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'~Only OneTruth": Assimilationandthe AmericanIndian Brian W Dippie LarryW.Burt. Tribalism in Crisis: Federal Indian Policl', 1953-1961. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982.(80 +x pp. Thomas W.Dunlay. Wofres.for the Blue Soldiers: Indian Scouts and Auxiliaries with the United States Army. 1860-90.Lincoln and London: Umversityof Nebraska Press, 1982.304 + xii pp. Laurence M. Hauptman. The Iroquois and the Ne\\' Deal. Syracuse:Syracuse University Press. 1981.256 + xviiipp. Peter Iverson. Carlos Monte:::uma and the Chan{?ing Wo1ldof'American Indians. Albuquerque: Universityof New Mexico Press. 1982.222 + xvpp. ClvdeA. Milner II. With Good Intentions: Quaker Work an;ong the Pawnees. Otos, and Omahas inthe 1870s. Lincoln and London: Universityof Nebraska Press. 1982.238 + xvi pp. Richard K. Nelson. Make Pra\'ers to the Raven: A Kon1kon Vie\\' al the Northem Fo,est. Chicago and London:·The University of Chicago Press. 198.3. 292+ xvipp. W.Raymond Wood and Margot Liberty,eds. Anthropology on the Great Plains. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. 1980.306 +viipp. Celebrating the passage in 1887of an act designed to break up the reservations and provide individual Indians with their own allotments, the Indian Rights Association offered a model definition of assimilation: the "general policy of gradually making the Indian in all respects as the white man.'' 1 A constant in American thinking about the "Indian problem," often posited as the only alternative to racial extinction, assimilation dominated policy in the years after the Civil War. A vigorous attack on its assumptions through the 1920s shaped the Indian New Deal in the next decade, but assimilation was back in vogue in the wake of World War II. By the 1960s it was out of favor again, but it still constitutes a major ideological position in policy debate as one of the poles implied by the current catch-phrase "self-determination." Indians should be free to choose whether to live outside or inside white society. to remain distinctive, in short, or to assimilate. Not surprisingly, the issue of assimilation looms large in most studies of the American Indian. Historians have always been aware of the prominent part played by religious concerns in the formulation of U.S. Indian policy. But following the Civil War interested religious sects were invited to take an unprecedented administrative role in policy implementation, nominating agents for service on the western reservations. Historians of the so-called Quaker Policy-after the delegation that first proposed it-have focused on the bitter disputes between Protestant and Catholic over reservation assignments. Francis Paul Prucha, Canadian Review of American Studies, Volume 16. Number 1. Spring 1985.31-39 32 Brian W Dippie the most influential modern student of Indian policy, has gone beyond the jurisdictional squabble of the 1870s to expose the Protestant evangelical zeal that coursed through Indian affairs for forty years after the Civil War. His American Indian Policy in Crisis: Christian Reformers and the Indian, 1865-1900(1976) reinvigorated discussion of religion's role in policy. One result is Clyde Milner's With Good Intentions, the first full history of Quaker administration on three Nebraska reservations in the years 1869-82. With Good Intentions establishes the complicated reality behind a simplistic label like "Quaker Policy" by examining the divisions among the three tribes involved (Pawnee, Oto and Omaha) and the Quakers (Hicksite and Orthodox), then showing how these divisions affected policy implementation . Americans of all persuasions, steeped in the sentimental mythology of William Penn as the one honest broker in the tragic history of Indianwhite relations, were convinced that the Quakers, if anyone, would prove enlightened administrators. But Milner shows that religious principles and day-to-dayadministrative problems did not alwaysmesh. Pacifists, the Quakers tried to keep the army at arm's length. The Pawnee agent, for example, urged his charges to turn aside Sioux wrath with meekness rather than resort to the military for protection, yet he was quick to call in the troops to forestall Pawnee-white hostilities. The Quakers were consistent in adhering to the goal of assimilating the Nebraska Indians, who might be "spiritual equals" but were "cultural inferiors" (p. 21) and would be better off living as white farmers. Bound by the conventional...


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