toward termination, House Concurrent Resolution 108, was passed with no opposition; this resolution called for the “freeing”
56 of Indians from federal supervision and control. The text of this resolution, framed as if serving the interests of the Indians rather than the economic interests of the federal government, begins: It is the policy of Congress, as rapidly as possible, to make the Indians within the territorial limits of the United States subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as are applicable to other citizens of the United States, to end their status as wards of the United States, and to grant them all of the rights and prerogatives pertaining to American citizenship . . . [to] assume their full responsibilities as American citizens. The bill named the Flathead Indians of Montana, the Klamath Tribe of Oregon, the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, the Potowatamie Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa of North Dakota, and all the Indian tribes and peoples within the States of California, Florida, New York and Texas, to be freed from supervision and control. The Klamath and Menominee were considered two "of the most economically and socially advanced Indian tribes in the country," each with timber assets worth many millions of dollars. After releasing such tribes and individuals from their "disabilities and limitations," the the new laws suspended all federal services to terminated tribes and reservations (thereby eliminating expenses of all BIA branch offices and personnel) and handed civil and criminal jurisdiction on Indian reservations to the states. 37 BIA Commissioner Glenn Emmons defensively noted that "there is nothing here to suggest that Congress is engaged, as some have contended, in a massive drive to break up the tribal estates and destroy the foundations of Indian tribal life." Yet historian Donald Fixico claims that "anger at . . . H.C.R. 108 was prevalent throughout Indian country." There was little to no media coverage of the quiet passage of this measure. 38
57 Concurrent with these legislations was the implementation of a federal relocation program, which "assisted" individual Indians with economic incentives to relocate from the reservations to urban areas. This program provided, for some Indians, one-way transportation costs and short-term temporary subsistence, as well as assistance in securing permanent employment, according to a report by Emmons in 1954. 39 However, both the concept and the logistical practices of relocation presented ethical problems to many who were sympathetic to the struggle of tribes to remain demographically and geographically intact. The program was also seen by its detractors as one which deprived individual Indian people of their emotional and cultural support systems. As one Friend of the Indian, an Episcopal priest who worked with urban Indians in Chicago, explained, “It is the Indians who have sold their lands on the reservation and are on relocation who are morally hard hit. It seems they have no one to turn to, or no place to go. . . .”40 In a 1955 letter to President Eisenhower, Chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Robert Burnette, described relocation as a program “to take Indian people into cities and there left to what we call ‘root, hog or die’”: There is not any follow-up with the Indian people that will teach them the city way of life. If they are successful in getting a job that will at least feed and clothe them and they stay, the first thought they get is, “I think I will sell my land as I will never use it again.” But some day these Indian people are going to return to the reservation and find that they do not have a place to live. We believe that if this relocation money was properly utilized in training the Indian family in a vocation . . . they would be 100 per cent more able to compete in this cold-blooded world. 41 During this period, relocation--the dispersal of tribal members away from the reservations and into the cities--was seen as one of the ultimate goals of termination.
58 The economic advantages of termination included ridding the federal government of its bureaucratic payroll expenses in maintaining civil and criminal jurisdiction over Indian trust lands, with a shift of such responsibilities to states and the dispersal of communal tribal lands to individuals. The breaking up of tribal land holdings pressured individuals to sell their land and its valuable natural resources to commercial interests. In addition to fracturing the tribal land base to which numerous native cultures were economically and spiritually connected, thereby undermining the cultural fabric of tribal communities, this strategy attempted to strip individual Indians of their tribal culture and force them to embrace "American" and "democratic" values of private ownership and the capitalist work ethic. More often than not, such efforts resulted in the desperate sale of land, their only asset, by hopeless Indian families in need of basic subsistence. During the 1954 Congressional session, according to Deloria and Lytle, "a fire storm of activity arose." The Senate and House Indian Subcommittees of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committees began meeting in joint sessions, "an unprecedented change in procedures." (These committees consisted almost exclusively of Senators and Representatives from Western states who were often closely affiliated with business interests in those areas.) During this time, several additional termination bills were introduced. The leading proponent of termination in Congress, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, was conservative Republican Senator Arthur V. Watkins of Utah, who, according to Deloria and Lytle, "was firmly convinced that if the Indians were freed from federal restrictions they would soon prosper by learning in the school of life those lessons that a cynical federal bureaucracy had not been able to
59 instill in them." 42 Echoing the discourses of his fellow Senator, George Malone of Nevada, who in 1951 had called upon Congress to “abolish the Indian Bureau now [and] make the Indians people,” Watkins used a rhetoric of democracy and liberation to justify the legislations, appealing to "ideal or universal truth[s]" of freedom and "complete" citizenship: [We] endorse the principle that "as rapidly as possible" we should end the status of Indians as wards of the government and grant them all of the rights and prerogatives pertaining to American citizenship. With the aim of "equality before the law" in mind our course should rightly be no other. . . . Following in the footsteps of the Emancipation Proclamation of ninety-four years ago, I see the following words emblazoned in letters of fire above the heads of the Indians--THESE PEOPLE SHALL BE FREE! 43 Termination was viewed as the "natural ultimate goal" for Indian people. 44 That this "liberation" from their cultural tradition was not necessarily desired was not considered by the paternalistic lawmakers and bureaucrats. The new bills included legislation specifically terminating the Klamath tribe of Oregon and the Menominee of Wisconsin, whose land holdings, not coincidently, contained some of the largest and most sought-after timber stands in the country. According to one source, the value of the Klamath timber was appraised at $121 million dollars: Congressional mandate requires that each Indian electing to claim his share of wealth to be obtained by the sale of tribal lands be given it, with the prospective result that one of the largest scientifically managed forests will be broken up and sold in small parcels, from which buyers can recover the costs only by slashing all of the timber. But even more serious than ruin of land and dissipation of a great natural resource is the demoralization which will overtake a group of people who lack education and all preparation for managing sudden wealth. 45
60 The majority of Indians given voice in hearings opposed termination "on the sound ground that they would be unable to hold their land against white aggressors." 46 According to Deloria and Lytle, "The impact of termination upon those tribes affected was unmistakable and significant. If the policy did not completely destroy Indian culture, it encroached substantially upon Indian attempts to remain Indian." Wilkinson and Biggs summarize some of the consequences of termination to include fundamental changes in land ownership, the removal of land from federal trust status, the imposition of state legislative and judicial authority and taxation, the discontinuance of special federal programs to tribes and to individual Indians, and the effective termination of tribal sovereignty. 47 The burden of taxation on Indian lands resulted in land sales by bid to capitalist corporate interests, such as lumber, paper and power companies, with the proceeds distributed to individual Indians per capita. Another alternative was the sale of lands released from tribal trust by tribal members desperate for cash to pay basic subsistence expenses ("selling land for food"). This failed to provide long-term security since, according to Zimmerman, “Generally, such sales provided money for living expenses for a period of months, perhaps years; after it has spent this money the family goes on some sort of relief, or leaves the reservation.” 48 In general, this percentage in dollar terms of the tribe's assets, which was quickly eaten up in taxes and living expenses, was little recompense for the social, cultural and symbolic unity that the tribe and its land had represented. The poverty and landless destitution that this created put an additional financial burden on tribes, which felt obligated to provide for their own members. 49
61 Also in 1953, Congress passed Public Law 280, which further diminished tribal authority by turning over civil and criminal jurisdiction over Indian reservations to the states, although states were not given authority to tax Indian land or property. The 1950s also brought legislation regarding Indian education as part of federal education programs, and the transfer of the Indian Health Service to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Public Health Service. By August of 1954, Stefon notes, five termination bills had been passed by Congress and nearly 8,000 Indians “released” from federal supervision. Stefon quotes former New Deal Indian Affairs Commissioner John Collier as noting that “with extreme rapidity, through bills rushed to enactment with virtually no discussion, two of the principal Indian reservations [the Menominee of Wisconsin and the Klamath of Oregon] were smashed to bits.” 50 The mass media, particularly local newspapers and the new medium of television, played a crucial role in shaping the terms of this conflict as legitimate political debate, and informing the (white) public about previously little-known issues, which in turn directed the shape of cultural policies. The media also provided opportunities for Native American tribes and organizations to present their cases to the American public. The incipient awareness by tribal leaders in the 1950s of the power of the media to garner the support of the American people prefigured the powerful staging of media events, such as the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, the takeover of Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters (the "Trail of Broken Treaties") in 1972, and the siege at Wounded Knee in 1973, by American Indian activists of the next two decades.
62 MEDIA CONSTRUCTIONS OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE 1950'S "Friends of the Indians" Interest Groups and the Media During the postwar years, and through the early 1950s, national media coverage of issues relating to the crisis in Native America was scant. What little journalistic attention was given to American Indian cultural and political disruptions resulted from campaigns by pro-Indian groups and influential individuals to get these issues out from the ghettoized corridors of Congress, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and tribal councils, and into the public arena. There is evidence of localized attention to tribal issues by particular newspapers and radio stations in markets which served a significant Native American population, especially those with editors or general managers who were sympathetic to Indian issues; however, the national public was illinformed of the changing tide in federal attitudes and policies regarding Native American status and rights. Until pro-Indian interest groups began concerted media campaigns in 1953 and 1954, most of white America was unaware that a new battle was brewing on the reservations and in the House and Senate chambers. All of the media coverage, with the exception of Native American publications for a local audience, positioned the reader/viewer as white or non-Indian in their mode of address. In addition, most of the media constructions which were engineered by interest groups were reflective about the contradictions which their portrayals would provide to viewers whose primary "knowledge" of American Indians came from the images created by Hollywood westerns--the dual 19th-century romanticized (and masculinist) stereotypes of the noble red man and his vanishing race, or of the savage, scalping warrior. The infrequent media reports in the early 1950s which
63 reported on tribes concerned with such modern issues as land claims, oil wells, and uranium mining, and facing federal government pressures to abandon traditional lifestyles and assimilate into ‘mainstream' American society, presented a jolting cognitive dissonance. As Indian historian Vine Deloria, Jr, comments, it was difficult for most non-Indian Americans "to connect the[se multiple] perceptions of Indians in any single and comprehensible reality." 51 As a result, some interest groups sought to strategically intervene in prevalent media images of Indians, acknowledging and critiquing the powerful influence of Hollywood representations on the national imagination. 52 The most influential of these interest groups media-wise was the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA), a New York-based, predominately white, "Friends of the Indians" organization headed as president by the politically outspoken anthropologist-activist, Oliver LaFarge. Another powerful interest group, and the only one whose membership was limited to American Indians and affiliated with tribal representatives, was the Washington, D.C.-based National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), which was run during most of this period by Executive Director Helen Peterson. This group represented most tribes, and Native America as a body of associated tribes, at the national level. Two other (primarily white) organizations which were politically influential in Indian legal advocacy, though on more of a regional basis than the AAIA and NCAI, were the Philadelphia-based Indian Rights Association and the American Friends Service Committee, both of which were affiliated to some degree with the Society of Friends (Quakers). The efforts of these interest groups were occasionally augmented by special projects of the American Civil Liberties Union
64 (ACLU). All of these groups had a national network of financial supporters and members upon whose resources they could draw for contributions, political letter-writing, and local public relations and community activism. 53 The three non-Indian-managed groups were organized on a mission of altruistic liberal activism, a type of cultural imperialism perceived by its agents as serving the interests of Native Americans (albeit primarily as defined by white intellectuals) through advocacy, protection, and limited empowerment. Since many tribal peoples worked in cooperation with these groups, these cultural agents perceived themselves as allies of indigenous peoples rather than agents of cultural or religious hegemony. As a 1958 brochure for the IRA explains the organization's purpose: The Indian Rights Association . . . seeks to promote the spiritual, moral and material welfare of the Indians and to protect their rights; Maintains close contact with Indians and reservation conditions; Keeps in close touch with Governmental Indian Affairs; Conducts field studies to get facts for presentation to the public, to Congress and to the Indian Bureau [BIA]; Cooperates with Church Boards, Educational and Welfare Agencies doing work with Indians; Helps to arouse and form public opinion in support of justice for Indian people through its bulletin, INDIAN TRUTH, and other publications, by public addresses, and by the volunteer work of Board members. [italics added] 54 Like the IRA and AFSC, the AAIA was supported by a large membership of liberal white intellectuals, and it published a monthly membership newsletter, which focused on timely political action issues, as well as a journal, The American Indian, which dealt with more general social and cultural topics: This magazine is devoted to the interests of the Indians of North America. Its primary purposes are to increase its readers' knowledge of those Indians, to defend their rights from attack, and to increase the desire of American citizens to better their condition. . . . Despite our
65 country's past recognition of its responsibilities toward the people who inhabited this land before it was invaded by the white man, Americans periodically attempt to evade those responsibilities. We have learned to expect that there will be efforts from time to time to deprive the Indian of his rights or of his possessions or of both. Against such efforts this magazine will set itself with all earnestness. 55 These organizations, informed by the ideologies of Christian charity and progressive political reform, sought to improve the conditions of Native American life. As one contributor to The American Indian, wrote in 1944: All people who are genuinely interested in Indian welfare see it as part of the welfare of America, and want the Indian to assume economic, social and political parity with other Americans . . . . Ten years of progress cannot completely undo 400 years of aggression, of misunderstanding, and of pauperization. 56 Most of the interest groups published membership newsletters, sent out press releases to the news media, and worked through informal channels to publicize the issues with which they were concerned. For example, the NCAI published The NCAI Bulletin, The Sentinel, The Washington Bulletin, Legislative Report and occasional "Information Letters." The interest groups worked in close cooperation with the liberal religious press, and liberal religious publications such as Christian Century and America were one of the major sites of politicized media advocacy about American Indian politics in the 1950s. 57 Throughout the fifties, the AAIA staff boasted an Information/Public Education Director and various supporting committees, whose responsibilities were to publicize Native American political and social issues: a 1959 document charges the AAIA's Public Education Committee with "development of a committee of Letterwriters to 1) write to editors on Indian issues; 2) to police TV, radio and motion picture portrayal of Indians; 3) to urge local libraries to carry and promote books which serve Indian interests; as well as initiation of TV and radio programs."
