Synopses & Reviews
Not long after the white man stepped ashore in North America he began killing Indians and pushing those that survived farther and farther west. And what of his conscience? Well, he invented a convenient explanation: Indians are a vanishing race, doomed to extinction anyway.
That belief not only persisted, writes historian Brian Dippie, but it also spread throughout American culture. Soon the "vanishing Indian" appeared in science, literature, art, popular culture, and, most importantly, federal policy.
"The assumption that the Indians are a vanishing race has about it the quality of self-fulfilling prophecy," Dippie writes. In this classic study, first published in 1982, he traces the origins of this assumption and documents its insidious effects on U.S. policy toward Indians from the beginning of the nation's history through the Indian New Deal of the 1930s. He describes its role in early attempts at civilization and education, segregation of Indians west of the Mississippi, post-Civil War reform, the Dawes Act and allotment, the gradualism of early twentieth-century policy, the reform movement of the 1920s, John Collier's Indian Reorganization Act, and into the 1970s.
"Totally absorbing. Fascinating insights". -- American Indian Quarterly. "The best study of American cultural attitudes regarding the Indian". -- Canadian Review of American Studies". A remarkably fine book. Enlightening and delightful". -- American Historical Review. "Should be on the reading list of every course on the history of the American Indian". -- Pacific Historical Review.
'The unifying theme is the notion that the Native American is doomed, by radical constitution, by historical necessity, by the realities of Indian-white relations, to disappear from the face of the earth. Dipple is surely right in seeing the importance of this idea from the late eighteenth century on. He makes a convincing case that it was crucial in every intellectual and policy development in the succeeding decades. -New Mexico Historical review
Dippie traces the origins of the assumption that Indians are a vanishing race and documents its insidious effects on U.S. policy toward Indians from the beginning of the nation's history through the Indian New Deal of the 1930s. He describes its role in early attempts at civilization and education, segregation of Indians west of the Mississippi, post-Civil War reform, the Dawes Act and allotment, the graduation of early twentieth-century policy, the reform movement of the 1920s, John Collier's Indian Reorganization Act, and into the 1970s.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 355-408) and index.
Table of Contents
A Note on Numbers
Part I. And Then There Were None: A "Bold, but Wasting Race" of Men
1. Their Power Has Been Broken: The Indian After the War of 1812
2. The Anatomy of the Vanishing American
3. The Pathology of the Vanishing American
Part II. Isolation: Indian Policy Before the Civil War
4. Making Good Neighbors: Segregation in Indian Policy
5. A Magnanimous Act of Interposition: Indian Removal
Part III. The Non-vanishing American
6. Red, White, and Black
7. Can He Be Saved? Environmentalism and Evolution
8. He Can Be Saved: Agriculture and Education
9. The Convenient Extinction Doctrine: A Crusade Against the Vanishing American
Part IV. Assimilation: Indian Policy Through World War I
10. In Search of the One True Answer: Indian Policy After the Civil War
11. A New Order of Things: The General Allotment Act
12. A Matter of Administration: Indian Policy's Confident Years
Part V. And Then There Were None: A Superseded Race
13. We Have Come to the Day of Audit: The Vanishing American Returns
14. Now or Never Is the Time: Cultural Extinction and the Conservationist Impulse
15. There Will Be No "Later" For the Indian: Amalgamation and the Vanishing Race
Part VI. Choice: Indian Policy Through World War II
16. To Each Age Its Own Indian: The 1920s and the Changing Indian
17. To Plow Up the Indian Soul: The Indian Reorganization Act
18. It Is Only Well Begun: The New Deal Legacy
Epilogue: We Live Again