Unformatted text preview: Copyright by John William Troutman 2004
The Dissertation Committee for John William Troutman Certifies that this is the approved version of the following dissertation:
`Indian Blues': American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1890-1935
Neil Foley, Supervisor Erika Bsumek Rayna Green Karl Hagstrom Miller Pauline Turner Strong
`Indian Blues': American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1890-1935
by John William Troutman, B.A., M.A.
Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
The University of Texas at Austin August, 2004
To Rebekah and Malisa Troutman
There are two things that history graduate students and musicians typically share: a vow of poverty, though relatively short-lived for students, and the privilege to spend exorbitant amounts of time, whether in the archives or in a van en route to the next show, pondering and crafting an explanation of the world before them. Over the past nine years, I have been lucky enough to consider the intersection of music and history from the perspective of both a graduate student and a touring musician. More importantly, however, I have met some remarkably generous people along the way. The American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona has boasted an incredible faculty over the years, but I am particularly indebted to Tsianina Lomawaima and Nancy Parezo. As a young and uncertain Masters student, they not only gave me a chance, but also provided me with more confidence through their enduring support than they will ever know. Their dedication to their students, their excellent scholarship, and their friendship has had a tremendous impact on me and will forever inspire me both professionally and personally. I have to admit, I had long desired to live in Austin regardless of whether or not I was accepted into the University of Texas, but I was fortunate enough not only to move v
to the "music capital of the world" in the fall of 1997, but also to work with an incredible selection of faculty. I could not possibly ask a dissertation advisor for more than what Neil Foley has provided me. He maintains an intense interest in his students and their professional endeavors, stands fully behind them, and has a tremendous knack for asking just the right questions with regard to their intellectual pursuits, no matter the topic. He has made me feel welcome in the world of academia. Due in no small part to his support, the College of Liberal Arts provided me with four years of University Fellowships, as well as several opportunities to teach; to him, and to the University of Texas, I owe a great deal. Additional faculty and staff at UT insured that my stint here was well worth it, both inside the classroom and out. Gunther Peck (a fellow musician), Judy Coffin, Robin Kilson, and Howard Miller have all left me with increased insight and fond memories of their seminars and extra-curricular conversations. Polly Turner Strong not only encouraged me to dive into the heady waters of her anthropology seminars, but she also encouraged me to actively pursue this topic from its earliest incarnations. Her participation and careful critique as a committee member of this dissertation is highly valued and appreciated. It was welcome news to receive Erika Bsumek as a faculty member of the UT history department, and she has paid remarkable attention to my scholarship and my initial foray into the (gulp) job market. I am very lucky to have worked with her up to this point, and I look forward to sharing our work in the future. Mary Helen Quinn and Marilyn Lehman kept me alive and afloat more times than I can count. They embody what every graduate student dreams of: a graduate program vi
coordinator that not only goes beyond the call of duty to watch out for your best interest, but also embraces you as a friend. And where to place my thanks to Karl Miller--as a dear friend? Bandmate? Graduate student peer? Mentor? Dissertation committee member? How about all of the above!! No one can talk music like Karl, and from the summer of 1998, when we met as graduate students at the Smithsonian, until the present, he has inspired me intellectually, musically, and personally. And despite our multiple episodes of shared desperation, he could always make me laugh. I miss the `ol red Kramer... Rayna Green is one of my favorite people. Besides her consistent, exceptionally smart scholarship and unbounded sense of humor, she has maintained undying support while I amply tested her patience. Because of her interest in this project and her faith in me, I received both a Graduate Student and a pre-Doctoral Fellowship to research at the National Museum of American History. Without her encouragement, wisdom, and advice throughout this process, I would have never begun, much less completed, this dissertation. On top of that, she has the hottest set of wheels in D.C. Over the years I have encountered many wonderful people in the world of academia. Sally Wolff King and John Juricek encouraged me in my days as an undergraduate at Emory University not only to consider graduate school, but to study American Indian history. Charlie McGovern (another musician) and Pete Daniel masterfully encouraged vigorous intellectual debate at the Smithsonian under the guise of really- having a good time. Elena Razlogova, Adria Imada, and Matt Wray were some of my favorite co-conspirators in the fellow's office, and Suzanne McLaughlin always vii
welcomed my return. Phil Deloria (yet another musician!) has always maintained a supportive interest in my research, and has shared his work and ideas with me in an unnecessarily kind and generous manner. I also owe a great deal of thanks to David Wilkins, Tom Holm, Reeve Huston and Rob Williams who provided excellent seminars and guidance at the University of Arizona, as well my fellow AISP students and friends, particularly Angela Fox, Kara Gniewek, John Shaw, Adrienne King, Dan Ferguson, Howard and Mary Hayes, Travis Vincent, Karen Christopher, Chris Corey and Meaghan McLaughlin. Speaking of fellow students, I was immediately surrounded at the University of Texas by an outstanding, yet mischievous cohort in the history department. In particular, Rebecca Montes, Clint Starr, Andrew Falk, and Stephen Berrey have been tremendous friends, excellent critics, and loving peers, and I owe them, the Writer's Bloc, my sanity and undying appreciation. Barbara Landis at the Cumberland County Historical Society went out of her way to ensure that my time at Carlisle was well spent. She has dedicated an incredible amount of her own time poring over and organizing the Carlisle school archives, and I owe her a great deal for her interest, correspondence and help along the way. Likewise the archivists and librarians at the National Archives, Library of Congress, National Anthropological Archives, University of Iowa, the NMAH Archives Center, New York Public Library, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and Anglico Chvez History Library were all extremely helpful and kind. One of my friends and compadres in the American Indian Studies Program, Traci Morris (okay, one more academic/musician), encouraged me to consider making a go as a viii
musician as well as a scholar. Little did I know that eventually I would take her up on the challenge. I have been blessed with many tremendous friendships through music, and I thank all of those that I have met or played with over the years, particularly Michael Tenerowicz, Brian Just, Carlos Orozco, Tyler Mallory, Ben Dickey, Miss Darlene, and Jeff Klein. As for my bandmates in the Mendoza Line--Pete, Shannon, Paul, Sean, and Tim--thanks for saving a seat in the van, and for accommodating my teaching/research calendar in our tour schedule, both overseas and at home. I'll never look at Snooker, or the rest of the world, the same way again. Sara Ritchey was absolutely integral to the successful completion of this dissertation, both in its genesis and conclusion. She and I traveled to and perused many an archive together years ago, and she provided her (much needed) editorial skills in the final phases. I can only aspire to approach one day the level of critique, writing, imagination, and thoughtful analysis that seems so second nature to her. She sacrificed many a day and night to the completion of the dissertation, and has maintained an incredible degree of patience with me in spite of often trying circumstances. More importantly, however, she inspires me to laugh and love, and for that I can only hope that she will allow me to forever repay her. My family has been incredibly supportive of my dreams and desires, no matter where they brought me. My mother, Rebekah, has sacrificed more for the fruition of this dissertation, and more for my general happiness over the years, than should be legally permitted for any parent. She has been a wonderful mother to my sister, Malisa, and I, especially when the circumstances turned grim. She has dedicated her life to her children ix
and to the education of the underprivileged, and has displayed more integrity, curiosity, and love than anyone I know. My passion for history was fostered by her meticulous genealogical research of our family. Enrolling in an Ed.D. program a few years after I arrived at the University of Texas, for a while I was admittedly nervous that she would even earn her doctorate before me (she's defending in less than a month). Malisa has also provided unwavering support (thanks for coming to see us play in the UK!) and inspiration (making a home in Manhattan as a Ph.D. from Alabama is about as close to perfection as I could hope). This dissertation is dedicated to them.
`Indian Blues': American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1890-1935
John William Troutman, Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, 2004
Supervisor: Neil Foley Various Native American individuals and communities effectively utilized the practice of music as a political catalyst between 1890 and 1935 to both reshape federal Indian policy and to develop new, modern expressions of tribal and Indian identity. I focus primarily on three performative arenas: reservations (mostly Lakota), offreservation boarding schools, and professional public venues such as theatres, concert halls, and Chautauqua circuits. The contests over the practice of music by American Indians in these arenas serve to thematically join the dissertation chapters. Chapter one examines the ways in which the Lakota manipulated tropes of citizenship and patriotism through dance in order to reinvigorate their Lakota identity in the midst of assimilation and allotment policies. The next chapter investigates the impact of the press and trends in popular culture on federal policy as many American Indians protested loudly over the renewed efforts of the OIA to suppress dancing on a national scale in the mid 1920s. Chapter xi
three focuses on the boarding schools, where the music education curricula initially focused on regimentation, cadence, and discipline. I examine the implications of what forms of music school officials deemed appropriate, and how the students responded to the instruction. The following chapter maintains a focus on the schools. While the marching bands, string quartets, and vocal lessons ostensibly served the OIA to inculcate particular Anglo cultural tastes, many teachers and superintendents also engaged in a movement to teach the students through musical instruction how to become, on their terms, "proper" Indians. I investigate the relationship between these agendas and the impetus behind the movement. The final chapter explores the lives of several alumni who utilized their musical training on a professional level. They crafted modern constructions of Indian identities in part through the performance of Indianness before the public, in defiance of the era's assimilation policies. With an education rooted in the dismemberment of their tribal identities, they engaged the market economy and the public on their own terms, celebrating their difference and often advocating for change in federal Indian policy through the public platforms that their musical talents provided.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements..........................................................................v Abstract.......................................................................................xi Introduction ..........................................................................................................1 Music and History..................................................................8 Music and Citizenship............................................................15 Music and Indianness.............................................................23 Chapter 1: The Citizenship of Dance: Politics of Music in the Reservation Environment, 1900-1924..............................................................33 Setting the Stage: The Lakota Economy, the Cultural Requirements of U.S. Citizenship, Modes of Surveillance and the Philosophy and Implementation of "Civilization," 1868-1935....................................37 Taking the Stage: Returned Students, Honored Soldiers, and Forbidden Charities: The Politics of Dance in the Northern Plains ....................42 Dance and Education ................................................................................45 The Economy of the Dance .......................................................................54 Cultural Citizenship and the Politics of Patriotism, World War I, and Dance ...................................................................61 The Duty to Refrain or the Right to Dance? The Politics of Citizenship ....75 Chapter 2: The "Dance Evil:" Native Cultural Performance, the Press, and Federal Indian Policy, 1922-1928 ....................................................................81 The Meeting in Pierre: Strategizing to Defeat the "Dance Evil" .................83 Non-Native Public Reaction to the Dance Circular of 1923 .......................98 Native American Responses to the Dance Circular of 1923 .....................121
Chapter 3: The Musical Politics of Federal Indian Boarding Schools .........145 Carlisle Indian School, 1891: the Trouble with Indian Dance...................146 The Role of Music and Dance in a Program of Civilization Through Education .........................................................................152 Public Performance and Demonstration ...................................................165 Racism and Union Resistance .................................................................173 Student Interest .......................................................................................179 Chapter 4: The Music of Indianness, or, Teaching Indians How to Become Indians..................................................................................192 Musical Indianness in Popular Culture.....................................................201 The Influence of Ethnologists Within the OIA .........................................206 The Implementation of Indianness in the Schools ....................................214 Native Ripostes .......................................................................................230 Pageants: The Evolutionary Paradigm of Musical Performance ...............239 Chapter 5: "Piece de Resistance:" American Popular Music in the Making of Indian Identity..............................................................................248 Joe Shunatona and the United States Indian Reservation Orchestra..........252 Fred Cardin and the Indian String Quartet................................................261 Dennison and Louise Wheelock...............................................................279 Angus Lookaround ..................................................................................286 Tsianina Redfeather Blackstone...............................................................296 Kiutus Tecumseh.....................................................................................308 Epilogue ..........................................................................................................320 Bibliography ....................................................................................................326 Vita... ..............................................................................................................345
The 1941 Fourth of July pow-wow celebration in Flagstaff, Arizona, was business as usual: participants and spectators alike traveled from all parts of the country to witness the best native dancers and singers in the Southwest. The Flagstaff community welcomed the tourists into their shops and hotels as the pow-wow participants visited with each other and discussed everything from the latest dance steps to the weather. Many of the tourists arrived there on a quest to experience "authentic" native traditions and probably expected to find centuries-old Indian melodies and dances. They were delighted by Paiutes performing a round dance, mountain sheep dance, sun dance and coyote song while a Jemez Pueblo Indian sang a hoop dance song for a child who danced alone.1 The pow-wow performances, however, were anything but antiquated. The Pima Indian Band, with horns and flutes blaring, and marching drums pounding, introduced the spectators to the singers and dancers as they entered the stadium. In a well-trained, operatic voice, a Hopi named Clarence Taptooka performed the Indian-themed song "Pale Moon" as if he had written it on Tin Pan Alley himself. Following some Taos, San Juan, Zuni, and Navajo dances, Margaret Lewis (aka Laughing Eyes) delivered a powerful rendition of "From the Land of the Sky Blue Water."2
Rhodes, Sound Recordings 9519A, 9519B, 9520A, 9520B, 9521A, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. These recordings were commissioned by the Education Division, Office of Indian Affairs. These particular performances took place on July 5, 1941. 2 Ibid.
The pow-wow participants clearly believed that the inclusion of material and instruments with non-Indian origins was as much an expression of their identity as a hoop dance. After all, the members of the Pima Indian Band had received their training, not from relatives, but from music teachers in federal boarding schools. "Pale Moon" and "From the Land of the Sky Blue Water" were penned by non-Indian composers who romanticized Indian life in harmonized melodies often borrowed from anthropologists who lifted them from informants while believing Indian music was (almost) a thing of the past. Yet the singers and musicians appeared to have little problem reconciling these histories or the occasion, a Fourth of July celebration, with their performative identities as native people. This pow-wow seems particularly extraordinary if we consider the fact that, up until the late 1920s, the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) had spent decades waging vigorous opposition to Indian dances and pow-wow gatherings and continually sought new ways to suppress them by any means available. Musical performative traditions on reservations survived and in fact proliferated during the early twentieth century. New social dances, such as two-step dances, spread quickly through the Plains while religious dances steeped in tradition stayed their ground. Various forms of give-away dances served to redistribute wealth in communities while the singing of Christian hymns filled the air of reservation churches. But other musical traditions performed at the 1941 pow-wow prominently figured in the lives of many Native people; ever since the late nineteenth century thousands of American Indians had traveled the world, performing "Indianness" through non-Indian derived music in wild
west shows, jazz clubs, opera theatres and county fairs.3 Likewise many of the reservation and pow-wow dances, such as the Lakota grass dances and owl dances, consisted of recent innovations in response to accelerated inter-tribal communication, the gradual bestowal of U.S. citizenship, native participation in World War I, and new trends in American popular culture. Like any form of knowledge, American Indian people across the country continually shared and refigured songs and dances to suit their own purposes. Native performers, stretching from Tohono O'odham deer dancers in Arizona to the debut of Creek soprano star Tsianina Redfeather Blackstone in New York City, found inventive ways to convey their Indian identities through song. Yet displays of tribal or Indian identity were exactly what the OIA sought to dismantle in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and for this reason the study of Indian music can reveal new ways of understanding this era of American Indian history. The literature of American Indian identity has grown vast, particularly within recent years. Many tribes, along with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, have used blood quantum to determine an individual's eligibility to access tribal and federal resources. While defining blood quantum is highly problematic for defining who "is" and "is not" a tribal member, because tribes must nevertheless navigate the bureaucracy of the BIA, the establishment of Indian identity via a measurement of blood quantum may, in many
possible, I refer to the many individual Native American people in the dissertation by their specific tribal affiliation(s). I also at times refer to tribes and nations when describing the overarching political/familial entities that Native Americans affiliate with, especially when dealing with the federal government. Throughout the dissertation, I also use interchangeably the terms Native American, American Indian, Indian, Native, and indigenous, particularly when referring to large or comprehensive, multi-tribal groups of people, or when discussing the impact of broad policy initiatives by the government. While all of the terms are flawed, none seem particularly better suited, or accepted, than another.
cases, be a necessary evil.4 Tribal identity stretches far beyond blood in the veins, and aside from the many Native adoptive traditions that are negated through blood quantum, other factors such as community bonds, shared histories, customs, family ties, phenotypical traits, factional affiliations, clans, language, and access to sacred lands, information, and technologies also figure prominently in the complexities of identity formation.5 In addition, scholars such as Alexandra Harmon and James Clifford have demonstrated that tribal identity formation changes over time, and has a history unto itself.6 And looking closer, at individual lives, we see even more distinctive and creative
can, however, determine the "amount" of blood required of its members for recognition. Circe Sturm writes, "Native Americans who wish to receive benefits such as health care, housing, and food commodities must meet a biological standard, usually set at one-quarter or more Indian blood, and must also present a certificate degree of Indian blood (CDIB) authenticated by their tribe and the BIA." She points out that tribes and individuals are combating this biological standard through court cases such as the 1985 Zarr V. Barlow, et al, case in California, and in tribal regulations designed to implement alternative membership requirements. In the case of the Cherokee Nation, citizens "must be lineal descendants of an enrolled tribal member, but no minimum blood quantum is required." Circe Sturm, Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 2, 213 (n. 3); Melissa L. Meyer "American Indian Blood Quantum Requirements: Blood Is Thicker than Family," in Over the Edge: Remapping the American West, Valerie Matsumoto and Blake Allmendinger, ed., (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 23149; Pauline Turner Strong and Barrik Van Winkle, "`Indian Blood': Reflections on the Reckoning and Refiguring of Native North American Identity," Cultural Anthropology, vol. 11, no. 4 (November 1996): 547-576. 5 Sturm points out the need to explore the identity issues raised by phenotype "since the legitimacy of racially hybrid Native Americans is questioned more than that of other ethnic groups." Sturm, 3. Alexandra Harmon describes Indian identity as a "manifest affiliation with people known to themselves and others as Indians. Individuals consider themselves Indians when they believe they have values, symbols, interests, and a history in common with Indians. If they demonstrate that belief in ways that most other people acknowledge as Indian, they are Indian, at least for some purposes." She cites Anthony Paredes view of "Indianness" as a "`self-conscious symbolic representation of...distinctiveness commonly attributed to Indian people." Alexandra Harmon, "Wanted: More Histories of Indian Identity," A Companion to American Indian History, Philip J. Deloria and Neal Salisbury, ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2002), 248-266: 248. Clifford argues that we should understand identity in relationist terms. He asks, "What if identity is conceived not as a boundary to be maintained but as a nexus of relations and transactions actively engaging a subject?" He then adds, "How do stories of contact, resistance, and assimilation appear from the standpoint of groups in which exchange rather than identity is the fundamental value to be sustained?" James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988): 277-348, 344. 6 Alexandra Harmon, Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities around Puget Sound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-
ways in which Native people have established and reconfigured affiliations over time.7 As I will argue, Indianness--defined here as the shifting, stereotypical perception of American Indians by non-Indians--also has contributed to the ways in which Native people orient their relationships with others. This study in part seeks to return Indianness to native agency, and to emphasize the role of music in the negotiation, not only of Indian identity, but also in the perception of those identities by non-Indians.
As a musician I have always believed in the gravitas of music; no other form of communication can so effortlessly transcend the geographic, racial, ethnic, political or cultural borders that humans have imposed. But not without the attempts of some to impose similar limits on the sounds of music; most record stores today categorize music along the same borders that music seems ever too willing to escape, replacing literal racial categorizations with racial signifiers in the genres of rhythm-n-blues, rap, or the
Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988): 277-348. See also James H. Merrell, The Indians' New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal (New York: Norton, 1989); Karen Blu, The Lumbee Problem: The Making of an American Indian People (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980); Melissa L. Meyer, "Signatures and Thumbprints: Ethnicity among the White Earth Anishinaabeg, 1889-1920," Social Science History 14 (1990): 305-45; Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); J. Leitch Wright, Jr., Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People (Omaha: University of Nebraska Press, 1986). 7 Other important recent studies of Indian identity formation include Rachel Buff, Immigration and the Political Economy of Home: West Indian Brooklyn and American Indian Minneapolis, 1945-1992 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Eva Marie Garroutte, Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). In particular, Buff's examination of the life of Sylvester Long (a/k/a Chief Buffalo Long Lance), a performer and Carlisle graduate, underscores many important questions on Indian identity and its relationship to performances of Indianness. Although the introduction of Clifton's Being and Becoming Indian suffers from his injection of personal politics and vendettas, the contributors include some fascinating essays that demonstrate the complexities of Indian identity formation. James A. Clifton, Being and Becoming Indian: Biographical Studies of North American Frontiers (Chicago: The Dorsey Press, 1989).
ever and other inclusive "world music," for example. Journalists covering the scores of white suburban youth drawn to hip-hop seem consistently bewildered by the fact that the genres cannot contain the audience as well. Similarly, the categorizations of "Indian music" and "white music" in the early twentieth century colored the efforts of the OIA to implement its well-worn policies of assimilation. But how does music become raced? How does music become so politicized that the government takes action to prevent cultural performances? How does music become a threat, and how then is it safely contained? What is the relationship between music and the notion of a `proper' American citizenship? In looking at the politics of music on reservations, in federal Indian boarding schools and in arenas of popular culture, I argue that music served Indians and non-Indians alike as a unique means to negotiate, challenge, or fortify the lines of citizenship, Indianness and whiteness drawn over the scope of United States culture and politics. This dissertation focuses on the years following the ghost dance massacre of 1890, when public dancing on many reservations reached its nadir, through the nineteen teens when dances honoring native World War I veterans proliferated on reservations, to the early 1930s, when hundreds of Indian musicians toured the country in the form of jazz ensembles and other arbiters of American popular music. Throughout this time,
native performers, often "performing Indianness" on stage, complicated or challenged notions of ethnicity, race, and citizenship through their practice of music. Their ability to remake stereotypical performances of Indianness into resolute evocations of their
individual modern Native identities and politics, in the face of whitening assimilation policies, ultimately reshaped federal Indian policy. While this study contributes to our understanding of music and American Indian history, I hope it will also inform our understanding of the complex relationships between race, citizenship, government policy, and popular culture. Three interrelated arguments in this dissertation serve to untangle and expose these relationships. First, I seek to demonstrate that the practice of music is exceedingly political, based in part on the content of the music, but more importantly on the context of the music. Because of the ephemeral nature of musical performance, historians have often found difficulty in locating its historical resonance. While lyrical and notational analysis often reveals great insight as to the political import of music, I focus primarily on the way in which music was used by performers and why, and also how Indians and non-Indians made political meaning of music. Second, I argue that by articulating the rights of citizenship rather than the duties as emphasized by the OIA, Indians created a political voice through music that transcended other means of communication at the time and laid the groundwork for the remarkable shift in policy that culminated in the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. Rather than conforming to the OIA officials' ideals of Americanness within their interpretation of proper citizenship, many native people used their citizenship to defend practices of music that asserted their difference as American Indians. And finally, I contend that through the convergence of trends in popular culture and boarding school education, native musicians established a template for innovative, modern expressions of Indian identity. These performers utilized their training and education to publicly 7
celebrate their difference as Indian people in the midst of federal policies designed to eradicate it. In a sense they became ambassadors: the stage provided a platform to audiences that were heretofore inaccessible to native people--and native people had as much to say as they did to play.
MUSIC AND HISTORY
"Indian Blues" examines the way music was used in the past, but in order to do so we need to establish the ways in which historians now use music as an effective source material. Historians, for good reason, often find it difficult to establish causal relationships between acts of musical performance and the actions or ideological transformations of particular individuals. Textual analysis of song lyrics, for example, can often reveal much about the songwriter but nothing about the listener--how do we know what significance the audience took from the song if we have no record of their interpretation? Who listened to it? And what was, in fact, the intent of the singer or performer? Such problems often preclude a greater inclusion of music in history books. Searching for obvious, causal relationships is perhaps not the proper route to take because they often remain hidden in the context of the moment. Songs, like any other source material, do not influence history--they are history. Susan McClary writes: Given its centrality in the manipulation of affect, social formation, and the constitution of identity, music is far too important a phenomenon not to talk about, even if the most important questions cannot be definitively settled by means of objective, positivistic methodologies. For music is always a political 8
activity, and to inhibit criticism of its effects for any reason is likewise a political act.8 Similar to government documents, diaries, or any other form of textual record, music offers an avenue for people to articulate their lives, their ambitions, and their failures, which offer the means for a litany of uses and interpretations of such articulations. Beyond its significance as a discursive artifact, in order to begin to understand a performance's historical relevance we must take into account the individuals who imbue it with meaning, whether those individuals are the performers, the audience or, later, the historians who subsequently wrote about it. As McClary points out, meaning "is not inherent in music, but neither is it in language: both are activities that are kept afloat only because communities of people invest in them, agree collectively that their signs serve as valid currency."9 What becomes most significant to us is the mediation of values that people assign to music. Emphasizing the individual more than the product of discourse, Pierre Bourdieu argues that scholars should look at particular perceptions and practices as "the product of the relations between the habitus, on the one hand, and the specific social contexts or `fields' within which individuals act, on the other."10 This suggests to me that
McClary, Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, Sexuality (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 26. 9 Ibid., 21. 10 Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power, trans. Gino Raymond and Matthew Adamson (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), 14. Bourdieu's theory of practice guides his work here. A key component of Bourdieu's theory hinges upon the habitus, "a set of dispositions which incline agents to act and react in certain ways. The dispositions generate practices, perceptions and attitudes which are `regular' without being consciously coordinated or governed by any `rule.' The dispositions which constitute the habitus are inculcated, structured, durable, generative and transposable." Ibid., 12. Bourdieu sees individuals acting not simply within the habitus, but also within "specific social contexts or settings." Bourdieu sometimes considers the social contexts, including literature and art, as "fields" or "markets." Following this logic we can understand music as forming a field as well. This field of music must be understood in relation to other fields, including those of politics (in the sense of government), the economy,
any meanings we may attribute to music are contingent upon the experience of both the musician or performer and the audience member, and it follows that the meanings shift as the musician and audience member changes, or as the historical context and the experiences of the musician and audience member changes. Michel de Certeau similarly emphasizes the role of the consumer (audience) in producing meaning: "it is at least clear, ...that one cannot maintain the division separating the readable text (a book, image, etc.) from the act of reading. Whether it is a question of newspapers or Proust, the text has a meaning only through its readers; it changes along with them; it is ordered in accord with codes of perception that it does not control."11 Accordingly, music has meaning not only through its listeners, but also through those who refuse to listen. If we understand music in this way, as an action over an artifact, then our interpretation of music goes further beyond a lyrical, descriptive, or notational analysis and more towards the context that produced and contained it. Because I focus on context, I consider dancing, singing, playing instruments, listening and watching as actions that fall within the parameters of the practice of music. Since the nineteenth century, anthropologists, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, composers and even hobbyists have written hundreds of tomes on American Indian songs and dances that almost uniformly focus on lyrical and notational analysis. Other scholars have looked at the practice of
etc. The practice of music in which the individual participates is a socio-historical result of the interaction and relationship between the habitus and the field of music (which includes various aesthetics, forms of music, etc.). In this sense music, and the meanings attributed to it, is produced in relation of the habitus in which it is encountered, to the field of music, an historically-grounded concept in which it is practiced and in which the aesthetics and mechanics of music and the relations between them are generally found. 11 Michel deCerteau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 170.