66 The AAIA frequently pitched President LaFarge himself as a spokesperson on behalf of Indian rights, and he appeared occasionally on national radio in the early Fifties, speaking, for example, on "The Forgotten Indian" and "The New American Indian" on NBC Radio's Public Affairs program. These interest groups, particularly the outspoken AAIA, contributed a great deal to shaping and defining the media discourses about American Indian politics in the early 1950s. 58 In defining media discourses, it is crucial to consider the diversity of media--ranging from formal to informal, from official to popular, from national to local--which informed various publics and influenced political opinions and actions. Most of the interest groups made use of as wide a variety of media as possible, casting their nets to catch a diverse public audience in terms of region, class and degree of political awareness. For example, the NCAI, in particular, established long-term relationships with prominent local newspaper publishers, whose influence they could count on for publicizing their interests and for extending their media contacts. Also, all of the interest groups--the national groups listed above as well as countless regional and local groups--used their membership or mailing lists as a base of support; mass-distributed mimeographed newsletters were frequent tools for the rapid dissemination of policy information or calls for action. It is important to realize to what degree these printed discourses circulated, and private correspondence between activists and public figures was frequently reproduced (often retyped) and mass-distributed, as were copies of speeches, press releases, transcripts (and occasional recordings such as kinescopes) of radio and television shows, and so on.
67 All of these avenues of media distribution served as a vital part of the economy of political action in the 1950s.
Withdrawal Policies and Early Press Campaigns Much of the very early media coverage of the impending termination (then called "withdrawal") policies minimized their potentially disruptive impact, and ideologically naturalized federal withdrawal as an "inevitable" stage in the maturation and development of Native Americans in modernity. A Western local newspaper editorial in November, 1952, commented that: There is much talk these days among the people interested in the American Indian about the current administration's so-called "withdrawal" program. . . . We have read through the controversial directive [from BIA Commissioner Dillon Myer] and can honestly report that we see nothing in it to cause alarm on the part of any real friend of the Indian. Withdrawal . . . is in the making whether all will agree to the idea or not. It is a necessary step. It is the only way the Indian will merge into the American economy. 59 A great deal of the media coverage of Indian issues in the early Fifties came as a result of press coverage of conferences or conventions, or from the impetus of single editorials or articles picked up by a wire service and distributed throughout the nation. One of the earliest is a series of late 1952 editorials covering the Western Governors' Conference in Phoenix, upon which occasion the governors expressed heated concerns to Truman's Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Myer about the timing (though not the concept) of federal withdrawal. One Western newspaper reported that the twelve governors had asked Congress to liquidate the BIA, an action "indicative of the trend away from federal aggrandizement of power within the last decade, which is
68 probably stronger in the West than elsewhere because [of] our water projects, [federal] land holdings, and Indian population. . . ." The national Christian Science Monitor reported: Both the governors and Mr. Myer felt the time is approaching when Indians can be given freedom, assuming they want this. . . . The Indian problem has been a 100-year problem, always difficult, not always handled circumspectly in the past, one of immense concern to the West and of virtually no concern to the East. It involves every sort of social problem. . . . It is a problem on which Indians are divided, especially between the older and younger generations. . . . There is a strong current running in some western states to cut loose from the Indian problem as quickly as possible, a current that finds some expression among the Indians themselves. That is the course of Indian affairs. No one really knows how long it would take for the Indians to be assimilated. 60 The tone of ambivalence and resignation about the seemingly predestined course of history was common during this early period, and reflects the dissatisfaction with the corrupt colonial administrative regime by both liberal and conservatives as well as by most Native Americans themselves. Yet the media discourses exhibit a confusion among whites about how to conceptualize Native America as a political and social category and Native Americans as individuals "between two worlds." Most chose the latter route, and talked of "the Indian" as an individual social subject in need of protection or needing to take responsibility for "him"self. At this point, as the title of a 1953 pro-termination newspaper editorial noted ("When to Free the Indians"), the question became one of when and how, rather than if, termination would take place. Many non-Indians expressed concern over the "incompetency" of Indians to handle their own business affairs, an infantilization of Native Americans which had been reinforced during a century of paternalistic colonial
69 administration, and a justification for continued imperialism ("wardship"). The paternalism of the Indian Bureau, which constructed a model of the Indians as incompetents and childlike, is epitomized in the remarks attributed to Commissioner Emmons in 1953 by LaFarge regarding the impending termination policies: He remarked that when a young man gets to be twenty one years of age, if his father told him that now he was of age and therefore from now on he was completely on his own and should not look to his father for anything, that young man would feel lonely and abandoned. A similar principle applies to the relationship of Indians to the federal government.
Media discourses frequently cited the need to protect the "childlike" Indian from the "hands of unscrupulous white men." Even members of the pro-Indian interest groups took this stance, as reported in a letter to the Wall Street Journal by the President of the Indian Rights Association: It has always been the attitude of this Association that the Indians should have full control of all of their affairs just as soon as they are able to handle them properly. The difficulty comes in deciding just when that can be done. . . . It is difficult to see, therefore, how by the liquidation of the Trusteeship of Indians they "will finally come to full citizenship" as your editorial suggests. (italics mine) 62 Many politicians and members of the press were casting the withdrawal issue in terms of liberation, framing termination as a just strategy to more fully incorporate individual American Indians into the American democratic system. Using inflammatory metaphors which linked the Native American situation to that of African Americans engaged in a struggle for civil rights (framed in terms of social integration and improvement of conditions of poverty), one Nebraska newspaper editor also compared Indians to Russian peasants, enslaved to the land:
70 The New York Times . . . suggests that "the sooner the Federal Government gets out of Indian affairs the better," . . . [and] adds, somewhat quaintly, "However, it is still a little early to leave all Indians at the mercy of the competitive system. Many still need protection against unscrupulous members of the white race." We don't think it's a bit too early to leave the Indians to the mercy of the competitive system. The Federal Government has been promising to relinquish its control over the Indians since 1937. . . .The Indian Bureau . . . has done very little to integrate the Indians with the rest of American society. . . . The law protects the rights of minorities in this country. Every minority, that is, except the American Indian. The law makes him a permanent relief and social service client, makes him a second-class citizen. The policy that keeps him tied to the land--mostly poor land-whether or not he wants to be tied to it, is as barbarous as Russian serfdom. 63 An occasional local newspaper editor committed to his or her political beliefs regarding the Indian question did challenge and interrogate the assumptions underlying the political discourses on termination. These local editorials reflected upon the impact of federal policies on some aspect of local culture, business or economy. Such articles were scattered through early-to-mid 1953. One Montana newspaper editor devoted two columns to these issues, expressing the ambivalence of public opinion about the "Indian problem." The first connects to assimilationist discourses of racism and discrimination, a discussion by a white journalist to a white readership about the appropriate place of minorities in American society. Announcing an upcoming gathering of Plains Indian tribes in Wyoming, "All American Indian Day" (an event planned as a "good will council between whites and Indians"), this journalist articulated some opinions usually left unspoken: But the truth is--and we might as well realize it--that there will be hate for the white men in the hearts of perhaps 98 percent of the Indians. This hate is understandable . . . It goes back to the broken promises of the great white father in Washington. This hate continues today because of
71 the indifference of many whites to the problems of the Indians, and his readiness to take his lands, using a pen instead of a Winchester as his weapon. But there is another side, too. Unlike the Negro, far too few Indians have done much to help themselves. Instead of working to improve their own lot, they recall the broken promises of early days, and devote their time to attempts at getting new concessions and money from Washington. Indians curse their reservations, yet they stay on them. . . Indians, instead of bunching up, should get off their reservations and out into the white man's world, taking advantage of the many opportunities which are theirs "outside." The editorial continued with reference to other ethnic groups: When the Japs bunched up on the Pacific Coast, they were hated by the whites, and discriminated against. Negroes, flocking together in the big cities, are resented by whites and have been "up against it" in many ways. And the same may be said of other races "when they flock together." But when they fan out, a few to each community, they are generally treated with respect, and the job and other opportunities for a better life are increased. The Indians, too, can learn from this lesson. 64 The second column by the same editor attempted to express the views of local and regional tribes, and its support of termination is tempered by the influence of indigenous opinion. This lengthy editorial reports on an intertribal assembly which had convened in Wyoming to discuss the prospects of termination. When asked if the government ought to withdraw from the supervision of Indian affairs, The only answer came from a woman who declared ‘We're not ready.' What the Indians want, those delegates said, is more voice in the management of tribal matters, more freedom to act as other citizens, and a slow withdrawal of the Indian Bureau at a tempo adjusted to the increasing ability of individual Indians to wisely manage their own interests. Surely the course of wisdom lies in that direction. . . ." 65 Very few of the local newspapers covered the tribal response to the proposed federal policy changes. A notable exception was a feature article by Jim Hayes in the Phoenix Gazette in May of 1953, which reported "mounting Indian opposition" to announced
72 plans to shift control over Indian affairs from the federal to the state level. Hayes reported on tribal sentiment on the San Carols Apache, Gila River, and Navajo reservations, based upon interviews with tribal council members and straw votes by reservation residents. This article, unlike most others, portrayed Native American communities as politically "competent" and involved in managing their own tribal affairs, with strong concerns and opinions about federal and state machinations concerning their futures. The tribal leaders Hayes interviewed expressed a desire to make a gradual transition of administrative responsibility from federal to tribal control, without mediation by the state; Hayes commented that much of their complaint was directed toward Senator Barry Goldwater and "other spokesmen for ‘states rights' in the Indian field." The AAIA also gathered comments from tribal councils on the proposed "federal withdrawal program" through questionnaires sent to all tribes in 1953. Yet the diminishment of tribal authority was hastened when the termination bill (House Concurrent Resolution 108) and the bill to turn civil and criminal jurisdiction over Indian reservations to the States (Public Law 280) were quietly passed that summer by Congress, outside of the glare of the media. In August of 1953, leading newspapers reported on the first speech of Eisenhower's new Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Orme Lewis, to an intertribal gathering in Gallup, New Mexico. Acknowledging "an unusually complex set of relationships," Lewis advocated "full freedom and independence for Indians" as rapidly as possible. "There is a growing recognition," Lewis reportedly said, "among both Indians and non-Indians that the . . . administration should work toward the elimination of special relationships between the Federal Government and the Indian
73 people," adding that "we must not postpone the day . . . because some individual members are not ready to assume the responsibilities that necessarily go with the new status." 66
Anti-Termination Media Campaigns (1953-1955) The first wave of termination-related media coverage swept the nation's newspapers in the fall of 1953, starting with a wire service editorial which prickled the sensibilities of the "Friends of the Indians." This widely- published editorial opened with the statement, "It is the apparent intention of the administration in Washington to put the American Indian on his own, and stop baby-sitting for the 400,000 members of the various tribes." AAIA Executive Director Alexander Lesser sent letters to all of the newspapers which had picked up this editorial, calling the editorial a "complete misunderstanding of what is really going on in Indian Affairs today," and positioning the AAIA as the source for "truthful" political information: I feel sure that you will want to reconsider the kind of comment that was published in that editorial, and I am, therefore, sending you a copy of the Association's statement on the present "Crisis in Indian Affairs." . . . I sincerely hope that you will give thought to the content of the enclosed Newsletter of [our Association]. Public confusion and misunderstanding is widespread in this field. It is most essential in the public interest that the truth be made known. 67 The AAIA jumped to counter these editorials by sounding the termination alarm, blanketing newspaper editors nationwide with its own series of press releases. In these, LaFarge charged Congress with producing "a crisis more acute than any that has faced the Indian in our time." Editorials reported that:
74 American Indian tribes are in a period of jeopardy that started August 15 when President Eisenhower signed the bill giving states the right to take civil and criminal jurisdiction over the tribes without their consent. . . . Here is a crisis in Indian affairs that, once understood by the American people, should not be disregarded by any responsible citizen. Let it not be said that the federal government is again . . . breaking solemn covenants with defenseless Indians. 68 Through this campaign, the Association also gained self-promotion for LaFarge, as well as for its own involvement in the liberal reform of the "Indian problem." With their interest awakened by AAIA literature, newspaper correspondents researched in-depth feature stories on the crisis in Indian politics. LaFarge himself authored several lengthy press releases, and several detailed editorials under his byline appeared in a number of newspapers. The reputations of LaFarge and John Collier (famed as the progressive BIA Commissioner under Franklin Roosevelt's Indian New Deal) provided these two anthropologists with the clout to have news stories revolve around their political stances. 69 A feature article in The Minneapolis Star focused on LaFarge, "Pulitzer prize winning author," who was reportedly "doing a fast boil over what [he and the AAIA] consider a rush act by the federal government to get out of Indian affairs." The article listed the laws and pending bills to which the AAIA was objecting. This writer, however, noted the controversy even within the ranks of "Friends of the Indians" about the withdrawal bills: The Association says Indians need "a federal program that keeps faith with the nation's commitments, that promotes rehabilitation group-bygroup, of those we have so poorly served, that gives the Indians themselves authority, step by step, as they ask it. . . . It is possible to agree with LaFarge on specific points . . .and yet disagree with the over-all tenor of his broadside. Many students of Indian questions are convinced the government should get out of the Indian business as quickly as possible. . . . Indian problems are exceedingly complex. There is no panacea for them.
