Litr 585—Dr. McNutt
Final Research Paper
May 18th, 2011
Early America’s Evolving Views of Native Americans through the Archives
America’s views of Native Americans have constantly changed throughout American history. One century they are savage beasts who cannot be tamed, in another they are a Christian’s duty to civilize. Either way their culture is stripped away from them, so they are more like the white man. People throughout American history have argued about the rights and treatment of Native Americans, as they try to find the best solution to the Native American dilemma faced by many areas in the United States. While many white Americans had a lot of commentaries on the Native American debate throughout history, the lack of Native American voices is evident. I’ve compared a select few primary sources contained in three archival collections: the American Periodical Series (APS), the American Culture Series (ACS), and the Library of American Civilization (LAC). The evolution of Native American ideas and images are shown throughout the different primary articles contained in these three collections. Native American voices are weak within the collections and this is most likely because Native American tribes were oral cultures. I was able to find a few personal Native American accounts, but they were only told through white authors; however, I was able to find to a narrative of a chief outside of the archives.
The APS was one of the more limited collections of the three; in fact, when I looked up “Native Americans” and “Indians” in APS subject index there was no entries for either subject. However, I knew that the American Apollo magazine circa the late 18th century contained articles about Native Americans, so I searched through the microfilm containing the American Apollo collections. One of the first sources I came in contact with was Daniel Gookin’s historical narrative entitled “Historical Collections of the Indians...