Native music largely within the confines of the reservation or pow-wow environment--they importantly focus on the specific meaning of dances, songs, and the communitas of the pow-wows.12 Although Lakota grass dances and giveaways occupy the first two chapters of this dissertation, we later see that American popular music, martial music, classical, semi-classical, and strains of jazz also engaged the lives of American Indians, particularly those of the overwhelming numbers of children sent to federal Indian boarding schools. This dissertation seeks to explore different uses of all of these forms of music: I analyze the way in which various musical traditions were used
12 Recent and informative scholarship that addresses lyrical and notational analysis along with some historical context includes Charlotte Heth, ed. Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions (Washington, DC: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, with Starwood Publishing, Inc., 1992); Ben Black Bear, Sr., and R.D. Theisz, Songs and Dances of the Lakota (Aberdeen, S.D.: North Plains Press, 1976); William K. Powers, War Dance: Plains Indian Musical Performance (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1990). More significant contextual studies of native music include Judith Vander, Songprints: the Musical Experience of Five Shoshone Women (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988); Luke E. Lassiter, The Power of Kiowa Song (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1998); Luke Lassiter, "Southwestern Oklahoma, the Gourd Dance, and Charlie Brown," in Contemporary Native American Cultural Issues, ed. Duane Champagne (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1999), 145-66; Luke Lassiter and Clyde Ellis, "Commentary: Applying Communitas to Kiowa Powwows: Some Theoretical and Methodological Problems," American Indian Quarterly vol. 22, no. 4 (1998):485-91; Luke Lassiter, "Charlie Brown: Not Just Another Essay on the Gourd Dance," American Indian Culture and Research Journal vol. 25, no.4 (1997):75-103; Luke Lassiter, Clyde Ellis and Ralph Kotay, The Jesus Road: Kiowas, Christianity, and Indian Hymns (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002); Clyde Ellis, "`Truly Dancing Their Own Way': Modern Revival and Diffusion of the Gourd Dance," American Indian Quarterly vol. 14, no. 1 (1990): 19-33; Clyde Ellis, "`We Don't Want Your Rations, We Want This Dance': The Changing Use of Song and Dance on the Southern Plains," Western Historical Quarterly 30 (1999): 133-154; Clyde Ellis, "'There Is No Doubt The Dances Should Be Curtailed': Indian Dances and Federal Policy on the Southern Plains, 1880-1930," Pacific Historical Review, vol. 70, no. 4 (2001): 543-569; Clyde Ellis, A Dancing People: Powwow Culture on the Southern Plains (Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, 2003). Clyde Ellis and Luke Lassiter provide insightful analyses of the community meanings of pow-wow and religious dances for Kiowa and other tribes of the Southern Plains. Tara Browner has recently published an excellent book on the complexities and empowerment of contemporary Northern pow-wows. See her Heartbeat of the People: Music and Dance of the Northern Pow-wow (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002). Browner points out that the cultural significance, attributes, and meanings of many songs and dances lie within the intellectual property of individuals or clans. While the music and performances transcribed and recorded by ethnologists and observers since the late nineteenth century retain value for tribal members seeking historical information, they also, in the eyes of many, represent a further act of thievery by non-Indians. I focus less on the particulars of "traditional" Native performances primarily because such analysis does not serve my present
during the allotment and assimilation era of federal Indian policy, by government officials as a means to induce assimilation and signify race, and by Indians, more importantly, as a transformative instrument for reshaping federal Indian policy and evoking emerging, polyphonic, distinctly modern Indian identities. The political nature of music emerges in this dissertation through the voices of Native musicians and dancers, Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) officials, and non-Indian audience members, all of whom assigned values to musical performance. One way to analyze the politics of music is to place it on a spectrum that ranges from what was considered the very safe, benign, and sanitized, to that which was seen as extremely threatening to one's own values and moral code. Such a spectrum is subjective by nature, which is precisely why it serves as a fruitful means of analysis. Derived from their interpretations of early anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan, from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century, OIA officials believed in a racial hierarchy defined largely by cultural habits and signifiers found in states of "savagery," "barbarism," and "civilization."13 The waltzes, two-step dances, and European musical
purposes. For Browner's discussion of the "political minefield" that scholars walk when discussing the cultural knowledge of individuals and tribes in regard to their songs and dances, see Ibid., 11-17. 13 Morgan (1818-1881) was an American "anthropologist" before the profession really got off the ground . He was a materialist, and is best known for his work Ancient Society(1877) in which he argued that all groups of the human family exist in a state of savagery, a state of barbarism, or in a state of civilization. Moreover, these three conditions are connected with each other in a sequence of seven evolutionary stages, and so all human groups in the state of civilization, for example, at one time also lived in a state of savagery and then barbarism. The living human groups that he studied such as the New Mexico Pueblo cultures, existed in the "middle status of barbarism." The stages were differentiated to him primarily in terms of technology and economy, but government, language, family organization, religion, architecture and property were all related and factored in to them as well. Morgan's evolutionary scheme was utilized by others to justify white supremacy, and the idea that "civilized" groups were dominant over the "savage" and "barbarous" peoples certainly figured into not only the philosophy that guided the OIA, but its' language as well. Later important American anthropologists that further elaborated upon the evolutionary
compositions taught in Indian boarding schools represented the arts of "civilized" society--they considered such music "safe"--while a grass dance or a sun dance, or any kind of "Indian dance," as recognized by OIA officials, was interpreted as "dangerous," representing the darkest depths of savagery. Some performative displays rightly seemed to endanger the assimilationist philosophy that guided the OIA at this time; thus the OIA boarding school curriculums included instruction only in "safer," "civilized," typically European-derived forms of music. But the notion that music was simply safe or dangerous according to an agreed upon barometer of "savagism" and "civilization," of Indianness and whiteness, eclipses the complexities of the act.14 Rather, the political and cultural meanings of music, and
framework were John Wesley Powell and W J McGee. For an understanding of their theories as well as those of other early anthropologists see Curtis M. Hinsley, The Smithsonian and the American Indian: Making a Moral Anthropology in Victorian America (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981). See also George W. Stocking, Jr., Race, Culture, and Evolution: Essays in the History of Anthropology (New York: The Free Press, 1968), particularly pages 110-132. Though reformers in the late nineteenth century believed that assimilation and allotment policies could increase the rate of racial and cultural evolution, it was Morgan and Powell who steadfastly protested the assimilation policy because of their belief that such processes could not accelerate. When the idea of an assimilation policy circulated in 1878, Morgan wrote, "We wonder that our Indians cannot civilize; but how could they, any more than our own remote barbarous ancestors, jump ethnical periods?" Later, he added, "They have the skulls and brains of barbarians, and must grow towards civilization as all mankind have done who attained to it by a progressive experience." Powell agreed with the tenets of the assimilation policy. He explained to Congress, "savagery is not inchoate civilization," but "a distinct status of society, with its own institutions, customs, philosophy, and religion; and all these must necessarily be overthrown before new institutions, customs, philosophy and religion can be introduced." However, he shared with Morgan the belief that a policy could not accelerate the evolutionary process. He wrote, "The attempt to transform a savage into a civilized man by a law, a policy, an administration, through a great conversion, `as in the twinkling of an eye,' or in months, or in a few years, is an impossibility clearly appreciated by scientific ethnologists who understand the institutions and social conditions of the Indians." Three years later, in 1881, he added, "Savagery cannot be transformed by the magic of legal enactments into civilization." Quoted in Brian W. Dippie, The Vanishing American: White Attitudes & U.S. Indian Policy (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1982): 166, 168. 14 Tsianina Lomawaima also works with concepts of "safe" and "dangerous" cultural practices specifically in Indian boarding schools. See K. Tsianina Lomawaima, "American Indian Education: By Indians Versus For Indians," in Blackwell Companion to American Indian History, ed. Philip Deloria and Neil Salisbury (Malden, MA: Blackwell Press, 2002).
the dance that emanated from it, were contested within racial, tribal, community, and generational lines. Two step dances such as the Owl dance, in which couples danced together, became very popular with returned students on many reservations in the early twentieth century. Though influenced in some ways from boarding school instruction, OIA officials considered them "Indian dances" when they were unregulated on reservations. More significantly, however, they caused many older Lakota people great consternation: then practitioners of dances that precluded physical contact between men and women, they believed that two step dances led to sexual promiscuity and immorality--the new dances, therefore, were as dangerous to these Lakota as they were to the OIA. Moreover, particular practices of music never held static meaning; the meanings changed over time and were continually contested, especially as new groups of Native people began to participate in them. The practice of music was often an expression of control for both native and non-native people--control over their own lives, or control over the lives of others. In some cases, dance became for many OIA officials a symbol of every aspect of federal Indian policy that failed during this time period. In another sense, it served as a vehicle of freedom through which Native people expressed an increased sense of autonomy over segments of their own lives, or a rejection of OIA control and surveillance, while for some it served as a declaration of the rights bestowed on them through U.S. citizenship and participation in World War I. Borrowing from the work of James Scott, the practice of music served as a blatant, yet hidden transcript of resistance--blatant in the public nature of performance, yet hidden in the sense that 14
music could be considered an innocent social entertainment as much as it could represent an assault on assimilation policy.15 That is what made the practice of music such a viable, cunning, and complex form of performative cultural politics--it's transformative power often lay in the eyes and ears of the beholder as much as it did that of the performer. As we shall see, through these performances even the OIA tenets of allotment and citizenship became dangerous in the minds of the officials who most vociferously supported them.
MUSIC AND CITIZENSHIP
The primary legislation in the allotment and assimilation era (1887-1928) of federal Indian policy rested upon the support of reformers and evangelical leaders who believed that American Indian people faced one of two options: to become extinct or to transform into what they considered `proper' American citizens.16 OIA officials,
argues that hidden transcripts of resistance occur "behind the scenes...[when the oppressed] create and defend a social space in which offstage dissent to the official transcript of power relations may be voiced." These hidden transcripts represent "a critique of power spoken behind the back of the dominant." He goes on to suggest that such transcripts are "typically expressed openly--albeit in disguised form." Following this theory, the request of the Lakota to hold a grass dance in order to celebrate the Fourth of July seems a clear example of such a public, hidden transcript of resistance. Such a dance created a social space in which the dancers could seemingly appease OIA officials through a celebration of a patriotic, American holiday while simultaneously affirming their own difference as Lakota people, therefore resisting the policy of assimilation. James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), xi-xiii. 16 Major works on this epoch of federal Indian policy known as the "allotment and assimilation era" include the following: Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians, vol. 2 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984); Frederick E. Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984); Frederick E. Hoxie, Parading Through History: The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 18051935 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford M. Lytle, American
reformers, many senators, and leaders of religious organizations believed that Native American people, in order to survive, had to undergo perhaps the greatest of personal salvations: shedding what they considered the "savage" cultural traits of their Indian identities and transforming under their terms and definitions into members of a "proper," Christian, civilized American citizenry. Citizenship was a central issue in federal Indian policy between the late 1860s and the 1920s.17 Prior to 1924, when all Native Americans were deemed citizens by federal decree, citizenship befell Native Americans in an erratic and often chaotic manner. The Fourteenth Amendment particularly excluded "Indians not taxed" from the bestowal of citizenship on all men and women born in the United States. This was based upon the
Indians, American Justice (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983); Janet A. McDonnell, The Dispossession of the American Indian, 1887-1934 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991). 17 David Wilkins provides an illuminating discussion on Indian citizenship in David E Wilkins, American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997): 118-136. A number of articles also detail the history of the bestowal of U.S. citizenship upon American Indians. General works on the subject include Stephen D. Bodayla, "`Can an Indian Vote?' Elk V. Wilkins, a Setback for Indian Citizenship," Nebraska History vol. 67, no. 4 (1986): 372-380; R. Alton Lee, "Indian Citizenship and the Fourteenth Amendment," South Dakota History, 4, no. 2 (1974): 198-221; Jill E. Martin, "`Neither Fish, Flesh, Fowl, Nor Good Red Herring': The Citizenship Status of American Indians, 1830-1924," Journal of the West vol. 29, no. 3 (1990): 75-87; Gary C. Stein, "The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924," New Mexico Historical Review, vol. 47, no. 3 (1972): 257-274. Tribal specific studies of the impact of citizenship include John R. Finger, "Conscription, Citizenship, and `Civilization': World War I and the Eastern Band of Cherokee," North Carolina Historical Review vol. 63, no. 3 (1986): 283-308; George E. Frizzell, "The Politics of Cherokee Citizenship, 1898-1930," North Carolina Historical Review vol. 61, no. 2 (1984): 205-230; Peter R. Hacker, "Confusion and Conflict: A Study of Atypical Responses to Nineteenth Century Federal Indian Policies by the Citizen Band Potawatomis," American Indian Culture and Research Journal, vol. 13, no. 1 (1989): 75-87; Roberta Haines, "U.S. Citizenship and Tribal Membership: A Contest for Political Identity and Rights of Tribal SelfDetermination in Southern California," American Indian Culture and Research Journal vol. 21, no. 3 (1997): 211-230. Activities of reformers and OIA officials interested in the citizenship debate are explored in Russel Lawrence Barsh, "An American Heart of Darkness: The 1918 Expedition for American Indian Citizenship," Great Plains Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 2 (1993): 91-115; Sean J. Flynn, "Western Assimilationist: Charles H. Burke and the Burke Act," Midwest Review 11 (1989): 1-15; Richard Lindstrom, "`Not from the Land Side, But from the Flag Side': Native American Responses to the Wanamaker Expedition of 1913," Journal of Social History vol. 30, no. 1 (1996): 209-227; Francis Paul Prucha, ed. Americanizing the American Indian: Writings by the "Friends of the Indian" 1880-1900
belief, not necessarily that Indians could never demonstrate the ideal values (that is, those held by congressmen, middle and upper-class reformers, and the OIA) of U.S. citizenship but because they simply had not embraced those values yet and were thus not worthy of the "gift" of citizenship. The OIA had a very clear idea of how they believed Indians should live if they were permitted to receive the benefits of citizenship. Well into the 1920s, OIA officials regarded tribal affiliations and the maintenance of a separate and distinct tribal ethnicity as philosophically and pragmatically antithetical to U.S. citizenship. Citizenship was thus conceived for Native Americans as a reward based upon the completion of a set of specific cultural and political requirements.18 But even with these requirements of citizenship met, individual American Indians who petitioned the
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1973). The issue of citizenship was again a priority for the BIA in the termination era of the late 1940s and `50s. 18 The complexities of Indian citizenship are unique because of both the imposition of a wardship status on individuals as well as the (constantly challenged) sovereign status of federally recognized tribes in the United States. For a history of the contest over sovereignty between tribes and the U.S. government, see David E. Wilkins and K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001). People have contested the meaning and scope of citizenship since the founding of the country. Although the following scholars do not discuss Indian citizenship to any extent, their work on citizenship and its relationship to women and other people of color in particular demonstrates the unequal bestowal of citizenship "rights" as well as the ways in which people have fought for them. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Unequal Freedom: How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); Rodolfo D. Torres, Louis F. Miran, and Jonathon Xavier Indi, ed., Race, Identity, and Citizenship: A Reader, (Malden, MA: Blackwell Press, 1999); Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997); Anthony W. Marx, "Contested Citizenship: The Dynamics of Racial Identity and Social Movements," International Review of Social History [Great Britain], vol. 40, no. 3 (1995): 159-183; David Montgomery, "Wage Labor, Bondage, and Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century America," International Labor and Working-Class History, 48 (1995): 6-27; Linda Kerber, No Constitutional Rights to be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998); Nancy F. Cott, "Marriage and Women's Citizenship in the United States, 1830-1934," American Historical Review vol. 103, no. 5 (1998): 1440-1474; Bruce Burgett, Sentimental Bodies: Sex, Gender, and Citizenship in the Early Republic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998). I have also found William Flores and Rina Benmayor's work on Latino Cultural Citizenship particularly innovative. While they focus on the cultural citizenship of Latino communities, I focus on the struggle over imposed cultural requirements for U.S. citizenship. See William V. Flores, and Rina Benmayor, ed., Latino Cultural Citizenship: Claiming Identity, Space, and Rights (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997).
Supreme Court for citizenship were consistently refused, as in the case of Elk v. Wilkins, based upon the refusal of Congress to pass citizenship legislation geared specifically toward Indians.19 The overarching and comprehensive ambitions of the cultural requirements for Native American citizenship manifested themselves in the allotment and assimilation policies enacted between the 1887 and 1928. These policies were geared toward the eventual bestowal of citizenship and the allotment of tribal lands into individual homesteads, destroying the tribal land bases that were theoretically protected by treaties and other agreements and highly sought after by non-Indians. While some reformers, such as Helen Hunt Jackson, felt that the immediate granting of citizenship would somehow mend the despair she believed native people faced because of their continued wardship status, others felt that Indians should have to work towards citizenship and demonstrate their worthiness to become Americans. Much erratic and specific allotment and assimilation legislation was passed throughout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries, the largest and most important piece being the Dawes Act of 1887. The act enabled the OIA to parcel into individualized sections reservation lands previously held as communal by tribes: each head of a family was to receive one-quarter of a section (160 acres), each single person over the age of eighteen one-eighth of a section (80 acres), and each person under the age
this case, John Elk had "voluntarily" left his tribe, moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and registered to vote. Although it was deemed that he met the cultural requirements for citizenship, the court sided with Wilkins, the city registrar, who had refused to accept Elk's application because he was an Indian. The court ruled that Congress must explicitly enfranchise the "alien nations" of tribes before individuals could vote. Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884).
of eighteen when the act was passed one-sixteenth of a section (40 acres). By parceling the lands the OIA believed native people would begin to manage their own property essentially as yeoman farmers, inducing the work ethic and practices of what the government deemed `civilized' life. The OIA then granted citizenship to those Indians who were deemed "competent" enough to either sell their land for a proper price or hold their plot to farm it. As Deloria and Lytle put it, the Dawes legislators believed that "private property...had mystical magical qualities about it that led people directly to a `civilized' state."20 Conveniently, after the OIA parceled the lands in such a manner tens of thousands of additional acres were considered `open' and hence available for nonIndian settlement. In addition to the allotment of lands, the OIA instituted a complex assimilation program with off-reservation boarding schools as its centerpiece. The government built these schools to remove children from the "uncivilized" surroundings of their families and reservation communities and to educate Indian children in the "proper" arts of citizenry.21 This instruction included the shunning of tribal affiliations, forbidding the
Deloria, Jr., and Clifford M. Lytle, American Indians, American Justice (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983), 9. 21 These school-oriented Americanization programs reflect in many ways the experiences of African Americans in Reconstruction through Jim Crow-era schools as well as the Americanization programs of Mexican American and European immigrant children in the early twentieth century. For the education of African Americans, see James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988), particularly pp. 33-78 on the Hampton Institute; Adam Fairclough, Teaching Equality: Black Schools in the Age of Jim Crow (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2001). For the education of Mexican Americans, see Mario T. Garca, Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880-1920 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 110-126; George J. Snchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), particularly pp. 87-107. For the education of European Immigrants, see Bernard J. Weiss, ed., American Education and the European Immigrant: 1840-1940 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982); Robert A. Carlson, The Americanization Syndrome: A Quest for
use of any non-English language, dressing and grooming the children to look as "nonIndian" as possible, teaching jingoistic American history, celebrating American holidays such as the Fourth of July and "Indian Citizenship Day," subsuming their Indian spiritual life into Christianity, and teaching gender roles that placed men in fields or factories and women in the homes. The boarding school experience, however, was not simply one of total oppression: students created their own spaces in the schools, creatively resisting what elements they disliked, and embracing others. This dissertation, in the tradition of the recent scholarship on boarding schools, hopes to further flesh out the unique and diverse ways in which students made meaning and use of their education.22 While the native land base in the United States shrunk from 138 million to 48 million acres through allotment, the OIA, with support from numerous religious and
Conformity (London: Croom Helm, 1987); George E. Pozzetta, ed., Education and the Immigrant (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1991). For an excellent collection of source documents, see Francesco Cordasco, Immigrant Children in American Schools: A Classified and Annotated Bibliography with Selected Source Documents (Fairfield, N.J.: Augustus M. Kelley, Publishers, 1976). 22 The best current scholarship on federal Indian boarding schools includes David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1995); Carole Barrett and Marcia Wolter Britton, "`You Didn't Dare Try to Be Indian': Oral Histories of Former Indian Boarding School Students," North Dakota History 64:2 (1997): 4-25; Brenda Child, "Runaway, Boys, Resistant Girls: Rebellion at Flandreau and Haskell, 19001940," Journal of American Indian Education, Spring (1996): 49-54; Basil H. Johnston, Indian School Days (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988); A. Littlefield, "The B.I.A. Boarding School: Theories of Resistance and Social Reproduction," Humanity and Society 13 (1989): 428-441; A. Littlefield, "Learning to Labor: Native American Education in the United States, 1880-1930," In The Political Economy of North American Indians, ed. J. Moore (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993): 43-59; K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994); K. Tsianina Lomawaima, "American Indian Education: By Indians Versus For Indians." In Blackwell Companion to American Indian History, ed. Philip Deloria and Neal Salisbury (Malden, MA: Blackwell Press, 2003); Devon Mihesuah, Cultivating the Rosebuds: the Education of Women at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1851-1909 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993); Margaret L. Archuleta, Brenda J. Child, K. Tsianina Lomawaima, ed., Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000 (Phoenix: Heard Museum, 2000); Scott Riney, The Rapid City Indian School, 1898-1933 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999); Clyde Ellis, To Change Them Forever: Indian Education at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 1893-1920 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996).
reform organizations, expanded its efforts to employ cultural requirements for citizenship.23 OIA officials considered "Indian dances" as a breach in the cultural requirements of citizenship and often contested the dances on these grounds. Yet gradually the OIA seemed to lose their tightly-held control over the granting and meaning of citizenship: through the decades of allotment and assimilation, more and more Indian people, typically males, not only became citizens but vigorously contested the OIA's vision of "proper" citizenship. Dramatic levels of participation in World War I by American Indians influenced Congress to pass a law granting citizenship to all honorably discharged veterans. That measure, along with increased efforts to bestow "competency" and thus citizenship on Indian individuals in order that they gain the "right" to sell their land to non-Indians, resulted in a dramatic rise in the number of citizen Indians. By the time the Indian Citizenship Act was enacted in 1924, two thirds of the native population already had it.24 Citizenship became a double-edged sword for OIA officials who firmly believed in the cultural requirements of citizenship, yet recognized that Congress was tiring of the debate. Citizen Indians began to use their legal status as a way to defend their right to dance. Eschewing the notion of cultural requirements, they instead argued their entitlement, as citizens, to practice any performative traditions they desired. Likewise, citizens and non-citizens alike petitioned OIA superintendents to hold dances on the American holidays that they had been instructed to appreciate in the boarding schools.
23 Deloria 24 Prucha,
and Lytle, 10. The Great Father, 793.
But was a grass dance held on the Fourth of July an indication of patriotism, as they reassured the nervous superintendents, or was it a celebration of other allegiances toward tribe, community, or clan? Or all of the above? What about the giveaway dances held against government orders to honor Lakota servicemen and to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I? Native people across the country began to use their modern experiences with U.S. citizenship, World War I, and the rituals of American patriotism in order to defend their dance and their difference as Indian people.
MUSIC AND INDIANNESS
The struggle for sovereignty (or control) over native performative traditions was not limited to reservations and boarding schools. Students who ventured into American towns and urban centers discovered a non-Indian public who did not treat them, as the OIA hoped, as assimilated Americans. While some faced discrimination, much of the public by this time (typically the public in the East) had largely bought into the idea that a non-threatening, "safe" Indianness could benefit rather than stifle modern American society. As Phil Deloria and others have argued, in the early twentieth century Indianness became valued in the movement of anti-modern primitivism.25 Middle class Americans who became disillusioned with the pace of urban modern America began to turn towards Indianness as a form of rejuvenation, a touchstone of authenticity found in otherness. Indian people seemed natural to them, an idealistic reflection on a simpler
time in which proper ideals of manhood and womanhood were not obscured by the emasculation of a desk job for men or the straying of women from the maintenance of domestic duties.26 The Boy Scouts of America, the Camp Fire Girls and other organizations created a template of order and proper modern social values through their decidedly anti-modern understanding and practice of Indianness.27 Yet this recourse to Indianness had little to do with the realities of the lives of most American Indian people. Indianness, as I will refer to it, along with public and OIA officials' conceptions of "Indian dances," "Indian music," or "Indian songs," consisted mostly of stereotypically racial expectations of the era, full of history, certainly, but empty of substance. The "sound of Indian," as Philip Deloria argues--the stereotypical melodies and drone of the tom tom that signified Indianness in Hank Williams "Kawliga," for example, resulted mostly from non-Indian sources, as even music collected on reservations was mediated through the recording device, transcriptions, and
25 Philip 26 Leah
J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). Dilworth (pp. 4-5) argues that "For its practitioners, primitivism is a source of authority, a gesture that demonstrates the essential nature or the primacy of their notions, because the primitive is imagined at a state somehow previous to modernity and therefore more real, more authentic.... Primitivism seems to offer a cure for what ails modernity, because it imagines that differentiation is a later, inauthentic development, that things were more whole, more harmonious at some time `before.'" 27 Deloria's reading of the relationship between authenticity, modernity, and Indianness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as his discussion of the scouting movement, is particularly insightful. See his Playing Indian, 95-127. For discussions on authenticity, see Regina Bendix, In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997); Marshall Berman, The Politics of Authenticity (New York: Atheneum, 1972); T.J. Jackson Lears, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984); Miles Orvell, The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 18801940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989); Lionel Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972). On modernity see Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (New York: Penguin, 1982). On the relationship between ethnicity, primitivism, and consumerism, see Erika Bsumek, "Making `Indian-made': The Production, Consumption, and Construction of Navajo Ethnic Identity, 1880-1935" (Ph.D. diss., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 2000).
harmonizations as non-Indian ethnologists, musicians, and composers sought to evoke Indianness in song.28 The non-Indian public held visual perceptions of Indians firmly in place as well: they expected seductive princesses in buckskin dresses and hypermasculine chiefs wearing nothing short of a very large headdress and a very small breechclout. Although non-Indian constructions of Indianness did not reflect the ways in which Native people defined themselves in terms of tribal or ethnic affiliations, it becomes substantive when we consider the ways in which Native Americans themselves began to deploy Indianness: many American Indians performed Indianness for the non-Indian public for reasons that served their own interests and, in some ways, contributed to a much larger, more complex matrix of identity formation.29 American Indians had acknowledged the desire of non-Indians to experience Indianness for some time and immediately took advantage of it, selling arts and crafts at Fred Harvey railway stations and trading posts or reenacting famous Indian wars for Buffalo Bill's show.30 As long as expressions of Indianness were safe and properly contained within the fairgrounds or a piece of Pueblo pottery, it seemed, Americans could attempt to identify with Indian
J. Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places (St. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, forthcoming), 236-289. See also Tara Browner, "`Breathing the Indian Spirit': Thoughts on Musical Borrowing and the `Indianist' Movement in American Music," American Music (Fall, 1997): 265-284, 265. See also Michael Pisani, "Exotic Sounds in the Native Land: Portrayals of North American Indians in Western Music" (Ph.D. diss., University of Rochester, 1996). 29 Pfister studies the role of the Carlisle Indian School in facilitating the "individualization" of the students. He refers to American Indians who use stereotypes of Indianness to their advantage as "faking Indian." Joel Pfister, Individuality Incorporated: Indians and the Multicultural Modern (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 122. 30 Leah Dilworth details the relationship of the Fred Harvey Company with the local Native populations and the rise in Southwestern tourism in Imagining Indians, 77-124. See also Bsumek, "Making `Indian-
people. While on one hand, such actions could support stereotypical representations of Indians, on the other hand many Native Americans used these opportunities to their own advantage. Between the 1880s and the 1930s, hundreds of students musically trained in the schools performed Indianness on the road in musical troupes, jazz and marching bands, string quartets and other outfits. Road weary bands and native celebrities presented tribal, ethnic, racial and musical identities that complicated and often contradicted the public's assumptions of Indianness and the assimilative goals of the OIA. The public's positive assessment of Indianness in the early 1900s had a larger and larger impact on federal policy as more Native musicians traveled the country. Tourists, theatre goers and lecture circuit attendees began to appreciate the ways in which former boarding school students turned the assimilative vision of their instructors into new avenues to celebrate their difference as Indian people. By the 1920s the assimilation policies that had for decades guided the OIA began to seem antiquated and out of step with the anthropological theory of cultural relativism that had begun to influence the press.31 As the press debated reservation dance bans, as the Harvey company and other
made,'" for an analysis and history of the commodification of Navajo material culture and its impact on identity formation. 31 The tradition of cultural relativism that emerged in Anthropology in the early twentieth century asserted that all cultures are equal and comparable with one another, so that there are no inferior or superior cultures. Franz Boas (1858-1942) is often attributed as the anthropologist who ushered in the theory of cultural relativism in direct rebuke to cultural evolutionary theories. George Stocking reads Boas as a transitional figure in this new anthropological understanding of the nature of culture. He writes, "The general effect of Boas' critique of evolutionism was to show that various elements of human culture did not march together in any sort of lock step or regular sequence. Once the `one grand scheme' of evolutionism was rejected, the multiplicity of cultures which took the place of the cultural stages of savagery, barbarism, and civilization were no more easily brought within one standard of evaluation than they were within one system of explanation." Stocking, Race, Culture, and Evolution, 228-229. Boas also called for a more
purveyors funded such performances, and as non-Indians flocked to performances by Indian musicians in the cities, the political nature of Indian music became exceedingly public.
