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Foreword Several of the pieces in this offering concern children and the relations between children and parents. Will Baker's "Gorepac" is a spine-tingling allegory of a family living either now or in the nearfuture , I shudder to think which. C. W. Smith weaves an elegant saga of discord and reconciliation in "A Letter from the Horse Latitudes," and Tricia Tunstall tells of "The Taming of Monsters" shared by mother and son. Kim Edwards' wonderfully real teenagers in "No Permanent Bad Thing" teach us a thing or two about what young lovers really want, while Norman Lavers' "Telegraph Relay Station" operator tries to create and maintain romances against all odds. The three featured poets in this issue often write about history and place, as well as about family. Walter McDonald's lively, often playful poems take as their starting point people and landscape, and Liz Rosenberg is inspired by the small gestures of children and friends. The vistas in Bruce Bond's landscapes are more dreamlike, with larger sweeps of the canvas. I love the personal memoir "Shared Voices" by novelist Mary Lee Settle. It begins by mentioning that she grew up in an era when parents found children a chore, hopefully to be taken care of by someone else. Because Settle was uninterested or inept at most of the preferred after-school activities, she ended up taking "elocution" from an intimidating and somewhat spooky fellow. He would give her an unexpected, priceless gift—read on! This issue's "History as Literature" manuscript provides a look at the forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands. Expulsion and relocation of Native Americans in this country was a consistent governmental policy executed throughout most of the nineteenth century. The protagonists of removal, both white and Indian, portrayed it to be a kind of universal solution for tribal problems. The cost of this policy was thousands of lives. By the 1870s, when the Indian Territory (later Oklahoma) was being overrun by whites, a growing body of Indian "philanthopists," "experts," government officials, and some tribal members began to push the next grand solution: the policy of severality, which would abolish tribes as landholding institutions and allot land to individuals. White philanthropists passionately believed that allotment was the last chance to salvage some justice for Indians. In their minds, the woes of the heathens derived from their habits of slothfulness, profligacy, sociability, and communism. Ending communal land ownership was seen as the key to fixing everything else. It was the magic bullet for the "Indian problem." Government panaceas have a way of turning into their own opposites, and severality was exactly that—the antithesis of the previous grand solution. Instead of creating safe "reserves" of tribal land, they would abolish the tribes and parcel out their land. The Indian governments, particularly the Seminole, Cherokee, and Choctaw, fiercely resisted allotment, as they had resisted removal sixty years before, and again they lost. Because of the strength of their resistance, the original Dawes Act excluded the Five Civilized Tribes from allotment, but a few years later the Dawes Commission was set up specifically to enforce allotment among these tribes. The Dawes Commission employed five hundred bureaucrats and took twelve years, but by the turn of the century it had succeeded in breaking down tribal resistance, determined the tribal rolls, and taken possession of the largest estate known in western history, 31,000 square miles of Indian lands. A fraction of this land was allotted to tribal members and the rest was disposed of in various ways. Native Americans were now thrown into the rough and tumble of the great American real estate game. In effect, what remained of their lands was put into the hands of individuals many of whom were poor and could ill afford to hold on. Peter Pitchlynn was a mixed-blood Choctaw whose life would span both eras; born and raised in the Mississippi homelands, influential throughout his life, he first became involved in tribal affairs at the beginning of the removal period. Pitchlynn would live to see the craze for allotment take hold, although he had died before the tribe finally gave up resistance, in 1898. As a young man...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 5-8
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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