Chapter

First Wilderness: America's Wonderland and Indian Removal from Yellowstone National Park

Mark David Spence

in Dispossessing the Wilderness

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195142433
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848812 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142433.003.0005
First Wilderness: America's Wonderland and Indian Removal from Yellowstone National Park

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This chapter demonstrates that Yellowstone provides the first example of removing a native population in order to “preserve” nature. As an empty, seemingly untouched landscape, Yellowstone represents a perfect Eden, a virtual manifestation of God's original design for America. This conception of wilderness preceded the creation of the first national park by a number of years and proved so powerful that early preservationists either dismissed or ignored any evidence of native use and habitation. And later, when park officials did take notice of Indians, they viewed native hunters as a dangerous and unnatural threat to Yellowstone's environment. These ideas shaped park policy for three decades until Yellowstone had indeed become a place that native people neither used nor occupied.

Keywords: Yellowstone; native population; wilderness; national park; Indians; native hunters

Chapter.  7651 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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