American Indian historiography is largely barren of significant studies of American Indian professional musicians, Indian-themed popular music, or the use of music as a transformative tool with regard to federal Indian policy. However, this dissertation can contribute to a number of related American Indian historiographies. Many scholars have explored the dominant stereotypes of American Indians in popular culture. These scholars have closely examined such representations of American Indians in Hollywood films, "fine" works of art and literature, and advertisements in magazines, for example.32 More particularly, scholars such as Rayna Green and Philip Deloria have
rigorous, scientific inductive methodology and believed that, along with many others at the time, anthropologists must engage in "salvage ethnography"--a directive that led scores of ethnographers onto reservations in the first two decades of the twentieth century in order to record and accumulate as much "data" as possible before, as they all assumed, the cultures would "decay" due to deaths, influence by whites, and intermarriages. Brian Dippie points out that this belief in the "passing" of the "pure" Indians fell in "perfect harmony with popular opinion." Dippie, 233. 32 The classic study concerning these representations is Robert F. Berkhofer. The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Vintage Books, 1978). See also Rayna D. Green, "The Indian in Popular American Culture," History of Indian-White Relations, Wilcomb E. Washburn, ed. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1988), 587-606; Robert S. Tilton, Pocahontas: The Evolution of an American Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); S. Elizabeth Bird, ed., Dressing in Feathers (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996); Leah Dilworth, Imagining Indians in the Southwest: Persistent Visions of a Primitive Past (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996); Shari M. Huhndorf, Going Native: Indians in the American Cultural Imagination (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001); L.G. Moses, Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991); Carter Jones Meyer and Diana Royer, ed., Selling the Indian: Commercializing & Appropriating American Indian Cultures (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2001); Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (New York: Harper Perennial, 1985); Pauline Turner Strong, "Captivity in White and Red," in Crossing Cultures: Essays in the Displacement of Western Civilization, Daniel Segal, ed., (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1992), 33-81; Pauline Turner Strong, Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and
written about the history of non-Indians dressing up as Indians, and have demonstrated the ways in which specific forms and usages of Indian iconography relate to conceptions of American identity.33 While these studies are closely related to the subject of this dissertation, they tend to focus more on the maintenance of Native representations by non-Indians rather than the role that American Indians played, and none are significantly related to the involvement of American Indians in popular music.34 Some scholars have demonstrated the necessity and the fruitful results of expanding the literature on American Indians who participated in progressive-era reform movements or who otherwise engaged the modernization of the early twentieth century in "unexpected"
Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives (Boulder: Westview Press, 1999); Laurie Anne Whitt, "Cultural Imperialism and the Marketing of Native America," American Indian Culture and Research Journal, vol. 19, no. 3 (1995): 1-31; Sherry L. Smith, Reimagining Indians: Native Americans through Anglo Eyes, 1880-1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 33 Rayna D. Green, "The Tribe Called Wannabee: Playing Indian in America and Europe," Folklore vol. 99, no. 1 (1988): 30-55; Deloria, Playing Indian. 34 A few scholars have begun to examine some individual Native musicians and Indian-themed music from this era. On Indian-themed music see Rayna D. Green, "The Indian in Popular American Culture," History of Indian-White Relations, Wilcomb E. Washburn, ed. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1988), 587606; on Indian-themed music and Tsianina Redfeather, see Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places, 236289; Carter Jones Meyer, "Edgar Hewett, Tsianina Redfeather, and Early-Twentieth-Century Indian Reform," New Mexico Historical Review, vol. 75, no. 2, (April, 2000): 195-220; On the life of Lucy Nicolar (a/k/a Princess Watahwaso), see Bunny McBride, "Lucy Nicolar: The Artful Activism of a Penobscot Performer," Sifters: Native American Women's Lives, Theda Perdue, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 141-159; See also the study of Sarah Winnemucca in Siobhan Senier, Voices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance: Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Winnemucca, and Victoria Howard (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), 73-120. L.G. Moses has written a book detailing the experiences of the "show Indians" of the Wild West shows from 1883-1933. He essentially complicates the previously held notion that these performers were simply exploited by the show organizers and the paying public by demonstrating that the performers brought their own agendas to the shows and used them as a place of employment and a means to travel and to carry out their lives in ways that were simply unavailable to them on the reservations. Moses, Wild West Shows. Bunny McBride wrote a fascinating biography on the life of dancer, vaudevillian, model, and film star Molly Spotted Elk. Bunny McBride, Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995). Comparatively, Rayna Green offers an illuminating examination of the ways in which Native American artists use their art "as a weapon in the national point-counterpoint conversation about identity so characterized by the objects (and performances of identity) that have defined and confined them." See her "Native Artistic Resistance to Western Curio-sity," Journal of the West, vol. 40, no. 4 (Fall 2001): 34-42, 34.
ways.35 One recent trend in American Indian scholarship demonstrates the growing impact of American individualism on Indian identity formation in the early twentieth century due in part to boarding school education and other facets of the assimilation policy.36 Other scholars have simultaneously demonstrated the immense complexity of individual Indian identities and argue for an approach that addresses the act of cultural brokerage as well as issues of class, gender, "race (or races), tribal social systems, factionalism, culture change, physiological appearance, and personal motivations."37 By focusing on musical performances within the arenas of the Lakota reservations, offreservation boarding schools, and popular music venues, this dissertation engages the issues most resonant in these historiographies and should contribute a new approach to understanding the role of music as a political and cultural arbiter.
for example, Frederick E. Hoxie, ed., Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001); Philip J. Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places. 36 Loretta Fowler, Tribal Sovereignty and the Historical Imagination: Cheyenne - Arapaho Politics (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002); Joel Pfister, Individuality Incorporated: Indians and the Multicultural Modern (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). 37 For an excellent historiography as well as critique of the concept of cultural brokerage with regard to American Indians, see Eric Hinderaker, "Translation and Cultural Brokerage," A Companion to American Indian History, Philip J. Deloria and Neal Salisbury, ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2002): 357376. Devon A. Mihesuah, "Commonality of Difference: American Indian Women and History," Native and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians, Devon A. Mihesuah, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998): 37-54, 37. In Cultivating the Rosebuds, Mihesuah (p. 6) argues the importance of seeing the female Cherokee students as "especially complex individuals, different from one another and from women of other tribes." Many American Indian scholars today, as represented in this collection of essays, argue for the necessity of more Native voices in history books, as well as the further incorporation of non-traditional sources, most importantly, oral histories, within the canon of American Indian history. For this reason I have included a number of relatively large block quotes by different American Indians throughout the dissertation, in order to lessen to a degree the impact of decontextualization in their voices and actions. I have also established correspondence with a number of relatives of some of the musicians I feature, and I make it a standard practice to offer to them all of my collected materials on their relative. For the next phase of this project I hope to conduct a series of interviews with some of these family members.
This dissertation consists of five chapters that explore the politics of American Indian musical performance between the 1890s and 1930s. The first chapter examines the rejuvenation of dances on Lakota reservations from 1900 through 1922, the year that commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles Burke called a meeting of all the Sioux superintendents and missionaries over the "dance evil." In this chapter, I seek to explore why and how dancing became an important, and useful, political device for Lakota dancers, and how its antagonists constructed their own meaning out of the performances. In these years the OIA experienced a loss of cultural and political control on reservations that the Lakota and other Indian people had, ironically, gained through citizenship and enacted through dance. The second chapter moves from the "dance evil" meeting in South Dakota and the subsequent national dance circular issued by Burke to the reaction to the order by both native people and the press. Burke was already aware of the fact that banning Indian dances on reservations nationwide would result in a public debate. Although Burke issued the circular based upon the recommendations of Lakota reservation agents and missionaries, he had his dance policy distributed directly into the hands of the people on every reservation in the country. The debate then escalated to a national uproar as newspapers overwhelmingly supported the rights of Indian people to dance. Not surprisingly, however, the reasons for the support of the press often differed significantly from the reasons for native support. In this chapter I explore these differences, the logic of the OIA in executing the dance policy, and the ways in which outspoken native people and public opinion shaped federal Indian policy through the dance debate of the 1920s. 29
In the third chapter, I move from the arena of reservations to that of federal Indian boarding schools. The increased surveillance and control that the enclosed school grounds offered the OIA facilitated the management of student bodies, knowledge, and performative practices. The schools were intended to provide a proper atmosphere away from what was considered the demoralizing influence of the reservations and their families. Teachers and administrators quickly acknowledged the promotional advantages of musical performances: Indian school bands traveled the country to entertain spectators and demonstrate the assimilative benefits of the boarding schools. The bands, choral groups, and soloists were instructed in musical traditions considered safe by the faculty: string quartets performed classical pieces while the marching bands learned tunes popularly performed by John Philip Sousa and others. This chapter investigates how the students felt about their musical instruction and how they identified with these traditions. The politics of music within the schools provides a window into the lives of Indian youth who made their own meaning of their adolescent experiences. The fourth chapter retains a focus on boarding schools, but introduces the influence of new traditions in anthropology and popular culture that caused OIA officials to reassess the school curriculums. Although stereotypical displays of Indianness found a place from time to time in the schools since the establishment of the Carlisle Indian School in 1879, in 1906 OIA Commissioner of Indian Affairs Francis Leupp challenged the schools to teach Indianness to the students. In other words, the students, along with learning how to become "proper" Americans, were also taught how to become, in the view of the OIA, "proper" Indians. This instruction often brought the work of 30
ethnologists and Indianist composers together and hence manifested itself most prominently in music programs. Chapter four explores the influences behind the educational initiative, the ways in which the OIA attempted to place such instruction within the paradigm of its citizenship agenda, and the ways in which students learned and utilized the expectations and performance of Indianness during their school years. Through the medium of music, the confluence of modernity, science, and race further contributed to the shape of federal Indian policy in the early twentieth century. The final chapter examines the accessibility of American popular music on reservations and in the schools, and then follows several native musicians who left home for a life on the road. Playing Indian as well as their instruments, these young people built careers performing their Indianness for profit, politics, and adventure. The instruction of Indianness and Indian-themed songs in the boarding schools served these modern individuals as a weapon of empowerment--by understanding the expectations of the non-Indian public, they were not only able to actively negotiate representations of Indianness, but also to use their public access in decidedly political ways. Federal Indian policy, boarding school education, trends in popular culture, political ideals and their family life converged in their practice of music. Focusing on several individual performers such as Kiutus Tecumseh, Tsianina Redfeather Blackstone, Angus Lookaround, and Fred Cardin, I will explore the complexities of their Indian identities, as well as the various forms of Indianness that they created on a daily (and nightly) basis. These musicians gained access to audiences unparalleled by any other Indian people. This chapter will examine the lives of the performers and the politics of their music. 31
Music served to express political dissent and led to the reconfiguration of the meaning of citizenship through reservation dances as much as it served to support the program of assimilation in the schools. Yet even this instruction was turned on its head as alumni began working in all Indian bands around the country, displaying their boarding school skills through a decidedly "indianized" performance. Scientific institutions and industries as well as trends in popular culture all contributed to shifts in federal Indian policy, even when the intentions were not aligned. Native musical performance of all sorts provided a political voice that often served to critique federal policy and the philosophy of assimilation. This dissertation seeks to place native performers back where they belong, on the center stage of Indian policy in the early twentieth century.
The Citizenship of Dance: Politics of Music in the Reservation Environment, 1900-1924
"There is no one feature of the old time Indian life so detrimental to a full civilization, education and Christianization of the Indian people"1 --OIA Memorandum Relative to the Dance Situation at Red Lake, 1916 Between the 1890s and the 1920s, a revival of native musical traditions on reservations began to resonate through, and eventually alter the politics and the course, of federal Indian policy. The assimilative Indian policy of the era reflected the belief of Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) officials that Native Americans must meet a set of specific cultural requirements before assuming the legal status of U.S. citizens. Because the officials considered "Indian dances" as contrary to the practices of "proper" American citizens, they struggled throughout the era to suppress any performative traditions on the reservations that they considered "Indian" and thus anti-American in nature. Despite this suppression I argue that dance served the Lakota as the most effective mechanism available to engage and to shape the citizenship agenda foisted upon them in the form of allotment and assimilation policies into something somewhat palatable. Indeed, they
strove to create something that would strengthen their resolve to endure as distinctly Lakota people. As the OIA promoted Americanness through the assimilative tools of boarding schools, citizenship, and service in the armed forces, many Lakota transformed these into weapons of agency through dance--into facilitators of native revitalization and celebration. Since the 1880s the federal government had nearly, but not completely, suppressed the public performance of many dances such as the Sun Dance and the Ghost Dance.2 Deeming "all similar dances [to the Sun Dance] and so-called religious ceremonies...`Indian Offenses,'" the OIA established a punishment of the offense by "incarceration in the agency prison for a period not exceeding thirty days."3 The dance bans had origins in the era of federal Indian policy known as the "Peace Policy," in which missionaries supported by their religious organizations became heavily involved and funded by the federal government to implement reforms and induce policies of acculturation on the reservations. The OIA officials and missionaries, who considered the dances as "heathenish" and antithetical to the acculturation of native people, struggled to eradicate them, often with the help of the Indian police, a force of "progressive" Indians established by local agents to forcibly execute the reform agenda of the agents.4 On the Lakota reservations, OIA officials for the most part entirely forbade and "vigorously repressed" dances through insidious penalties of withholding due rations and
Relative to the Dance Situation at Red Lake, 1916, File 95989-16-063, Red Lake, CCF. this is the proper way to cite these archives. 2 Clyde Holler, Black Elk's Religion: The Sun Dance and Lakota Catholicism (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995), 110. 3 Quoted in Harry C. James, Pages from Hopi History (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1974), 186.
other measures.5 On the Standing Rock reservation, Missionary Father Barnard reported that dancing was "universal" until "the Messiah craze came on and Sitting Bull and some of his followers had been killed on December 15, 1890," at which point the dances were "entirely annihilated."6 Indeed, the massacre of Ghost Dancers and their families at Wounded Knee crippled the ability and desire of the Lakota from holding dances or large gatherings of any sort. During the span of the first two decades of the twentieth century, however, reservation superintendents and missionaries across the country, but particularly those among the Lakota reservations, grew increasingly distressed over what they considered a revival of native dances.7 Despite all of the dance restrictions in place and the concerted
mainly on the 1880s and 1890s, Holler gives an account of the sun dance ban and suppression on the Sioux reservations in Black Elk's Religion, 110-138. 5 Holler, 130. 6 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 18, File 10429-1922-063, General Service, CCF. Barnard is referring to the murders, committed by Lt. Bull Head and 2nd Sgt. Red Tomahawk, of Sitting Bull and eight others from his camp in front of his house. Six policemen were also killed, including Bull Head. Sitting Bull was heavily involved with the Ghost Dance movement that had taken form within many of the Sioux communities. The Wounded Knee massacre occurred shortly thereafter, on December 29, 1890. See James Mooney, The Ghost Dance (North Dighton, MA: JG Press, 1996), 218-220. Holler argues that the Ghost Dance acted in many ways to fill the void that the ban of the sun dance had created among the Sioux. Though the dances were very different, he argues that if the sun dance had not been banned, the tragedy of the Ghost Dance massacre might never have occurred. He also points out, however, that the ban was extremely effective in the reformer's goals of debilitating the native religion. Forced underground, and significantly reduced in occurrence, the dance lost its central relevance among the people. Holler, 135-6. See also Alice Beck Kehoe, The Ghost Dance: Ethnohistory and Revitalization (Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1989); Michael A. Elliot, "Ethnography, Reform, and the Problem of the Real: James Mooney's Ghost-Dance Religion," American Quarterly 50, no. 2 (1998): 201-233; Benjamin R. Kracht, "The Kiowa Ghost Dance, 1894-1916: An Unheralded Revitalization Movement," Ethnohistory 39 (1992), 452-477; Richard Morris and Philip Wander, "Native American Rhetoric: Dancing in the Shadows of the Ghost Dance," Quarterly Journal of Speech 76, no. 2 (1990): 164-191; William E. Huntzicker, "The `Sioux Outbreak' in the Illustrated Press," South Dakota History 20, no. 4 (1990): 299-322. 7 OIA officials never really provided a list of characteristics that differentiated an "Indian" from a "white" dance because they assumed anyone who witnessed them could tell them apart. One of the purposes of this dissertation is to question the viability of racial genrefications of music and musical performance without losing sight of their powers of political mobility. But in order to understand the power of musical politics
efforts of agents, white farmers, missionaries, and even some Lakota to curtail them, by the nineteen teens Lakota were dancing and singing with an urgency and determination not witnessed in decades. Due to the popularity and growing frequency of the dances, the local agents and missionaries became concerned that the dances challenged their professional goals of transforming Lakota economic, social, and cultural attributes into what they considered a decidedly singular, exclusive, non-Indian, American lifestyle. The OIA, after all, was preparing Native Americans across the country to accept and demonstrate the duties, activities, and responsibilities of a "proper" American citizenry. According to the OIA officials, the lifestyle of a proper American citizen was one based in Anglo American, and not Native American, traditions. The OIA was fully convinced that the dances it considered "Indian" were also (and therefore) "savage" and "heathen," and signified unabashed resistance to the official assimilation policy and citizenship agenda.8 At the time, policy makers and OIA personnel believed such distinctions were
and the flawed nature of such racially-based cultural categorization we must examine the traits that supposedly defined Indian and white music as such. Based upon correspondence between OIA reservation superintendents and the commissioner's office we can establish some of the basic organizational principles by which such designations were ostensibly assigned. The OIA maintained a polarized view of native performance in this period: "Indian" dances were typically organized by native people, usually those considered the "traditionals" or "conservatives" by the OIA-- those least prone to accepting the tenets of the citizenship agenda geared towards the eradication of their language, non-Protestant religious customs, socio-economic and cultural organization, etc. These dances were deemed heathen and/ or incorporated what were considered non-Christian elements. Sometimes the participants would wear feathers and/or paints and would sing unrecognizable phrases in unrecognizable melodies, certainly not the acceptable melodies of European or American (read: white) composers. The dances would often feature drums and voices as the primary instruments, and dance gatherings could last for days or sometimes weeks. 8 The dances represented for OIA officials the most dangerous and worst elements of native life, the elements that they believed justified the most expeditious implementation of their "civilization" agendas. Bishop Burleson, a missionary among the Lakota, argued in 1922 that, "the Indian dance...is a lapse back to conditions out of which they are supposed to have come. It creates an atmosphere that is inimical to what we are trying to do with them." Note that Burleson, like most of his colleagues and friends in the federal government, leveled his criticism at all forms of Indian dances, not just particular dances or celebrations. Reverend Tibbetts, a missionary and Lakota himself, concurred: "when the Indian dances it has an effect upon the lower life of the Indian, and it is an effect on the intellectual life of the Indian. When
easy to identify, and Native American dance, as it was scrutinized and racialized, signified everything that the OIA sought to change.
SETTING THE STAGE: THE LAKOTA ECONOMY, THE CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP, MODES OF SURVEILLANCE AND THE PHILOSOPHY AND IMPLEMENTATION OF "CIVILIZATION," 1868-1935 By the early twentieth century the Lakota like most Native Americans lived in destitute, impoverished conditions on reservations that were literally disintegrating before their eyes. Along with this dire economic situation, increased surveillance by agents and non-Indian farmers on the OIA payroll left the Lakota with diminished overt capability to counter the cultural citizenship agenda of allotment and assimilation. However, in spite of and also perhaps because of these conditions a dance revival flourished that provided the Lakota with a mechanism to alter these circumstances. A brief synopsis of the Lakota economy and its relationship to the cultural citizenship agenda of allotment and assimilation provide the context by which we can better understand the revival of dances
they are dancing they lose all their physical, mental and moral power. He loses himself entirely when he hears the Indian tom tom. He is absolutely weakened in that hour." But perhaps superintendent Mossman of the Standing Rock reservation could demonstrate this view best of all: When the tom tom sounds the cloak of civilization drops off the shoulders of the Sioux Indian. The tom tom is the same kind of an instrument that is used by the lowest savages of today and they use it in their religious rights. Pure savagery. The singing that accompanies this dance is the same as the sound you hear from the religious ceremony of the lowest savages. It is the sound of the far away religious chant...When the Sioux Indian goes into the dance ring he is a savage. A savage garbed in a suit of underwear dyed red. Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 14, 25, and 52, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
in the early twentieth century and their political import within Northern Plains reservations. The reservation system, firmly established on the plains in the 1860s, as well as its enforcement by the U.S. cavalry, effectively restricted the mobility of the Lakota. This severely curtailed their ability to follow buffalo herds, which had been since the late eighteenth century their primary resource of nutrition, shelter, and income. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 established the Great Sioux Reservation; in return, the United States promised the Lakota protection from further intrusion, supplies, and rations in lieu of land cessions and an offer of peace.9 The Lakota considered the rations as due compensation for their ceded lands, not temporary handouts as the U.S. government began to view them, and they gained even more importance in the Lakota economy as the U.S. cavalry began to force Lakota hunters and families off of the hunting lands promised them in the treaty, efforts which eventually led to Custer's demise at the Little Bighorn in 1876. The Lakota reiterated the position that the rations were obligatory after the illegal Black Hills Agreement of 1876 that ceded even more lands to the U.S. without the required signatures of three-fourths of the adult-male Lakota population.10 The problem
9 The Fort Laramie Treaty limited the Lakota to the lands that consist today of South Dakota west of the Missouri River; however, the Lakota were allowed to hunt in the lands north of the North Platte River (parts of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana) and on the Republican River (lands in Kansas and Nebraska). The hunting rights kept the Lakota buffalo economy alive for a while, but the buffalo were fast disappearing through their destruction by non-Indian hunters and marksmen. Additionally, because of the lands that the Lakota ceded to the U.S. in the treaty, they were to receive schools, farming instruction, a physician, a blacksmith, a carpenter, an engineer, a miller, seeds and agricultural tools, as well as, most importantly, rations: daily provisions that included one and one-half pounds of beef (or one-half pound of bacon), one-half pound of flour, and one-half pound of corn per individual. For every one hundred rations they were to receive four pounds of coffee, eight pounds of sugar, and three pounds of beans. Charles J. Kappler, ed., Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, Volume II (1905; reprint, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1975), 998-1007; Thomas Biolsi, Organizing the Lakota: the Political Economy of the New Deal on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations (Tucson : University of Arizona Press, 1992), 6, 17. 10 Biolsi, 17.
then began to lay not so much in the amount of rations stipulated in the Fort Laramie Treaty but in the sometimes inability and sometimes outright refusal of local OIA agencies to distribute them. Indeed, the distribution and withholding of rations by the OIA became a mechanism that Tom Biolsi argued did, to a degree, control the movements, the activities, and the social organization of the Lakota. OIA agents and farmers (non-Indians who received land amongst the Lakota and shared in the responsibility of monitoring their activities for the OIA) often withheld rations from individuals that they considered troublemakers, roamers--people who moved about on the reservations, and later, dancers.11 Through the late-nineteenth century the Lakota became increasingly destitute; starvations due to the lack of rations, either through the withholding or the inability of the local agents to secure proper amounts of them, were partially responsible for the uprising that culminated in the Ghost Dance and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. The Lakota by necessity became dangerously dependent on an exceedingly undependable distribution of rations. On top of these difficult and often tragic circumstances, the OIA implemented the allotment and assimilation policy that irrevocably transformed all aspects of Native American people's lives, cultures, and economies. The results of the General Allotment Act and the citizenship agenda of the allotment and assimilation era were nothing less than catastrophic for native people, and the Lakota were no exception. Thousands of acres of reservation land were sold or leased to non-Indian farmers. Many of the Lakota were too young, too old, or too sick and disabled to cultivate the allotted farms as designed and parceled out by the OIA. The
OIA did not provide enough tools or supplies to farm.12 To make things worse, what land remained in the hands of native people, particularly the Lakota, was practically untenable for farming. As Biolsi observed, Western South Dakota, as everyone knew, could not sustain commercial dry farming for long: rainfall was unpredictable and often insufficient (even subsistence gardening was unreliable in this climate), soils were poor, and local markets or nearby shipping points were not always available. What is more, the Lakota could not compete with the better-capitalized white commercial farmers.13 The OIA officials felt that ranching and seasonal wage-labor could supplement income derived from individually-owned farms and further induce a suitable work ethic, but again, the OIA's plan to deliver "civilization" through such labor failed before it could even begin: ranching required more capital than the Lakota could raise, and the amount of land allotted to individuals was vastly insufficient for the enterprise. To make matters worse, jobs were in very short supply around the reservations.14 The assimilation policy designed to train Indians to become proper American citizens provided little aid for the Lakota who simply fought to survive. If anything, the allotment experience reinforced the necessity of both supportive extended kinship networks reflected in giveaway dances that pooled communal resources for those in need. The assimilation policy's emphasis on independence and private property mostly fell on deaf ears and for good reason. The Lakota were thus led into a misguided agricultural economy and philosophy that could not sustain them or foster self-sufficiency; rather, the allotment policy and practice established and reinforced an economy of dependence by necessity. This
11 Ibid., 12 Guy
18-19. Gibbon, The Sioux: The Dakota and Lakota Nations (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2003),
136. 13 Biolsi, 24.
dependence grew throughout the first three decades of the twentieth century as the OIA continued to foist an economic and cultural agenda on all of the reservations while intensifying its coercion and efforts to monitor and otherwise control every aspect of native people's lives. The OIA sought complete control over native reservation communities through an elaborate system of surveillance and utilized a variety of tactics to punish any individuals for breaking established rules and laws. These measures were justified because, as "wards" of the government, non-citizen Indians were legally subject to the paternalistic oversight of OIA agents and officials. The surveillance could also provide evidence as to whether or not particular American Indians had met the cultural requirements of citizenship: whether or not they were "prepared" to handle the rigors and responsibilities of American citizenship (and whether or not they could be considered "competent Indians" and thus legally "entitled" to sell their allotments to non-Indians). Reports from reservation superintendents of the office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs were often laden with excruciatingly detailed accounts of all goings on that the superintendents considered worthy of scrutiny.15 By the early twentieth century a matrix of surveillance blanketed reservation communities. The OIA monitored individuals and, when they deemed it necessary, coerced people who caused them trouble through withholding rations or arresting them via sanctioned Indian police forces. Because in the first years of
14 Ibid. 15 Tsianina
Lomawaima notes the myriad ways in which the bodies of Indian school children were very closely monitored. The schools offered the highest degree of control and surveillance over the native youth. Lomawaima's work has demonstrated the fact that even under these circumstances, students ably constructed a world of their own. See K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: the Story of the Chilocco Indian School (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994).
the twentieth century most native people were not U.S. citizens, their wardship status allowed OIA officials to essentially dictate what Native Americans were allowed and not allowed to do. On a "closed" reservation, a reservation that had not yet been broken up into individual allotments, superintendents maintained "full police power."16 The Bill of Rights, as the OIA was fully aware, did not apply to Indian non-citizens. Thus, in the early twentieth century, Native Americans of the northern plains reservations such as the Lakota, like nearly all Native Americans in the country, faced dire economic circumstances, an oppressive citizenship agenda designed to Americanize them by destroying their Indian identities, a system of surveillance and enforcement designed to quell any resistance to such an agenda, and no effective means in the legal system to defend themselves or articulate their politics. Any expression of racial, ethnic, or tribal difference was determined a threat to the OIA's univocal unilateral definition of proper American citizenship, and the fulfillment of the cultural requirements for such a citizenship was considered the key to solving the economic problems of Native Americans that the very policies of allotment and assimilation had exacerbated if not entirely created.