75 However, a start must be made to putting Indians on their own as full and equal members of modern American society. It should be done now rather than on some vague tomorrow. [italics indicate bolded text in original] 70 This AAIA-produced publicity in the Fall of 1953, aimed at newspaper editors around the nation, seems to have been the first major anti-termination public relations campaign to hit the news media. Its effectiveness in stirring up public opinion, and in establishing relationships with sympathetic media contacts, proved encouragement and added fuel to the AAIA's efforts to use the media as a tool to gain public support. A number of editorials in the following months commented upon the "gathering storm" and the "chorus of outrage" over the Eisenhower administration's emerging Indian affairs policies, which were being outlined at addresses to Western politicians and businessmen by newly-appointed Interior Secretary Douglas McKay and BIA Commissioner Emmons. Those editors who supported the interests of Western industry advocated "completely independent status" for the Indian, in a characteristic masculinist discourse which underscored the gender politics of Fifties media discourses on Native Americans. This was a representational system in which women worked behind the scenes, and were frequently portrayed as silent victims, yet men were highlighted and given voice in the public arena. In these discourses, as in the Hollywood stereotypes, "the Indian" was defined as a masculine subjectivity: We believe the policy evolving in the Department of the Interior is eminently right. We believe the American Indian is a man of inherent intelligence and strength of character and that the only thing he needs to assume complete citizenship is a decent chance to do so. 71 Editorials more sympathetic to the Indian constructed "him" as a tragic figure, and argued for the public to hear "his" side of the story:
76 If the American Indian ever is to become a first class citizen, he will have to have help to achieve it. It does not follow that Congress knows best what is good for the American Indian. He might have a few good ideas of his own. And it might be a pious idea to let him express himself fully, without fear of retaliatory measures. After all, this was his land--until we took it away from him. 72 In December, the NCAI got involved in the public relations machinery, with a distribution to the press of the 19 resolutions passed at their 1953 annual convention of tribal delegates in Phoenix. Picked up by the United Press wire, a news story reported that the NCAI had "voiced strong opposition to proposed withdrawal of federal services for Indians. . . ," and had urged no passage of legislation affecting Indians "without full consultation and discussion with tribes and states involved." Other topics included the desire of tribes to have access to tribal funds controlled by the BIA, issues of tribal mineral rights on federally reclaimed land, and the request for the formation of a national advisory committee on Indian affairs. 73 Secretary of the Interior McKay responded to the growing controversy with an article published in Nation's Business magazine in January of 1954, constructing the termination policies as part of efforts by the administration to "weld a working partnership with the people" regarding access to the nation's natural resources: The Department is making an intensive study to restore to the American Indian his rights and privileges as a first-class citizen. . . to participate in the management of his own affairs. . . . President Eisenhower directed [new Indian Commissioner] Glenn Emmons to go out to the Indian country and consult with the Indian tribal leaders, along with businessmen and others. Commissioner Emmons is now back in Washington, after traveling thousands of mile talking to hundreds of Indians. I might say that, for the first time in its history, the Department has a comprehensive idea of what the American Indian expects from his government. We know also how responsibility can be transferred without impairing the Indians' basic rights. . . . 74
77 However, the local newspaper serving the Oglala Sioux reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, announcing the impending visit by Emmons and the staff of the Senate Investigation Committee, quoted Oglala Tribal Council President Charles Under Baggage's plea to the tribe: "We are in a critical condition. Hardship is facing us. If we are to stand our grounds, we must all take a firm grip and all together Fight For Our Rights. We are being pressed from all sides. Our determination to Save Our Reservation For Indians Has Now Arrived." The newspaper's publisher, William G. Pugh, "The Voice of the Sioux People," stated that: 1. The majority of adult Oglala Sioux people . . . oppose and will resent any legislation or policies prescribed by the national, state or county political groups which will remove the powers, privileges and restrictions now given the Indian people in the matter of governing and operating their own Reservation affairs. 2. We oppose any legislation, policies or programs in which our Reservation will be placed under the administration of the State, to be governed by state political bosses. 3. We oppose the assimmilation [sic] program now being studied by experts in their line of thought, but ignorant as far as the line of Indian thought is concerned. If by Assimilation you mean the Opening of Indian Reservations, the complete integration of the American Indian into the remaining American population, the loss of Indian identity and Indian traditions. Then we are further opposed. . . . We wish to be placed in the same condition and recognition that your honorable body has found Koreans, Germans, Japanese, Italians, Greeks and other hard-pressed nations who are enjoying the privilege of rehabilitating with much-needed American dollars. Our possessions are offered as ample security and you will not have to declare war on us to get it back. . . . In an interesting reference to Cold War politics, Pugh remarked: If the "seeds" of communism are exploitation, monopoly, discrimination, favoritism, greed and graft, . . . we hope these "seeds" will be sifted from
78 the "chaf" [sic] and our Reservation will continue to be a healthy seed-bed for True Americanism. 75 Other reservation-area newspapers carried stories covering Emmons' visit locally, reprinting parts of his standard speech which included a long greeting from Eisenhower to the Indian people. Some articles were humorous: "The new man in charge of the welfare of America's half million Indians has a new theory about them. . . . Emmons, Gallup banker, figures Indians are about like other people. ‘I don't think they all want to stay on the reservation and weave blankets. . ,' Emmons said." 76 In an address before the Indian Rights Association that same month, BIA Commissioner Emmons reported upon his insights culled from the two months he spent in the field, meeting with more than 150 different tribal groups. "It seems clear," Emmons said, "that we can anticipate in 1954 and the years that lie ahead a steady reduction of federal participation in Indian affairs. . . the central theme of the Congressional policy embodied in H.C.R. 108." As to how he proposed to bring these changes about, Emmons denied that he believed that the whole structure "should be wiped out with a single stroke of the legislative pen," but that the government should seek to achieve the goal of "greater freedom and responsibility for the Indian people"; he advocated the handling of this plan on a case-by-case basis, outlining several possible approaches. The first "avenue of approach" would involve following the mandates of H.C.R. 108 to bring about complete termination in "selected tribal jurisdictions," particularly those groups which have reached "such a level of competence in property management that there is clearly no justification for a further continuation of the Federal trusteeship." A second approach, Emmons advocated,
79 would be transferring provision of services (education, health, law, road maintenance, etc.) to state, county or local agencies of government in a move toward decentralization. A third approach Emmons identified as problematic: . . . involves the termination of Federal responsibilities for individual Indians rather than for whole tribal groups. Unquestionably, there are many thousands of Indians among those for whom the Bureau has a responsibility who are perfectly capable of managing their own affairs without benefit of trusteeship or special services. . . . But the problem of determining equitably and fairly who these Indians are is a tremendously complex and difficult matter. In many cases, they are intermingled in the same tribal groups with other members who much more obviously need the benefit of continued Federal protection. And in many cases, we find that the property of the competent individual Indians is involved in complicated heirship tangles. . . . Finally, Emmons advocated the Bureau's program for relocation and resettlement for "Indians who voluntarily want to leave the reservation permanently but need special help and encouragement," as well as the development of greater economic opportunities in and around reservation areas. 77 In late winter, delegates representing 43 tribes, bands and groups from 21 states and the Territory of Alaska, representing 183,000 tribal members, were convened in Washington for an Emergency Conference of American Indians on Legislation, sponsored by the NCAI. As a result, NCAI President Joseph Garry sent a letter and a Declaration of Indian Rights to President Eisenhower, asking him to join native peoples in opposing "what they believe to be a hasty and ill-considered termination of Federal responsibility to Indians. . . legislation which would violate their sacred treaties with the federal government." The Declaration of Indian Rights, drafted and approved at the conference, emphasized that:
80 The government of the United States first dealt with our tribal governments as sovereign equals. In exchange for federal protection and the promise of certain benefits our ancestors gave forever to the people of the United States title to the very soil of our beloved country. We have never asked anything except that this protection be continued and these benefits be provided in good faith. Today the Federal Government is threatening to withdraw this protection and these benefits. We believe that the American people will not permit our government to act in this way if they know that these proposals do not have Indian consent; that these proposals, if adopted, will tend to destroy our tribal governments, that they may well leave our older people destitute; and that the effect of many of these proposals will be to force our people into a way of life that some of them are not willing or are not ready to adopt. [italics added] 78 A sympathetic article covering the results of the Emergency Conference appeared in The New Leader magazine, written by W.V. Eckardt. Eckardt introduced the concept of "’Terminating' the Indians," and reported on the emergency conference of tribal delegates convened by the NCAI to "organize their defense against what some of them call the ‘worst Indian betrayal in a hundred years,'" charging that proposed federal legislation would "’quickly result in the end of our last holdings on this continent and destroy our dignity and distinction as the first inhabitants of this rich land.'" The article also commented, self-reflexively, on the way the press covered the conference: Unfortunately, the Indian "braves," as the newspapers called them, had little success in attracting public attention to their cause. The local newspapers, of course, duly printed the pictures of some of them. The accompanying stories made much of the missing war bonnet, hatchet or peace pipe, but paid scant attention to the plight of America's most downtrodden minority. Hard as it is for American Indians to dodge the cliches which tend to depict them as romantic or comic historical figures, it is even harder for them to arouse the public conscience.
81 Eckardt criticized the pro-termination legislators for constructing their offensive in the name of "freeing" the Indians, a tact which he claimed was designed to assuage the public conscience and hide the fact that "practically every one of the . . . pending bills are, in one way or another, concerned with securing some profitable piece of real estate for non-Indian interests." A staged photograph of Eisenhower with Navajo tribal leaders is captioned: "Liberation or Exploitation?" Contrary to the rhetoric of "emancipating" the Indians, Eckardt argued, America's 450,000 Indian citizens were already in possession of every legal freedom, and the pending legislation threatened to remove the "right to live as Indians if they choose to stay with their tribes." He pointed out that this is both a moral and legal right, "guaranteed by solemn treaties, agreements and statutes . . . which were signed by the United States and the once sovereign and equal tribal governments." This article exposed the recent history of bureaucratic snafus and corruption by the Department of the Interior and its agents (often, he charged, "ex-FBI men and former prison wardens"), as well as pending Congressional legislation such as the "competency bill": It provides that any Indian who is given a "degree of competency"--and all Indians are born into competency once the bill is passed--shall be relieved of his tribal obligations, as well as the right to use tribal facilities, such as Indian schools and hospitals. The real gimmick of this bill is the provision allowing any "competent" Indian to request that his land be sold for benefit. If he owns land jointly with other members of the tribe, as he usually does, he can still get the Secretary of the Interior to sell out the joint holdings for his share. He can do this even if the land is held by, say, 36 members of his family, and 35 of them. . . prefer to remain "incompetent" and keep their land in trust. The stated purpose of this bill, H.R. 4985, is to "free" the Indian--without his consent. Eckardt quoted Diego Abeita, representing the Jicarillo Apache tribe and the All-Pueblo Council:
82 "In order to get our lands," he cried, "they are going to declare us competent. How do we know the Secretary of the Interior is competent to declare us competent? . . . First they try to get us by administrative actions and then by legislation. They're trying to hang us and then make it legal!" This piece provided one of the strongest anti-termination rationales available in the mass media--one that reflected the discourses which were circulating within Native America and the pro-Indian organizations, but which were rarely expressed so candidly to the public. 79 The media campaign by pro-Indian interest groups continued throughout 1954. AAIA correspondence indicates a constant monitoring of the press with regard to Indian issues, and a lack of hesitation about trying to influence the contents of such articles. For example, LaFarge obtained a draft of an article by Keith Monroe, to be published in the conservative Saturday Evening Post, and took it upon himself to write Monroe requesting that he make changes in his article: Your article reads as though you yourself despised the Indians, and you wished to convey to the general public that no matter how they may have been wronged or how pitiable they may be, they are also a shiftless, quaint, irresponsible collection of drunks. As it stands, your article is bound to produce loud outcries from the Indians themselves. . . . The impression of a contemptuous attitude is supported by minor tricks of language, which I am sure you have used in complete innocence. You speak of "bucks," "braves," and "squaws"--never of men and women. If you were writing about Negroes, would you refer to them as "coons" and "niggers"? It is almost equally offensive, and encourages the average, ignorant white man in his tendency to think of Indians as subhuman. In his correspondence with AAIA Information Director Harold Mantell about Monroe's article, LaFarge plotted a contingency strategy: If the article goes in as it is, I think we should try to exploit it as an opportunity. I think we ought to line up some Indians, and have them all
83 set to write to the Post. . . . We might even be able to stir the editors up into running a piece with a different slant. 80 The media strategy metaphorically became one of battle, as AAIA's new Executive Director, LaVerne Madigan, wrote to a member in late 1954: We have launched a planned assault on the religious publications by asking ten of the leading ones to run an Indian article before January. The response has been quicker than we expected. Dr. Russell is doing a "termination" piece for THE CHURCHMAN; we are tapping other potential authors on the shoulder. 81 A column by Walter Davenport in Collier's magazine "about the shoeless and otherwise needy Blackfeet Indian children" inspired letters from many readers wanting to send clothing. Davenport forwarded these letters to Sister Providencia in Great Falls. In a letter of response, she asked Davenport to follow up on his first article, and her plea articulates the tension between the two types of public responses, the humanitarian and the political: Could you come here to see the scope of Hill 57? It extends from Great Falls to the Indian colony in the Havre dumps, to the tent that Mrs. Two Teeth lives in year round three miles from our state capitol, to Texas, and to the Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. You may win your readers to the greater good of justice before charity. Come soon. One of the letters from a magazine reader compares the poverty of Southern blacks to that of Reservation Indians, particularly in terms of Christian discourses of charitable giving to the poor: My brother and I have been collecting old clothes and have been sending them to the "Holy Child Jesus Mission" in Canton, Mississippi. We found out about these colored poor people through a young lady who use to work for those missions. . . . We have quite a bit of clothes now. . . . Please let me know what you can use. 82
84 Emmons became an increasingly controversial figure due to the contradiction between his rhetoric and the policies which were enacted under his leadership and influence. In a confidential memo to some AAIA Board members after a contrived "accidental" meeting with Emmons in Santa Fe, LaFarge attacked Emmons as "profoundly pleased with himself" and "fatuous," and, noting his evasion of discussion of legislative matters, said that "the whole tenor of his remarks contrasted so violently with the Utah bill that I made two pretty blunt attempts to get him to face up to it and discuss it, and each time he evaded me [shamelessly]": Before leaving him I told him as clearly as was decent that we continued to like the broad policies that he expresses in every public statement, and that if he would ever make up his mind to stand up against the contrary things that are being pressed in Congress, he would be surprised at the amount of support he [would get]. . . . I conclude that he is dangerously self-satisfied and has been able to rationalize the conflict between his ideas and what is happening in a dangerous manner. 83 Emmons remarked in his missive to the NCAI Annual Convention that the year 1954 had seen "probably more widespread public discussion of Indian legislative items than at any previous time in our recent history." He noted that during the Congressional year six of the bills providing for termination of particular tribes had been enacted into law: the Menominee of Wisconsin, a group of small bands in Western Oregon and another group of bands in Utah, the Alabama and Coushatta tribes of Texas, the Klamath of Oregon, and the Uintah-Ouray tribes of Utah. Also during 1954, Emmons noted, he had reorganized the administrative structure of the Indian Bureau, resulting in a reduction in Area offices and a "tightening up of our land operations," resulting in a more "effective and responsive" agency. Finally, Emmons had harsh words for critics of the termination movement:
85 If we are to be realistic, all of us must recognize, I believe, that there is inevitably a certain degree of impatience in Congress about Indian affairs. There is also the tendency on the part of some members to write the whole problem off as insoluble and to liquidate it in one sweeping piece of legislation. Nobody, I assure you, is more deeply concerned than I am about the prospect of such legislation or more keenly aware of the tragic disaster it would almost certainly bring to the lives of thousands of Indian people. I will, I promise you, oppose any such bill with all the strength and all the resourcefulness I have. But I believe there is a wrong way and a right way to head off such hasty and ill-considered legislation. The wrong way, as I see it, is to sit tight, agitate endlessly against terminal legislation, and insist on an indefinite continuation of the status quo. To speak bluntly, I can think of nothing that would be more likely to bring about just the kind of legislation we are trying to avoid. 84 NCAI President Joseph Garry reported in a newsletter article to NCAI members of a "major change in policy" involving land ownership which was quietly distributed as a memorandum in May, 1955, from Emmons to the BIA Area Directors and which "further accelerated the loss of Indian lands and rendered other Indian-held land of less value" by providing patents-in-fee to "competent" Indians for allotments which were under lease, timber or grazing permit. Garry angrily clarified the ideological conflict at the heart of such a policy: This is the latest in a long chain of arrogant and aggressive acts on the part of the U.S. Government--and an arm of that government supposedly devoted to their protection--to push the Indian people to further degradation, poverty and destruction. The vicious thing about all this is that the choice need not be "individual's rights" vs. "tribal interests." Of course, everybody believes in individual rights! BUT THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE without destroying tribes . . . and that is to get through legislation that does not leave Indians, the Bureau and the general public with the unhappy choice of individual Indian rights versus tribal interests. . . [italics in original].
