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Fighting Colonialism with Hegemonic Culture
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Click on image to enlarge. Maureen Trudelle Schwarz - Author.
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Related Subjects Anthropology Indigenous Studies. Related Titles Primate Social Conflict. Taking a Stand in a Postfeminist World. Biocultural Dimensions of Chronic Pain. The Archaeology of Violence. While Melville himself presumably could not read the language of these tattoos, his familiarity with them lends much power to the image of the shipwrecked Ishmael clinging to this form of text as the only way to stay afloat in the mid-Atlantic.
Ulrich, a retired journalist, has done an excellent job of assembling the data on the final push by the settler state to erase Native sovereignty in the United States for good.
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From an unceded land base at the close of the frontier period of ,, acres, Dawes Act allotment had already caused a dwindling to just 52,, acres in forty years. These lands were held on reservations, governed by tribal authorities in a system created piecemeal through government-to-government treaties, treaties that had already been broken multiple times. Forced assimilation programmes such as the boarding schools were seen as having virtually completed the disappearance of Native cultures.
Their logic was based on rhetorics of inevitable progression, and often coached in expressions of concern for Native citizens whose tribal wealth was too often administered on their behalf by a corrupt Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA and equally corrupt tribal governments. The stew of disparate treaties and federal laws made on the hoof were held by Congress to be holding back the prospects of individual American Indian people, and pressure therefore began to dissolve all treaty relationships. Although much admired for other actions during his career, the clear villain figure here is Senator Arthur V.
Watkins, who pursued Termination with a mixture of vigor and near total unconcern as to the effects that such laws would have on peoples whose entire economies were premised on federal support, treaty-guaranteed exemption from state taxation, and tribal governmental control of land resources.
Rather than the years of training and economic development that would have been required for the Klamath to change their entire way of living, the federal government used their economic independence against them to argue that Termination could take place in a relatively short time frame.
Fighting colonialism with hegemonic culture : native American appropriation of Indian stereotypes
A tribe that had operated on a largely cash-free and sustainable basis was thrust with little warning into capitalist society. Stories such as these pile up in a study told in chapters organised by tribe. Ulrich builds a dossier that, for all the calm style with which she tells the story, should be devastating to anyone who still believes in the automatic beneficence of the free market.
Nothing attests to the failure of termination policy so well as the fact that in almost every case it has been largely undone in court or by the passing of new laws. Ulrich certainly does not pretend that all is now rosy: Nonetheless, the stories that she tells do end on a hopeful note — American Indians are taking back control of their own destiny, while the federal government seems more willing to work with them as opposed to deciding their futures for them.
Indeed, large sections of Native American activism and Native American Studies scholarship are given over to exploring the formation of these stereotypes, their origins in European Noble Savage myths which pre-date the discovery of the Americas. In a period when tribally-controlled businesses have grown to be major international concerns, it is no surprise that some choose to make use of easily accessible images to explain their products and to market them to outsiders. She then moves to Native attempts to prevent the commercialization of spirituality in such products as Medicine Man juice beverages and Natural American Spirit Cigarettes, both examples of non-Native products that attempted to take control of Native spiritual symbols to market their product.
Having established this confrontation, the following chapters show various Native owned enterprises entering fully into the game, marketing Cherokee Bottled Water or Tanka energy bars with simple and comprehensible imagery. In the context of the re-appropriations she discusses, and given the background of rising tribal economic power, it seems an error to use hegemonic culture as a way into this discussion, where capitalism mentioned on only two pages would seem to provide a more fruitful heuristic. What we can see from these very different books, however, is the enormity of the task facing Native nations determined to decolonise, from the loss of so much cultural information, to the destructive effects of deliberate federal neglect, to the postmodern assault of the spectacle.
Native American Appropriation of Indian Stereotypes.
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