TAKING THE STAGE: RETURNED STUDENTS, HONORED SOLDIERS, AND FORBIDDEN CHARITIES: THE POLITICS OF DANCE IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS
Although the OIA officials went to great lengths to control the economic and cultural practices of American Indians, native people disillusioned with or disgusted by
Relative to the Dance Situation at Red Lake, 1916, File 95989-16-063, Red Lake, CCF. 42
the directives of the allotment and assimilation policies challenged them through with a series of inventive acts of revitalization and resistance. Challenging the system of allotment and assimilation itself was nearly impossible and essentially unpractical because native people by the late nineteenth century had few options for feeding themselves or generating income other than through the resources that the OIA controlled. The Lakota, Biolsi noted, had become dependent upon `foreign ` administrators--the colonizers--for the reproduction of their physical bodies, their families and communities, and the social and cultural matrix of those families and communities...The Lakota endured the bureaucratic penetration of their everyday lives by the OIA [through the administrative technologies of surveillance and control] because the OIA made their everyday lives possible.17 Yet many native people did effectively challenge the economic and cultural mandates of the allotment and assimilation policy directed to culminate in a proper stewardship of their eventual status as citizens. This challenge perhaps came most effectively through a most-unexpected medium: musical performance. Many Lakota and other native people provided and/or redistributed food and other economic resources as well as redirected the course of assimilative policies through the arena of dance. Although most dances that originated within native communities were banned or very heavily discouraged after the massacre at Wounded Knee, native societies and communities throughout the country had maintained at least a semblance of their longheld performative traditions during the late nineteenth century. And as more and more American Indians began reviving older dances or creating new ones, such dances grew to engage the full attention of the OIA on reservations throughout the country. The OIA
typically (and often rightly) recognized native dance on the reservations as nothing less than a direct attack, on multiple levels, upon their citizenship agenda of allotment and assimilation. OIA agents and missionaries felt threatened by the polyphonic array of meanings and gestures contained in the act of musical performance. What bothered OIA officials most about what they considered "Indian" dances was that the organization, rules, and execution of the dances lay beyond their ability to administer or control every possible facet of life on the reservations. Performances became startlingly politicized by native participants (as well as native people who derided the dances), government personnel, local communities and the national press. These performances, no matter to what degree they were monitored, forbidden or disbanded by the OIA, engaged and contributed to an atmosphere of profound change both on reservations and within the nation. Dance in fact operated as a catalyst for change on the reservations of the Northern Plains. Faced with policies of assimilation on all fronts, Native Americans used dance to reincorporate boarding school students into their reservation communities, and to properly honor and recognize their soldiers and veterans--warriors--of World War I. Native dancing became exceedingly popular on reservations in the early 1900s ironically as a direct result of the increased implementation of assimilative boarding schools and the recruitment of young men into the armed forces. As a result, the meanings of the dance transformed as well, to reflect an expanded incorporation of shifting cultural, social, and economic influences. Dance became an arena of cultural brokerage that fostered community understanding, meaning, and healing needed as a result of the dire social and 44
economic toll of the citizenship agenda.
A medium of resistance, adaptation, and
incorporation, dance was imbued with political resonance and meaning that sparked a series of culture wars on reservations throughout the country. The tools of assimilation--boarding schools, the legal status of citizenship, service in the armed forces--served as tools of Indianization, of Lakota revitalization and celebration.
DANCE AND EDUCATION
Dances never completely disappeared in the northern plains in the 1890s and early 1900s despite the fervent efforts of many OIA officials and missionaries to suppress them or punish their advocates and participants. Communities attempted to hold dances in secret, while some OIA agents even granted permission for elder members of the Lakota bands to hold secular social dances amongst themselves on occasion.18 Often the older men would harass their superintendent continually until he could take it no longer and agreed, typically only under several conditions such as their promise to exclude men and women under the age of forty from attending. This did not necessarily contradict the philosophical underpinnings of the citizenship agenda because older "traditional" or "blanket" Indians, as they were called, were in many ways ignored by the tenets and the enforcers of the assimilation policy, considered beyond redemption by superintendents, missionaries, and reformers alike.
On the other hand, the younger generations of native people were seen as the last hope for "civilizing" American Indian communities. Indian children were placed in offreservation federal Indian boarding schools with the idea that they should shed all cultural attributes of their Indian identities and allegiances to their tribal affiliations and embrace values of a white, Victorian, middle-class Americanness. But the separation of the children from their relatives, often from the time they were five or six until they were eighteen (with some holiday and summer vacations in between), bore many unexpected results. While they had gained certain tools such as literacy and a command of the English language, students returning from the schools often had a lesser education in their people's history or in their personal community and/or familial obligations. This was expected by the OIA and was the point of their off-reservation education. Yet OIA officials had not considered the possibility that the students, after receiving an education in proper American citizenship, would desire to remain Lakota citizens. For this reason more and more "returned students," as they were called, began to use dancing as a means to reincorporate themselves within their families and communities. Dancing became a method for the students, fresh from the halls of schools designed to Americanize them, to Indianize themselves and gain the respect and the acceptance of their reservation community. Thus the off-reservation boarding schools in effect spurred the onreservation-dancing renaissance of the early twentieth century.
Amiotte, "The Lakota Sun Dance: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives," in Raymond J. Demallie and Douglas R. Parks, ed., Sioux Indian Religion: Tradition and Innovation (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), 75-89: 75.
The fact that the renaissance was attracting, and in many cases led, by younger American Indians, particularly troubled OIA officials and missionaries. Harmon Marble, superintendent of the Crow Creek Indian Agency of South Dakota, wrote, ...these dances have not proven a serious problem in the past. However, I note a growing tendency of the younger people...to participate in the dances....I have endeavored to place upon the older people, sponsors of the dance, the responsibility for excluding these young persons. However, it does not appear this plan will work out satisfactorily as the old people are timid about enforcing such rules.19 Arthur Pratt, the stockman in charge of the Porcupine district at Standing Rock, noted that Lakota parents began to bring their children, home on vacation from the boarding schools, to attend dances. At the dances they learned "the ways of this old custom and all that goes along with it. I notice on this reservation at one time during a big celebration a bunch of boys from 10 to 12 years old sitting around an old can and singing Indian songs to a perfection, this happen [sic] just outside of one of the feast tents while the adults were singing inside the tent."20 The OIA officials believed their participation in native dancing would undermine the inculcation of an acceptable Indian citizenry within the schools. The participation of returned students more than anything else caused the OIA to begin a series of new strategies to eliminate native dances from the vocabulary of the youth.
P. Marble, Superintendent of the Crow Creek Indian Agency, to Burke, March 2, 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service, CCF. 20 Arthur Pratt to E.D. Mossman, October 16, 1922, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. He continued, "I am only citing this to show that the young children of the reservation are receiving training in this savage doings which are directly opposite to what the government is doing for them and proposes to do along the civilized ways."
Faced with local superintendents and missionaries who fought vigorously to dismantle any cultural practice emblematic of Lakota identity, residents of many reservations developed strategies to maintain dances and teach them to their younger community members. Although the Sun dance, War dance, Scalp dance, Horse dance, Kiss dance, Mothers of the Brave Sons dance, and the Ghost dance had been forcefully suppressed since the early 1880s, the Lakota in the Hunkpati camp and the Lower Yaktonai camp in North Dakota had convinced their local agents to periodically allow a dance that had recently swept the Lakota reservations called peji wacipi or the Grass dance.21 For several years the dance occurred biweekly, under the stipulation that "no returned students or pupils of the reservation schools" could participate. The local agents agreed to the request mainly because of the Lower Yaktonai dancers' "loyalty to the Government and general good behavior, with the belief that the dance would gradually
dance by the late nineteenth century was very closely related to the Omaha wacipi or Omaha dance. According to one scholar, the grass dance was originally, and for many communities still remains, a "war dance." The dance is believed to have originated among the "Inloshka and Hethuska societies of the Kansa (Kaw), Omaha, and Ponca, and in the Iruska of the Pawnee." The dance spread in the nineteenth century to reservations across the Northern and Southern plains. Like most dances, the meanings of the dance for various groups who practice it have changed and are continually redefined. Among the Ponca, Pawnee, Omaha, and Osage, for example, the dance began to resonate with "revitalization features similar to the Ghost Dance" around the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. See Thomas W. Kavanagh, "Southern Plains Dance: Tradition and Dynamism," in Charlotte Heth, ed., Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions (Washington, DC: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, with Starwood Publishing, Inc., 1992), 105-123: 109-111. According to Severt Young Bear, the grass dancers "would go out and pick some tall grass, tie it together, and put it on their backs at the waist. Some even braided the grass and wore it like a sash across the chest. They have their own set of songs and their dancers do a lot of fancy footwork. They dance backwards, cross their legs, and go in circles. By comparison, the Omaha and tokala dancers were straight dancers. They might go down low, but not like these grass dance guys, who were a little bit fancier and somehow identified with grass. Some say it represents scalps and others say it symbolizes generosity. Originally, Omaha dance and grass dance were two different dance customs. Later on, I think in the 1880s and 1890s, they came together in their songs and their costuming." Severt Young Bear and R. D. Theisz, Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of Seeing (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), 55-56.
lose its attractiveness and entirely disappear with the passing of the older Indians."22 The older members of the community organized and held the dances, alleviating the threat that the practice would continue much longer or would grow. However, from 1902 to 1922 James McLaughlin observed at the Standing Rock agency a steady increase in dance participation until it had begun to include "nearly every male adult of the reservation."23 American Indian youth began publicly dancing en masse on several reservations. A non-Indian stockman, perhaps voyeuristically observing dances in the porcupine district of Standing Rock stated in 1922 that "the young Indians or the citizens now practically dominate the dances and the old people are taking [it] somewhat easy and [seem] to be on the background."24 Bishop Burleson additionally noted amongst the Lakota that the revival of the dances in the early twentieth century was not a continuation of old customs or traditions, but rather a particularly new creation fostered by the native youth: "It is not survival of an old ceremony or custom. My own observation is that the majority of the dancers are not over thirty and in some cases are under sixteen. The old people are on the outside and the young people are in there dancing."25 Similarly, on the Blackfoot reservation in Montana the younger Indians had, by the early 1920s, created a
on Reports of Superintendents of Sioux Reservations in North Dakota and South Dakota Relative to Dancing Among the Indians of their Respective Reservations," James McLaughlin, Inspector, Office of Indian Affairs to Burke, February 27 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service, CCF. 23 Ibid. McLaughlin, the Standing Rock agent during the manifestation of the Ghost Dance movement in the Dakotas, was responsible for arranging the arrest of Sitting Bull that resulted in Sitting Bull's murder. Mooney, 216. 24 Arthur Pratt to E.D. Mossman, October 16, 1922, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF.
new dance, according to superintendent Ziebach, called the Owl dance. Ziebach was particularly disturbed by the fact that the younger Indians danced; he even stated that some of the "old Indians" concurred and said that they "don't like this new dance."26 Other young Lakota, including some boarding school students, were getting paid by local white fair organizers off of the reservation to dance, to resist the acculturation policy of the government. The students baffled Ziebach and the spectators at their expense, dressing "in gundy sacks and instead of dancing the old dance they would stand on their head and some would lay down, and they would do all kinds of stunts."27 As did McLaughlin, he felt that as long as "dancing could be restricted to the old people," then no real danger could come from allowing the dances to continue.28 Noting that "dancing is on the increase" at the Sisseton reservation, superintendent Whillihan witnessed "one small boy some three or four years of age keeping step just as nicely as the elder
of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 15, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 26 The Owl Dance, as it is called and performed today by tribes of the Northern plains, is also known as the "two-step" and is performed by male and female couples holding hands. Generally dances up to and during that time period did not involve men and women touching each other, and were often segregated by sex, which may have prompted some of the older Indians to react against it. Such a form was perhaps characterized by the older members of the community as dangerous on account of the close interaction between the sexes. Kavanagh, 106; Lynn F. Huenemann, "Northern Plains Dance," in Charlotte Heth, ed., Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions (Washington, DC: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, with Starwood Publishing, Inc., 1992), 125-147, 134. 27 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 46, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. This dance may have been a form of the "Omaha" dance held also on the Pine Ridge reservation in which men performed, according to one superintendent, "stunts," while the "women dancers indulge[d] in a rather graceful, up and down motion." Superintendent of the Pine Ridge Indian Agency to Burke, April 5, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 28 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 46, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
Indians."29 Although the grass dances before 1901 at the Standing Rock reservation were held mostly by the older Indians, since that time the younger Indians had taken up the dance and gave superintendent Mossman the most "trouble."30 The participation of young people in the dances rejuvenated the Lakota reservation communities with a sense of cultural pride, a shared understanding that the celebration of their Indian identity was not only a viable but sometimes even an economically fruitful concept in twentieth-century American life. Students began to develop a modernized concept of Indian identity, a pan-Indian identity that incorporated increased modes of communication as well as national and global events such as World War I into their cultural and performative vocabulary. The schools, in fact, helped in unexpected ways to prepare the students survive the modern reservation conditions of limited economic opportunities in wage labor and poorly designed and implemented agricultural policies; but the students were learning how to survive on their own terms. The revival of older native dances and the creation of new ones by larger and larger groups of young Indians and students threatened the sense of control that federal officials had tried to maintain over their local native populations. Dance weakened this control in several ways. For one, Indians could use the dances to further their own economic interests and thus weaken their dependence and the control of the local agents and the federal government while compromising nothing. Superintendent Whillihan
29 Ibid, 30 Ibid,
50. 51. Similarly, the Indian and reverend Dallas Shaw argued, "The younger generation--that is what you want to look after. We must keep the younger generation away [from the dances] for the betterment of their future, and so the betterment of the future Indians. The Indians dance is one of the old ways. It is heathenish from the beginning." Ibid, 30.
complained that at an off-reservation fair at Forman, North Dakota, some of the Lakota had created a ring and charged twenty-five cents admission for whites to witness the dance, even sending the state government a tax for running the show.31 Native people essentially got paid to "play Indian" before non-Indian audiences. As Phil Deloria has argued, at this time in popular culture many people began to desire the "authenticity" of American Indians in response to increasing anxieties over the modern world.32 "Indianness" became more lucrative for native musicians and dancers willing to perform for non-Indians than virtually any OIA policy or program of assimilation that they could adopt. This proposition challenged the underlying assumption of the assimilation policies that asserted that the performance of distinctly Indian cultural traditions was antithetical to full participation in the market economy of American society. Rather than recognize or admit the irony that some Lakota found a semblance of economic security in the celebration of their traditions through music and dance rather than by taking up individual homesteads and breaking tribal ties, the agents saw a dangerous cultural activity that threatened their work and their control over the Lakota. The participation of the students also demonstrated for the OIA officials and the missionaries who lived on or near the reservations the very failure of the "civilization" program in assimilating the Indians. The program of coercive education implemented in the schools--to break tribal and communal ties, eradicate native religious beliefs and languages, to foster Christianity, individualism, and economic independence through
50. J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).
instruction in the arts of industry and thrift--was having unexpected results. The native missionary Dallas Shaw spoke of the students and their participation in the dances: A good many of my brothers and friends have been to school. I teach them that they must not go back to the blanket but on the Rosebud Reservation all the returned Carlyle students have returned to blankets. They are the cause of a great deal of this trouble...[I went to a dance at Black Pike] and saw a number of men who had on war bonets [sic] and there was one young man there dressed just like the old men and this man came near and I seen that this young man had a mustache on--it looked so funny. And I was ashamed of myself. I felt so ashamed of myself. He talked better English than I do and I was ashamed. The outward look of him was more like a white man. He spoke the English language and yet he was all painted up. And so there is a great problem.33 If the students spent most of the year at school, away from the customs of their families and communities, only to return fully embracing some of the older and threatening customs to the assimilation policy such as the dances, what good were the schools doing? Shaw understood the student he witnessed dancing as full of contradictions, but in fact the student was representative of many of the thousands of students educated in the boarding schools, students who learned to read and write English as well as they could dance. The schools, in fact, often filled with native students from reservations all across the country, inadvertently served as a "hotbed" of new and foreign native customs, songs, dances, and traditions that the students could adapt and bring back to their reservations. Of course, during this period students faced severe punishment for expressing such customs at school, but the students learned strategies early on to evade or occasionally
of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, pp. 29-30, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
close the watchful eyes of boarding school matrons.34 These students felt that the failure to perform dances would further break their community ties while they were away from their homes and families for such extended periods of time. For them, the real threat of the dances lay in not executing them.
THE ECONOMY OF THE DANCE
While clear indications of success continued to elude OIA officials in their quest to Americanize and de-Indianize the youth in boarding schools, the vision of the utter economic and agricultural fiasco of allotment surrounded them in the fields and prairies of the Lakota reservations. By the 1910s, most OIA officials maintained the view that the only hope economically for Indians lay in training them, especially the young men, in low-wage labor and agricultural skills.35 This was due in part to the failures of the allotment and assimilation policy to produce self-sufficient farmers or even harvestable crops, and usually blamed on the Indians' lack of abilities rather than on the real obstacles that doomed the agrarian policy from the start. Generally, as Janet McDonnell has argued, Native Americans "lacked the capital and credit that they needed to purchase seeds, equipment, and stock, [and]....[m]ost of the reservations were located in arid
resistance within the boarding schools see Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light; Brenda Child, "Runaway Boys, Resistant Girls: Rebellion at Flandreau and Haskell, 1900-1940," Journal of American Indian Education, (1996): 49-54. 35 Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light; Frederick E. Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
regions with marginal agricultural potential."36 In 1908 of group of Sioux from the Oak Creek district of Standing Rock formed a singing association for the ostensible purpose of raising money to buy a threshing machine or a separator "for the use of this association and for others." Apparently the local agency did not have these machines available; because the local agent forbid the association from holding the song meetings, Ignatius White Cloud, a member of the association, directly petitioned the commissioner of Indian Affairs to gain permission to sing. The acting commissioner contacted the Standing Rock agent, who informed the commissioner that he believed the association was not really
36 Janet A. McDonnell, The Dispossession of the American Indian, 1887-1934 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 123. Conditions were so bad on the Rosebud reservation that in 1913 a frail Lakota named Hollow Horn Bear traveled to Washington D.C. to speak to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Assistant Commissioner Abbott instead met with Horn Bear; a translator and stenographer were also in attendance. The exchange is particularly illuminating in terms of Horn Bear's specific requests for help and his understanding of the problems at hand: HHB: ...We would like to farm where there is any place, but it is pretty hard to get the seeds and I would like to talk about that. What I want to beg of you is to give us our money or property to get seed before the first of April, during March, so we would be prepared to put in our crops. Mr. Abbot: Some of the Indians have money to get seeds and some have seeds now. HHB: Some of them have got plenty of money, but the money is tied up and what can we do. Some of us didn't sell any heirship lands and don't have any money. We would like to get seeds, but how are we going to get them? Back east here where you buy your seed, you can buy it cheap and get a whole lot of seed with a little money. You go farther West and everything is high, groceries, dry goods, or vegetables, everything is high, you pay double the prices you do here. Of course putting in crops might do some of us good if we raised a good crop, that is the reason you have got charge of our money. I want you to help us and put out some money so we can get our seeds from that. Mr. Abbott: I will look into that question. I am going to help you in every way I can to use what money you have to buy seeds because I realize that is the most important thing. HHB: I suppose you leave this in charge of the Superintendent. Mr. Abbott: yes. HHB: I always ask my superintendent to request the Indian Office here to do some sort of thing for my benefit, yet the Indian Office always turn me down--says I ask too much. We merely ask the Superintendent for what we need, but he always turns down some of them and that is something I don't think is right. Horn Bear and Abbott were both very diplomatic in voicing their concerns and appreciation for one another, but the meeting did not alter Abbott's impression that the Lakota were typically to blame for the continued failures of the allotment policy. Conversation in the Commissioner's Office Between Hollow Horn Bear and Acting Commissioner Abbott, Mr. Estes--Interpreting, March 6, 1913, pp. 1-4, File 2946613-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF.
raising funds for these machines, but instead was raising money for more and more song meetings and feasts that subsequently interfered with their tending of crops. Consequently the agent took their drum away from them. Regardless of the intentions of the association, this correspondence provides an early example in the way dance and music had become enmeshed within federal Indian policy as well as within strategies to perpetuate or establish traditions of native identity in the wake of the cultural and economic transformations that modernity and policies of allotment and assimilation brought to Indian country.37 Even by the nineteen twenties the OIA appeared unable or unwilling to recognize the heart of the problems, to increase the availability of seeds, tools, arable lands or other means of improving reservation conditions, or to consider an alternative trajectory for federal Indian policy. In 1922 Bishop Burleson reiterated the view of blaming the Indians for the failures of allotment: The welfare of the Indians, just as the welfare of the white man, depends upon their effort and their application, and we must always keep before them the things that they have in life, and it is bound up with agriculture. There isn't anything else you can put before them. They have to learn to live on the land and by the land...What should we be training him to do? It must be agriculture. In the general life they are handicapped. . I think an Indian girl in commercial life is in great danger. I don't know why it is that a white man considers an Indian girl fair game. It is a shame and a disgrace, but it is true.38 Burleson and the other missionaries and government officials felt that neither the Indian boys nor girls were fit for anything other than a life of agriculture, because of their
RG 75, Standing Rock Agency, CCF, file 71473-08-751. of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, pp. 15-16, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
limited abilities and the threat, for Indian women and perhaps white men, of miscegenation, rape, or prostitution. In the nineteen teens and twenties missionaries and OIA agents and farmers began to cast the blame for the dire reservation conditions created by their ineffective agricultural policy on the nemesis of dance. This tactic of placing the blame on the Indians for the failures of their policy also conveniently served to provide another reason to restrict dancing. They increasingly complained that dances would keep the Indians from tending their fields. Superintendent Ziebach of the Crow Creek agency saw, like the other officials, a causal relationship between the dances and the unsuccessful crops on the reservations: "The main trouble is that the dances come more often during the summer months and the Indians neglect their crops to attend them. We must get the Indians to put in a good crop, and raise a good garden and to have some horses and pigs and chickens."39 Superintendent Mossman of the Standing Rock Agency agreed with this relationship between the poor conditions on the reservation and the dances: "All the trouble I found [during a four day trip in the Porcupine District], lack of hay, idleness, dissatisfaction, poverty, lack of interest in our Farm Bureau and Community Work, were apparently directly the result of the heathen dance and its influence."40 The agents and
39 Ibid. 40 E.S.
p. 47. Mossman, Superintendent of the Standing Rock Agency to Burke, February 10, 1922, File 104291922-063, General Service File, CCF.
missionaries fixated on the dances as a convenient means of blaming all of the failures of their own economic policies on the Indians and their cultural practices.41 Hollow Horn Bear was a renowned Lakota warrior from during the 1870s who fought against the cavalry; he became a well-traveled "Native representative" on the East coast in his later years and had many contacts amongst Washington officials.42 Living at
however, did not stop Commissioner Burke in 1923 and 1924 from allowing an organizer of the White River Frontier Day, C.E. Kell, to hire dancers from the Rosebud reservation to participate in the annual Frontier Days fair established specifically to attract non-Indians into the area to purchase allotted parcels of the scant remaining Lakota lands. Kell wrote to the Rosebud superintendent James McGregor, "I believe you understand the nature of the celebration and its purpose...We have the show each year purely for advertising purposes. While some men in town make money out of it, by selling foodstuffs, drinks etc., the Association is not organized [sic] for profit, but for the purpose of advertising the country; to get people to come here and see the country. If we derive no benefit from that source, then the show is of no benefit. We do not exploit the Indians and use them to attract the crowds for money making purposes, but merely to add to the entertainment, and if the show is beneficial to any person, it is beneficial to them because they are the heavy land owners in this country." C.E. Kell to James H. McGregor, July 23, 1923, File 64023-23063, Rosebud Agency, CCF. Upon a renewed appeal, in 1924, McGregor requested from OIA Commissioner Burke that "such Indians as had their crops properly cultivated and their farm work up to date, be given permission to attend and that such attendance would not prejudice the office against them, but that any Indians attending who have not properly cultivated their grain and crops, would be placed on the black list and their funds held up." Burke agreed and wrote, "I think you have probably taken a view of the situation most practical and in the real interest of the Indians, that is to make their participation contingent upon having their farm work well in hand and up to date. Even then their absence would probably cover a week and would be followed by considerable neglect of home conditions." James H. McGregor to Charles H. Burke, July 31, 1924, File 59136-24-062, Rosebud Agency, CCF; Charles H. Burke to James H. McGregor, August 8, 1924, Ibid. 42 Hollow Horn Bear led an intriguing life. According to the Dakota Nakota Lakota Human Rights Advocacy Organization, "Hollow Horn Bear fought with the leading chiefs of the Plains against subjugation until the 1870s; after that, he favored peace with the whites and became something of a celebrity along the East Coast. In his later years, Hollow Horn Bear attended several official functions as a Native representative, including two inaugural parades. His likeness appeared on a fourteen-cent stamp as well as on a five-dollar bill. Born in Sheridan Country, Nebraska, a son of Chief Iron Shell, Hollow Horn Bear earned his early fame as a warrior, he raided the Pawnees at first then aided other Sioux leaders in harassing forts along the Bozeman Trail, between 1866 and 1868, when the Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed. During this time, he gained fame as the chief who defeated Lieutenant William Fetterman. Hollow Horn Bear was appointed as head of Indian police at the Rosebud Agency, South Dakota; in this role, he arrested Crow Dog for the murder of Spotted Tail. Hollow Horn Bear also became involved in treaty negotiations because of his oratorical abilities. In 1905, Hollow Horn Bear was invited to take part in the inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1913, he led a group of Indians to the presidential inauguration parade for Woodrow Wilson." During that trip he visited Assistant Commissioner Abbott with regard to several matters, including the dance ban at Rosebud. While in Washington he caught pneumonia and died. http://www.dlncoalition.org/dln_nation/chief_hollow_horn_bear.htm. Hollow Horn Bear also participated in Indian exhibitions such as Cummin's Indian Congress. While performing at the
Rosebud, he was well aware that the OIA blamed Indians for the economic disaster of allotment and that the OIA justified dance restrictions for this reason. Though very frail, Horn Bear traveled to Washington D.C. in 1913 and met with Assistant Commissioner Abbott to call these assumptions, along with several others, into question: HHB: Some are educated people; they have finished their schooling; they are married and have farms and are living on farms. Like in my tribe they have the social dances at certain places but they keep these young people away from them, they won't allow them to look in there or go near. Back there they have a dance for social gathering and talk it over like spring plowing, how to get together to help each other, plowing, and putting in seeds and such as that. We also take up a collection at such socials. That collection is to support a round up fee--it is called the round up fund--we collect it to buy goods and such as that. We collect it at social dances. We have such a ruling there that if those educated people go into those socials to take them out and make them suffer their punishment-either stop the dancing altogether when they go into a dance they take them out and punish them. ... Abbott: The Commissioner does tell all the superintendents not to permit dancing so frequently that it interferes with their industry or causes them to waste their time and their money but urges them to raise crops and to hold fairs and then have their socials in connection with that. He urges them not to have these people get together in dances and go away from their work and neglect their live stock [sic] and their farming. HHB: What I want is this; I want those young people there. They want the enjoyment. I do not think it is right to keep them away from such pleasures. We know when we were young. Those young people like this pleasure the same as we did. What we are accused is wasting time in working time. We are men; we know when anything is against us, when anything is wrong for us we know it. Those people think they know more than we do. We never try to dance but when it is out of working time, as in the winter time. That is the time we have pleasure, the same as you white people do. We don't spend time as they thought we did. We have got to put in our time the same as white men do. Last fall we shipped our cattle to the market and got money for them and that was encouragement to us. Now we don't like to gather all the old people up. We can't do anything with
1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, he wrote the OIA with regard to placing his children in an Indian school. A.C. Tormier, Acting Commissioner, Office of Indian Affairs, to S.M. McCowan, Superintendent of the Indian Exhibit, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, August 4, 1904, Chilocco Papers, National Archives, Fort Worth Regional Branch.
the old people. The young people have got to do the work and we have got to be with them, just the same as white people. I want you to fix this up for our children. Abbott: They want the young people at the dances? Estes (the interpreter, explaining): Yes. The old people have the dances and the young people cannot even look in there."43 Horn Bear was very diplomatic to Abbott and couched his terms in apologies and soft tones. Yet he was very direct in his requests to Abbott and Abbott promised that he would write a letter to Horn Bear with his answer. Unfortunately Horn Bear caught pneumonia in Washington soon after this meeting and died before he received the letter, perhaps on his return journey, but he would have found Abbott's response disheartening at best: As to allowing the young people and returned students to attend the dances, you are advised that, owing to the fact that oftentimes the older Indians indulge in the old-time customs, and also fail to carefully guard the young people from falling into evil and immoral practices as a result of their associations at the dances, it has been considered wisest to keep them away, in order that the good that has been done at school and by the teachings of those who have the interests of the young people at heart, may not be overcome. The Government is very anxious to bring the Indians up to a high state of civilization, and the greatest opportunity for accomplishing this lies in the young people. They must be encouraged to drop the old customs.44 Despite facing a direct, well-intentioned, well-reasoned argument that illuminated the misguided principles of the dance restrictions and its illogical connection to farm work, OIA officials continually refused to acknowledge their own policy failures.
in the Commissioner's Office Between Hollow Horn Bear and Acting Commissioner Abbott, Mr. Estes--Interpreting," March 6, 1913, pp. 7-10, File 29466-13-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF.