86 Instead, Garry advocated that the government provide the tribes with funds and the authority to purchase any individual tracts of lands that individual Indians desire to sell, "for the protection and good of the whole tribe." 85 During an apparent drought in press coverage, in June, 1955, AAIA Director Madigan circulated an internal memo calling, tongue-in-cheek, for more media attention: “Can't we make some news? Have we testified for or against, questioned, hailed, condemned, denounced, exposed, contested, litigated, or even just declared anything lately? We haven't had a news release [in two months]. . . . Anybody have any ideas?” 86
Early Uses of Television and Radio (1952-1955) On April 17, 1952, an Ames, Iowa, television station (WOI-TV) broadcast to a local audience an unusual and remarkable public affairs program, The Whole Town's Talking. This episode, part of an eight-week series on the problems facing Iowa communities, focused on the community of Tama, Iowa, specifically "the Tama Indian settlement," home of the Sac and Fox (Mesquakie) Indians. (The Sac and Fox were to be one of the ten groups of Indians named in termination proceedings in 1953-54.) 87 Norm Birnhauer, the series host, introduced the show: To these Americans, to this community with a problem, comes television, to catch the face and the voice of America itself. Here in Tama, Iowa, representative Americans of the Tama Indian reservation discuss a problem vital to the very existence of their way of life. . . . These are people who do not find talking easy, especially in public and before a television camera. But they are determined to face their problems and find solutions for them. To do this they need not so much our help as they do our understanding. . . . Tonight before the eyes of the
87 TV cameras and the entire quarter million viewing audience of WOI-TV, representative members have come to talk over a serious problem. 88 A live broadcast, the program was structured as a "you are there" visit to the reservation, with camera shots through car windows of homes and children playing in yards as the car drives through the community. The voiceover narration emphasized the distinctive and ancient tradition of the Sac and Fox, as well as their commonalities with all Americans: "Today they are citizens: they hold responsible jobs, they own the land they live on, they pay taxes, and they have problems." Birnhauer mentioned that although some older people spoke no English, the younger generation was learning to live with the world outside, "and face the problems of a minority group." The inevitability of assimilation was never questioned. The remainder of the show consisted of live coverage of a tribal council meeting, led by Chairman George Young Bear, who set the agenda by stating that, "Our tribe, our own people, are confronted with problems that we must think over, and we must formulate plans that will eventually mean progress for our people." A Mr. Mitchell turned to address the television audience directly with words of welcome: “My dear friends, this is indeed an honor and a pleasure to appear before you this evening, because this is the first time we have appeared before you, in public.” Issues discussed included the future of the reservation schools, which had formerly been federally operated but the responsibility for which was being shifted to the state, and for which the future was unclear. Someone noted that the current teachers had received end-of-year transfers; one woman remarked that it was essential for the children of the tribe to have teachers who understood their culture.
88 Also discussed was the ambiguous status of Indian citizenship in spite of being "wards of the government." One tribal council member asked, rhetorically, "In ten years, what will we do? The government makes promises that are never fulfilled. . . . Congress gives out foreign aid, but none to us. As citizens, we do not have full rights." The most common theme was the failure of the government to honor treaties and promises. Those treaties "must have ripped somewhere along the line," one tribal elder said, since "if the government had done what they started out to do, today's Indians under sixty years of age would be self-supporting." One elder, Peter Morgan, gave a long and impassioned speech in the Mesquakie language. Of special concern were issues of land ownership, taxation and productive use--especially the problems that the special status of the Tama reservation land, which the tribe had purchased from white settlers, presented to the federal government in terms of defining its role in relation to this unusual tribe. The program ended with a brief remark by the narrator that the roots of democracy and representative government can be found in the Indian tribal council, "probably the oldest form of pure democracy." This local broadcast was remarkable in several ways. It was an extremely early television documentary to address the complexities and contradictions of Native American communities facing the threats of termination of federal services. It did so by turning its microphones over to tribal leaders, with no substantial explanation, summary or closure enforced by an authoritative white narrator or host. The community meeting, and the indigenous sentiments expressed, were allowed to stand on their own, unremarked upon. The Native voice was provided access to the technological apparatus of dominant society, and invited to express itself. However,
89 the audience was limited to that of an Iowa locality, and there is no indication that the broadcast had any political effectivity. In its framing and in its rhetoric, the broadcast both validated the indigenous culture and emphasized the perceived inevitability of assimilation and termination. As the new medium of television became more widespread after the FCC's 1952 lifting of the four-year television freeze, the pro-Indian interest groups soon turned their promotional attentions to the national networks. In the Fall of 1953, the all-Indian NCAI began a series of negotiations with Fred Friendly, producer of CBS television's See It Now, to try to arrange a report by Edward R. Murrow from the national NCAI convention, with interviews of tribal leaders about the controversies in Indian affairs. Because of the magnitude of such a public relations effort, the NCAI decided to ask the more media-savvy AAIA to help with the project. 89 Apparently initially interested in some type of socioeconomic focus for a Navajo story, correspondence indicates that Friendly was annoyed by the aggressive efforts of AAIA's staff, especially Harold Mantell (AAIA Information Director), to refocus the proposed broadcast. After a meeting with Friendly, AAIA Executive Director Alexander Lesser wrote LaFarge that Friendly seemed to be wary that "he was dealing with a ‘public relations outfit'. . . and I did the best I could to make him understand that we felt that the 30 years of organized effort of the Association in the field of Indians gave us the right to try to provide him with whatever information and insight we might have into the Indian problem of the present." We tried to show Friendly that the economic, social, educational and health problems of the Navajos are not "the" problem of today; that it is rather the Federal renunciation of responsibilities to tackle these
90 concrete problems which constitutes the overriding threat to the Indians. . . . It is not a question of schools or hospitals, etc; it is a question of the existence of Indian tribal communities, the overall Federal guarantee of their rights to exist, and . . . federal responsibility to see that the backwardness, educationally and economically, is overcome. Acknowledging that the negotiations failed, Lesser noted that "LaVerne [Madigan] and I . . . both agree that the idea of a timely show on . . . the united fight of Indians against the new Federal policy is a top idea. If CBS does not use it, and prefers the Navajo theme, we think someone ought to use it." 90 Local tribal communities and activists began to discover community radio as a tool for the dissemination of news and editorials about Indian affairs. KMON radio in Great Falls, Montana began a series called Indian Information in late 1953, organized by radio announcer Stan Deck. A mimeographed newsletter distributed by the Great Falls, Montana-based "Friends of Hill 57," a local grassroots group working to improve living conditions in the urban Indian ghetto as well as to influence legislative issues, announced that Deck had offered his services to tribes wishing to prepare five-minute talks about the termination situation to be broadcast on KMON "every day if desired between now and the end of this Congressional session": Interviews with tribal officials and friendly non-Indians could follow an opening with Indian drums and the announcement: "Indian tribes must not be terminated. Citizens! Know your neighbors' problems. They are yours, too." . . . Then plug for the Write-a-Letter-to-Mamie campaign with this for an ending: "Do a citizen's duty and write a letter to Mamie and say, ‘Please tell Ike that the Federal government must mind its own Indian business.'" 91 A 1955 report on Radio KMON reported on a speech made by a Montana Indian, Mrs. J. B. Koliha, to a meeting of church women, quoting her comments on the local effects
91 of termination. Other Great Falls area radio stations occasionally featured guest editorials dealing with Indian issues, particularly those of the "landless Indians": Recent federal policy has encouraged and even forced Indian families to leave their reservations in search of a livelihood. These people have come to Great Falls, Havre, Helena and many other Montana cities. Many of them have been poorly prepared to compete in the urban labor market. . . The result is that the Indian colonies on the outskirts of Montana towns and cities are centers of poverty and misery. . . . The resident of Cascade County is being asked to foot the bill for a mess created by the federal government. Many persons ask why Uncle Sam should forget his treaty obligations to these Indian people, just because they have been forced to leave their reservations. 92 Montana's Robert Yellowtail, Crow tribal leader and legal expert, frequently editorialized over Sheridan, Wyoming's KWYO radio and Billings, Montana's KBMY. His articulate and astute observations pointed out the irony of America's role as champion of human rights in the face of her violations of sacred trust with regard to indigenous peoples. Yellowtail clearly expressed issues of sovereignty and legal rights, challenging the integrity of the U.S. government, and calling for public action against the BIA. Other tribal leaders, such as Walt McDonald of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana, indicated that they had appeared on local radio shows to discuss Indian affairs. 93 The AAIA also took advantage of local, listener-sponsored community radio: in July of 1954, KPFA of Berkeley, California reported a long discussion program on Indian issues, featuring scholars LaFarge, Vern Ray of Yale, Nancy Lurie of Harvard, and William Holenthal of San Francisco State Universities. After the successful response to this broadcast, AAIA's new Executive Director LaVerne Madigan wrote to LaFarge suggesting a way to disseminate their message across the nation fairly
92 inexpensively: she asked him if he would prepare a speech on tape "on the great betrayal which is in progress," exclaiming that "there are numerous sections where television has not yet replaced radio altogether, and we should take advantage of the condition while it still exists." Perhaps later, she offered, "we could follow a similar procedure with a film recording," which could be used "not only on television but by schools and clubs." Thinking of the visual possibilities that film and television might offer, Madigan added, "Perhaps part of the film could show you talking to a long-haired Indian who talks in the grand style." 94 Television coverage of American Indian issues in the years between 19541956 seems to have been limited and irregular, in spite of sporadic efforts by interest groups to acquire public affairs time on the two major networks (NBC and CBS) for serious discussion of the political and cultural issues which were being hotly debated in the halls of Congress and on Indian reservations across the nation. 95 In April of 1954, the Dumont Television network televised a debate between leading termination advocate Senator Arthur Watkins and termination opponent Senator George Smathers, entitled "Should the American Indian Be Given Full Citizenship Responsibility?" 96 The following month, a CBS program, Longines Chronoscope, was devoted to a discussion of Indian affairs. One viewer, Mrs. Doris Redfield, wrote to LaFarge and the AAIA that she had heard on the program "of bills pending to deprive the Indian of his Federal protection," and offered to arrange publicity of these matters through the several Midwestern newspapers with which she was affiliated, "to arouse public opinion to prevent further exploitation of Indians and their land." The AAIA sent her a packet of legislative information and encouraged her to pursue the publicity. 97
93 In the Fall of 1955, NBC television asked the AAIA for help with contacts for a short documentary film that Joe Michaels would be producing on problems among the Sioux. Madigan sent letters of introduction to Moses Two Bulls, Tribal Chairman of South Dakota's Oglala Sioux tribe, and to Dr. Ben Reifel, a Native American who was Superintendent of the Aberdeen (South Dakota) Area Office of the BIA, requesting their cooperation with the NBC broadcast. A month later, Madigan reported to an AAIA Board member that Joe Michaels of NBC had just returned from his shoot among the Oglala Sioux: "He photographed everybody and everything and really did a research job." Though the film was not yet edited, "he assures me that he will show the public the unspeakable wretchedness of the Sioux and say that much remains to be done." She also commented on the potential of such television coverage for reaching a wide audience: "This program--Today--is very important. It is Dave Garroway's early morning show, which everybody on earth seems to see, and it goes out all over the country." 98 That same month, the AAIA apparently pursued CBS television to develop some projects based upon the Indian issues, sending a large packet of background material, newsletters, and legislative material. Edward Saxe, CBS Vice-President and Assistant to the President, responded to Madigan: I was somewhat overwhelmed by the bulk and by the complexity of the issues represented in the material you forwarded. I have sent it to Fred Friendly [producer of See It Now]. . . . I prefer this approach to attempting to get television news pickup which, at best, would be cursory. Have you approached the Fund for the Republic regarding your program? Civil liberties as applied to the American Indian might make for an interesting research project, the results of which might then be communicated to the American public by television or other media. 99
94 Shortly thereafter, Madigan received a letter from Barbara Sapinsley, producer of the network's Let's Take A Trip children's show. On January 15, Sapinsley wrote, Sonny, Pud and Ginger, the show's principals, would be visiting a Seminole village in Miami, to "learn who the Seminoles are" and to "talk to the Indians." She asked if AAIA would publicize this show among its members. In a response letter (marked "NOT SENT") Madigan asked for the inclusion of some political issues into the content of the program if it were to be publicized through the Association's newsletter. 100 Determined to pursue CBS to treat the Native American issues with more gravity, Madigan wrote to Eric Sevareid of CBS-TV's Washington News Bureau. She suggested that LaFarge, who would be coming East in April, would be available for a public affairs interview or talk show: We know of no one who can more effectively present the Indians' case to the public . . . . We wonder whether you could connect us with any of the really good public affairs programs on TV. We think Mr. LaFarge's appearance on one could do much to focus public attention on the problems with which we are concerned. Thank you--even if you find this request out of order and cannot do what we ask. Sevareid responded quickly and courteously, suggesting that if she would contact him closer to the date of LaFarge's visit, "maybe I can think of one or two people in network public affairs who might be interested." Madigan did follow up on the Spring, but there is no indication of any appearances by LaFarge on CBS. However, a memo from Madigan to AAIA members in April announced the upcoming broadcast on NBC's Outlook of "an important film about the Indian Bureau's Relocation program."
