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The Indian History of an American Institution

Native Americans and Dartmouth

Colin G. Calloway

Publication Year: 2010

A history of the complex relationship between a school and a people Dartmouth College began life as an Indian school, a pretense that has since been abandoned. Still, the institution has a unique, if complicated, relationship with Native Americans and their history. Beginning with Samson Occom’s role as the first “development officer” of the college, Colin G. Calloway tells the entire, complex story of Dartmouth’s historical and ongoing relationship with Native Americans. Calloway recounts the struggles and achievements of Indian attendees and the history of Dartmouth alumni’s involvements with American Indian affairs. He also covers more recent developments, such as the mascot controversies, the emergence of an active Native American student organization, and the partial fulfillment of a promise deferred. This is a fascinating picture of an elite American institution and its troubled relationship— at times compassionate, at times conflicted—with Indians and Native American culture.

Published by: Dartmouth College Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

Presidential scholars and research assistants Courtney Collins, Ibrahim Elshamy, Brook Jacklin, Marcus Luciano, Sarah Part, and Melinda Wilson; I am particularly indebted to Brook and Courtney for their diligence and enthusiasm in helping to track down individual Native students...

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Introduction. A School in the Heart of the Indian Country

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pp. xiii-xxiv

Like many people, I vividly remember the day I first arrived at Dartmouth. A Friday, February 1982, snowing. My wife and I had driven up from Bellows Falls, Vermont, in an old Subaru we had bought for $800 a couple of weeks earlier. The car quit on the last hill on Interstate 91 before coming...

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1: Eleazar Wheelock and the Indian Charity School, 1743-69

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pp. 1-14

In this day and age, Eleazar Wheelock is a difficult man to understand, let alone like. He stares out from his portrait wearing a snow-white wig and clerical gown, with one hand on the Dartmouth College charter and a look that could be calculating or self-satisfied. As historian...

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2: Samson Occom and the Indian Money, 1765-75

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pp. 15-37

In the letters he wrote to Eleazar Wheelock, Samson Occom routinely referred to himself as Wheelock expected he should, as “your worthless servant” and a “poor Indian.” Yet, despite enduring the prejudices and conditions that stifled the lives of Indian people in eighteenth...

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3: Dartmouth, Indians, and the American Revolution, 1775-1800

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pp. 38-54

Dartmouth was the last colonial college to be established and it was founded in calamitous times. When the American Revolution broke out, wrote David McClure and Elijah Parish, “the frontier situation of the College exposed it to the terrors of war, and especially...

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4: Dartmouth Men in Indian Country, 1775-1820

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pp. 55-73

The handful of Native students who attended the College did not represent the full scope of Dartmouth’s involvement in Indian affairs in the early years of the new nation. Dartmouth began with the intention of sending missionaries and teachers to Indian communities, but Dartmouth...

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5: Dartmouth in the Age of Indian Removal, 1820-50

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pp. 74-95

In the spring of 1835, fifteen Abenakis encamped in Windsor, Vermont, attracting the attention of a local newspaper: “They are part of the tribe of the Missisques, who live a wandering life on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, and are on a journey to Hanover, N.H....

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6: Students from Indian Territory, 1850-85

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pp. 96-111

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the United States had relocated thousands of Indian people across the Mississippi to what became known as the Indian Territory. Initially conceived of as a block of territory that would cover much of the West and serve as a kind...

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7: Charles Eastman, 1858-1939

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pp. 112-129

Charles Alexander Eastman is Dartmouth’s most famous Native son. A Wahpeton and Mdewakanton Dakota, the youngest of five children, he was named Hakadah, “the Pitiful Last,” when his mother, Mary Eastman, daughter of soldier-artist Seth Eastman, died...

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8: Indian Symbols and Some Indian Students, 1900-1969

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pp. 130-154

Dartmouth at the dawn of the twentieth century seemed to be further away than ever from fulfilling its founding mission. In 1901, after years of wrangling with successive Dartmouth presidents about how the Scotch Fund could or could not be used, the sspck sent its secretary...

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9: The Return of the Natives, 1970-2010

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pp. 155-178

In 1970 the president of the United States and the president of Dartmouth College both announced a new era in Indian relations. In many regards a new era was already upon them. The 1960s and early 1970s brought dramatic changes to America, to Indian country, and to Dartmouth...

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Conclusion: Eleazar Wheelock Meets Luther Standing Bear

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pp. 179-186

in 1997, in an edition marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of coeducation at Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Alumnae [sic] Magazine featured a cover picture of a Native American woman—Sarah Harris, class of 2000, a descendant of Samson Occom. Recalling Sarah Occom’s request...

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pp. 187-203

The following lists of Indian students who attended Moor’s Charity School and Dartmouth before the College recommitted itself to Indian education in 1970 are based on several previous compilations, supplemented and modified by research in the College archives, particularly the...


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pp. 205-239

Select Bibliography

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pp. 241-244


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pp. 245-256

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781584659075
E-ISBN-10: 1584659076
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584658443
Print-ISBN-10: 1584658444

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 28 illus. 1 map.
Publication Year: 2010