CULTURAL CITIZENSHIP AND THE POLITICS OF PATRIOTISM, WORLD WAR I, AND DANCE
When Abbott invoked the "high state of civilization" in his letter to Hollow Horn Bear he spoke in the language of cultural citizenship, a citizenship he desired for American Indians that would come only through their abandonment of "evil and immoral practices" in favor of a set of decidedly Anglo-American cultural sensibilities. These sensibilities included a singular political allegiance, not to tribes or Lakota bands and customs, but to the United States. But the language of cultural citizenship, much to the consternation of many an OIA agent, was not univocal and could not be contained or controlled. Dancers young and old began to appropriate the monikers of what the OIA would consider `proper' Americanism--national holidays and service in the armed forces--to legitimate their own dance in terms acceptable to the OIA. In fact, they used these tenets of the OIA citizenship agenda to enhance and encourage their own cultural agenda, whether or not it coincided with that of the OIA. Indeed, on the Lakota reservations by the end of World War I it was unclear just who was on which `side' and who had succeeded and failed in controlling the language of cultural citizenship. Because native students and their parents were quite cognizant of the desire of OIA officials to inculcate a spirit of Americanism and patriotism within reservation communities, they effectively used these tropes for the express purpose of establishing and maintaining traditions of native song and dance. Throughout the country organizers
Abbott, Acting Commissioner, to Hollow Horn Bear, March 7, 1913, File 29466-13-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF.
of native dances made requests to their local superintendents for permission to hold particularly important and well-attended dances on American holidays. Held ostensibly to celebrate the American holidays, this strategy improved the chances that they would get approval and even support. Dances were held on reservations all over the country on the 4th of July, before or after Lent, on Christmas, and on New Year's.45 By requesting permission to hold dances during these holidays, Indians ably convinced the agents to grant the dances on behalf of their patriotism, their apparent desire for integration into American society, and because such requests represented the agent's own success in assimilating "his" Indians. In this manner such dances became legitimate in the minds of the agents because of their supposed nationalistic or Christian nature. The tactics of celebrating tribal or Indian identities under the guise of Americanness spread throughout the Northern and Southern plains. By the early 1920s at the Tongue River agency in Montana, the Cheyenne held small dances on National Indian Day, but the largest dance, usually lasting three or four days, was held on the 4th of July, when half of the Cheyenne would celebrate at Busby, and the other half would travel to Miles City to dance at a fair organized by whites.46 In 1922 a group of Lakota on the Rosebud reservation met with superintendent McGregor and the local missionaries and asked permission to hold dances not only on the last Friday of each month but also on several National holidays including Washington's Birthday, Indian Day and Armistice
of the Pine Ridge Agency to Burke, April 5, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF; James B. Kitch to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 6, 1919, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 46 Superintendent of the Tongue River Agency to Burke, April 6, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
Day.47 Similarly, in 1923 a delegation from the Simnasho district of the Warm Springs reservation in Oregon petitioned their superintendent to hold dances on Christmas, the 4th of July, and New Year's. They planned to hold another dance on April 15th called the "Root Feast," which they told the superintendent was "of the same nature as the Thanksgiving Day among the white people."48 Indians used the patriotic underpinnings of holidays like the 4th of July or days of national pride like Thanksgiving to convince the agents that their cause for dancing was justified. Instilling patriotism in the hearts and minds of the Indians, particularly the boarding school students, had been a goal of federal Indian education from the beginning.49 A dance understood by the agents as a celebration of the founding of the Republic was much less of a threat to the control of the agents and the "civilizing process" of the assimilation campaign; on the surface such celebrations would appear to laud the government's goals of "civilization." Severt Young Bear wrote that the Lakota in the Porcupine district petitioned for dances on "New
H. McGregor to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 20, 1923, File 7141-23-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF. Commissioner Burke replied that dances on New Years and Washington's Birthday should not be held because "these days come in the cold season when camping is objectionable" which also happened to be the season when no work was needed in the fields. He further remarked that, "We cannot consistently deny the Indians appropriate exercises of some kind of National holidays, but Indian Day and Armistice Day are not legally established holidays. The latter comes so near Thanksgiving Day that its celebration should hardly be introduced, and the former, initiated by the Society of American Indians, memorializes those nobler virtues and traditions of the Indian race which are worthy of historic respect and invites to more useful and efficient living rather than to a perpetuation of old-time dances." Charles H. Burke to James H. McGregor, February 2, 1923, File 7141-23-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF. 48 Superintendent C.W. Rastall to Burke, April 13, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. Rastall felt there was no real reason not to allow the dances as long they "in nowise be carried to such an extent as to prove detrimental to the crops or stock of the people--also that every precaution must be taken to safe-guard the health of those attending." 49 In 1889, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J. Morgan issued "Instructions to Indian Agents in Regard to Inculcation of Patriotism in Indian Schools." The instructions included teaching the students to raise and lower the American flag, to sing patriotic songs publicly, and to honor properly national holidays such as "Washington's Birthday, Decoration Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas." Francis
Year's, and Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, Memorial Day, Flag Day, July Fourth and Veterans Day."50 Young Bear continued, I guess the BIA agents thought those weren't dangerous occasions, so we got to dance. We also were allowed to dance at fairs in late summer or early fall because there would be displays of vegetables, rodeos, and other signs that we were becoming good modern citizens instead of sticking to all that old ceremonial and warrior stuff. But we still got to dance.51 These particular tactics of Native Americans seeking any means necessary to loosen the reigns of reservation surveillance and control from OIA agents--indeed the success of these tactics--called the very ownership of concepts like patriotism and Americanness into question. Furthermore, they quite possibly indicated that the cultural agenda of the dancers was gaining more headway than that of the OIA. Of course, many agents believed that the 4th of July was more of an excuse than a reason to dance. Dean Ashley, a missionary of the Cheyenne River reservation, reported that from 1916 on the 4th of July dances had grown, and were led by Cheyenne for reasons other than the celebration of the United States: The 4th of July celebration in the Indian Country and the 4th of July celebration by the whites are two totally different things. It is proper and eminently fitting that our Indians should be called together and impressed with the ideals of our government, but I am going to ask how many of you present here have ever heard the ideals of our government set forth at a 4th of July celebration? Have heard the principles for which our government was founded? The Indians celebrate the 4th of July with a regular Indian Pow wow with all its frills and fixings that go with it.52
Paul Prucha, ed., Documents of United States Indian Policy, 2d ed., rev. and enl., (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), 180-181. 50 Young Bear and Thiesz, 55. 51 Ibid. 52 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 11, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
Ashley's abhorrence of the dances, even when held on a national holiday, was shared by many of his peers. When superintendent Mossman came to Standing Rock in 1921 he arrived at the beginning of July, where, according to him, "Hell and damnation were let loose...The celebration amounted to just this much: seven great big Indian blowouts."53 Although many local superintendents did not originally feel threatened by the 4th of July dances, the Indians used the celebration of the 4th as a vehicle to serve their own cultural agenda.54 One white visitor to a dance at Little Eagle on the Grand River in 1920 was horrified at the sight of a dancer "dressed in imitation of the American flag!"55 A celebration conducted under the rubric of nationalism became threatening in the minds of these officials only when they realized that they could not contain the symbolism of the holiday that they wished the Indians to observe. This symbolic appropriation by the Indians alerted the agents to a further loss of control over Indian lives and another indication of the failures of assimilationist policies. However unpatriotic these dances may have seemed, the missionaries and federal officials could not deny the fact that an estimated seventeen thousand American Indians served in World War I, where "Indians volunteered and...inducted at a rate nearly twice
53 Ibid., 54 A
52. government Farmer for the Standing Rock agency wrote, "It seems every thing taking place on the reservation hinges on the Indian dance, the raising of funds for the Fair, July celebration, in fact every celebration or doings they have they must have an Indian dance which goes to show its only an excuse to have a dance." R.H. Shipman to E.D. Mossman, October 20, 1922, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 55 Mary Patterson Lord to John Barton Payne, Secretary of the Interior, October 5, 1920, File 109123-17063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF.
as high as the rest of the American population."56 The war provided the chance for many Indians to fight for the United States, perhaps to demonstrate their value and patriotism to the country. But more significantly, they fought to gain status within their own communities. Tom Holm argues that the military "Indianized" more than Americanized these veterans. He writes, Indian veterans have "given military service meaning within the context of their own tribal social structures, beliefs, and customs. What more than anything American Indians have done in regard to military service is syncretize it with their own systems."57 Commissioner of Indian Affairs Cato Sells (1913-21), who originally thought that Indian military service would demonstrate their preparedness for eventual U.S. citizenship, was discouraged when he heard that recently returned Indian veterans "had counted coup, taken part in victory dances, watched as their sisters, mothers, and wives performed Scalp Dances, and had been ritually cleansed of the taint of combat by medicine people."58 Holm argues that native participation in World War I prompted a rejuvenation of warrior societies and that these veterans received the honor and status granted warriors "one hundred years before....In short, he was a warrior and, whether clad in traditional dress or in olive drab, he had reaffirmed his tribal identity."59 The world war was a transformative event for the Indian soldiers and the reservation communities. The war heavily impacted the gatherings on the reservations,
Holm, Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls: Native American Veterans of the Vietnam War (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1996), 99; Thomas A. Britten, American Indians in World War I: At Home and at War (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997). 57 Holm, 101. Holm points out that a few tribes declared war on Germany independently of the United States. 58 quoted in Ibid., 99, 101. Here, Holm also states that "there can be little doubt that the veterans' separation pay or their pensions helped finance these rituals."
particularly the dances. The multiple layers of meaning that surrounded the Indians' desires to join the service continued to confuse OIA officials such as Cato Sells, who sought so desperately to assimilate the Indian into America that he continued to underestimate or ignore the cultural power that many of the native communities had in incorporating the "outside world" into their own. This same power of many native communities formed one of the largest impediments to the success of assimilationist federal Indian policy. As service in the armed forces contributed to the increase of native dances on reservations across the country, the returning, young native soldiers became both the subjects of and the participants in dances. Around the Pine Ridge agency, Indians held the Crow dance, "on the order of a victory dance, the words of the song being exultation over victory, real and supposed, over [their] late enemies in the World War." This was one of the most popular dances at Pine Ridge by 1923.60 Although the Sun dance had been strenuously suppressed on the reservations by government officials and missionaries, the Lakota held at least three Sun dances at Kyle between 1917-1919, the first two in dedication of the war, the last to the Allied victory.61 The veterans who danced the Grass dance at the Standing Rock Agency were "among the more enthusiastic participants of the dance, which ex-soldier element gives it increased prestige."62 Young
of the Pine Ridge Indian Agency to Burke, April 5, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 61 Holler, 136. 62 Memorandum on Reports of Superintendents of Sioux Reservations in North Dakota and South Dakota Relative to Dancing Among the Indians of their Respective Reservations, James McLaughlin, Inspector, Office of Indian Affairs to Burke, February 27 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
Indians around the Crow Creek agency in South Dakota, "led by the returned soldiers," were getting involved in more and more dances. During the war entire communities on reservations gathered together and held dances called `giveaways' to honor the local men who had enlisted and to raise money for the war effort. Superintendent Mossman, of the Standing Rock agency, stated that the Indians "gave a large amount of money to the Red Cross and other kindred causes but as a rule this money was raised at Indian Dances." He continued: Had it been given outright or raised in any other way the volume of patriotism would have been wonderfully diminished. The method of raising this money is as follows: The Indians are congregated in the dance hall, the women and children on one side, the men on the other. The master of ceremonies makes a speech in Indian in which he depicts the German army being destroyed by the valiant Indian soldiers. An old man rises and says, "I give ten cents in honor of my grandson." The grand son[sic] rises and goes to the old man and shakes his hand and probably puts the ten cent piece on the drum. The six or more men sitting around the drum then sing in a loud voice the merits of the donor, or as they express it "honor him." When the song is done every one[sic] dances chanting and making motions of killing Germans. By the time the entire crowd has worked itself into a frenzy of excitement, horses, cattle, machinery and all kinds of property are given away...That is the way the war funds were raised.63 Despite the fact that they were raising money for the war effort, because they did so through the medium of "giveaway" dances Mossman recommended to Commissioner Burke to forbid the Indians from raising funds for "fairs, [the] Red Cross, and any other proper purpose at heathen dances."64
Standing Rock Indian School Superintendent James Kitch stated that about 130 boys from this school alone served in the army during World War I. Britten, 65. 63 Mossman to Burke, February 10, 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 64 Ibid. According to Bishop Burleson, Red Cross officials encouraged many Lakota to raise money through such dances. Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the
The irony at best of the government precluding the raising of relief funds through dances was not lost on the native people. The Standing Rock Indian School superintendent James Kitch also heavily contested the giveaways. In 1919, a group of Standing Rock Sioux petitioned Commissioner of Indian Affairs Cato Sells to reprimand Kitch and the local missionaries for banning the giveaways: they wrote, "[t]he only time that we do give anything at dances is when there are donations to be made to the Red Cross, War Work Fund and Liberty Loans and we feel that it is our duty to do so."65 They felt the missionaries who complained about the giveaways would not have done so if they had given the dance proceeds to the churches and not the war effort and thus considered them "German sympathizers."66 The Standing Rock Sioux were particularly proud of their participation in World War I on both the home front and abroad. However, in order to carry out their service to the war effort and their honor to the local servicemen and veterans, they felt impeded by superintendent Kitch, a man who truly despised all forms of native dance. Kitch imposed a laundry list of bans, rules, and prohibitions regarding dances, and though he claimed to have reduced Indian dance on "his" reservation to a bare minimum, his correspondence indicates that he was constantly thwarted, if not outmaneuvered, by
Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 17, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. Harvey K. Meyer, superintendent of the Yankton Agency in South Dakota wrote Burke about "tap games" or "hand games" that Indians near his agency played in order to raise money. Considered as an "orgy" of gambling, the games were held at times to raise money as well for the Red Cross and for a local church. Harvey K Meyer, superintendent of the Yankton Agency, Wagner, South Dakota, to Burke, April 12, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 65 No Heart et al to Cato Sells, June 7, 1919, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 66 Ibid.
Lakota people determined to have their dance. Lakotas Thomas Frosted and John Brown of Standing Rock, feeling that Kitch was misrepresenting the significance of their dances in his anti-dance stance and in his correspondence to Washington, wrote a letter directly to the commissioner of Indian Affairs to detail the relationship between the dances and the war.67 They held Red Cross giveaway dances, they argued, because Lakotas wanted to "do [their] part and be true Americans in every way."68 The side step giveaway dances, which were only occasionally approved by Kitch, were absolutely necessary according to Frosted and Brown to "do [their] part as true Americans in helping get the kaiser." They reminded the commissioner that 150 Standing Rock Sioux were soldiers at the time, "doing their part in patriotism." In order to maintain optimism and hope throughout the war, they argued that the Lakota needed these dances, which they made it a point to call Christian, and not heathen, dances. And finally, they stressed to the commissioner that "the persons opposing these simple dancrs[sic] are unconsciously opposing a good work and without intending it, are pro-German to the extent that they are hindering the full efficiency with which we must all work together to win the war."69 Whether we take the seemingly pro-American pleas of Frosted and Brown at face value
a few months earlier, Thomas Frosted had traveled to Washington to complain personally to the Commissioner about the dance prohibition that Kitch had established. James B. Kitch to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, September 8, 1919, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 68 Thomas Frosted and John Brown to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, October 7, 1918, File 10912317-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. The Sioux communities and Red Cross officials did not always get along in their wartime efforts. In one instance, the Sioux of the Wakpala district of Standing Rock raised $125 for the Red Cross through a basket social and supper, yet they refused to turn the money over to the Red Cross after "the white people of Wakpala failed to include them in any of their local offices." James B. Kitch to Cato Sells, September 10, 1918, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 69 Ibid.
or not, their arguments demonstrated a sophisticated understanding and use of the contested language of cultural citizenship. But what can we make of federal employees and strong advocates for the assimilation of American Indians into (white) American society, arguing that Indians should not be allowed to raise money for the Red Cross, or to organize patriotic gatherings? How did such dances become threatening to these officials, not simply when they were held on a national holiday as an excuse, but when they were held for the explicit purpose of honoring American veterans of the world war and to raise money for the allies? Mossman and Kitch abhorred giveaways because their patriotic purpose was undermined by the way in which the funds were raised: through giving away the very commodities that Mossman and the OIA had been trying to teach the Indians to individually accumulate and cherish. During the war years and into the 1920s, the dances that most threatened the officials and clergy were those that challenged their own ideals of "moral decency" and their belief that Indians should value private property and commit to a life of non-communal agrarianism. But these giveaway dances, as noted by their wartime functions, represented so much more than what the officials could understand. The giveaways represented a modern adaptation by which communities could honor their warrior soldiers as well as their commitment to maintaining an expressive and vibrant sense of pride in their native identity while simultaneously engaging the patriotic and American traditions of raising funds for the war effort through local support. Despite the complex nature of the giveaways and their role on the home front, however, the comprehension of these dances by federal officials remained 71
somewhat one dimensional, and after the war most native communities felt an increased pressure to cease performing them. The threat of the giveaway dance exceeded the war years on reservations; the philosophy of the dance shattered one of the most fundamental of elements in the OIA's cultural citizenship agenda--instilling the sacred value of private property. The giveaway dance was held by native communities, in some form or fashion, on reservations throughout the country. The dances were, and are, held to redistribute wealth, not hoard it individually. The dance essentially brought together the people in times of need, where they could contribute what resources and goods they had available to be redistributed throughout the community, or for more direct causes, in the case of the Red Cross during the world war.70 The philosophy of the giveaway fundamentally contradicted the messages sent by OIA agents that emphasized the importance of individual accumulation. According to Lakota Severt Young Bear, who wrote on the giveaways, The traditional way of thinking tells us that when you have material possessions, the best thing you can do with them is to give them away, especially to those who are without or are having a hard time. A leader is not the guy who can store up and keep lots of things, but instead someone who will share them with the people. We are taught as young boys and girls that in order to honor ourselves and our
Pain on Hip from Kyle, South Dakota, wrote commissioner Burke after Burke had issued a circular forbidding giveaways (I will addressthis circular in the following chapter). He wrote that the superintendents and missionaries "don't know what dance is...And they don't know why they `give away.'...this is done so to help the poor and needy Indians." Smith Pain on Hip to Burke, March 11, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. A group of Washington State Indians, appointed by the Colville general council, responded to Burke's circular by arguing that their dances were "given for pleasure only, like white people's dances." They primarily danced war dances and chinook dances that "celebrate[d] old times," and did not interfere with their work. Furthermore, they wrote, "no poor person is solicited to make any gift, and no one gives his friends more than he can afford." Charley Wilpocken, John Hayes, and Joe Moses to Burke, March 23, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
relatives, we should always be ready to share. One of our Lakota songs tells us: "There isn't anything I won't give away because my parents are still alive."71 The logic of the giveaways confounded OIA officials who associated the redistribution of wealth with anarchy and self-destruction rather than with an affirmation of community and self-preservation. The dances particularly offended the federal officials and missionaries because of their anti-individualistic nature and their celebration of giving away private property to members of the community.72 Superintendent Tidwell of the Pine Ridge Agency was particularly irritated by the giveaways held in honor of the recently deceased. At such occasions feasts were held, which he complained many people attended. Then, after "a man or woman dies, the surviving spouse will give away everything of value, including horses, household furniture, implements, and the like. In addition to the loss of the husband or wife, therefore, a death frequently means destitution."73 Indians living on the Lower Brule reservation would hold a give away or a "singing" to raise funds for 4th of July celebrations and fairs. They would also hold them in order to eulogize a member of the community, either dead or alive. In 1923, on one such occasion the superintendent fired a native policemen who had given away a horse when he had been sent to "see that that very thing was not indulged in."74 Superintendent Gensler usually jailed anyone who participated in such dances, which he felt was an easy
71 Young 72 The
Bear and Theisz, 57. dances were individualistic in a sense, because those who gave away more generally gained in social status, but the goods were divided and distributed to replenish the community as a whole. 73 H.M. Tidwell, Superintendent of the Pine Ridge Indian Agency, to Burke, April 5, 1923, File 104291922-063, General Service File, CCF.
form of punishment for the "wards"(noncitizens), but he complained to Burke that some of the citizen Indians could not be imprisoned as easily because they were familiar with habeas corpus proceedings and knew that such imprisonment was illegal.75 Gensler tried to attend each dance in order to exert control over them, but his attempts were not quite successful, as "they would talk Sioux and [he wouldn't] know what they [were] doing."76 Many superintendents and missionaries, including native missionaries, reported numerous stories to Burke of Indians who would give away valuable goods and property.77 The giveaways near the Standing Rock Indian School, perhaps due to their flagrantly political nature, particularly aggravated superintendent Kitch. By 1920 Kitch had established a set of rules that, if followed, would have prevented all fee patent Indians, employees, returned students, or "any persons under the age of forty years" from participating in the dances, which according to these rules could only consist of the side step with "no paint, feathers, or costumes."78 Dancing continued to saturate the Standing
Gensler, Superintendent of the Lower Brule Indian Agency to Burke, February 10, 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 75 Ibid. 76 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 44, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 77 Ibid. Fee patent Indians were those who had received full title to their allotments clear of any conditions or restrictions set forth by the government. 78 James B. Kitch to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 9, 1920, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. The side step dance that became very popular among some tribes in the early twentieth century was understood by some agents as similar to a "white" round dance and therefore more tolerable (both require males and females to dance together and with multiple partners). Although Arthur Pratt, a stockman assigned to the Porcupine District of the Standing Rock Agency, acknowledged the similarities between the "native" side step dance and the "white" round dance, he could not accept the cultural relativism that these similarities implied. He wrote to Mossman in 1922, "I have heard arguments in favor of the side-step dance that it is most similar to the white round dances and very likely[sic] this is
Rock calendar and plague Kitch, however, because he simply could not succeed in preventing them from taking place. The giveaways were usually, according to Kitch, held to defray the costs of sending a Lakota delegation to Washington D.C. to petition the return of the Black Hills.79 These giveaway dances, sharply politicized and narrowly focused, prompted Sioux participants to amass hundreds and even thousands of dollars toward these diplomatic meetings, even in the midst of Kitch's order that "no collections be taken while Indians are under the influence of dancing or drum music."80 Beyond the typical uses for holding a giveaway, this dance for the Standing Rock Lakota also generated the most effective mechanism for raising funds to combat the theft of the Black Hills by the federal government.
THE DUTY TO REFRAIN OR THE RIGHT TO DANCE? THE POLITICS OF CITIZENSHIP
Citizenship lay at the crux of the debates on dealing with the "dance evil." Despite the emphatic conception of U.S. political citizenship as a responsibility fit with duties of cultural citizenship, many American Indians, often aware of the ramifications of
true in the outward form, but the former represents pure savagery and the latter supposed to represent civilization." Arthur Pratt to E.D. Mossman, October 16, 1922, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. Pratt also found the presence of the American flag at these dances offensive: "At every dance the Flag is used as a banner and this ought to be prohibited." The side step dance was often popular with returned students, though the contact between males and females during the dance upset many reservation residents. A few agents with certain strong religious convictions were averse to any form of dancing by American Indians, whites, or anyone for that matter. Typically, however, agents applied racial and hierarchical distinctions to dances by Indians and non-Indians. 79 James B. Kitch to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 9, 1920, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 80 Ibid.
citizenship through their boarding school education, increasingly focused on the rights of citizenship when defending the cultural prerogatives of their dance. Citizenship rights, although not universally bestowed upon Indians until 1924, were given to certain Indians who held allotments of land and were deemed as deserving of such status by the Secretary of the Interior. As citizens, they were not restricted in their activities on the land, as they were when their legal status was that of a ward. The scattering effect of the allotted lands on the reservations, along with the rights of citizenship granted particular Indians, in certain ways prevented the superintendents from exerting the control over them that they wished. Some Lakota, understanding the new limitations of this control, exercised their prerogative of holding more public dances under the newfound status that their lands and their status granted. Others even hired attorneys to defend their right to hold these dances when the local superintendents forbade them.81 Commissioner Burke recognized the difficulties of maintaining a policy of coercion when Native Americans resisted it: We didn't want to make an order that wouldn't be enforceable...On a closed reservation we could handle the matter without the slightest trouble. But it is a different question where you have Indians residing in different localities, a portion of them citizens to the fullest extent. Now tell me how we are going to say just what shall happen in a community like that in the Porcupine district where practically all of the Indians own their own land. I don't like to issue an order that does not mean anything, and so in whatever we do I want to go only so far as I am confident that we can enforce whatever act we do.82
81 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 50, 55, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 82 Ibid.
Burke in this statement amazingly lamented the institution of the allotment program and the citizenship that many native people had already been granted. He stated in Pierre that if an Indian was a citizen and a holder of a patent in fee of property, there was no way they could prevent him/her from giving way their property. He added, "You men know that conditions are different than when these Indians were on closed reservations."83 Standing Rock Indian School superintendent Kitch had reported in 1920 that the dance "trouble" was "caused mainly by fee patent or citizen Indians, who claim that they are not under the jurisdiction of the United States and that they have the right to dance or costume themselves as they deem advisable."84 For these OIA officials, "Indian" dancing was completely incompatible with the responsibilities of citizenship. Assistant commissioner Meritt wrote in 1921 that "by such excesses [dancing] they cannot become worthy, self-supporting citizens and a credit to their race."85 Burke and the federal officials knew they had lost a considerable amount of legal power over the Indians than when they were "wards of the government," and they seemed to regret deeply this loss and this shift in federal Indian policy. Again, citizenship, once deemed the goal of the assimilationist policies became a double-edged sword for the agents who were uncomfortable with the ways in which the dancers and musicians were expressing their rights of citizenship. The citizenship that Burke desired for American Indians was a very
56-57. B. Kitch to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 9, 1920, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 85 E.B. Meritt to David M. Means, February 8, 1921, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF.
limited and controlled citizenship that contradicted fundamentally the rights bestowed them. Inspector McLaughlin agreed that the increased popularity of the dance amongst the younger men could not be suppressed as easily as it had in the past, "the Indians being then wards of the Government and receiving a generous ration of subsistence bi-weekly, also a fair allowance of clothing annually."86 Unable anymore to threaten the Lakota by withholding such goods, he felt that all the government could hope to do would be to regulate the dances more fully. Because more and more Lakota, especially younger people, were taking up the dance, the dance grew more and more dangerous in threatening the federal goals of assimilation. Simultaneously, the danger felt by the agents was fed by the increasing lack of coercion and control that the agents could muster over the Lakota. For McLaughlin at this time the danger of the practice of music was not located as much in the "savagery" or "pagan" aspects that the missionaries so abhorred, but in his growing inability to confine and control the activities of the Lakota--in the diminishment of his power. At this point, and as we shall see in the next chapter, the OIA officials set out to develop a dance policy that would control the performative traditions of American Indians while recognizing the limitations that citizenship posed in their attempt to enforce it. The early twentieth century was one of the bleakest the Lakota had yet faced: people were starving, their reservation lands were under constant siege, they weren't provided with rations, nor was agricultural work a tenable solution to their problems.
Even wage labor was difficult to attain, and under Commissioners like Burke, the U.S. government had reached the apex of implementing an Indian policy designed to destroy virtually every element of their decidedly Lakota identity.87 Yet the story of the Lakota in this period is in many ways a victory song: faced with incredibly harsh circumstances and often misguided, misanthropic Indian agents, the Lakota, like many American Indians across the country at this time, waged a war of culture of unprecedented scope and terrain against the United States. This conflict at once emphasized and transcended their daily struggles for food, land, and freedom--theirs was the struggle over the very meaning of U.S. citizenship. Remarkable for a variety of reasons not the least of which was that Native Americans were not universally granted citizenship until 1924, the Lakota's struggle over the meanings, duties, and privileges of U.S. citizenship defined in many ways their daily struggles for existence. Even after the passage of the General Citizenship Act on June 2, 1924, the implications of citizenship on their dances was foremost on the minds of many Lakota. Superintendent Mossman of the Standing Rock reported that at a meeting of the Standing Rock Business Council following the Act, "the new citizenship proposition was discussed vigorously." With distress, he noted that "the only thing about it which seemed to interest the larger portion of the council was its effect upon the regulations against the dance and the giving away."88 The daily struggles of
See also Holler, 126. 24. 88 After the act was passed Mossman advised the bureau farmers not to interfere with the dances, but to maintain constant surveillance over the celebrations, and to record which ex-soldiers and young Indians participated, as well as what type of goods or livestock were given away. Mossman to the Commissioner of
the Lakota, and daily acts of resistance, were often played out in the treacherous theatres of identity performance. Likewise, the meanings that the OIA assigned the concepts of civilization and citizenship were turned on their heads by the not so simple act of musical performance.