A Swell in Public Debate (1956-1958)
95 1956 was a fairly quiet media year in Indian affairs, with the exception of a few feature articles in widely-read highbrow magazines which were highly critical of the termination movement. Articles appeared in both Harper's and Atlantic Monthly in March, and became the topic of intertextual debate. A response to the articles from an M.C. Thornhill appeared in the Letters to the Editor of The Washington Post, calling for a repeal of H.C.R. 108. The Post printed Emmons' response to the Thornhill letter, in which the BIA Commissioner denied "as emphatically as I can" the major implications of both magazine articles. Shortly thereafter, an article in Christian Century also noted an increasing interest in "the situation of Indian Americans" among Protestant church groups, as reported by a surge in orders for maps, pamphlets and books from publishers ranging from religious presses to the Bureau of Indian Affairs: "orders for several months averaged 800 per day" from the BIA's office of Visual Aids and Publications. 102 However, national public interest in American Indian issues increased greatly during 1957, with another swell of media coverage and attention. An in-depth report in the mainstream press from this period was an extensive story in the Atlantic Monthly in 1957 by Edith Mirrielees, an English professor at Stanford University who researched the contemporary politics surrounding the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its administration of Indian programs, along with recent legislation affecting Indian status and its long- term implications. Her story brought many of these issues to the public's attention for the first time, and the magazine received a number of letters in response to the story, all sympathetic to the "plight" of the Indian, including two from readers who identified themselves as Indian and one from the former Commissioner of Indian
96 Affairs during the Roosevelt era, John Collier, who agreed with Mirrielees but criticized her for being too "charitable" to the government in her article. 103 In February, The Minneapolis Tribune ran a controversial series of feature articles, "The First Are Last," on socioeconomic conditions in a variety of urban Midwestern Indian communities, written by staff writer Carl Rowan, an African American. NCAI Director Helen Peterson commented on Rowan's articles in a letter to E. Palmer Hoyt (publisher of The Denver Post): A fine Negro reporter did a series of articles in the Minneapolis Tribune and, while he did a good job of pointing out conditions of poverty, breakdown in culture, and sordid conditions among Indians relocated in Minneapolis, he--like most others interested in race relations or civil rights--apparently hasn't a glimmer of the basic land issue, the Federal-Indian relationship, the proper role of a national trustee, or where the cure for is for ill health, ignorance, and poverty. A series that clearly explains this is much-needed...." Time magazine picked up the scent of this unusual controversy--a black man writing about American Indian issues--and ran a story in "The Press" section: A Negro who has won four national awards for stories that have taken him from the Deep South to the Far East, Carl Rowan . . . brought to his 15- part Tribune series a mixture of shrewd news sense and a personal kinship with the Indian--the other "American who is not quite an American.". . . "When local [Minnesota] whites criticize the South for racial segregation," asks Rowan, "is it a case of the pot calling the kettle black?" Rowan says he found "almost no citizen who will say directly that he considers the Indian racially inferior, or inherently a loafer or a drunkard." Yet [a Minnesota hospital director] told him: "The feeling of some communities is that the only good Indians are dead Indians." The article reports a huge public response to the series, which was bluntly critical of federal, state and local bureaucracies and their inability to provide adequate and timely social services. 104
97 The stirrings of American Indian activism received some anxious commentary, and attacks, in the popular press from the conservative right in 1957 and 1958. In a patronizing vein, the Saturday Evening Post in 1957 celebrated the government's relocation of individual Indians from "bleak and dreary" reservations ("concentration camps") to the "delights and opportunities" of urban areas ("civilization"), since in their new situation "they save their money, go to church, and maintain decorum regularly." One Reader's Digest story celebrated the "enlightened policies" of Glenn Emmons, a "warmhearted country banker," who it claimed was "for the first time [offering] Indians a future"; another paternalistically chided the Indians for their lack of appreciation of all that "we" Americans had done for them, trivializing the process of Indian land claims and reinforcing a perceived distinction between "Indians" and "Americans" by constructing the Indians yet again as thieves and villains: The Indians are on the warpath--not for scalps but for money; in the place of tomahawks they are using law books. The white man took their lands without just compensation, they say. Now they intend to get paid for it. . . . Ridiculous, you think? . . . Until [action is taken to stop this], the Indians and their lawyers will continue to collect big wampum from the American taxpayer. 105 The tone and racism of these articles enraged Native Americans and proIndian interest groups, arousing many of them to prepare public responses. NCAI Director Peterson wrote to her friend Palmer Hoyt, Publisher of the Denver Post, asking him if he could pull some strings to get Reader's Digest to republish D'Arcy McNickle's Christian Century article, "It's Almost Never Too Late," to counter Daniel's article. The following year, when the Digest article on Indian land claims came out, pro-Indian interest groups claimed to be deluged with requests about how to respond
98 to its charges. "To arm [them] with the facts," the NCAI sent a mailing to all Indian tribes, as well as its individual members: The Reader's Digest is read each month by more than eleven million people. Therefore, we should all do what we can to correct the misinformation and erroneous impressions that have been created by the article. . . . You and others in your tribe should try to get this information to the local newspapers, radio and TV stations so they will know what the facts are. 106 The information packet included a Congressional Record reprint of remarks made by Rep. Ed Edmondson of Oklahoma about the article, as well as reprinted editorials from newspapers and magazines. "Make sure your tribal council has this information," they emphasized. Not all of the television coverage in the 1950s was serious journalism-- the producers of a television game show, Stand Up and Be Counted, contacted the AAIA early that year to get "an Indian" as a contestant on the show, the premise of which was that the contestant tells of his ambition and gets responses from the studio audience. Also, the AAIA apparently cooperated to get some Native American contestants on I've Got A Secret. 107 The AAIA’s Madigan was willing to try any angle to get Indian issues before the American public. In March, she sent a letter to a major New York City radio station announcing that a number of tribal officials would be visiting the area, and wondering if the public affairs director had a need to interview "intelligent, young adult leaders of their people, articulate, and working hard to develop their tribal communities." 108 The first major national broadcast coverage of Native American issues was achieved with the impressive May 26, 1957, episode of NBC's showy 90- minute
99 reality series Wide Wide World, "The American Indian: Between Two Worlds." The premise of the series, hosted by the Today show's Dave Garroway, was based on exploiting the use of live broadcast technology simultaneously from a number of diverse locations, linking the country--and the world-- through television, and forging an "imaginary community," in Benedict Anderson's terms. In this episode, television crews were stationed in Tulsa and Anadarko, Oklahoma; in Zuni Pueblo and Los Alamos, New Mexico; at two locations on Arizona's Pima Reservation; and at Chicago's Kenmore Center. These locations were connected by an elaborate technical linkage using AT&T switching facilities and cables, and coordinated through a switcher in the New York NBC studio. At station breaks, the producers also cut to other locations for live commercials. The entire show was carefully scripted, including interview responses, and participants had taken part in a dress rehearsal earlier in the day. 109 The rhetoric of the program emphasized the social and cultural disjunction of the dual cultures which Native Americans faced, portraying them as liminal figures, "between two worlds": "One, the modern world of twentieth century America; the other, the timeless world of tradition and proud heritage." Opening on the Zuni Pueblo, "a way of life as old as history . . . the old world," the producers juxtaposed traditional Zuni life against "the new world"--a laboratory of the Los Alamos Atomic Energy Commission. On the Pueblo, they examined the "ancient rhythms" of the Zuni, and probed for the secrets of Zuni religion with a prayer from a Sun Priest, a performance of the Rainbow Dance (with 100-150 Zuni spectators in festive traditional dress), an interview with Calvin Eustace, governor of the Pueblo, and with silversmith Fred
100 Bowani. After a commercial for General Motors, Wide Wide World switched to the Atomic City of Los Alamos: "a different kind of reservation--a white man's reservation. . . not far from the Zuni Pueblo but centuries apart in time." After lauding the magnificent advances of science, technology and community planning which had converged at this site, viewers were treated to the first television views of the "secret" laboratories of the Health Research Laboratory where workers are engaged in "weapons development work" and nuclear research. There, Garroway interviewed Petasha Vigil, a Pueblo Indian--whose attention to detail gained from traditional silversmith skills served him well in his work with radioactive plutonium particles--and his wife Lila, a technician for the radioactivity-measuring "Human Counter." Her boss pointed just out how little radioactivity would actually be absorbed by the body in atomic fallout: "Less than you'd get from the dial of this ordinary wristwatch!" Act II took the viewer to Tulsa for interviews with Thomas Gilcrease (Creek), oil millionaire and collector of frontier art, artist Dick West (Cheyenne), who (backed by still-in-motion visuals followed by footage of a Cheyenne War Dance) gave an account of the traditional Plains Indian way of life, and Acee Blue Eagle (Pawnee), who likewise shared the Woodland Indian traditions of the Pawnees (ending with a Wichita Turkey Dance). Next, the producers staged a frontier-era reenactment of an Oklahoma Land Rush, which marked "the beginning of the end of Indian Territory." Then, back in Tulsa, a discussion of the "Arrows to Atoms" Celebration of the state's 50th anniversary made note of some of Oklahoma's favorite sons: Creek Indian Allie Reynolds (former Yankees pitcher) and Will Rogers, of Cherokee descent.
101 "Oklahoma! In fifty years from teepees to towers, a chapter in American history that began in tears and ends in triumph!" Garroway concluded. Act III addressed the issue of relocation and urban Indian culture, though from a cultural rather than a political perspective: “What happens when an Indian cuts himself off from these values? . . . To go from tribal tradition to atomic age, the Indian must leap across the centuries. And sometimes the transition is so bewildering that it ends in disaster.” Garroway recounted the tragic story of World War II veteran and Pima Indian Ira Hayes, switching to Bapchule, Arizona to show where he was raised: The land is parched and barren. Hard to find roots here after seeing the wide world. A tough place to come home to after the war. He tried to get away [switch in visuals to Chicago street scene] to find a better life. It didn't work . . . too much self-rejection . . . too many drinks. He was lost, away from home, in the new world he couldn't join. This section repeatedly emphasized the trope of the American Indian trapped "between two worlds." Back in Arizona, the cameras visited the Pima Tribal Council, who were considering sending a delegation to Chicago to investigate the welfare of tribal members who had relocated. Garroway interviewed Jay Morago, Jr. as an example of a young person who chose to stay on the reservation and became Tribal Chairman: "When we lose our young people, we lose the ones who are the future hope of the tribe." Back in Chicago, reporter Jack Chancellor visited a neighborhood center run by white church workers, and interviewed one of the center directors, Mrs. Norman Attrell, who explained that the center served all newcomers to the neighborhood: Indians, Puerto Ricans and Southern whites. She reported that one of the services offered to Indian women was a Charm Course, since "after they've been here awhile
102 [and] get television sets, many of them come to us asking for advice on what to wear and how to cut their hair. . . ." The camera focused on contrasting before-and-after images of an Indian woman "right off the reservation" and a "pretty, modern-looking Indian matron." This provided a segue to a visit and interview with glamorous ballet dancer Maria Tallchief. Viewers, along with a group of urban Indian children brought from the Kenmore community center, watched her dancing a pas de deux from Swan Lake Ballet. In the interview, Tallchief told about growing up "well off" in Oklahoma of Osage ancestry. Then she demonstrated some dance steps to one of the young Indian girls; camera directions indicate: "Takes most attractive child; runs; they do a leap; she lets child go and does antic ballet step; cut to Maria in mirror dancing; cut to children smiling; cut to chaperone beaming." Wide Wide World repeatedly constructed Native American culture as an ancient, historical artifact--outside of time, in fact--and in conflict with the temporal modern world. Its discourses problematized the need for individual Indians to join the modern world "on their own terms," to "make the leap" across the centuries. These discourses emphasized that these adjustments would impose "great personal, psychological and emotional" stress on individuals, yet, through its highlighted selection of successfully assimilated personalities (and its profile of the tragic figure of Ira Hayes), indicated that the benefits of "adjustment" were worthy and admirable goals. The show ended with an enigmatic question regarding the tribal children of Native America: “All of them, growing up with the language of two worlds. Which will they choose? Or must they choose? Is America big enough to let them move at their own pace to accept the best of our world while retaining the best of their own?” The
103 documentary remained firmly apolitical, never mentioning or even implying the existence of controversial termination policies, nor dealing with concrete social and policy issues such as education or health. In its attention to life on a number of reservations, the program assiduously failed to mention the existence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or the relationship between the federal government and the Native American people. Rather, it was a documentary of celebration, applauding the Atomic age as the pinnacle of human progress, and constructing ideal America as a melting pot into which Native Americans were adding their own distinct flavor. Although it denied, through omission, the contemporary political problems facing Native Americans, the Wide Wide World documentary was praised by some for its positive portrayal of Indian individuals. Madigan wrote a letter to NBC on behalf of the AAIA Board of Directors to commend the NBC network and sponsor General Motors "for combining great showmanship with serious, thoughtful, dignified treatment of a difficult and misunderstood American problem--the American Indian," commenting that the production made "crystal clear the difficulties of the present position of the Indians. . . . This is the sort of thing television is for." 110 Interest groups such as the AAIA continued to try to arrange for appearances on network public affairs programs, and coverage of Indian issues in the media increased greatly during 1958. One plea from the AAIA to CBS pointed out the "quiet taking-over of Indian heritage by land-hungry non- Indian neighbors or outsiders," and emphasized that the public was largely unaware of these tribal land sales, drawing upon Cold War fears to underscore that "Communist countries are aware of this" and would use it as anti-American propaganda. To educate the American public, the AAIA
104 proposed a televised debate between LaFarge and Secretary of the Interior Fred Seaton. Later that month, NBC's Today show reported that LaFarge had charged "that the government's current handling of the American Indian resembles the program that Bolshevik Russia enforced against the Kulaks a few decades ago." Through arranged sales of Indian land by the BIA to benefit white cattle ranchers, LaFarge claimed, "the uneducated, inarticulate peoples of the Plains states are being steadily impoverished." A representative of the Kiowa/Comanche and Apache tribes wrote to LaFarge in response: This morning on NBC TODAY I saw you and heard your speech on the problems of American Indians. All that I can say is May God Richly Bless You and all of the members of the Association on American Indian Affairs. Everything you said is true[;] conditions among our Indians is bad . . . worse than it ever has been in the history of the past years. . . . The Indian Bureau is paid to help our Indians, yet they fight us all the time. I wonder who they are working for. Indian rights advocates and interest groups even took advantage of religious programming to get their message across. In the summer of 1958, CBS's Sunday morning Lamp Unto My Feet featured Dr. Harold Fey, Editor of The Christian Century, and NCAI Director Helen Peterson discussing the field of Indian affairs. Board members of the Indian Rights Association also arranged a number of interviews and guest editorials on Philadelphia-area radio stations. However, with the exception of Peterson, all of these appearances on behalf of Indian rights were by non-Indians. 111 During that summer of 1958, however, an NBC journalist by the name of Robert McCormick was at work on a project which would radically alter the norms of representation of American Indians in the media. This television documentary broadcast, The American Stranger, would bring the political issues facing American
105 Indian tribes to the full attention of the American public in a way that no others previously had been able to, and in the process would provide opportunities for some tribal leaders to voice their own concerns--and their own truths-- on national television.
