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Indians


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Walam Olum

Pocahontas (c. 1595—1617) Algonquian Indian princess

Roark Bradford (1896—1948)

Edward Johnson (1598—1672) historian

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In addition to creating literary works of their own, like the Walam Olum, appear in American literature from the time of the earliest exploration and colonization, e.g. in Captain John Smith's accounts of Pocahontas; in New England histories like those by Bradford, Captain Edward Johnson, Daniel Gookin, and the later works on the war led by King Philip; in many captivity narratives, like that by Mary Rowlandson; and in studies of their tongues and customs, which were made as early as the 17th century by John Eliot and Roger Williams, among others. More literary and more romantic treatment began with the poetry of Freneau, Sarah Wentworth Morton, J. W. Eastburn, and Robert Sands, and although Indians had appeared in novels by Brackenridge, Charles Brockden Brown, and Gilbert Imlay, they came to great prominence in the fiction of Lydia Maria Child, J. K. Paulding, Cooper, R. M. Bird, and Simms. Indian culture, legendry, and relations with whites also figured prominently in 19th-century poetry, including that by Bryant and Whittier and, most notably, Longfellow's Hiawatha, while the popular drama about Indians that began with Major Robert Rogers flourished with plays by James N. Barker, G. W. P. Custis, John A. Stone, and R. M. Bird. More personal and usually more accurate views of various tribes came from explorers, mountain men, and other visitors to the trans-Missouri West, like Irving, Parkman, Frémont, Garrard, and Ruxton. Anthropological studies included the works of Heckewelder, Lewis Morgan, and Schoolcraft, all concentrating on Indians of the eastern U.S. Later champions of the Indians remaining in the western U.S. included writers of fiction as various as Bret Harte, Helen Hunt Jackson, Adolf Bandelier, Mary Austin, Hamlin Garland, J. G. Neihardt, Oliver La Farge, and A. B. Guthrie, while more popularized treatments included those of Stewart Edward White and Zane Grey. Native American authors include John Rollin Ridge, Scott Momaday, and Louise Erdrich. (See also individual entries for each tribe.)

Subjects: Literature.


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