Indian Affairs, August 12, 1924, File 60373-24-062, Standing Rock Agency, CCF; Mossman to Farmers, July 1, 1924, Ibid.
The "Dance Evil:" Native Cultural Performance, the Press, and Federal Indian Policy, 1922-1928
On February 23, 1923, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles Burke issued a message addressed "to All Indians" warning them not to perform several dances. The Native students working in the print shop of the Chilocco Indian boarding school in Oklahoma printed 15,000 copies of the message for distribution to every reservation and agency in the country. Beyond certain "decent amusements or occasional feast dances," Indian people were instructed not to hold dances unless approved by their local OIA superintendents. Burke stated that instead of issuing a direct order to stamp out the dances, he would "much rather have [them] give [the dances] up of [their] own free will." If the superintendents reported in a year's time that the Indians had not given up the dances and done as requested, then "some other course [would] have to be taken."1 Why did the practice of music cause the commissioner to have these circulars printed and distributed directly in the hands of thousands of American Indians? How did the Native and non-Native public act upon the circular? In this chapter I will explore the
Message To All Indians," Charles H. Burke, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 24, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF; Burke to C.M. Blair, Superintendent of Chilocco School, March 14, 1923, Ibid; Blair, C.M., Superintendent of Chilocco School, February 6, 1923, Ibid.
participation of Indians in this practice of music on reservations and its relationship between notions of Indianness in popular culture and the directives of federal Indian policy. While Native dancers fought for their right to dance, thereby resisting the current assimilation policies, a large, vocal portion of the non-Native public became increasingly intrigued by, and supportive of, Indian dances. These non-Native individuals and groups sought to protect the rights of Native people to dance either through progressive lobbying campaigns organized in opposition to the OIA for political and religious concerns, or out of their individual desire to experience the spectacle of what they considered authentic Indianness. The debates both in Indian Country and in the local and national press over the "dance evil" demonstrate the ways in which Native people and trends in popular culture shaped the OIA policies of this period. The melee that resulted in the press and on reservations across the country ultimately forced the OIA agents and administrators to back off of their desire to control the performative lives and reservation culture of American Indians. While Native people at this time were not allowed a direct hand in creating federal Indian policy, they used the practice of music as a tool to assert their views on the assimilation policy and their desire to exercise sovereignty on the reservations. These actions forced dramatic changes in the philosophic underpinnings of the OIA: eventually the concerted efforts of pro-dance Indians and pro-Indianness newspapers and reformers contributed to the complete reorganization of the Office of Indian Affairs.
World War I sparked a tremendous expansion of reservation dancing through community giveaways and the resurgence of warrior societies; as a result, commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles Burke grew increasingly distressed and spent several years struggling to combat what he considered an "evil" institution. Clearly the late-nineteenth century general bans against dancing were largely evaded by Native communities throughout the country, and for years agents and missionaries expressed frustration at their inability to control reservation life. Due to the unwillingness of the OIA to conceive of dancing as anything other than a hindrance to their reservation cultural and economic agenda, in 1922 OIA officials, government farmers, and a group of missionaries serving the Lakota people began to conceptualize the "dance evil" in their rhetoric. These individuals had experienced a dramatic loss of control over the lives of Indians as Native people began utilizing their rights of citizenship and the language of Americanness as a strategy to create through dance an anti-assimilationist celebration of Indian identity. Although the bestowal of citizenship was the ultimate goal of the assimilation and allotment policy, the OIA was not comfortable with the ways in which many Indians were exercising their newfound rights of citizenship.
The Meeting in Pierre: Strategizing to Defeat the "Dance Evil"
Because of an increasing awareness by the officials and missionaries of the reemergence of many dances in public, and in particular among the various Lakota communities, Burke held a meeting to address what he considered the "dance evil" with 83
his allies in Pierre, South Dakota on October 24th, 1922.2 By this time, and for the next several years, Burke was inundated with correspondence from superintendents, missionaries, various public organizations, the press, and American Indians regarding the actions that the government took towards the dances. Correspondence against the ban was sometimes generated through the efforts of John Collier and other antiassimilationist reformers who turned the ban into an attack on religious freedom.3 Others, as Margaret Jacobs has pointed out, argued against the Pueblo dances in reaction to changing sexual mores in American society.4 Native people had their own concerns and presented a different set of arguments for and against the dance ban. Much of the correspondence was centered on the circular "to all Indians," which derived from the observations and conclusions made at the Pierre conference. At the meeting, attendants unanimously voiced their disgust at the dances and provided several reasons as to why "Indian dances" were objectionable. Along with the use of citizenship as a defense of dance, the threat of the "giveaway dance" became the
of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 3, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 3 For Collier's role in this debate, see Lawrence C. Kelly, The Assault on Assimilation: John Collier and the Origins of Indian Policy Reform (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983), particularly pages 295-348. Collier (1884-1968) served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1933 to 1945. A former settlement worker, he was an early advocate of cultural pluralism. During a camping trip at which he encountered Pueblo Indians in Taos, New Mexico, he was transformed overnight into an intense advocate of the right of religious and ceremonial freedom for Native Americans. He was outspoken critic of Charles Burke's dance order and, after Franklin Roosevelt appointed him commissioner, he turned to anthropologists for guidance instead of missionaries. Kenneth R. Philp, "John Collier, 1933-45," The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1824-1977, Robert M. Kvasnicka and Herman J. Viola, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979) 273-282. 4 Jacobs argues that the dances were interpreted as licentious by some reformers and served as a critique of the perceived challenge to Victorian sexual mores by immigrants and some white middle class youth.
heart of the issue at the conference and for the government officials and missionaries who tried to repress or regulate them. The dances seemed dangerous to the officials and missionaries because of their anti-individualistic nature and their valorization of giving away private property to members of the community.5 The idea of giving away rather than hoarding ones `private' property seemed completely at odds with the American, "civilized" way. They also believed the dances, like many others, kept Indian people away from tending their crops or pursuing other goals of agrarian civilization as deemed by the directives of federal Indian education and policy. The federal officials and missionaries also expressed concern over the "savagery" associated with the dances. The dances represented for them the most dangerous and worst aspects of Native life, the aspects that fueled their "civilization" agendas. One missionary among the Lakota, Bishop Burleson, argued, "the Indian dance...is a lapse back to conditions out of which they are supposed to have come. It creates an atmosphere that is inimical to what we are trying to do with them."6 In this case, Burleson leveled his criticism at all forms of Indian dances, not just particular dances such as the giveaway. Reverend Tibbetts, a missionary and Lakota himself, concurred: "when the Indian dances it has an effect upon the lower life of the Indian, and it is an effect on the intellectual life of the Indian. When they are dancing they lose all their
Margaret D. Jacobs, Engendered Encounters: Feminism and Pueblo Cultures, 1879-1934 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 106-148. 5 The dances were individualistic in a sense, because those who gave away more generally gained in social status, but the goods were divided and distributed to replenish the community as a whole. 6 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 14, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
physical, mental and moral power. He loses himself entirely when he hears the Indian tom tom. He is absolutely weakened in that hour."7 But perhaps superintendent Mossman of the Standing Rock reservation could demonstrate this view best of all: We have talked about the give-away and the various features of this dance but we have not talked about the direct meaning of the Indian dance to the Indian...When the tom tom sounds the cloak of civilization drops off the shoulders of the Sioux Indian. The tom tom is the same kind of an instrument that is used by the lowest savages of today and they use it in their religious rights. Pure savagery. The singing that accompanies this dance is the same as the sound you hear from the religious ceremony of the lowest savages. It is the sound of the far away religious chant...When the Sioux Indian goes into the dance ring he is a savage. A savage garbed in a suit of underwear dyed red.8 The agents and missionaries perhaps felt so strongly about the "savage" characteristics of the dances they witnessed because the dances became arenas of autonomy for the dancers, musicians, and other participants. The dances were utterly incomprehensible to Mossman and the other agents, and this lack of understanding raised their anxieties and challenged their beliefs that they could maintain control over the lives of Indian people. For Tibbetts and other missionaries, Lakota or otherwise, the dances were based in a spirituality and vigor that they could not accept as anything other than detrimental to their cause of Christianizing and de-heathenizing the Lakota. The danger of the dances for Mossman was found in large part in the actual performance of the dance and the instruments that created the sounds, as well as in his association of these characteristics with evil, and in the challenge that the dances in their veiled or simply unrecognizable (to him) meanings brought against his effort to control all aspects of the Lakota' lives. For
the missionaries, the danger was found in the association of the dances' meanings with non-Christian ideals or participants. The issue of citizenship resonated in the statements of many of the meeting participants as well. Besides utilizing national holidays and causes as a strategy to gain permission to dance, some Indians began to petition their state senators, representatives and even the president of the United States to request the OIA to allow the dances.9 S.A.M. Young of the Rapid City School argued that direct governmental orders could not prevent, and never had prevented, the Indians from holding dances. "If an order was sent out to stop the dancing what would you do if it did not stop it?....One thing about the dancing is that on some reservations some of the Indians are citizens and there is not a legal way of preventing them dancing if they wish...If citizen Indians are refused permission to have a dance on the reservation there is nothing to prevent their going upon patented land and holding their dances there."10 Citizenship, for so long the end-goal of the assimilationists, ironically endowed Indians with a right to perform the activities that the agents had for so long tried to control and suppress. No reservation official had a legal right to break up a dance if it was held on an allotment owned by a citizen, Indian or otherwise. And no one was more aware of these jurisdictional limits than Indian people.
52. 9 William Williamson to Charles H. Burke, December 19, 1922, File 99432-22-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF; Benjamin Ring Thunder to Senator Norbeck, File 97825-22-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF; Silas Blind to President Harding, File 26105-21-063, Rosebud Agency, CCF. 10 Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 39, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
The federal officials and missionaries at the Pierre meeting were unanimous in their fear of the music and perceived the practices around it as dangerous, anti-American, and a hindrance to their "civilization" policy. The Pierre meeting also demonstrates, however, a tactical shift in the overriding directives of federal Indian policy. Originally Indian policy was based in the promise of "civilization" that allotments, formal education, Christianity, and citizenship would bring to American Indians, at the expense of perpetuating an identity of Native difference and cultural persistence (not to mention a massive loss of Native landholdings). In effect, these measures, the OIA policy makers believed, could mute their Indian identities within a potent blend of specific white, middle class Victorian values and institutions. As Hoxie has argued, however, the OIA grew pessimistic of Indians' abilities to make such a transformation.11 This pessimism grew from Native resistance to under-funded and misguided assimilation and allotment polices more than anything. But the methods of resistance caused a shift in policy as well--American Indians utilized the harbingers of "civilization" in a variety of ways, often in fact, but not always in the same manner, to reaffirm their values of community, tribal, and Indian identity. By the Pierre meeting, OIA officials and missionaries focused on a new policy concern: that of reclaiming and maintaining management and control over the lives of Indians--bringing things back, in a sense, to the way they were, before they were citizens. More specifically, they sought new methods to control Native cultural and political allegiances and the symbols of "civilization" that Native people
E. Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920, (1984; reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
continuously refigured. By the early 1920s OIA officials and missionaries believed that the threat to this control was manifested in the practice of Native dance and song. In order to reassert their control, some of the Pierre meeting participants felt that an order to prohibit dance, imposed by force, was the best course of action to take. The majority, however, felt that because of the effectiveness of Native resistance, their reconfiguration of American symbols, and the support of Indianness in popular culture, they would have to formulate a different strategy of asserting policy than simply by force. The participants realized that any strong course of action taken against Native dances would meet with swift resistance by large constituencies of both Native and non-Native people. According to the recent memory of the meeting participants many Lakota, usually young and often citizens and/or veterans were resisting the suppression of the dances with increasing vigor. Around many of the Sioux agencies the superintendents had recruited "government farmers" to patrol such activities.12 At the Pierre meeting the Reverend Dallas Shaw, a Native American and missionary, told of a story in which, after a farmer had refused the request of three or four men to allow a dance, the men took him outside and beat him.13 Superintendent Mossman of the Standing Rock reservation tried
farmers (also called OIA farmers, farm agents, or boss farmers) were "subagency official[s] stationed at the local farm station in the reservation district." They were instrumental in providing surveillance to the superintendent and generally to becoming familiar with all of the business and personal affairs of the local Native population. Government farmers were responsible for providing the superintendents with names, dates, and any pertinent information regarding dances in their area. Farmers also had the power to withhold rations from any Native family under their charge. Thomas Biolsi, Organizing the Lakota: The Political Economy of the New Deal on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1992), 16-18. 13 It is unclear what Native community Shaw was a member of, or which mission. Transcript of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, p. 28, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
to enforce a restriction against dancing, only to have it rejected by several residents. He attempted to set up farm bureau meetings in order to replace the dances: "But the Indians got together and they wouldn't attend a farm bureau meeting because they thought that was made, as it was, to take the place of their dances, and this is what I have been up against.... The last man I saw before I left and the first man I will see when I get back home will be a man who wants to dance." He continued: In the Porcupine district the young citizen Indians got together there and said that they would boycott the farm bureau. This outfit formed what they called the star club. They stuck a stick in the ground on the top of which they fastened a tin star. When they got around each one would go up and make obeisance to this fetish. They would all dance around this star. It is a religious rite with those people. And those very young men, tho [sic] they are educated and citizens of the United States, are worshiping at the shrine of that star. I don't know where we are going.14 Just as federal officials and missionaries were concerned about Native resistance, they were also worried about the resistance of popular opinion to their decisions. American popular culture in the 1920s was inundated with various depictions of Native people, through songs, stories, and movies, that in fact celebrated the dances and other symbols of Indianness that Burke and the other agents and missionaries sought to suppress.15 Commissioner Burke had felt strong opposition prior to the meeting in Pierre
53. Mossman had reported the existence of the star club earlier in the year to Burke. E.S. Mossman, superintendent of Standing Rock Agency to Burke, February 10, 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. It is likely that such "underground" dances were not a recent phenomenon on the reservation, but that they had only recently come to the attention of the superintendents. 15 Several scholars have explored depictions of American Indians in popular culture. See Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); Robert F. Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Vintage Books, 1978); S. Elizabeth Bird, ed., Dressing in Feathers (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996); Leah Dilworth, Imagining Indians in the Southwest: Persistent Visions of a Primitive Past (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996); Rayna D. Green, "The Tribe Called Wannabee: Playing Indian in America and Europe," Folklore 99, no. 1 (1988): 30-55; Rayna D.Green, "The Indian in Popular American Culture," in Wilcomb
against the suppression of Native dances by individuals, organizations, and the press. By this time, and for the next several years, Burke was inundated with correspondence from superintendents, missionaries, various public organizations, the press, and American Indians regarding the actions that the government started to take towards the dances. Some organizations, however, mobilized in support of a dance ban. The Indian Rights Association (IRA), a reform organization dedicated to Christianizing and extending the "private ownership of property among the Indians," had been lobbying the OIA for years to place a ban on all Indian dances because it argued that all aspects of "Indian culture and Indian religion were retarding influences" that hindered Indian assimilation. Missionaries, Indian agents, and the Board of Indian Commissioners also persuaded Burke to ban the dances, and he was easily convinced of the threat that the dances represented for their assimilationist policies. The IRA circulated what they called the "Secret Dance File" containing affidavits that described lewd sexual acts conducted during Pueblo dances.16 Furthermore, the OIA had most recently faced public outcry in
E. Washburn, ed., History of Indian-White Relations, vol. 4 (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1988), 587-606; L.G. Moses, Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991); Carter Jones Meyer and Diana Royer, ed., Selling the Indian: Commercializing & Appropriating American Indian Cultures (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2001); Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (New York: Harper Perennial, 1985); Pauline Turner Strong, "Captivity in White and Red," in Daniel Segal, ed., Crossing Cultures: Essays in the Displacement of Western Civilization (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1992), 33-81; Laurie Anne Whitt, "Cultural Imperialism and the Marketing of Native America," American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 19, no. 3 (1995): 1-31; Sherry L. Smith, Reimagining Indians: Native Americans through Anglo Eyes, 1880-1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 16 See Kelly, 300, 324, 302. See also Jacobs, 106-148 and Kenneth Philps, John Collier's Crusade for Indian Reform (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1977), David M. Strausfeld, "Reformers in Conflict: The Pueblo Dance Controversy," in Sandra Cadwalader and Vine Deloria, Jr., ed., The Aggressions of Civilization: Federal Indian Policy Since the 1880s (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984), 20-43; Martin Bauml Duberman, "Documents in Hopi Indian Sexuality: Imperialism, Culture, and Resistance," Radical History Review 20, 1979: 99-130.
reaction to the proposal of the Bursum Bill--in large part due to the mobilization of antiassimilation reform organizations and the press.17 Superintendents and missionaries were more than aware of the popularity of hiring dancers from the reservations to put on exhibitions in local towns for fairs and rodeos. And Native people were more than aware of it as well; many had made good money performing in local fairs and in national touring troupes that featured Native music and dances.18 The men who met in Pierre struggled over the way in which to further suppress the dances without facing more antagonism from opposing forces in the press and the public. They realized, in the end, that such antagonism would be unavoidable if they passed a direct order banning the dances. The idea to control the dances by shifting the tide of public support to the OIA was recommended by several participants of the Pierre conference. Dr. Riggs, who worked as a missionary among the Lakota, put it bluntly: "it seems to me that in the years past we have failed so often [to build public support]. We must build up public opinion that will control these dances. We can't build character for them. We can't make them civilized human beings by putting trousers on them and cutting off their hair. We must build up public opinion that will control them."19 Riggs understood that the possibility of rapid assimilation, for years the assumption of Indian reform organizations and OIA officials, was simply impossible to achieve. But rather than examine the flaws of such a
213-254. The Bill was designed to further alienate the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico from their lands by legitimating the titles that white squatters claimed on the Pueblo land. It was eventually defeated. 18 A number of these troupes and bands are the subjects of subsequent chapters in this dissertation.
philosophy, or the unwillingness of American Indians to cooperate, Riggs believed a new strategy of propaganda by the press would ameliorate their loss of control. Some felt that they should organize campaigns not only nationally, but also in the local communities, especially just off of the reservations where so many fairs and rodeos were held in which Native people were paid to perform. Many off-reservation towns had built successful tourist enterprises that depended heavily upon the performance of Indian dances. Superintendent Munroe of the Cheyenne reservation stated, "We are bothered year after year by these little fairs, roundups and frontier days all over the country," many of which offered, among other things, water, meat, and admission to Indians who were willing to participate.20 He continued, "We must get the cooperation of the decent white people and promote the right kind of public sentiment and then we will be in a position to stamp this out. We haven't authority over these white people and the only way we can reach them is thru [sic] propaganda."21 Commissioner Burke agreed with the suggestions to attempt to control public opinion in the matter: I don't hesitate at all to say that anything that can be done to bring this matter to the attention of the public and creat[sic] public sentiment will be productive of more results than anything else that we can do...[in regards to another policy decision which faced great public opposition] I did deliberately cause to be spread what might be called propaganda...Acting in cooperation and collectively we will be able to correct a good many of these things by simply making sentiment.22
of Proceedings, Investigation into the Practices of the Sioux Indians on the Dakota Reservations with Particular Reference to the Indian Dance; conducted by Commissioner Charles H. Burke. Pierre, South Dakota, October 24, 1922, pp. 20-21, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 20 Ibid, 48. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid., 61.
The federal officials and missionaries were very cognizant of the fact that through fairs and other conduits of popular culture, the public had turned in large part against the repressive tendencies of the current federal Indian policy of assimilation. The dominant images of Native people in popular culture were not those of men in short hair and trousers, and women in bloomers, but of men and women in Native "regalia," the last vestiges of a "dying race."23 Indians had become to a large extent tourist attractions for non-Natives in these fairs; racialized ideal types that were only authentic when they donned feathers and held exotic dances. The OIA faced an uphill battle over their rights to control the music and cultural displays of Native people, not only from Native people, but, as we shall see, from a burgeoning popular culture that appropriated the same images, music, and cultural displays. Faced with a modern, increasingly urban world, many middle-class Americans began to find solace in what they considered the simpler, natural, mystical qualities of Indianness. Although the government since the 1893 Columbian Exposition had used "live" exhibits at world fairs to demonstrate their assimilative efforts in boarding schools, such exhibits were typically overshadowed by side shows and midways that exhibited a wild west of feather-donned warriors and princesses in all their glory.24 In effect these pressures within elements of popular culture
wrote to a Reverend in South Dakota that "I am convinced that our efforts would be more successful if the white public generally could be induced to draw attention to the modern, progressive side of Indian life. I think there is opportunity for effective missionary work in this direction." Burke to Reverend Jesse P. Williamson, December 19, 1922, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. For an interesting analysis of the use of work clothes and bloomers in the schools, see Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light. 24 See Moses, Wild West Shows, and Robert W. Rydell, All the World's a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1984); John
that positively valued the performance of Indianness took a strong role in shaping the manifestations of federal Indian policy during this period. After the meeting in Pierre, Charles Burke drew up a dance circular, issued in 1923, with an attached list of recommendations derived from the participants of the meeting. The circular served to supplement OIA anti-dance circular 1665 introduced the previous year that did not seem to effectively reduce or control Native dance.25 Because the participants believed a direct order would be unenforceable because of the resistance of the Indians and the public, they decided to print and distribute copies of message "To All Indians," requesting them to discontinue certain practices. If they did not, then the
W. Troutman, "`The Overlord of the Savage World': Anthropology, the Media, and the American Indian Experience at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition," (MA Thesis, The University of Arizona, 1997) 25 In 1921 Burke took the first step to control the dances by issuing circular 1665 to all the superintendents outlining exactly which dances he found problematic. In the circular Burke did not condemn "the dance per se;" he understood it rather as "something inherent in human nature...[As] a medium through which elevated minds may happily unite art, refinement, and healthful exercise it is not inconsistent with civilization." Dance became dangerous for Burke only when it was performed "under most primitive and pagan conditions." He very specifically listed the qualities of Indian dances that he felt were dangerous to their livelihood and the promotion of "civilization." The sun-dance and other "so-called religious ceremonies" had been banned forthright on the reservations since the 1880's, and he felt that the ban should also include "Any dance which involves acts of self-torture, immoral relations between the sexes, the sacrificial distruction [sic] of clothing or other useful articles, the reckless giving away of property, the use of injurious drugs or intoxicants, and frequent or prolonged periods of celebration which bring the Indians together from remote points to the neglect of their crops, livestock, and home interests; in fact any disorderly or plainly excessive performance that promotes superstitious cruelty, licentiousness, idleness, danger to health, and shiftless indifference to family welfare." He thought the superintendents should exercise their own judgment in regulating and, in effect, sanitizing the dances on the reservations. He felt that with such regulation they could continue the "social and moral elevation" of the Indians, "not by offending his communal longings or robbing his nature of its rhythm, but by encouraging these instincts to serve his higher powers and by directing his desires and purposes towards the things he needs to make him strong and capable and fit to survive in the midst of all races." Burke believed that certain forms of dances and other practices of music were permissible, but only if their negative elements, like those mentioned above, were removed, and if they were held under the regulation and watchful eye of the government. Dancing was safe for those with "elevated minds," but because federal Indian policy organized around the assumption that the Indian "mind" was certainly not "elevated," dancing by Indians in nearly every form was seen as a threat. Circular No. 1665, Indian Dancing, Office of Indian Affairs, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. The 1921 circular did not cause much of a stir on reservations or among the general public in part because Burke did not push for its enforcement nearly as much as he did the 1923
circular threatened that "some other course" would be taken.26 Although the meeting focused on Lakota dances, clearly Burke decided to implement a policy throughout the country. Therefore the response to the circular supplement and "message" was not limited to the Lakota, but rather engaged Native people throughout the country. A causal relationship was established in the circular between the dances, powwows, and other celebrations, and the "neglect of stock, crops, gardens, and home interests."27 Burke instructed Indians to "first of all try to make your own living, which you cannot do unless you work faithfully and take care of what comes from your labor." He obviously did not consider performance at fairs and rodeos for money and/or food a legitimate means of making a living. Burke wrote that he did not want to "deprive [the Indians] of decent amusements or occasional feast days," but he also did not want them spending several days at a dance, or for them to participate in "evil or foolish things" like the give away dances, or to "torture [their] bodies or to handle poisonous snakes in [their] ceremonies," referring implicitly to the sun dance and the Hopi snake dance.28 Printed by
supplement. Also, Burke did not release a "message" directly to Indian people, so they did not necessarily catch wind of the circular (nor did the media). 26 "A Message To All Indians," Charles H. Burke, Commissioner of Indian Affairs , February 24, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. Chu'tiva, of what became known as the "Hopi Snake Dance," had become one of the largest tourist draws in the Southwest. Led by members of the Snake (Tsuutsut) clan, and coupled with members of the Antelope (Tstspt) clan, the snake dance has its origins at Walpi on the First Mesa of the Hopi reservation. During the course of the ceremony members of the Snake clan dance with snakes in their mouths, prompting a mixture of horror and titillation among tourists. The principle meaning of the dance, according to Frank Waters and Oswald White Bear Fredericks, is "the union of the two societies [Snake and Antelope] which jointly carry out the...ceremony. But as the immediate purpose of the ceremony...is to bring rain for the final maturity of the crops, the marriage also signifies the fruition of all life." Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi (New York: The Viking Press, 1963), 223. For the origins of the dance, see Harry C, James, Pages from Hopi History (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1974), 18-22. Leah Dilworth details the rising interest of the Snake Dance and the issues of representation that surrounded the
students of the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma, the circulars were mailed and handed out to residents of every reservation in the country. An attached list of recommendations, derived from the Pierre meeting, was meant for the superintendents to read. It included prohibiting altogether the give away because it was a form of gambling, limiting the dances to one per month in the daylight hours of "one day in the midweek," prohibiting anyone under the age of 50 from participating, "that a careful propaganda be under taken to educate public opinion against the dance and to provide a healthy substitute," to organize federal employees and missionaries to convince the operators of local fairs and rodeos "not to commercialize the Indian," and that the federal employees and missionaries continue to work together in matters dealing with the "moral welfare of the Indians."29 To alleviate the concerns of the many who wrote to him criticizing the circular, he reiterated his intention that the circular was "only an appeal" and not an order, limited largely to the Lakota. However, he privately confided that he would in fact ban the Hopi Snake Dance, reiterating the reservation-wide scope of his circular. He condemned the performance of any Native dance by children in the schools, and felt that, in terms of a "healthy substitute," that they learn "safer," more morally sound white dances such as the "Maypole Dance."30
interest in her Imagining Indians in the Southwest: Persistent Visions of a Primitive Past (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996): 21-76. 29 "A Message To All Indians," Charles H. Burke, Commissioner of Indian Affairs , February 24, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. This copy of the circular is not printed by Chilocco but is typewritten, with the recommendations at the end, presumably for superintendents, missionaries, and other interested organizations. 30 Kelly, 306. In 1924 Burke ordered a ban on the performance of Native dances at the commencement exercises of the Santa Fe Indian school. For the practice of music in the boarding schools, see chapters three and four of this dissertation.