IMPERIALIST PRACTICES AND JOURNALISTIC DISCOURSES This chapter has examined the various discourses which publicly defined the cultural politics of Native America in the 1950s, during a period of crisis and transition in the colonial relationship between the U.S. government and the various Indian tribes. Throughout the 1950s, the mechanisms of imperialism operated at many different levels with regard to America's indigenous tribal peoples. At least three distinct types of imperialist practice are represented in the various discourses which intersected in journalistic media coverage of Native American political and cultural issues during this period: (1) a political and economic imperialism, carried out through military and/or bureaucratic regime, as well as economic dependency in a capitalist system, (2) a sociocultural imperialism based upon an altruistic mission to "help" the Indians, rooted in social hierarchy and Judeo-Christian charitable and evangelistic impulses, and (3) symbolic imperialism, which involves discursive control over the very definition of native identity and the construction, by the dominant, of official representations, histories and accounts which silence or disallow indigenous voices and self-representations. It is difficult to say which, if any of these imperialist practices, has exerted more in the way of oppressive power over indigenous cultural, social and political life. The tools have been different, though they have served similar hegemonic ends.
106 Legal or political imperialism, the classic scenario of conquest, is based upon institutionalized power and domination by one group over another, often by virtue of military strength. Since, in this case, the empire was vested in a white, patriarchal and bourgeois ruling bloc, its very institutional structure has inscribed and defined gender, class, ethnic and racial difference. Political imperialist practices define the "official" hegemony, and dominate the political, economic and military domains. To justify its practices, it constructs the role of empire as protective and benevolent, perceiving its colonial subjects as childlike, incompetent, and in need of direction, guidance or discipline--that is, unable to handle their own affairs. These "paternalistic" discourses have been evident throughout the history of Indian colonization, operationalized in terms such as "trusteeship" and "wards." Economically, the philosophy of such an imperialism is one of exploitation, and in the case of Native America, the object of such exploitation has been and continues to be the land and natural resources. Spurr identifies appropriation as a major trope of colonial discourse, yet notes that the colonial proprietary vision "effaces its own mark of appropriation by transforming it into the response to a putative appeal on the part of the colonized land and people." As Spurr explains, "The colonizing imagination takes for granted that the land and its resources belong to those who are best able to exploit them according to the values of a Western commercial and industrial system." 112 For example, the very placement of Indian Affairs under the bureaucratic mantle of the U.S. Department of the Interior (transferred from the War Department in 1849) reinforced the primary mandate in the colonial relationship as one of appropriation of land and resources; the problematic of how to dispose of the humans
107 occupying that land was temporarily solved by subsuming them to the land--incorporating Indian administration into the scheme of natural resource management. The 1959 Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior, entitled Resources for a Growing Population, outlined four "broad fields of endeavor in undertaking to protect and develop our natural resources," including research, management of renewable resources to insure full and efficient use, new techniques to insure full utilization of mineral and water resources, and the preservation and enhancement of scenic, wildlife and recreational resources "which, once destroyed, can never be replaced." Farther along in the essay, after a discussion of coal utilization, falls the category "Human Resources," which emphasized the increasing population pressure on the physical and natural resources of Indian reservations. Interestingly, the section of the report on the BIA implicitly provides an explanation for the shrinking resource base--noting that, in fiscal year 1959, as a result of federal allotment policies, 547,763 acres of trust or restricted land were sold by their Indian owners (far outweighing the 121,356 acres brought into tribal or individual Indian ownership). The federal report naturalized the "movement of the Indian people away from dependency on the land into other fields of human activity" as a justification for the federal Relocation program. Included in the report on Indians as human resources are notes on relocation, education, land and water resources, forests, and minerals and fuels. Throughout the report on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, much more emphasis was proudly placed on the development and exploitation of resources on Indian reservations than on the social, cultural or political aspects of administering services to the communities. 113
108 In his study of the relationship between popular attitudes toward "the Indian" and the formulation of 18th to 20th century federal Indian policy, Dippie traces the development of the cultural myth of the Indian as "Vanishing American" as a self-perpetuating justification for national policies which aligned Indians with the wilderness, on the one hand, and the idyllic or virtuous past, on the other--both of which 19th century America struggled to vanquish, to conquer and rise beyond in its pursuit of progress: No idea was more uniformly acceptable to Americans of the nineteenth century than universal human progress. It was the rule of life, and Western civilization was its agent. Thus the position of the Indian, as civilization's antithesis, the embodiment of savagery, was fatally compromised. . . . Both the Indian and the wilderness would have to be ‘subdued' and made ‘fruitful.'. . . The issue was simple. To establish civilization, the forests which sustained savagery had to be cleared away. 114 Justification for the expropriation of Indian land was easily found in the philosophy of 19th century thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson and Nathan Hale. These men saw the "abridgement of Indian territory" as one cause of the demise of native populations, along with alcohol, disease and war. Dippie explains that the denial of the role of Euro-American intervention as a malevolent one was justified by "higher" laws: "the superior claims of civilization, the Biblical injunction to till the earth and the theory of the Indians' improper usage of the lands they occupied." This philosophy viewed the indigenous style of life as inferior and indolent, and their coming "extinction" as being natural rather than violent or externally-imposed. This resulted in the perception that "the abridgement of tribal territory was [perceived as] an effect, not a cause, of the Indians' downfall." 115
109 A second type of imperialist practice, interpenetrating with the first, appearing more beneficent but also more cunning in its mode of ideological imposition, is what we might call altruistic imperialism. Generally cloaked in either humanitarian Christian rhetoric or in the social action mode of liberal humanism, these imperialist practices have operated according to a trope of sympathetic nurturance rather than physical discipline (as I discuss further in Chapter Five). Such imperialist practices easily disguise themselves in the culture of charity/altruism in American society: the "helping hand" syndrome. This model can best be understood through the Gramscian model of hegemony, gaining consent of the dominated for their own domination, and naturalizing that domination as inevitable and for their own good. According to Spurr, "The ultimate aim of colonial discourse . . . [is] to dominate by inclusion and domestication rather than by a confrontation which recognizes the independent identity of the Other. Hence the impulse . . . to see colonized peoples as ultimately sympathetic to the colonizing mission and to see that mission itself as bringing together the peoples of the world in the name of a common humanity." 116 The agents of these imperialist practices were both male and female, yet the discourses of altruistic imperialism have generally been less masculinist than those of political empire-building. Institutionally, these practices have been represented by the Church (I use the term in an institutional and nondenominational way, and inclusive of both Catholic and Protestant organized agencies, missions, and publications) and liberal white "Friends of the Indians" organizations. Many of these agents of empire have generally been caught in a paradoxical bind in relation to Native America--the more politicized of these groups have served as the most effective advocates for
110 Indian rights, mediating between tribes and the mainstream legal and judicial systems, yet cultural biases have still frequently crept into their discourses to maintain the hierarchy of perceived difference. Altruistic discourses and practices have been represented by a continuum of "do-gooders" ranging from proselytizing Christian missionary organizations to more politicized, activist movements working within the American political system to effect policy changes regarding Native American land and treaty rights as well as to provide humanitarian relief. Although the latter are often positioned to the left politically (usually associated with the Democratic party), their discourses often constructed a hierarchy of condescension in which Indians were shaped as victims, in need of help and protection. Agents of altruism generally work in conjunction with a paternalistic or patriarchal legal structure, though more liberal agents often voice opposition to it. However, most altruistic practices have not radically challenged the structure of patriarchal imperialism, but have attempted to merely soften its effect. As Spurr writes: Colonization is a form of self-inscription onto the lives of the people who are conceived as an extension of the landscape. For the colonizer as for the writer, it becomes a question of establishing authority through the demarcation of identity and difference. Members of a colonizing class will insist on their radical difference from the colonized as a way of legitimizing their own position in the colonial community. But at the same time they will insist, paradoxically, on the colonized people's essential identity with them--both as preparation for the domestication of the colonized and as a moral and philosophical precondition for the civilizing mission. 117 As to the implicit dangers of the ambivalence of such an agency, M. Annette Jaimes states, "A great deal of damage can be carried out under the cloak of benevolence.
111 ‘Friends of the Indian' have furthered the control of American Indians by whites. . . . Racism also hides beneath benevolence." 118 A third type of imperial practice is symbolic colonization or imperialism--what Churchill calls "the redefinition of indigenous culture," adding that "mere [political] conquest is never the course of empire." We might define this, in Spurr's terms, as "the entire system by which one culture comes to interpret, to represent, and finally to dominate another." 119 Three major issues which are intimately involved in symbolic, or cultural, colonization and which have been and continue to be of concern in the relationship between Native America and hegemonic white society are: (1) the validation and invalidation of various versions of history, which involves controlling and defining the society's official master historical narrative, (2) colonizing the secret, spiritual life of a culture, and (3) control of literary and media discourses and representations. A recent (1990's) example of discursive struggle over the definition of history has been the Native American involvement in the revision of America's founding myth of Columbus. Churchill sees literary efforts of "historical recounting" to justify the "historical inevitability and moral correctness of colonial growth and perpetuation": The construction of the U.S. national heritage in terms of history therefore necessarily entailed the reconstruction of American Indian history and reality to conform to the desired image. . . . In this way, . . . the indigenous reality . . . is thereby hopelessly trapped within the definitional power of the oppressor . . . [and] the national identity of the colonizer is created and maintained through the usurpation of the national identity of the colonized. 120 The issue of non-Indians attempting to colonize the secrets and appropriate the lifeways of native spirituality is one of the most incendiary topics in Native America
112 today. 121 Churchill also criticizes members of the dominant culture who "are unable to retain their sense of distance and separation from that which they dominate," and claims that, contrary to "helping" the Indians, the common expropriation of aspects of indigenous culture is a form of negation, disrespect, and ultimately, genocide. 122 Chief Leonard George, a native Canadian tribal leader, was recently quoted as claiming: "In hindsight, we can easily say that the native people of North America were oppressed by three major forces. These were the government, religion and Hollywood . . . ." 123 I would extend the concept of Hollywood, and its fictionalized media representations, to also include the journalistic constructions of Native Americans such as those elaborated above. This symbolic colonization has been operationalized through a long history of representations and misrepresentations of American Indian culture, primarily through stereotyping, in classical and popular literature, academic scholarship, and the mass media. Many writers have charted the place of Native Americans historically in the American popular imagination, in literature and films and fictional television programs. 124 Nonfictional media representations and discourses, like those outlined in this chapter, also constitute a significant part of these discursive traditions. The interpenetration of fictional and nonfictional representations and discourses in mass mediated society is considerable. In conclusion, I would like to interrogate the political effectivity of 1950s media discourses towards empowering Native Americans. Spurr reflects on the nature of colonial discourses "not only as an epistemic violence and a colonizing order, but also, to cite Michel Foucault, as that which opens up ‘a whole field of responses, reaction, results and possible inventions,' including the subversion of its own order." 125 Spurr
113 conceptualizes colonial discourse as crisis-ridden, unstable and fragmented; in spite of its obvious ideological function of "serving the forces of order," he suggests that such discourse actually reflects "stress fractures under the burden of colonial authority": “Colonial discourse does not simply reproduce an ideology . . . .It is a way of creating and responding to reality that is infinitely adaptable in its function of preserving the basic structures of power.” 126 Throughout the media discourses of the 1950s, such ambiguities, ambivalences and contradictions are evident with regard to defining the complex meanings of "American Indian" as variously a racial, ethnic, social or political construct, as well as the problem of confronting the historical specificities of genocide and imperialism with regard to several hundred distinct tribal and cultural bodies. The crisis in hegemony which was augmented by these discourses of late colonialism, I suggest, created cracks and fissures in the structures of power, and through these provided for occasional, though irregular and inconsistent, spaces for Native Americans to gain access to the eyes and ears (and hearts and minds) of a national audience, if not to the control of the apparatus of mainstream media itself. The case of The American Stranger, set forth in the following chapters, provides historically-grounded evidence of these late-colonial ambivalences as they were encoded into the rhetoric of a journalistic television text and as they circulated in an intercultural, inter-class and inter-regional political, social and cultural dialogue in 1958 and 1959.
