Chapter

Still Native: The Significance of Native Americans in the History of the Twentieth-Century American West

David Rich Lewis

in A New Significance

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195100471
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854059 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195100471.003.0007
Still Native: The Significance of Native Americans in the History of the Twentieth-Century American West

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When Frederick Jackson Turner reimagined American history in 1893, he considered Native Americans to be of little significance. He demonstrated more interest in the process of heroic, white yeomen hewing out a corridor of civilization in an environment that all but overwhelmed them, transforming them from immigrants into Americans. This chapter suggests six broad areas of significance for Native Americans in the history of the 20th-century American West and, by extension, the history of the United States. The first four areas of significance—persistence, land, economic development, and political sovereignty—are overlapping and interdependent. The fifth and sixth areas address larger cultural issues: the persistent symbolic value of native peoples, and the contributions emerging from Native American history and literature.

Keywords: Frederick Jackson Turner; American West; history; Native Americans; persistence; land; economic development; political sovereignty; symbolic value; literature

Chapter.  17422 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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