Public Reaction to the Dance Circular of 1923
Burke's assertion that the press would play a vital role in the dance debate proved more than accurate. His "careful propaganda," however, was buried beneath a massive volume of articles and editorials written in opposition to the dance ban. The control that the OIA sought on Indian lives on reservations was as dramatically challenged by the non-Indian public as it was by Native people themselves, and the opposition of both served to undermine this federal policy initiative. But the public and press attacked the OIA and the dance ban for a variety of reasons not often held in concert with that of American Indian people resisting the ban. Since the late nineteenth century an increasing element within the non-Native public became fascinated with the artistic output of Native American peoples. In the movement recognized as anti-modern primitivism, members of the white middle class in urban areas of the United States began to place value on Native art and cultural production. Philip Deloria argues that in the early twentieth century, non-Indian people in the United States desired "authenticity" in response to modernity and often located such "authenticity" in Indianness.31 Organizations such as the Boy Scouts began incorporating idealized images of Indians into their lore, images that presented stoic, manly qualities in Indianness, while the Girl Scouts were trained in rudimentary domestic crafts associated
with Indian women. Theodore Roosevelt, who tried to present himself as the manliest of men, attended a Hopi snake dance in 1913 and published an article on his experience.32 Anthropologists and musicologists began a massive effort to "salvage" the songs, stories, and lore of Indian America for the fear that soon the traditions would disappear forever. Popular composers took liberties with "salvaged" melodies and forged them into foxtrots and waltzes while the extreme enthusiasm of Wild West Shows was transferred to the silver screen, as the Western became a thriving genre unto its own.33 For these reasons thousands of white American families took pilgrimages to the "wild west" of tourist locales such as Santa Fe, Phoenix and Flagstaff, invading the surrounding reservations and buying up as much Indianness in the form of pottery, baskets, and admission to dances as they could afford.34 Reform organizations such as the American Indian Defense Association (AIDA) lobbied Congress to protect Native lands and cultures from the further intrusions of allotment and assimilation policies. Simultaneously American folklorists valorized American Indians as a part of the true American folk as they sought to establish authentic, non-European traditions. An article
Deloria, 95-127. Likewise Sherry Smith argues that, in the face of increasing industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, middle class white Americans took "refuge" within their interpretation of primitiveness found in Indianness. Smith, Reimagining Indians. 32 James, 170-173. Regarding the "manliness" of Roosevelt, see Gail Bederman, Manliness & Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995), 170-215. 33 Moses, Wild West Shows. I will treat popularized Indian-themed music and the work of musicologists in a later chapter. 34 For the effect of this tourism on the Navajo and the commodification of their material culture, see Bsumek, Erika Bsumek, "Making `Indian-made': The Production, Consumption, and Construction of Navajo Ethnic Identity, 1880-1935" (Ph.D. diss., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 2000).
in the Chicago News in support of the Chippewa to continue their dances despite opposition from the OIA summed up the idea: American palefaces have permitted their own folk dances to fall into disuse, and have forgotten their folk songs...[U]pon the picturesque aborigines rests the burden of maintaining a worthy American folk tradition. It is the Indians, too, who starkly maintain the primitive, rugged virtues that once were shared by white Americans, for they have not been led astray by money, lust, ragtime, colored supplements and summer furs. They are the guardians of the temple, the tenders of the flame. We should not interfere with them. Then when we have spent our substance in riotous living, have wearied of truffles and pate de foie gras, have gone stale through walking the dog and foxtrotting to jass bands and have turned, soul sickened, away from the tinsel and tinkle and garish glare of more or less great and somewhat smudged white ways, we can gird up our loins and go back to the lodge of our red brother and learn again the delights of the simple life. At the same time Brother Lo, the good Indian, will have conserved his financial as well as his artistic and moral resources and may stake us to a new start in the quest of fortune, beauty, and salvation...35 The sentiments of anti-modern primitivism laced many editorials and articles in opposition to the dance ban, and while they idealized and thereby de-humanized American Indians, they added a layer of support to the Native people struggling to continue, create, and expand various dancing traditions. From the beginning newspaper editors and reporters recognized their role in the debate and quickly took sides. The Associated Press issued a bulletin on March 8, 1923, from Santa Fe indicating that "ceremonial dances by the New Mexico Pueblo Indians which annually bring thousands of visitors from the entire country have been forbidden except in the wintertime by Charles H. Burke."36 This initial press report attracted reformers both in favor and against the ban, who quickly began to write editorials in the
Plea for the Primitive," Chicago News, July 20, 1917, newspaper clipping in File 95989-16-063, Red Lake Agency, CCF.
Eastern newspapers. Reformers John Collier, executive secretary of the AIDA, and Frederick W. Hodge quickly defended the dances in the New York Times after missionaries in another reform group, the Council of One Hundred, had led a resolution in support of Burke's circular.37 The Times and the New York Tribune sided with Collier and Hodge and published several articles and editorials in support of Indian dance. Other journalists around the country pointed out the influence of the media in shaping the debate. The Danville [Virginia] Bee noted that although the Hopi Snake Dance had "aroused [the] curiosity of non-Indians for years," they had never before attracted such "widespread attention" as when Burke issued his latest circular.38 In article titled, "Taking the Indianism out of the Indian," The Literary Digest noted that the dance order "seems to strike at everything but the Indian's material interests. At least so it is understood by the newspapers that have commented on the matter, nearly all in favor of the Indian and against the Commissioner."39 Many articles also speculated that, in the words of the Utica Observer Dispatch, "there is no probability that the country will stand for an attempt to enforce it."40 The title of a letter to the editor of the New York Herald (which opposed the dance ban) read, "The Indian's Dance: Every True American Will
36 Kelly, 37 Ibid.
Burke Put Ban on Indians' Snake Dance," Danville Bee (VA), May 30, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 39 "Taking the Indianism Out of the Indian," The Literary Digest (New York City, NY), in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 40 "The Indian Dances," Observer Dispatch (Utica, NY), April 23, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
Want to See Them Preserved."41 The Helena Record Herald was more blunt when its editorial staff noted that "lovers of liberty" considered Burke a "provincial ass" for his previous oppressive policies and that with this dance ban such a moniker would remain unscathed.42 Papers in smaller cities and communities sometimes reprinted editorials from larger Eastern newspapers such as the New York Times and New York Tribune that were almost universally opposed to the ban. An editorial from the Times incredulous at the prospect that the government would pass such "a dangerous and wicked order" against Pueblo dances was reprinted in the Santa Fe New Mexican.43 Indeed, the newspapers of towns close to reservations were often as adamantly opposed to the dance ban as were those of Eastern urban centers, and a day after the Times editorial was printed in the New Mexican, the New Mexican reported that the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce was looking into the possibility of having the order rescinded.44 Cities and towns that supported local tourism around reservations, particularly in the Southwest, recognized that they would face devastating losses if all Indian dances, or even if only some of the more infamous such as the Hopi Snake Dance, ceased to exist. The Bisbee, Arizona Review noted that Burke did not pass an executive order banning the
Indian's Dances: Every True American Will Want to See Them Preserved," New York Herald, April 25, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 42 "Indian Customs," Helena Record Herald (MT), June 26, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 43 "An Amazing Order," Santa Fe New Mexican, March 26, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 44 "Museum Takes Indian Order at its Face Value, Stated: Meanwhile, Subordinates Say Decree Sent to Pueblos Doesn't Mean Anything," Santa Fe New Mexican, March 27, 1923, in Records of the Library
dances outright because he foresaw the opposition he would receive not just from American Indians but also from nearby towns that reaped financial rewards from the dances. According to the Review, "thousands of people annually tour the northern part of the state for no other reason than to view [the Hopi Snake Dance], and no doubt the chambers of commerce of Flagstaff and other surrounding cities will put up such a wail that Commissioner Burke will think twice before he issues his final order."45 The press learned early on of Burke's intention to spread propaganda amongst the public and was often quick to criticize what they considered his misuse of power. The Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News reported charges made that a "paid lobby" of the OIA attended the convention of the General Federation of Women's clubs "to put through...Burke's reported suggestion to Indian Bureau subordinates that a careful propaganda be undertaken to educate public opinion against Indian religious dances."46 Quoting Burke's "Message to all Indians" in which he intimated that if any Native person did not give up the banned dances of their "free will...[then] some other course will have to be taken," an Oakland Post-Enquirer editorial quipped, "Surely a strange conception of `free will'! `You are free to give up these ceremonies, or I will make you,' announces the commissioner. As if a hold-up man should say, `You are free to hand me your watch,
Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 45 "Stirring Up Trouble," Bisbee Review (AZ), June 22, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 2, Miscellaneous Information, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 46 "Club Aid on Indian Dance Issue Asked," Illustrated Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), June 7, 1924, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
but if you don't I will take it."47 The Louisville, Kentucky Post agreed: the message from Commissioner Burke... carried with it an implied threat so that it amounted really to an order. The only objection to the dances seems to have been they were not consonant with civilization. Such an attitude is singularly intolerant and narrow-minded...They do not express themselves in this or in other matters the way Anglo-Saxons do. But simply because their method of expression is different does not prove that it is wrong."48 Despite the overt racism experienced by non-whites at the time, a tone of cultural relativism and tolerance had begun to infiltrate some editorials by the early 1920s as exemplified by the Post. Taking a stab at reformers seeking moral `improvement', the Chicago Evening Post sarcastically suggested that the response to the American greeting, "How's everything going?" would soon become, "moraller and moraller," followed later by "duller and duller."49 Concurrently comparisons were drawn between the policy of the OIA and that of other countries around the world: There is something savoring of crass stupidity in the order by Charles H. Burke...It is almost grotesque vandalism coming at a time when the whole world is awakening to new interest in the records, civilizations, religions and customs of the past...The order of the commissioner of Indian Affairs is altogether an act of tyranny almost worthy of a Bolshevist dictator. Having been persecuted murdered and systematically robbed for several hundred years by the white race, the red man ought at least to be spared this last indignity from a people whose
Last Snake Dance," Oakland Post-Enquirer (CA), August 30, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 48 "The Indians' Dances," Louisville Post (KY), August 22, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 49 "Prohibition--Of Dancing," Evening Post (Chicago, IL), March 30, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
own popular dances placed alongside the symbolical dances of the aborigines make the latter seem in contrast like patterns of purity.50 Many editors and reporters drew comparisons between Indian dances and popular "white" dances at a time when jazz dances and dance contests also caused irate responses from their detractors. The `dance craze' that swept the middle class youth of the 1920s was controversial amongst conservatives and religious organizations; reformers sought to sanitize the jazz dance as quickly as white boys and girls appropriated it. Dance marathons were covered heavily in the media and many such articles were forwarded along to Burke by his allies and enemies for a contrast to his policy. As Indian dance opponents focused on the giveaways as a justification for the ban, national columnist H.I. Phillips argued that if an Indian `got away' with giving away a $350 cow at a dance he was getting off easy: "When a white man goes to the modern dance he knows his girl will eat up twice that much in dinner checks, not to say a word about the taxi bills" and that a man who only spent that much at a "fashionable dance" would be considered "a mere piker."51 The sexist, fallacious comparison ignored the nature of giveaways--that
50 "The Indian Commissioner's Blue Laws," Free Press (Detroit, MI), April 11, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. In response to the limitations on Indian dances that the U.S. government had attempted to impose years earlier, one newspaper responded, in the midst of World War I, "Why should the United States deny these simple people their right to keep up the traditions and culture of their race? Perhaps some missionary thinks the dances are ungodly, or maybe an Indian agent favors the Prussian of inoculating kultur and is going to civilize the Chippewas that way. If so, it may be worth while to point out that several of the greatest holidays of the Christian Church were first heathen. The church took them over. Why not let the Chippewas dance and teach them to `dance before the Lord'?" "Those Dancing Chippewas," The Republic, unknown location, July 15, 1917, File 95989-16-063, Red Lake Agency, CCF. 51 H.I. Phillips, "The Once Over: Banning the Indians' Dances," Houston Post (TX), April 3, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. Phillips' column was printed in newspapers across the country including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on March 30, 1923.
of redistributing wealth within the community--which demonstrates the public's lack of understanding the nature of the dances, but his goal to ridicule the OIA was clear. The Meridian, Mississippi Star suggested that if Indians gave up their dances for the popular `civilized' jazz dances amongst white youths then "it may be just as corrupting to Indian morals as tribal dancing...but it would presumably satisfy bureaucratic ideals of regulation."52 The El Paso Times reprinted a New York Times article that was similarly critical of Indian boarding school curriculums that taught "white man's games" at the expense of Indian games.53 Remarking to Burke's suggestion that the dances drew crowds and "made confusion," the Fresno Bee reported, "one might fairly say as much about the revival service of Billy Sunday."54 The Utica Observer Dispatch noted that Instead of holding football games, races, conducting excursions, getting drunk and participating in sport generally upon a day of thanksgiving or a day of prayer, the Indians assemble and engage in a ceremonial dance. The chant is a form of supplication or thanksgiving, as the case may be--a prayer for bountiful crops, for rain, for the safety of their homes, for increase of their stock, or for the welfare of their children.55 Some papers also argued that many symbols involved in the practice of Christian holidays such as Christmas trees and Easter eggs had origins as pagan as any symbol
for the Indians," Meridian Star (MS), May 2, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 53 "Saving the Indians' Culture," El Paso Times, June 2, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 54 "Religious Freedom and the Pueblo Tribal Dances," Fresno Bee (CA), April 11, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 55 "The Indian Dances," Observer Dispatch (Utica, NY), April 23, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
found in Pueblo dances (ironically many symbols in Pueblo dances are Catholic in origin).56 Non-Indian opponents of the dance ban were not the only people who utilized the press to forward their views; in an innovative approach, a number of Indian people also forwarded their take on the ban through the local and national press. A local paper in Washington state queried a group of Yakima, Umatilla, and Pendleton people on their way to a Fourth of July dance at White Swan. One respondent said, "They tell us to do as the white man does. Well, everywhere we went on the Fourth the white people were dancing. Surely we dance, and our maidens dance with more modesty than daughters of the white man."57 Ponca dancer Horse Eagle used an opportunity presented by a reporter from the Kansas City Times to make his case: "Oklahoma Indians spend less time dancing in a year than white folks do in one month."58 He continued: What if the Poncas do give away to visiting tribes? We get it all back when we go visiting. We Indians dance so much because we need the money. Our dances are considered among the most artistic in America. Professional dancers of America and from foreign countries come to us to learn our dances to copy them.59 The Daily Oklahoman interviewed several Ponca and Otoe dancers and reported that although they sometimes dance "for the white folks entertainment," they do so as a
Dances," The Outlook (New York City, NY), May 2, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 57 "Indians Will Dance Despite U.S. Ruling," Everett News (WA), July 8, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 58 "Indian `Blue Laws?' Ugh!: `Bootleg Dances Be Worse,' Says Ponca Chief, Who Defends Tribal Dance as Most Artistic in America," Kansas City Times (MO), March 12, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
means to generate much needed income. The Ponca and Otoe also held "up their hands in horror at the idea of holding snake dances."60 Some of the Native people who used the press to further their views defended dance in the name of their religious beliefs. One reporter interviewed a Navajo medicine man named Ya-otza-begay who was in the process of conducting a sing to heal a woman who made a living weaving blankets for tourists at the Harvey museum in Albuquerque.61 Ya-otza-begay adamantly defended the sings: What do we thing [sic] of the commissioner's wish to stop our ceremonies and dances? What would the white men say if they were told to give up their religion and their medicine? We do no dance at a medicine sing for fun. It is to cure sickness that we dance at a sing...You ask what will we do about it if the commissioner does as he threatens to do. The answer is that we do not want to die, and without our medicine and our ceremonies we have no protection against the witches who cause much of the sickness. We cannot give up our ceremonies. We must have the right to worship our gods and to protect ourselves as we have always done. It must be that the great commissioner does not consider what the Navajos feel, and what is best for us.62 When the reporter asked Tsen-ah-chene-chu, an "ordinary Navajo without a medical degree" whether or not he believed medicine men were paid too much for their work when the OIA provided white doctors for the Navajo, he responded, "We do not pay the medicine men much; maybe five or six sheep. It is true that we have to pay nothing for
59 Ibid. 60 "Ponca
and Otoe Indians Defend Tribal Customs In Reply Made to Burke," The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), April 1, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Other Tribes Pro and Con, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 61 "Navajo Asks U.S. to Spare Tribal Dance: Government Order Against Medicine Men Astounds Indian," Joilet (sp?) Herald News, (IL), Wednesday, November 21, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 62 Ibid.
the treatment of the white doctors that Washington sends out. But what do your white doctors know about the witches that may be causing the sickness that is to be cured?"63 The Navajos interviewed for the article, including those in absolute favor of boarding school and, if possible, additional formal education for their children, all defended their ceremonials on the grounds that were absolute necessities in Navajo life--that the Navajo people would die without them--and that the order from Burke was without merit. Members of the Pueblo tribes in New Mexico felt personally offended by Burke's circular and called an emergency council meeting with representatives of the Acoma, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Jemez, Sandia, San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Nambe, Isleta, and Cochiti pueblos. Within an hour and a half a committee composed of Tony Abeita from Isleta, Sotero Ortiz of San Juan, and Alcario Montoya of Cochiti had drafted a memorial to Burke that condemned the circular and reminded him of a letter from Secretary of the Interior A.B. Fall, dated June 17, 1921 that guaranteed no interference from the government in regard to their customs.64 Asking Burke to rescind the "Message To All Indians," they wrote, "You know better than we do that the Constitution of these United States gives the right and liberty to all people to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience."65 Newspapers across the country reprinted their memorial as a measure of support against the dance ban.
63 Ibid. 64 "Don't
Dance for the Fun of It, Indians Tell Commissioner," Santa Fe New Mexican, April 11, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban, Reports Against, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. See also "The Pueblos on Their Dances," New York Tribune, April 20, 1923, Ibid. 65 Ibid. Burke later assured the Pueblo leaders that he would not allow the OIA to interfere with their ceremonials.
It's clear that Burke, more than anything he actually intended, had caused a chaotic national reaction to his order. Although the content of his circular and "Message to All Indians" was based directly from recommendations in specific regard to the Lakota dance situation that he received at the Pierre meeting, Burke had the students at the Chilocco school print over 15,000 letters to send to Indians on every reservation. Burke had no clear conception of any Indian dances outside of what the missionaries and agents from the Lakota reservations told him.66 He based his prejudice against Pueblo dances and the Hopi snake dance solely upon hearsay and the affidavits from the "Secret Dance File" that he had extracted from OIA files and handed to sympathizer S.M. Brosius of the IRA.67 Since the vast majority of Native people had never even heard of the snake dance, its reference in the "message" led to even more confusion amongst Indian people across the country. Native dancers and proponents of dances were aroused along with offreservation non-Indian communities, chambers of commerce, reform organizations and ordinary citizens to challenge federal Indian policy in the local and national press. In fact, no less than five months after the 1665 supplement and "message" was delivered, Burke bowed to the wishes of the governor of Arizona to petition the Hopi for permission to photograph the snake dance in late August.68
C. Kelly, "Charles Henry Burke, 1921-29," in Robert M. Kvasnicka and Herman J. Viola, ed., The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1824-1977 (Lincoln: University of Lincoln Press, 1979), 251-261: 259. 67 Kelly, The Assault on Assimilation, 306. 68 Burke, Charles H., to R.E.L. Daniel, Superintendent, Holbrook, Arizona, August 21, 1923, File 6371023-063, Hopi Agency, CCF. The Hopi's granted Governor Hunt's request to send a government photographer to take "an official picture," but Daniel told Burke they would "resent, vigorously, another person's taking pictures, and especially [Kate Thompson Cory, a woman who was attempting to shoot moving pictures of the dance]." Beginning in 1921 a group of white men from Prescott had begun `playing
Not all American Indians were supportive of the dances, however, and some used the press to articulate their oppositional views. Otto Lomavitu, a prominent "progressive" Hopi from Oraibi and contributor to the "secret dance file," wrote a lengthy letter to the editor of The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, AZ) in response to the paper's protest against the dance ban.69 The town of Oraibi on the third mesa of the Hopi reservation split in 1906 after mounting disputes and machinations amongst the politico-religious leaders. Two factions that were referred to by the government as the "friendlies" and "hostiles" vied for political control up until the split. While the dispute had a long history and the split was prophesized and very complex in nature, part of it had to do with the acceptance or rejection of acculturative pressures by the OIA.70 The factionalism continued to dominate the lives of the people of Oraibi and the villages and social structures of Hotevilla and Bacavi that formed afterward. Lomavitu, one of the earliest Oraibi Mennonite converts, shunned the snake dances and struck out against the Sun for
Indian,' dressing in redface and performing the snake dance as the Smoki people. The Hopi, Daniel wrote, "regard [Smoki Snake Dance as] a burlesque of their sacred ceremony, and believe Miss Cory's effort to take a moving picture of their Snake Dance is for a clandestin [sic] purpose and that it will be given to the `Smoki Snake Dancers,' for the purpose of exploiting their most sacred religious ceremony." Daniel, R.E.L., Superintendent, Hopi Indian Agency, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, August 16, 1923, File 63710-23-063, Hopi Agency, CCF. The Hopi were correct in fearing the motives of Cory; as an artist from New York she moved to the Hopi reservation in 1905 and, after gaining their trust, spent 7 years observing their lives and ceremonies. After she left, however, she shattered their trust by revealing in minute detail many Hopi dances and private ceremonials to the Smoki men. Although the Hopi were irate over the "Smoki Snake Dance" and considered it an abhorrent, disrespectful and burlesque charade, in 1926 a Smoki man lauded Cory for "guiding the organization away from a sort of parody of Indian activities." Continuing pressure from the Hopi finally forced the Smoki People to discontinue their dances in 1990. See Jennifer Dewitt, "`When They Are Gone...' The Smoki People of Prescott and the Preservation of Indian Culture," The Journal of Arizona History, 37, no. 4 (1996), 319-336: 327. In later years Barry Goldwater was a prominent member of the Smoki society. Some Hopi are still suspicious that former members of the Smoki organization continue the dances in private gatherings. 69 Otto Lomavitu, "Dances Should Stop," The Coconino Sun, July 28, 1923, newspaper clipping in File 10429-1922-063, General Services File, CCF.
promoting them.71 But he went further in his attack, illuminating the hypocrisies he witnessed from the tourists who came to the mesas every year while illuminating his own cultural disposition: In the judgment of a Hopi a white man is a superior being, and naturally he desires to imitate him. But when he comes year after year, spending thousands of dollars in small hotels and cafes tingling the greedy ears of the portly inn-keepers and then stretches out his covetous hands to a poor, dust-covered Hopi of the desert with assumed friendly smile only to sneer when meeting him on his own town streets, the ever alert `superstitiously-reverent' Hopi begins to suspect rottenness in the game.72 He attacked the tourists and white people in general, wondering why a white person would spend hundreds of dollars "just to see an ignorant Indian wriggle with his wriggling god the snake."73 He stated that he was proud of the Hopi people, despite their lack of education, to "mark out a woman clothed in nudity, ever admiring herself in a glass, twisting her head like a reptile, ever powdering her nose and painting her lips and eyelids, as absolute shamelessness. Is this civilization?"74 The Sun reporter had argued that the Hopis would suffer financially and would be deprived of thousands of dollars each year due to the ban. The tourists, Lomavitu responded, showed their "blackest side" to the Hopi and paid exorbitant sums to see the dance--money that did not reach the pockets of the Hopi nearly as much as it did the hotel and caf keepers in the villages nearby or on the way to the dances.75 Questioning
M. Whiteley, Deliberate Acts: Changing Hopi Culture Through the Oraibi Split, (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1988), 272, 283. 71 Lomavitu's political aspirations are noted in Ibid, 327 n. 13. 72 Lomavitu, "Dances Should Stop." 73 Ibid. 74 Ibid. 75 Ibid.
the validity of the reporter's statements, he wrote, "Is this another case of peace treaty with the Indian so plausibly and ambiguously worded as was done with our forefathers?"76 Lomavitu exclaimed that the dance so heralded by the tourists was a fake, that the dancers extract all of the venom prior to the dances, and that because of the `deception,' "The Indian `laughs in his sleeves' at the poor, deluded, pompous pale face."77 Finally, Lomavitu praised Burke and asked those who disagreed with him to step aside: "We owe all our education and civilization to the man in Washington besides our greatest benefactor, the Almighty God. We must pay our debt by becoming better citizens."78 Otta Lomavitu's letter and convictions represent not only the complexity of the dance debate but also reveal the ways in which Native communities were created and broken over the impact of assimilation policies. Born in a town that almost destroyed itself due in large part to the pressures of assimilation foisted upon it by the OIA, the people of Oraibi developed perhaps an even more acute attunement to the politics of cultural performance. Even while he criticized the snake dance, he took many more pains to chastise the white tourists who both promoted it and exploited the Hopi in his acerbic letter to The Sun. A year and a half later, Lomavitu provided the welcoming address at the Oraibi Day School Christmas party. He looked on as students participated in a ceremonial of their own: the singing of Christmas songs and the participation in perhaps
76 Ibid. 77 Ibid. 78 Ibid.
their most recently adopted pagan ritual, that of watching Santa Claus crawl out of a specially constructed fireplace and chimney. No snakes were present.79 Although some Native people opposed the proliferation of Indian dances in the press, most of Burke's supporters featured in the papers were non-Indian members of reform organizations. Burke's most ardent allies in support of the dance ban were members of reform organizations dedicated to various brands of moral uplift.80 While the outpouring of opposition to the ban was most often expressed by the editors of newspapers, letters from the public, and articles on the ban itself, most of the arguments in favor of the ban was found in coverage of specific reformers and reform organizations. Even the press coverage of people in favor of the ban specifically held that the ban did not apply to all dances, just those considered by the proponents as immoral, dangerous, or antithetical to the policy of assimilation. The IRA lobbied Burke for years to ban Indian dances and took their case to the public through letters to the editors of newspapers and through interviews and speeches. Since the founding of the IRA in 1882 the reform organization was emphatic in the notion that American Indians must assimilate into white American society in order to survive. This vision of the IRA reformers was annually reinvigorated at their Lake Mohonk conferences and reinforced if not guided late nineteenth-century federal Indian
J. Preston, Principal, Oraibi Day School, "The Orabi Christmas Entertainment," Copy to E.K. Miller, Superintendent, Keams Canyon, Arizona, January 1924, File 000-24-063, Hopi Agency, CCF. 80 Burke's most vocal supporters in the arena of reform included the Indian Rights Association, the YWCA, the Philadelphia Indian Aid Association, the Home Mission Council, the council of Women for Home Missions, and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. William E. Johnson, "Civilizing Indian Dances," The Western Christian Advocate (Cincinnati, OH), June 27, 1923, in Records of the Library
policy in what became known as the era of allotment and assimilation. The IRA found a true friend in Charles Burke who shared many of their views on the proper course of handling the "Indian problem." Burke's dance circular 1665 and supplement could have come directly from an IRA playbook; when Burke came under attack in the press, the IRA stood by their friend at the head of the OIA. Herbert Welsh, founder and president of the IRA at the time of the dance ban circular, was one of the first to defend Burke in public. In a May 1923 letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Record, Welsh not only supported Burke but also chastised those who challenged the policy or his own moral vision. Welsh was in fact responding to an editorial in the Record that opposed Burke's ban. He wrote that there is "no midway resting place between the policy of civilization, on the one hand, which involves, sooner or later, the practical abandonment of old heathen customs, and that of retrogression, which would leave the Indian undeveloped, uncivilized, insuring his disintegration and final extermination..."81
Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 81 "Mr. Welsh on Indian Dances," Open Letters from the Editor's Mail Bag, The Philadelphia Record, May 5, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. Interestingly, Welsh's first impression of Native dances took place in 1882 when he arrived a few days after the annual Sun Dance at Rosebud, South Dakota. Although he recognized the potential benefit of social gatherings, he felt the "barbarous tortures" kept "alive old and savage customs." He immediately chastised the practice of the giveaways, in which case the Lakota provided gifts to those "less fortunate or more lazy than themselves." Welsh even suggested that they "turn this heathen festival into a Fourth of July picnic, offer some servicable [sic] reward to those who had proved themselves industrious during the year past, discourage a baneful generosity on the part of those whose labors had won success, and entirely prohibit the degrading spectacle of self-torture." William T. Hagan, The Indian Rights Association: The Herbert Welsh Years, 1882-1904 (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1985), 6-7.