114 NOTES TO CHAPTER TWO
1. David Spurr, commenting upon Derrida's concept of the "anthropological war"--the confrontation between cultures which produces an ethnographic writing upon and about one culture by another--remarks: "The very process by which one culture subordinates another begins in the act of naming and leaving unnamed, of marking on an unknown territory the lines of division and uniformity, of boundary and continuity." David Spurr, The Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing, and Imperial Administration (Durham: Duke UP, 1993) 4. 2. Henri Giroux, "Living Dangerously: Identity Politics and the New Cultural Radicalism: Towards a Critical Pedagogy of Representation," Cultural Studies 7/1 (January 1993) 2-28. 3. Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States from the 1960s to the 1990s (New York: Routledge, 1994). 4. Joane Nagel and C. Matthew Snipp, "Ethnic Reorganization: American Indian Social, Economic, Political and Cultural Strategies for Survival," Ethnic and Racial Studies 16/2 (April 1993):203-235. 5. Ward Churchill, "American Indian Lands: The Native Ethic and Resource Development," in Struggle for the Land (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1993) 24-26. 6. Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford M. Lytle, American Indians, American Justice, Austin: U Texas P, 1983. 7. Geoff Eley, “Is All the World a Text? From Social History to the History of Society Two Decades Later,” Comparative Study of Social Transformations, working paper #55, 1990, 16. 8. Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988) 469. 9. Early influential work in this paradigm is represented by James Clifford and George Marcus, eds. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (Berkeley: U California P, 1986), George Marcus and Michael Fischer, Anthropology as Cultural Critique: An Experimental Moment in the Human Sciences (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1986), and James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988). 10. Eley, 4.
126 11. Brian Dippie emphasizes that a secondary purpose of these Acts was "the promotion of civilization and education among the Indians," fostering values of a Christian democratic society, particularly the ethos of private property ownership: "The seeming contradiction between method and putative goal--segregation in the present, assimilation in the future--was satisfactorily resolved by the theory of the Vanishing American." The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy (Lawrence, KS: UP of Kansas, 1982) 51. 12. Stephen Cornell, The Return of the Native: American Indian Political Resurgence (NY: Oxford UP, 1988) 5. 13. Rebecca L. Robbins, "Self-Determination and Subordination: The Past, Present and Future of American Indian Governance," in The State of Native America, ed.M. Annette Jaimes (Boston: South End Press, 1992) 90. 14. Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford M. Lytle, American Indians, American Justice (Austin: U Texas P, 1983) 7. 15. Deloria and Lytle (1983) 8; Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1887, quoted in Federal Indian Legislation and Policies, 1956 Workshop on Indian Affairs, University of Chicago Department of Anthropology. A copy is in the McCormick Papers. 16. Deloria and Lytle (1983) 9. 17. Theodore H. Haas, “The Legal Aspects of Indian Affairs from 1887 to 1957,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (May, 1957) 15. 18. Annual Report of the Board of Indian Commissioners, 1886, quoted in Federal Indian Legislation and Policies (1956). See also Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (Lincoln: U Nebraska P, 1986) 224-241. 19. Vine Deloria, Jr., "Introduction," in American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century (Norman: U Oklahoma P, 1985) 5. 20. Dippie, 97. 21. Robert H. White, Tribal Assets: The Rebirth of Native America (New York: Henry Holt and Company) 3. 22. Deloria and Lytle (1983) 15. 23. Nancy O. Lurie, "The Indian Claims Commission Act," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences (May 1957) 56-70.
127 24. Frederick Stefon, “The Irony of Termination,” The Indian Historian 11/3 (Summer 1978) 6. The Hoover Report is also known as The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, A Report to the Congress on Social Security, Education and Indian Affairs (March 1949) 63-65. 25. House Report 2503, quoted in Deloria and Lytle (1983) 17. 26. Stefon, 8. 27. William Zimmerman, Jr., "The Role of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Since 1933," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 311 (May 1957) 35-36. 28. In such a context, "master narrative" takes on a multiplicity of connotations--a narrative both dominant and dominating. Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (New York: Vintage, 1993); Jimmie Durham, "Cowboys and . . .: Notes on Art, Literature, and American Indians in the Modern American Mind," in The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization and Resistance, ed. M. Annette Jaimes (Boston: South End Press, 1992) 423-438. See also Robert Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian (NY: Knopf, 1978) and Brian Dippie, The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy (Lawrence, KS: U of Kansas P, 1982). 29. Oliver LaFarge, "American Indians Feel Ambushed With Words," ...Eagle [title obscured] (10 January 1954). Newspaper clipping in Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) Papers, Seeley Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University, Box 14. 30. Vine Deloria, Jr, and Clifford Lytle, The Nations Within: The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty (NY: Pantheon, 1984) 13. 31. Amy Kaplan, "’Left Alone With America': The Absence of Empire in the Study of American Culture," in Cultures of United States Imperialism, eds. A. Kaplan and D. Pease (Durham, Duke UP, 1993) 16. 32. Donald Pease, "New Perspectives on U.S. Culture and Imperialism," in Kaplan and Pease, 22. 33. Pease, 23. 34. Robbins, 90. Churchill presents a model of American internal colonialism in relation to the oppression of Native America, while noting the difficulty such a notion presents to the traditional historiographical narrative of America's heritage in Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema and the Colonization of American Indians (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1992) 131-132.
128 35. Churchill, Fantasies, 131-132. 36. Cornell, 7. 37. "House Concurrent Resolution 108," 83rd Congress, 1st Session, in the Senate of the United States, passed 1 August 1953. Copy in McCormick Papers. Also printed in Documents of U.S. Indian Policy, ed. Francis P. Prucha (Lincoln: U Nebraska P, 1990) 233. 38. Address by Emmons to the NCAI Annual Convention, Omaha, Nebraska, November 19, 1954 (NCAI Papers). Donald Fixico, Termination and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945-1960 (Albuquerque: U New Mexico P, 1986) 93-100. 39. See "Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1954," excerpted in Documents of U.S. Indian Policy , ed. Francis P. Prucha (Lincoln: U Nebraska P, 1990) 237-238 and Edith R. Mirrielees, "The Cloud of Mistrust," Atlantic Monthly 199 (February 1957) 55-59. 40. Speech by the Rev. John Powell before the Institute on Indian Affairs, Missoula, Montana, April 1958, quoted by Walter McDonald in Char-Koosta (publication of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana), April 1958, 2. 41. Letter to President Dwight Eisenhower dated 27 December 1955 from Robert Burnette, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council, South Dakota. AAIA Papers. 42. Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford M. Lytle, American Indians, American Justice (Austin: U Texas P, 1983) 18. 43. Arthur V. Watkins, "Termination of Federal Supervision: The Removal of Restrictions Over Indian Property and Person," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 311 (May 1957) 47-55. Malone statement in Congressional Record, September 22 and October 20, 1951. 44. The "natural" quote from Commissioner Glenn Emmons in letter dated 8 October 1957 from Emmons to Max Gubatayao. Sister Providencia Papers (Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane, Washington) 5/7. 45. "Hold Up Sales of Indian Lands" (Editorial), The Christian Century 75 (18 June 1958) 710. 46. Lawrence E. Lindley, "Why Indians Need Land," The Christian Century 74 (6 November 1957) 1317. 47. Deloria and Lytle, American Indians, American Justice, 20; Charles F. Wilkinson
129 and Eric R. Biggs, "The Evolution of the Termination Policy," American Indian Law Review 139 (1977): 92-93. 48. William Zimmerman, Jr., "The Role of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Since 1933," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 311 (May 1957) 39. 49. See Iliff McKay, "A Tribal Councilman Comments on ‘Today and Tomorrow'," November 1959, Iliff McKay Papers; and letter from Richard A. Charles of Great Falls, Montana to Robert McCormick, dated 9 February 1959: "Several Indian Bureau officials have made statements over the past three years indicating that the Indians are trading land for food. In January 1958, on the Blackfeet reservation, I was told by several tribal members that they were selling land because they're hungry." McCormick Papers. 50. Stefon, 8. Quotation is from John Collier, From Every Zenith (Denver: Sage Press, 1963) 300. 51. Vine Deloria, Jr., "Introduction," American Indians, American Justice, ix. 52. The AAIA started a Film Committee in 1949 to monitor Hollywood's fictional representations of American Indians, to educate the public about the stereotypical nature of these images, and an advisory team to counsel Hollywood producers about ways to construct more "authentic" and less stereotypical representations onscreen. This committee worked to establish formal relations with the Motion Picture Association of America (Eric Johnston Office) and the Society of Independent Producers. See Harold Mantell, "Counteracting the Stereotype," The American Indian 5/4 (Fall 1950) 16-20, as well as primary documents in AAIA Papers. 53. In Chapter 13, "The New Christian Reformers," Francis Paul Prucha provides a history of the origins of the "Friends of the Indians" organizations as late 19th century humanitarian, Christian voluntary associations whose enthusiastic mission was to Americanize the Indians as the final answer to the "Indian problem." Prucha, The Great Father: The U.S. Government and the American Indians (Lincoln: U Nebraska P, 1986). 54. McCormick Papers. 55. Carl Carmer, "Editorial," The American Indian 1/1 (November 1943) 3. 56. Charles Russell, "They Are Still Fighting the Indians," The American Indian ½ (Winter 1944) 3-5. 57. Christian Century, an interdenominational Christian magazine edited by Harold Fey, published many extensive pro-Indian, anti-government articles and took a strong
130 editorial position against termination and Indian land sales. America, a national Catholic weekly review, also served as a forum on Indian issues, with pro-Indian editorials and letters which were a bit less critical of the government but which supported major revisions in policy that would provide more services to address the conditions of poverty on many reservations. See D'Arcy McNickle, "It's Almost Never Too Late," Christian Century 74 (20 February 1957) 227-229; "Not Quite Too Late" (Letters), Christian Century 74 (3 April 1957) 426; Lawrence E. Lindley, "Why Indians Need Land," Christian Century 74 (6 November 1957) 1316-1318; "Land and Indian Policy" (Letters), Christian Century 75 (8 January 1958( 52-53; "Hold Up Sales of Indian Land" (Editorial), Christian Century 75 (18 June 1958) 710; "To Save Whose Wilderness?" (Editorial), Christian Century 75 (23 July 1958) 846; "Indians Still Losing Their Land" (Editorial), Christian Century 75 (1 October 1958) 1102; "The Relocated Indian" (Editorial), America 96 (12 January 1957) 404; "Indian Relocation Policy" (Letters), America 96 (23 March 1957) 689; Dana Ann Rush, "Our Debt to the American Indian," America 98 (1 February 1958) 510; "Robbing the American Indian" (Letters), America 99 (10 May 1958) 183. See also another religious publication: "Point Four for Americans" (Editorial), Commonweal 66 (31 May 1957) 222. 58. AAIA Public Education Committee Report, 1959. Letters between the AAIA and Margaret Cuthbert of NBC's Public Affairs Division indicate that LaFarge appeared on the NBC broadcast on June 9, 1951 and May 31, 1952. AAIA Papers. 59. "Keep the Indians in Salt?" (Editorial) Albuquerque (New Mexico) Journal (17 November 1952), with indication that it was reprinted from the Gallup (New Mexico) Independent. AAIA Papers. 60. "State Control Issues" (Editorial), Albuquerque (New Mexico) Journal (13 December 1952); Roland Sawyer, "Western Governors Parley Debates Freedom for Indians," The Christian Science Monitor (10 December 1952). Also, "Hope for the Indians" (Editorial), Lewiston (Montana) News (2 December 1952); "Time It Was Abolished" (Editorial) Visalia (California) Times-Delta (6 December 1952); "U.S. Still Has a Big Indian Problem" (Editorial) Willmar (Minnesota) Tribune (15 December 1952). AAIA Papers. 61. Letter dated 3 November 1953 from Oliver LaFarge to members of the AAIA Executive Committee. AAIA Papers. 62. The writer points out that "All Indians were belatedly made citizens of the United States by an Act of Congress in 1924. They can now vote in every State in the Union--except Maine. . . ." Jonathan Steere, "Indian Rights," Wall Street Journal (3 August 1953): in response to "Lo, the Poor Indian" (Editorial), Wall Street Journal (21 July 1953). AAIA Papers. 63. "When to Free the Indians" (Editorial) Omaha Evening World-Herald (1 June
131 1953). 64. "There is Hate in Their Hearts" (Editorial) Lewiston (Montana) Democrat-News (1 July 1953). 65. "Are the Indians Ready to Go It Alone?" (Editorial), Lewiston (Montana) Tribune (3 August 1953); see also "Indians Better Off Under U.S. Control" (Editorial), Flagstaff Sun (12 May 1953). 66. "U.S. is Said to Speed Self-Rule By Indians," New York Times (14 August 1953); "U.S. to Get Out of Indian Affairs," New York Herald-Tribune (14 August 1953). 67. Letter from Lesser to the Bluefield (West Virginia) Telegraph, the Middletown (New York) Times-Herald, the Torrington (Connecticut) Register, and the Niles (Michigan) Star, dated 10 November, 1953. AAIA Papers. 68. "U.S. Produces Crisis for Indians--LaFarge," Albuquerque Tribune (20 October 1953); "Indians in Jeopardy" (Editorial), Santa Fe New Mexican (20 October 1953); "Betraying the Indians" (Editorial), Providence Rhode Island) Journal (24 October 1953). Also see "Indian Crisis Charge: LaFarge Asserts U.S. Policies Remove Needed Protection," The New York Times (20 October 1953) and "U.S. Abandons American Indian" (Editorial) The Daily Pantograph (Bloomington, Illinois) (6 November 1953). One editorial noted that The New York Times, the AAIA, the Institute of Ethnic Affairs and the American Civil Liberties Union had all urged the President to veto the bill for state control. 69. Dorothy Pillsbury, "Critical Time for U.S. Indians?" Christian Science Monitor (28 December 1953); Oliver LaFarge, "American Indians Feel Ambushed With Words," ...Eagle (title obscured) (10 January 1954); LaFarge, "Indians Lose By New Law," Portland Oregon Journal (26 December 1953); "Plot on U.S. Indians Charged by Collier," The New York Times (30 December 1953). Clippings in AAIA Papers. 70. Jay Edgerton, "’Freeing' Indians is a Complex Task," Minneapolis Star (22 October 1953) 8. Also see "’Freeing' or ‘Abandoning' Indians?" Great Falls (Montana) Tribune (29 October 1953). 71. "Indians Are Citizens Too" (Editorial) Salt Lake City Desert News Telegram (14 November 1953). 72. "Lo, the Poor Indian, Indeed!" (Editorial) Troy (New York) Morning Herald (16 November 1953). 73. "Indians Rap Proposed End of U.S. Aid" (UP Wire, Phoenix) Dallas Times-Herald (11 December 1953).
