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White Man's Club

Schools, Race, and the Struggle of Indian Acculturation

Jacqueline Fear-Segal

Publication Year: 2007

Tens of thousands of Indian children filed through the gates of government schools to be trained as United States citizens. Part of a late-nineteenth-century campaign to eradicate Native cultures and communities, these institutions became arenas where whites debated the terms of Indian citizenship, but also where Native peoples resisted the power of white schooling and claimed new skills to protect and redefine tribal and Indian identities.
In White Man’s Club, schools for Native children are examined within the broad framework of race relations in the United States for the first time. Jacqueline Fear-Segal analyzes multiple schools and their differing agendas and engages with the conflicting white discourses of race that underlay their pedagogies. She argues that federal schools established to Americanize Native children did not achieve their purpose; instead they progressively racialized American Indians. A far-reaching and bold account of the larger issues at stake, White Man’s Club challenges previous studies for overemphasizing the reformers’ overtly optimistic assessment of the Indians’ capacity for assimilation and contends that a covertly racial agenda characterized this educational venture from the start. Asking the reader to consider the legacy of nineteenth-century acculturation policies, White Man’s Club incorporates the life stories and voices of Native students and traces the schools’ powerful impact into the twenty-first century.
Fear-Segal draws upon a rich array of source material. Traditional archival research is interwoven with analysis of maps, drawings, photographs, the built environment, and supplemented by oral and family histories. Creative use of new theoretical and interpretive perspectives brings fresh insights to the subject matter.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Indigenous Education

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-vi


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pp. vii


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pp. viii

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pp. ix-x

This project became a reality during a year spent on an academic exchange at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, but my work on Indian education, and the scholarly and personal debts I have incurred, go back much further. While researching I have benefited from...

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pp. xi-xxiii

This old Shawnee chief, optimistic about the advantages to be gained from white schooling, uses “club” unambiguously. For him it is a weapon, a means to power he would like his people to acquire. Today, the reader of “white man’s club” inevitably perceives it as a racial enclave, with implications of self-definition and...

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Prologue: Prisoners Made Pupils

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pp. 1-28

In the late spring of 1875, the ancient seaport town of St Augustine, Florida, witnessed the beginnings of an educational campaign that would have an impact on every Indian nation in the United Sates. Here, in a forbidding, shell-proof fortress, built by the Spanish...

Part 1. The Development of an Indian Educational System

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1. White Theories: Can the Indian be Educated?

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pp. 31-47

The government’s new commitment to educating all Indians and assimilating them into the Republic preempted the answer to a question that had been long debated and still haunted the minds of many white Americans. Could white schooling prepare...

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2. Native Views: “A New Road for All the Indians”

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pp. 48-66

As he watched the Great Plains of the Southwest being staked out, Kicking Bird, the Kiowa chief, was afraid for his people. He wanted peace and “had given his hand to the white people, and had taken a firm hold of theirs,” but he was fearful...

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3. Mission Schools in the West: Precursors of a System

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pp. 67-100

Christian missionaries laid the deep and diverse foundations on which the federal system of Indian schools was built. The campaign to convert and educate the native peoples of America had been fought on multiple fronts over many...

Part 2. Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute

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4. Samuel Chapman Armstrong: Educator of Backward Races

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pp. 103-135

At the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong organized a groundbreaking educational experiment that combined academic schooling with manual...

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5. Thomas Wildcat Alford: Shawnee Educated in Two Worlds

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pp. 136-156

Gay-nwaw-piah-si-ka (Thomas Wildcat Alford) was one of Hampton’s first students. Neither an ex-prisoner from Fort Marion nor part of the group Pratt recruited to launch Hampton’s Indian program, he traveled independently with a fellow tribesman to Virginia...

Part 3. Carlisle Indian Industrial School

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6. Richard Henry Pratt: National Universalist

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pp. 159-183

Richard Henry Pratt judged any effort to translate the Bible into an Indian language to be seriously misguided. The complex motivations driving Alford’s project were of no consequence to Pratt, who believed white-educated Indians should look forward...

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7. Carlisle Campus: Landscape of Race and Erasure

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pp. 184-205

Pratt inherited the disused Carlisle Barracks. Over twenty-five years, he renovated, adapted, and augmented these buildings to meet the goals and purposes he had set for the Carlisle Indian School. From the start, the design and layout of the campus was an important...

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8. Man-on-the-Bandstand: Surveillance, Concealment, and Resistance

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pp. 206-230

Winning and holding the support of white Americans was always essential to the survival of Carlisle. Just three months after the school was founded, under a succession of different names, a school newspaper began rolling off the Indian school presses...

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9. Indian School Cemetery: Telling Remains

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pp. 231-252

It is still possible to visit the school cemetery and read the names on nearly two hundred identical markers standing in six, neat rows. The small, well-kept, rectangular graveyard faces out onto the main road, beside the back entrance to the U.S. Army War College...

Part 4. Modes of Cultural Survival

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10. Kesetta: Memory and Recovery

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pp. 255-282

Kesetta and Jack spent their early days on the Texas-Mexico border. In 1877, their Lipan Apache band was attacked by Colonel Ranald Mackenzie’s Fourth U.S. Cavalry, and almost everyone was massacred. But the two children hid and were afterward...

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11. Susan Rayos Marmon: Storytelling and Teaching

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pp. 283-298

Susan Rayos arrived at Carlisle in August 1896, a little over fifteen years after Kesetta. She too was thirteen when she made the long, two thousand-mile journey from Paguate in the Southwest. The personal context in which she would receive her education,...

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Epilogue: Cultural Survival as Performance, Powwow 2000

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pp. 299-312

On Memorial Day weekend in 2000, for the first time since the Carlisle Indian School closed its doors in 1918, hundreds of Native Americans from across the United States journeyed to the small Pennsylvania town for...


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pp. 313-360


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pp. 361-384


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pp. 385-395

E-ISBN-13: 9780803215825
E-ISBN-10: 0803215827

Page Count: 500
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Indigenous Education