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Reimagining Indian Country

American Indians and Cities in Modern America

Nicolas G. Rosenthal

Publication Year: 2012

For decades, most American Indians have lived in cities, not on reservations or in rural areas. Still, scholars, policymakers, and popular culture often regard Indians first as reservation peoples, living apart from non-Native Americans. In this book, Nicolas Rosenthal reorients our understanding of the experience of American Indians by tracing their migration to cities, exploring the formation of urban Indian communities, and delving into the shifting relationships between reservations and urban areas from the early twentieth century to the present.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xi

Reimagining Indian Country has come about because of the support of many people to whom I am indebted and grateful. It began to take shape within graduate programs at the University of Oregon and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jeffrey Ostler was my undergraduate...

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Introduction: Reimagining Indian Country

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pp. 1-9

Pawnee tribal members John and Lois Knifechief lived most of their lives in and around Pawnee, Okla., until 1954. Born in the late 1920s, they attended public schools and earned high school diplomas. When World War II came along, John served oversees in the U.S. military...

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1. Settling into the City: American Indian Migration and Urbanization, 1900–1945

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pp. 11-30

Romaldo LaChusa was born in 1883 and raised on the Mesa Grande Indian Reservation, an impoverished rural farming community in northern San Diego County. LaChusa attended a government-run day school on the reservation as a child and then at the age of sixteen transferred...

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2. Representing Indians: American Indian Performance and Activism in Urban America

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pp. 31-48

Richard Davis Thunderbird, a Cheyenne Indian, left his home in Los Angeles one day in 1936 and joined director and movie star Buck Jones in scouting movie locations throughout the American Southwest. Thereafter, the pair began filming For the Service, a Western tale that followed a...

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3. From Americanization to Self-Determination: The Federal Urban Relocation Program

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pp. 49-74

Howard Yackitonipah, a Comanche Indian, was born on his family’s farm in Lawton, Okla., in 1932. Yackitonipah moved to Wichita, Kans., as a child, where his parents found work during World War II. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1956 and spent some time in both Los Angeles and...

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4. PostIndustrial Urban Indians: Life and Work in the Postwar City

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pp. 75-101

Glover Young, a Sioux Indian, traveled to Los Angeles from the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1956 and almost immediately found work at the Chrysler Corporation. While growing up, he went to reservation schools, spent a year at the Haskell Institute, and left before graduating...

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5. Being Indian in the City: American Indian Urban Organizations

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pp. 103-127

On a balmy autumn day in September 1964 the Los Angeles Indian Center sponsored the annual Indian Day festivities in Sycamore Grove Park, just north of downtown Los Angeles. The event honored the founder of the Indian Center and other former council members who, over...

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6. Grassroots Indian Activism: The Red Power Movement in Urban Areas

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pp. 129-154

On Thanksgiving Day in 1977 about forty American Indian women and men ate their holiday meal at a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center near Los Angeles’s skid row, run by United American Indian Involvement, Inc. (UAII). UAII was founded in 1973, with the assistance of...

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Conclusion: Indian Country, ReImagined: Cities, Towns, and Indian Reservations into the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 155-168

The American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) at the County of Los Angeles Library in Huntington Park celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2004. It was established as one of four ethnic studies resource centers in 1969, and it has since developed the largest county library collection...


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pp. 169-201


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pp. 203-226


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pp. 227-239

E-ISBN-13: 9781469601755
E-ISBN-10: 1469601753
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807835555
Print-ISBN-10: 0807835552

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 792684551
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Reimagining Indian Country

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- California -- Los Angeles -- Migrations.
  • Indians of North America -- Urban residence -- California -- Los Angeles.
  • Indians of North America -- California -- Los Angeles -- Social conditions.
  • Rural-urban migration -- California -- Los Angeles.
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