132 74. Douglas McKay, "Resources Return to the People," Nation's Business (January 1954). 75. The Shannon County News 16/2, Pine Ridge, South Dakota (1 October 1953). 76. "Emmons Says Indians Like Other People," Albuquerque Journal (8 September 1953). See also "Commissioner Glenn M. Emmons Outlines Government's Proposed New Indian Policy," The Glacier (Montana) Reporter (13 November 1953), "Bureau Chieftain Discusses Tour," The Billings Gazette (21 October 1953). A clipping from an unidentified Montana newspaper says that Emmons was adopted into the Blackfeet Tribe and made an honorary chieftain, known as "Chief Whitecalf," as well as "Chief Standing" among the Osage and "Chief High Sitting" among the Chippewa. AAIA Papers. 77. "’Future Prospects in Indian Affairs': An Address By Commissioner of Indian Affairs Glenn L. Emmons Before the Annual Meeting of the Indian Rights Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 21, 1954. For release 8 p.m. January 24, 1954." Emmons also addressed the AAIA Annual Meeting on May 5, 1954 in New York City and prepared a speech, which was delivered by Robert Bennett, for the Annual Convention of the NCAI on November 19, 1954 in Omaha, Nebraska. Copies of all speeches in NCAI Papers. 78. "A Declaration of Indian Rights," attached to letter from NCAI President Garry to the White House, dated 10 March 1954. NCAI Papers. 79. W.V. Eckardt, "’Terminating' the Indians: Congress threatens to strip America's first inhabitants of their rights and wealth under the guise of emancipating them and making them ‘first-class citizens'," The New Leader (26 April 1954). AAIA Papers. 80. Letter from LaFarge dated 29 January 1954 to Keith Monroe of Santa Monica, California. Also, letter the same date from LaFarge to AAIA's Harold Mantell. AAIA Papers. 81. Letter from Madigan dated 25 October 1954 to Mrs. Robert (Betty) Rosenthal. AAIA Papers. 82. Letter to Davenport dated 7 July 1954 from Sister Providencia; letter to Sister Providencia dated 25 August 1954 from Mrs. Anna Allen of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sister Providencia Papers (Cheney Cowles Museum) 11/4 and 2/6. 83. Letter from LaFarge marked "Confidential Memorandum" dated 6 August 1954 to Mrs. Joseph Lindon Smith, Dr. Philleo Nash, Mr. Alden Stevens, Dr. Alexander Lesser, and Mr. William Zimmerman. AAIA Papers.
133 84. "Address By Commissioner of Indian Affairs Glenn L. Emmons Before the Annual Convention of the National Congress of American Indians, Omaha, Nebraska, November 19, 1954, to be read by Superintendent Robert L. Bennett. . . ." NCAI Papers. 85. Joseph Garry, "Who is Running the Indian Bureau?" NCAI Bulletin II/3 (July 1955). NCAI Papers. 86. Letter (memorandum) dated 14 June 1955 from Madigan to LaFarge, William Zimmerman and counsels Arthur Lazarus and Richard Schifter. AAIA Papers. 87. A 1953 correspondence to the AAIA explains: "Recently, when the termination program was being developed, the end of the federal relationship to this Iowa group was planned. [Sol] Tax and [Fred] Gearing [anthropologists from the University of Chicago] reported that in the summer of 1953 when Bureau and state officials gathered to tell the Mesquakie about the scheduled change, the tribe--unanimous to a man--rejected the proposal in a very fiery meeting. Apparently, their attitude is now being supported by strongly mobilized sentiment in the state." An attached editorial dated 20 September 1953 from the Des Moines Register ("Hope For the Mesquakie") compares the survival of the Mesquakie culture to the survival of the world's Jews in diasporic exile. AAIA Papers. 88. The kinescope of this live broadcast is housed in the Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Credits indicate that the program was "A production for the Fund for Adult Education established by the Ford Foundation," produced and directed by Charles Guggenheim in association with Mayo Simon and Dick Hartzell. (Hartzell was also the producer of a 1959 documentary for NET, The Search for America: The Navajo.) This is the earliest television documentary addressing American Indian political and social issues I have been able to locate. 89. Correspondence between Helen Peterson, Ruth Bronson, Yeffe Kimball, and D'Arcy McNickle, November 1953. NCAI Papers. 90. Correspondence between Mantell, LaFarge and Lesser, December 1953. AAIA Papers. 91. "Termination News, July 10, 1954." Sister Providencia Papers (Cheney Cowles) 11/1. 92. "Farmers Union Information Service, KMON, February 11, 1957." See also "Radio Talk on Rural Farm Labor, KXLK, July 24, 1955." Sister Providencia Papers (Cheney Cowles) 11/1 and 10/67.
134 93. Robert Yellowtail, Radio Address dated 16 January 1956 over KWYO, Sheridan, Wyoming; Radio address (undated) over KBMY, Billings, Montana, entitled "Construing and Interpreting the Meaning of Laws." Letter to Sister Providencia dated 5 April 1958 from Walt McDonald (Chairman, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes) regarding appearance on KGVO's evening news. Sister Providencia Papers (Cheney Cowles) 11/37 and 4/17. 94. Letter to Madigan dated 15 July 1954 from Wallace Hamilton, Public Affairs for KPFA; letter to LaFarge dated 15 August 1954 from Madigan. AAIA Papers. 95. The majority of the information on television coverage has been pieced together from a variety of sources and references--in correspondence, memos, program listings, scripts, transcripts, and so on. The difficulty of reconstructing television coverage from this period is extenuated by the fact that most television programming was live, and very few programs were kinescoped so as to remain for archival study. 96. Fixico reports upon finding a record of this broadcast (22 April 1954, Dumont Television Network, Washington, DC) in Box 49416, Pierre Indian Agency Correspondence, Federal Archives and Records Center, Kansas City. Fixico, 226. 97. Letter to LaFarge dated 11 May 1954 from Mrs. Doris Redfield of North Hollywood, California; also letters dated 14 May, 18 May and 21 May from CBS Public Affairs, LaFarge and AAIA Executive Director LaVerne Madigan to Redfield. AAIA Papers. 98. Letters dated 29 September 1955 to Moses Two Bulls, Chairman of Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, Pine Ridge, South Dakota and to Dr. Ben Reifel, Superintendent, Aberdeen Area Office, U.S. Indian Service, Aberdeen, South Dakota. Also, letter from Madigan dated 2 November 1955 to Bill Zimmerman (AAIA Board member and former Assistant Commissioner of the BIA). AAIA Papers. A 16mm print of this film is also with the AAIA Papers. 99. Letter to Madigan dated 16 November 1955 from Edward Saxe of CBS, New York. AAIA Papers. 100. Letter to Madigan dated 13 December 1955 from Barbara Sapinsley of CBS, New York. AAIA Papers. 101. Letter dated 8 December 1955 to Eric Sevareid, CBS, Washington, DC from Madigan of AAIA; letter dated 21 December 1955 from Sevareid to Madigan; letter dated 2 March 1956 from Madigan to Sevareid; letter dated 7 March 1955 from Sevareid. Letter dated 11April 1956 announcing upcoming broadcast on 15 April 1956. AAIA Papers. 102. Dorothy Van de Mark, "The Raid on the Reservations," Harper's Magazine
135 (March 1956) 48-53; Ruth Mulvey Harmer, "Uprooting the Indians," Atlantic Monthly (March 1956) 54-57. Letters, The Washington Post and Times Herald (14 March 1956 and 29 March 1956), NCAI Papers, Box 68. "Record Interest in American Indians," Christian Century (23 May 1956) 637; also see "Consultation or Consent?" Christian Century (25 January 1956) 103-4. 103. Edith R. Mirrielees, "The Cloud of Mistrust," Atlantic Monthly 199 (February 1957) 55-59; "The Cloud of Mistrust" (Letters), Atlantic Monthly 199 (April 1957) 30-31; "Mistreatment of Indians" (Letters), Atlantic Monthly 199 (May 1957) 25-26. 104. Letter dated 7 June 1957, NCAI Papers. Carl Rowan articles in Minneapolis Tribune include "Indian Is Outcast in ‘City of Hope'" (19 February 1957), "Suffering and Death are Indian's Lot as Disease Thrives" (24 February 1957), and "Pity the Poor Indian But Don't Spend Any Money to Help Him" (24 February 1957). "Broken Arrow," Time (4 March 1957) 48-49. 105. "Indian Reservations May Some Day Run Out of Indians," Saturday Evening Post 230 (23 November 1957) 10. James Daniel, "He's [BIA Commissioner Glenn Emmons] Giving the Indians a Chance," Reader's Digest (March 1957) 70:164-167; Blake Clark, "Must We Buy America From the Indians All Over Again?" Reader's Digest (March 1958) 72:45. 106. Letter dated 12 March 1957 to Palmer Hoyt from Peterson. D'Arcy McNickle, "It's Almost Never Too Late," Christian Century 74 (20 February 1957) 227-229. NCAI Information Letter (10 May 1958). NCAI Papers. 107. The AAIA contacted George Gill, Jr. of the Winnebago Reservation (Nebraska) in a letter dated 15 February 1957. However, there is no indication as to whether Gill actually appeared on the show. Letter dated 6 October 1958 to Helen Meyers of AAIA from Kay Lloyd of Goodson-Todman Productions thanked Meyers for help on a recent Western-themed show, tracking down contestants (e.g., a Mrs. La Pointe of Rapid City) and assisting them during their stay in New York City. AAIA Papers. 108. Letter dated 27 March 1957 to Marvin Camp, Director of Special Features, WOR Radio, New York from Madigan of AAIA. AAIA Papers. The tribal leaders included Alfred Gilpin (Omaha), Robert Burnette (Rosebud Sioux) and (Mrs.) Alfreda Janis (Oglala Sioux). 109. Script for Wide Wide World, broadcast 26 May 1957, NBC Papers 217/10. Barry Wood was Executive Producer, and Producers were John Goetz and Garry Simpson. The script was written by Jesse Sandler. 110. Letter dated 29 May 1957 to NBC, New York, from Madigan. AAIA Papers.
136 111. Letter from AAIA dated 3 April 1958 to Nancy Hanschman of CBS, Washington, DC (AAIA Papers). Script of Today broadcast dated 23 April 1958, NBC Papers 548/10. Letter dated 23 April 1958 to LaFarge from Robert Goomb (?) of Mountain View, Oklahoma; AAIA Papers. CBS broadcast dated 10 August 1958, according to an announcement dated 31 July 1958 from the NCAI; Indian Rights Association Papers (microfilm), Correspondence files, Reel 67. IRA Papers indicate the following radio broadcasts: 22 July 1958, Lawrence Lindley and Lloyd Partain appeared on WFLN; 21 August 1958, Lindley on WCAU (Ralph Collier's "Wonderful Town" program); 12 November 1958, Theodore Hetzel was scheduled to be interviewed by Bob Bruegger on "Town Talk" over WFLN; Dr. Hetzel spoke 28 November 1958 on the Frank Ford program on WPEN; IRA Papers, Reel 101. 112. Spurr, 28, 31. Spurr identifies "naturalization" as another trope of colonial discourse: i.e. identifying a colonized or primitive people as part of the natural world: "the concept of nature and its relation to less developed peoples is so deeply embedded in our language that it transcends ideology and is so pervasive in the system of representation by which we know the world that it tends to disappear every time we try to locate it." Spurr, 156-157. 113. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Fred A. Seaton, 1959 Annual Report for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1959: "Resources For A Growing Population". U.S. Government Document. Library, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 114. Dippie, 29-30. 115. Dippie, 41-42. 116. Spurr, 32. 117. Spurr, 7. 118. M. Annette Jaimes, "Introduction," in Churchill, Fantasies, 3. 119. Spurr, 4. 120. Ward Churchill, "Literature as a Weapon in the Colonization of the American Indian," in Fantasies, 17-41. 121. Wendy Rose provides an excellent overview of literature on this topic in "The Great Pretenders: Further Reflections on White Shamanism," in Jaimes, The State of Native America, 403-421. 122. Churchill, Fantasies, 142.
137 123. Quoted in Doreen Jensen and Cheryl Brooks, eds, In Celebration of Our Survival: The First Nations of British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1991) 165. I am grateful to Mary Jane Miller for this quote. 124. See Robert Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian (NY: Knopf, 1978); Gretchen Bataille and Charles Silet, eds. The Pretend Indians: Images of Native Americans in the Movies (Ames: Iowa State UP, 1980); Dippie; Durham; J. Fred McDonald, Who Shot the Sheriff: The Rise and Fall of the Television Western (NY: Prager, 1987). 125. Spurr, 3. The Foucault quote is from Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, ed. Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow (Chicago: U Chicago P, 1983) 20. 126. Spurr 7, 11.
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