In line with Burke's recommendation of gathering public support to combat the dances, the IRA in fact served the OIA as its main arbiter of propaganda. Based upon an interview by Washington Times reporter George Franklin with IRA representative S.M. Brosius, Franklin wrote that one of the aims of the IRA was to "eliminate as far as possible the `give away' dances, pow-wows and other celebrations which are held by the Indians. During these affairs many of the red men remain away from their homes and farms, and as a result stock, crops, gardens and home interests are neglected."82 Claiming that the IRA was unbiased, non-partisan and non-sectarian, its members continued to advocate, purely "for promoting the civilization of the Indian and for securing his natural and political rights," the stance that Burke had taken against Native dances.83 As Burke continued to get bashed by the press, the IRA grew more ardent in its support. In one communication the IRA stated, "It is to be regretted that, presumably through the ignorance of the real facts, this suggestion of Commissioner Burke to the Indians has brought forth vigorous protests. There is no intention on the part of Commissioner Burke to deprive the Indians of decent and proper amusements."84 The problem, according to the IRA, was in the "secret dances of a bestial and revolting
is Seeking Franchise Rights for Indians," April 26, 1924, The Washington Times, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. Franklin asserted the main goals of the IRA: "the uplift of the Indian of America in every way and the eventual granting to them the right of franchise." The OIA claimed no political allegiance and swore that their advocacy remained aligned not with the government but with American Indians. Yet their philosophy of assimilation, as well as that of Burke's, on a majority of issues was one in the same. 83 Ibid. 84 "Indians Urged to Give Up their Snake Dances," October 9, 1923, Pomona Bulletin (CA), in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
character...Christian people of the country must warmly welcome this policy of Commissioner Burke. To become worthy American citizens every encouragement should be given to Indians to abandon pagan practices and to travel patiently the road of thrift, care of crops, and continuous labor"85 The IRA completely agreed with Burke's assessment that one could draw a direct correlation between Indian dances and the impoverished conditions on the reservations. Similarly, according to the OIA the lack of successful harvests was in no way related to the failure of the OIA to deliver successful agricultural initiatives or the provision of proper funding for the tribes. But the IRA was much more concerned not with the impoverished economic conditions but rather with what they considered the impoverished moral conditions of the tribes brought on by Indian dance. Since 1920 the association had circulated amongst its members and some government officials various accounts of Pueblo dances in the "Secret Dance File." The file, nearly 200 pages long, was comprised of sworn testimony from around a dozen Hopis and seven white observers recorded by U.S. government inspector E.M. Sweet.86 The witnesses told the inspector in graphic detail of a number of secret Pueblo dances laden with, in the views of the IRA, uncivilized, immoral, intensely sexual acts of debauchery. The accounts were so indecent, according to members of the IRA, that they could not even send them through the mails or publish them.87
85 Ibid. 86 Jacobs, 87 Ibid,
The IRA defended Burke and the dance ban in the press principally upon its interpretation of the contents of the "Secret Dance File," a file that was never apparently released to any newspaper.88 The IRA titillated the public not with direct evidence from the file but with nuances and rumors. Secretary of the IRA, M.K. Sniffen, wrote to the editor of the New York Times, I have in my possession statements from six men who were eyewitnesses to a secret dance, describing what they saw. I also have an affidavit (reluctantly given) of three ladies describing immoralities they witnessed at a public dance during 1924. In addition we have the sworn testimony of Indians who, in the past, participated in these ceremonies, and they ought to know whereof they speak...they are too indecent to be printed or sent through the mails, but they are available to any seeker of the truth.89 Sniffen was responding to a letter published in the October 26, 1924 edition of The New York Times in opposition to the dance ban. Regarding its author, Sniffen wrote, "I judge that he sympathizes with the view of a Harvard ethnologist that `morals are merely a matter of custom.'"90 Sniffen argued that pro-dance pagan caciques of the Pueblos prevented the `moral' Indian from "the right to think and act for himself." Therefore,
D. Jacobs has written persuasively on the contents of the Sweet collection (the "Secret Dance File"), arguing that the testimonies were interpreted by reformers, particularly female reformers, as a reaction to changing sexual mores in American society; as such, their interpretations bear little fruitful analysis in regard to Pueblo sexuality. See her Engendered Encounters, and "Making Savages of Us All: White Women, Pueblo Indians, and the Controversy over Indian Dances in the 1920s," Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 17, no. 3 (1996), 178-209. 89 "Secret Dances of the Pueblos," To the Editor of the New York Times, The New York Times, written November 1, 1924, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. Similarly, the Western Christian Advocate of Cincinnati, Ohio, reported that "orgies [resulting from some Indian dances] are of such a nature that they cannot be publicly described. But the Indian Rights Association has a large number of affidavits made by Indians themselves who recognize the horrible character of these affairs and are cooperating to eliminate them." See Johnson, "Civilizing Indian Dances." 90 Ibid.
according to Sniffen, it was Native leadership that was preventing Indians from religious freedom and not the OIA.91 Some reformers and organizations published letters in newspapers that condemned the dances on the belief that women were given away and depraved acts of sexuality were either committed or simulated in the dances. The front page of the April 27, 1923 Chicago Evening American featured an article and interview with Elmer Higley, the superintendent of Indian missions for the Methodist Episcopal Church. The infamous Hopi Snake dances, according to Higley, were "unspeakably immoral."92 According to the newspaper Higley carried with him "a sheaf of sworn affidavits of men who at the risk of their lives spied upon the Indians' esoteric festival...and there witnessed the excesses." Regarding one of the Hopi dances, Higley exclaimed, "gradually the contortions of the dancers become more and more vulgar. Towards the end they are unspeakably so." After much vulgarity, he asserted, the dance climaxes in the bartering of prostitution, resulting in "an orgy--an orgy comparable only to the practices of ancient Druidism."93 Edith Dabb, director of Y.W.C.A. Work Amongst Indian Girls, was one of the most outspoken reformers who supported Burke and the dance ban. Responding to an editorial in the New York Tribune in opposition to the dance ban, she wrote that the Tribune overlooked the fact that "many customs connected with these dances, whatever
91 Ibid. 92 "Banned
Indian Dances Immoral, Is Charge of Mission Worker," The Chicago American, April 27, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA.
they may have meant to the primitive, are degrading to the Indian living in the world of today...Burke is a warm friend of the Indians...and understands...the struggle being made by the younger Indians for a cleaner and more self-respecting life on the reservations."94 Dabb, who felt that "young girls are often the greatest sufferers" as a result of the dance, stated that Indian girls were much better off if their time was consumed by the "healthier recreational activities" that the Y.W.C.A., for example, offered.95 In an interview published in the New Orleans Times Picayune, Dabb argued that the giveaways were the real problem: "The idea is born of that stupid conception of generosity which inspires a person to pauperize himself, to beggar himself and his family. There are, in the Indian `give away' code, some serious complications, especially when, in a fit of acute generosity, he gives away his wife or his daughter..."96 To combat the claims that the dance ban violated the religious freedom of American Indians, reformers who supported the ban argued that the dances viewed by whites were "inauthentic", done only for commercial purposes and thus purely secular in nature. The remaining religious dances, according to Edith Dabb, were "almost
93 Ibid. 94 "What
Readers Say", New York Tribune, March 29, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 95 Ibid. 96 "Thirty-two Dances of Indians Beat Jazz, says `Y'," New Orleans Times Picayune, July 15, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Miscellaneous Information, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. Samuel Eliot of the Board of Indian Commissioners agreed as to the detrimental nature of the giveaways: "In some tribes, the dances are occasions for what we would call robbery. The lazy good-for-nothings of the village assemble before the house of a hard-working Indian and compel him to share his goods with them. This proceeding may be religious tradition, but when traditions hurt the welfare of the Indians, it is time for them to be abandoned." See "Indian Dances to be Banned: Commissioners Believe that Rites have Lost all their Religious Meaning," New Bedford Mercury
invariably done in secret," and those were the dances that resulted in "orgies" and "all night camps" that, along with the commercialized dances, led Indian males away from the care of his family.97 The Board of Indian Commissioners, a group of missionaries and reformers, who in 1923 voted unanimously that Indians "should not dance," argued that "with only a few exceptions, the Indian dances are no longer connected with religion, but have become entirely commercialized."98 According to board member Samuel Eliot, "the so-called religious festivals of the Indians have become mere money-making debauches."99 Although none of the pro-ban reformers provided examples of any Indian dances that they or Burke approved of, many of them continued to reiterate the fact that Burke was not forbidding all dances, just those that were immoral or prevented Indians from working in the fields or providing approved forms of labor for employers.100
Native American Responses to the Dance Circular of 1923
(MA), November 17, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Miscellaneous Information, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 97 "Indian `Give Away' Dance Very Often has Serious Consequences," Rochester Post-Express, (NY), May 24, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Hopi: Dance Ban Reports in Favor Of, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. 98 "Indian Dances to be Banned: Commissioners Believe that Rites have Lost all their Religious Meaning," New Bedford Mercury (MA), November 17, 1923, in Records of the Library Section, Newspaper Clippings, ca 1923-24, Ceremonial Dances Box 1, Miscellaneous Information, Entry 996, RG 75, NA. For more information on the Board of Indian Commissioners, see Hagan, The Indian Rights Association. 99 Ibid. 100 In one interview Dabb reiterated Burke's claim that there was nothing necessarily immoral about the dances "in and of themselves." She argued, "The trouble lies in the causes for these dances. An Indian may go out on a hill and hop up and down all day. The hopping will not hurt him, except tire him out. But the reason for his hopping, the thoughts he entertains while hopping, are real devils of the dance." See "Thirty-two Dances of Indians Beat Jazz, says `Y'."
Although a survey of newspaper coverage can demonstrate to an extent the national reaction to Burke's circular supplement and "message to all Indians," the voices of Native people in the press are relatively few and far between. However, American Indians both in favor of and opposed to the dance ban went to great lengths, either through correspondence directly with Burke or through their agency superintendents, to make their concerns known. While some wrote short notes or simply stopped by the agency office to discuss the matter with their agent, others mobilized their communities in reaction to the dance or publicly and blatantly defied the order. The "Message to all Indians" produced a tremendous and varied response by Native people that was in no way uniform.101 As noted at the onset by the presence of Native missionaries at the Pierre meeting, along with some anti-dance tracts in the press, several Native people approved of Burke's measures. Peo-peo-tah-likt, a 66 year old Nez Perce, wrote Burke praising the circular, but added that he still partook in "celebrations lasting only a few days," but not when they interfered with work on his farm.102 Bird Above, of the Crow reservation in Montana, praised Burke's condemnation of the give aways, which he said occurred frequently in his community. But he also blamed the Catholic and Baptist missionaries for the lack of attention given to the individual family homes. He argued that they forced the members of the community to meet together
general, American Indian history has been characterized as focusing on the wants and desires of the federal government, particularly regarding the implementation of federal Indian policy. The voices of the Native people have been marginalized for the most part, if not left entirely absent from such studies. For this reason, and because of the rich nature of these sources that include many letters from Native people from all across the country, I have chosen, in several instances, to include large block texts of their letters, hopefully enabling their own words to fill some of the voids that historians have, if haphazardly, created.
often: "they made the Indians camp together and made or allow them to have all these wrongs things instead of helping or try to tell them what to do towards making homes." Bird Above argued that he found an "innocent religion" that kept the followers in small groups and at their homes: "We believe in stay home and look after of farms or home and have our little prayer meeting right in our own home."103 Bird Above was, according to C.H. Asbury, superintendent of the Crow Agency, "one of the leading peyote devotees."104 Bird Above in essence agreed with Burke as to the detrimental nature of the give aways, but his alignment with Burke and his policies stopped there. Using the language of the circular that argued for the importance of remaining and working in their homes, he advocated the practice of the peyote religion, a practice that Burke also sought to suppress. Like Bird Above, other Indians who opposed the dances voiced their support of the "message" in conjunction with a request for the OIA to validate their own agenda. One month before Bird Above wrote his letter, two Crow women named Nina Big Day and Annie Pryor congratulated superintendent Asbury on his plan to limit the medicine dance. Big Day and Pryor criticized the Crow men for pulling their boys into the dances when "these boys got education to go ahead in other games such as Basket ball and wrestling match and other games which will help to develop their health and be ready to
Nez Perce Agency to Burke, March 12, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. He added that he was Chief Joseph's nephew and was wounded in the Nez Perce War. 103 Bird Above to Burke, March 17, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 104 C.H. Asbury, superintendent of the Crow Agency to Burke, April 4, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
do any kind of work even to go to the army."105 Revealing a factionalization of the Crow community, the women also ardently supported boarding school education and believed that such education was not reconcilable with medicine dances. But in their critique of the dance Big Day and Pryor set their sights on converting a building presently occupied by an agency official into a gymnasium: due to the detrimental impact of the dances, they argued, "it will be a good idea if you let us have the old commissary for a gymnasium. Some of the boys looked at the building and makes them feel good to see the great big room where Mr. Campbell is now. I think he ought to move to the white building where Dr. Oberlander lives [because] it's a better building.106 Throwing themselves into the debate, the Crow women inventively used their shared opposition to the dance as leverage to argue for the appropriation of a government building. The varied responses from the Native people indicate their diversity of opinions, even within communities, over the nature of the Indian dances. Some, like the Lakota missionaries, believed that the dances were ultimately a threat to the "advancement" of Christianity and "civilization" amongst their people. Many others, however, were very upset and offended by the circular that Burke sent them. The negative responses to the circular were based on several different grounds. Some defended the dances because of their cultural or religious significance, some criticized the government for blaming crop failures on the dances, some argued that white dances were more morally threatening than their own, and others found the circular genuinely amusing.
Day, Nina and Annie, Pryor, Montana, to C.H. Asbury, Supt Crow Agency, Feb. 28, 1923, Circular Response, CCF, Entry 133 RG 75 NA.
Another group of Crows, this time 23 of them, wrote Burke in response to the circular. They noted that only a few members of their community practiced the give aways. The real reason they wrote Burke, however, was to respond to the blame he assigned dances for the cause of unsuccessful harvests. They took the opportunity to express to him what they felt were the real reasons why they were having difficulties with their crops. Horses Mane and the other Crow argued that they had been farming for many years, and used to have "great crops of wheat and hay," but that they had "lost interest" for several reasons: 1st: 2nd: 3rd: 4th: 5th: 6th: The grasshoppers destroyed our crops. When we needed the irrigation ditch, we could not obtain it, because the ditches were not in good condition. Although we obtained no water, yet we had to pay for the maintenance fee. More money than the whole crop was worth. There was no money in wheat and oats. Those who had to help us, from the office, did not give us intelligent help. The construction work of the ditch is a scandal here. Why must people pay Service for construction work? Would be better to have no land at all.107
"Yet," they wrote, "with all those obstructions which were brought to us, yet, we are willing to farm."108 The Crow recognized that the difficulties of farming on the reservation had much less to do with dances than with the outmoded and under-funded
106 Ibid. 107 Horses
Mane, Paul Kills, Ben Gardner, Joseph Hill, Barney Old Coyote, F.H. Does It, Alfonso Childs, William Moore, Fine or Five, Mike B. Chief, Thomas Long Tail, Jacob Big Hair, Eagle Turn Around, Mrs. Old Coyote, Mrs. Mary Takes a Gun, Takes A Gun, Rides A Pretty Horse, Mrs. Does Everything, Shot in the Nose, Woman That Sits Down, Susan Gardner, May Old Coyote, Susie B. Chief to Burke, April 10, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF, emphasis in original. 108 Ibid.
agrarian economic policies of the Office of Indian Affairs; they understood that the OIA was using dance as both a rationale for their failure and a way to blame the victims. Several Native people defended their dances on religious grounds. A group of Pueblo leaders were appalled at Burke's lack of respect for their religious beliefs and wrote, "One way of worshipping our God is by dancing and singing, praying and fasting...we do not hold or have any dance, race, or other tribal custom merely for the fun there is in it. It all [has] a solemn meaning to us." They claimed a constitutional right to religious freedom and requested that Burke rescind the circular.109 Frank Anwash of Oneida county, Wisconsin, also argued that Burke shouldn't have the right to suppress the dances: "this our religious dance. That's the only religion we got in this world and we can not get long [sic] without it, Jessus[sic] gave us his power to have this Religion dance."110 They held dances four times a year, in the spring ("to have our bodies clean and souls"), on the 4th of July, in the autumn and on Christmas Day, each dance lasting about four days. Anwash stated that the dances were essential for their religion and that they still worked hard to plant and harvest their gardens, even though they did not receive any money or land "of any kind" from the government.111
Pablo Garcia, Governor of Acoma Pueblo, Felicano Tenorio, Governor of Santo Domingo, Thamasitu [?] Tenorio, Lt. Governor, Andreas Velasque, Lt. Governor of San Felipe Pueblo, Daniel Otero, Governor of Santa Ana Pueblo, Martin Shandoh, Governorm of Jemez Pueblo, Lorenzo Lucero, Governor of San Dia (Sandia) Pueblo, Juan Bautista Aneno [?], Governor of San Juan Pueblo, Olojio Naranjo, Governor of Santa Clara Pueblo, Juan Vigil, Gubernado Sanchez [?] puebulo [sic], Jose Padilla, Governor of Isleta Pueblo, and Jose Alcario Montoya, Governor of Chochiti Pueblo, New Mexico to Burke, April 9, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. John Collier and other Indian policy reformers met with the Pueblo leaders and discussed the implications of the circular as well as strategies for defending themselves. Kelly, The Assault on Assimilation, pp. 295-348. 110 Frank Anwash to Burke, March 27, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 111 Anwash also questioned the right of the commissioner to stop their or any other "nationality" in the country from maintaining their religious practices. By claiming an Oneida nationality, Anwash claimed a
Many Native people felt that the dances of white people were much more morally threatening than the Indian dances. Oliver Jumping Eagle, of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, told his superintendent that he felt the level of decency and morality was very high at the Indian dances, arguing that "many more of the mixed bloods and others who attend the Omaha dances may be found the following Sunday in church than among those who attend the white dances."112 Equating high moral standards with those who attend church more regularly, his argument claimed a higher standard of decency for those who attended Indian dances than for those who participated in the white dances on the reservation. Such scrutiny of white dances (the particular dances are not mentioned) were not uncommon and demonstrates the multiple perspectives and the subjective nature of interpreting the meaning and values of cultural performance. Smith Pain on Hip from the Pine Ridge reservation wrote Burke and argued that the dances were conducted with "strict order" and behavior, not like white dances, in which he said "several fellows get drunk or some one may get kill or steal, such thing as that."113 The morality, practice, and rules of the Indian dances were superior in Pain on Hip's mind to the danger that he equated with the activities surrounding the white dances.114 Pain on Hip also took the
sovereign as well as an ethnic status of his people that, I suggest, alluded to the ethnic practices of immigrant groups that fell under the scrutiny of federal immigration policies and prejudices of the era. Ibid. The Fourth of July dances certainly corresponded, in many communities, with long held dances held during the summer solstice. 112 H.M. Tidwell, superintendent of Pine Ridge Indian Agency to Burke, April 5, 1923, File 10429-1922063, General Service File, CCF. 113 Smith Pain on Hip to Burke, March 11, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. He did not understand why the missionaries were complaining about the Lakota, as they "are baptized and attend church." He wrote that many of the missionaries were corrupt; "they might as well [have] retired from church work if they cannot live up to it. It will be better for them to quit and farm for themselves." 114 A group of Washington State Indians, appointed by the Colville general council, responded to Burke's circular by arguing that their dances were "given for pleasure only, like white people's dances." They
opportunity to explain to Burke the purpose of the giveaways: "[the superintendent and missionaries] don't know what dance is. And they don't know why they `give away': this is done so to help the poor and needy Indians."115 The giveaways became particularly significant among Native communities when the federal government did not maintain their treaty-bound agreements. If the government did not provide the support stipulated in the treaties, then it became even more necessary for Native communities to redistribute resources in an effort to help their own. The letters to Burke from Native people who opposed the circular were usually read by their superintendents before being mailed (if at all) to him. O.L.Babcock received several negative letters from the Indians around the Spokane Indian Agency in Washington state to mail to Burke, but he only forwarded one, from Jonas (John) Joseph, an older member of the community, who wrote, I wish you would stop write me letter like that [referring to the circular] I could say that foolish for you to do that isn't your business Indian dance and feast you don't know what your[sic] talking bout...you white poeple [sic] have dance all summer and all winter know body [sic] stop you folk because we know it your way and Indian way to[sic] I am tired all ready [sic] that why you should not send me letter like that I am work hard every day fence my wife place I am hungry I don't like to get letter like that that foolish letter and other thing you can stop Indian they got right to going
primarily danced war dances and chinook dances that "celebrate[d] old times," and did not interfere with their work. Charley Wilpocken, John Hayes, and Joe Moses to Burke, March 23, 1923, File 10429-1922063, General Service File, CCF. In a 1919 letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs Cato Sells a group of Standing Rock Lakota argued, "What is the difference in Indians dancing and white men dancing? There is no more temptation in the Indians' dance than there is in the white mans." They also wrote that "we are getting old and cannot enjoy ourselves in dancing the white mans' dances." No Heart et al to Cato Sells, June 7, 1919, File 109123-17-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. Two years later Joseph No Hearts of the Standing Rock agency pleaded with the commissioner: "We would like to dance now and then. We are old and that is the only enjoyment we get...[If the law prevents us from dancing], Then you should put a stop to White dances. It is not fair." Joseph No Hearts to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 18,1921, File 75420-19-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 115 Smith Pain on Hip to Burke, March 11, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
somewhere to work make little money for they children if you had give Indian money they wouldn't going know where [sic]...you know well I am old poor I am not able to work just now come I tell what I think oh yes I am send your letter back I don't like keep it to your self give to someone that like dance give him this letter to him John Andrew is one that going all over World for fun if you want give to him He see that letter I think he stay at his own place But me we all stay home we don't going nowhere good by."116 Joseph took offense to the fact that the circular was sent to him when he didn't feel he was responsible for any of the activities that Burke described in the circular. He considered himself a hard worker who stayed at home and lived in poverty because he had little access to the means to buy the seed from the government that they were directed to use for their crops. Joseph wrote Burke to criticize the government for wasting time sending circulars covering trivial matter, covering up its own failures, when it could instead devote more resources to improving the dire conditions that Indians were facing.117 Because governmental inadequacy kept Indians impoverished and often hungry, because it failed to implement an agrarian policy that provided the Indians with access to the resources they needed to work an already unsuitable land, Joseph felt that the Indians who danced at fairs for profit had every right to do so, as the dances provided more of a means to raising their children than the allotment and assimilation legislation could provide. Native people were of course extremely aware of the failures of the allotment policy due to the lack of suitable land and resources. Yet the agents and commissioner continued to cast their own failures onto the shoulders and the cultural
Joseph to Burke, March 25, 1923, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. Presumably John Andrew was a local Indian who traveled around the country, and possibly overseas, Joseph indicated, entertaining audiences with dances and demonstrations of Native culture.
practices of the Indians to the point that they condemned the practices even when they brought a semblance of economic relief. The circular also occasioned collective responses from a council of Wichitas, Delewares, Wacos, Keechies, Tawakonies, and others in Oklahoma.118 The Indians "were in a good humor all the way through the reading of the letter," and dictated a lengthy response that outlined their customs and religious practices, such as the redistribution of seeds in the spring so that all families are provided with enough for their planting.119 They considered themselves very religious and highly moral in nature; their non-religious gatherings included big feasts when the children were about to leave or were returning from boarding schools: "It is a serous [sic] matter for [the mothers] to know that their little ones are to be gone away from them for so long a time. Others try to comfort them, and use this occasion to make as merry as possible." They felt that they did not breach any of the moral directives that Burke laid out in his circular.120 The council was "curious" and "smiled a little" over the allegations of Burke in his circular. They felt that Burke made an unsubstantiated "blanket charge" that did not apply to them. They asked the Office of Indian Affairs to be more specific, and laid out several questions that they hoped Burke would address:
117 Ibid. 118 The
Wichita Nation Association to Charles L. Ellis, Supervisor of Indian Affairs, File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF. 119 They wrote, "All are farmers and have been for many hundreds of years before the United States came into existence. What sort of people would be so considerate of each others' welfare and happiness...Certainly not the evil-minded. What a very fine thing it would be if all the races were as fine in character!" Ibid., 4. 120 "Perhaps some few have taken on some of the evil ways of the white folks. But most of them do not." Ibid.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Please explain the meaning of "Pow-wow." What is a "Snake Dance?" When have the Wichitas or Delewares neglected their crops, gardens, and homes? When and where did these tribes give public shows of their customs? Tell us more about handling poisonous snakes. We are desiring to have respectable gatherings. We do not know all; we want to learn what is right.121
Obviously the Wichitas and others were poking fun at Burke and his circular. They essentially challenged the OIA to question their religious and cultural practices. The challenge did not end without a comparison to white dances. They wrote that "the jazz-dance is offensive to us...we would be very glad to have the Board of Health of Reviews or Censors to contrast our manner of dancing with those of the white-folks and from the stand-point of saneness and morality and healthfulness show which of the Dances are more in keeping with standards as set out."122 They questioned Burke's equating of Indian dances with immorality and turned it on its head, pointing out their opinion that the white dances were much more threatening than the Indian dances in the very terms that Burke used to define them. They pressed this point even further: "We would not allow our children to degrade themselves to go to one of such dances as the white folk put on if we could help ourselves...We are willing to go on trial...to prove to the world that we our manners and customs are much superior in many points of virtue over our boasted white brethren."123 The letter to the OIA was drawn up and signed in the presence of John Thomas, a Wichita preacher who led his own exclusively Indian
121 Ibid., 122 Ibid.,
congregation. While non-Christian Indians, or Indians who had more successfully syncretized Christianity within their own cultural traditions, could have much at stake in rejecting Burke's letter, so too did American Indians heavily involved in more doctrinal Christian organizations. This congregation took pride in their sense of morality and Native heritage, and would not allow the charges that Burke made in his circular addressed "to all Indians" to stand without a challenge. Moreover, they would not sit idly by when the dances and gatherings of their people were clearly designated as more morally dangerous than white dances. They couched their own notions of what constituted safe and dangerous cultural performances in direct opposition to the allegations that they felt Burke made against them. But these notions were not a response to Burke as much as an affirmation of their own morality, and the immorality that they felt surrounded the "white" dances that they had witnessed. Dances, no matter what style or origin, served as barometers that registered the desires and values of Indians, agents, and missionaries alike.
Burke asked all agency superintendents to provide a report one year after the dance circular supplement was issued. The reports varied in length from several pages to one or two sentences, but many agents took the opportunity to express their own views on Indian dance and the circular. While some indicated that dancing either had never been a problem or was curtailed under their own watch during the year, others responded that
dancing was on the increase; some provided Burke with their own opinions as to what was causing the frequency of dances on their reservations. The most outspoken opponents of the dance previous to the circular were typically the ones most disappointed with its (lack of) success. Arthur Pratt, the farmer in charge of the Porcupine district of Fort Yates, North Dakota was particularly aghast: "the letter had a wide publicity among the Indians here, but it appears that they soon forgot it and continued to go on with the dances as though the letter was never written to them by the Commissioner. No effort on the part of the Indians has been made to uphold and carry out the instructions that were given them..."124 The Lakota in Pratt's district had threatened to take the matter up with Senators if he did not grant them permission to dance. They formed a committee ostensibly to self-regulate the dances, but Pratt, in an illustration of his lack of control and authority, felt that instead their job was to insure that "every savage custom is performed that are a permanient [sic] part of all these Indian dances."125 Upset with the fact that many dancers believed they had a right as citizens to dance without governmental regulation, he wrote that he did not think "that the Constitution means that any class of people in the United States are to follow their old savage, heathen customs...These Indians have a government of their own and it is the Indian dance..."126 H.W. Sipe, a farmer in the Yankton Agency, disliked the "white dances" that some of Lakota participated in as much as Indian dances and "forbid all
Arthur, to E.D. Mossman, Superintendent, Fort Yates, North Dakota, March 22, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 1 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 125 Ibid.
dancing on the agency ground."127 His stance seemed to do little good, however, as he reported that dancing had continued in full force, and in no case did they even bother to request permission from him.128 "White dances," as they were known by the agency superintendents and farmers, along with hybrid dances such as the Owl dance, had become more popular in the northern plains at this time.129 According to the superintendent of the Blackfeet Agency in Montana the Owl Dance had become quite popular since its introduction by some Lakota four years previously. He wrote, "It is a mixture of Grass dance and modern white dancing; quite a little like the circular two step that is danced by white people."130 The dance was popular with the younger Blackfeet but some of the older people believed that because the male and female partners frequently change during the dance, the dance promoted promiscuity. The superintendent reported to Burke that typically two dances occur together, "one participated in by the Indians, or old full bloods, and the other among the mixed bloods and whites. In fact, most of the school boys and girls participate in the white mans dance in preference to the Indians dance."131 Because superintendent Beyer of the Fort Totten agency actively prohibited younger Lakota from attending "the
126 Ibid. 127 "Sipe,
H.W. to R.E.L. Daniel, Superintendent, Yankton Agency, March 19, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 1 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 128 Ibid. 129 Most of the dances discussed in this dissertation are certainly hybrid in one way or another, since they typically have diverse multi-tribal, multi-community or multi-generational histories. Yet this seems the most efficient way to characterize the dances such as the Owl Dance or other two-step dances that OIA officials considered as crosses between "white" and "Indian" dances.
old Indians' dances," they formed an organization "under the guise of an auxiliary to the American Legion" and performed a hybrid dance that was most likely the Owl Dance.132 A number of superintendents reported to Burke that one of the main incentives for Indian dance was based on their economic situation: white people enamored by the dances provided dancers with money that was impossible to earn through farming on small allotments with poor soil, little seed and fewer tools. According to superintendent Jacob Breid the "most harmful gathering" of the Sac and Fox occurred as an annual Powwow sponsored by the state historical society.133 He added, "Those participating in the pow wow say that they must make some money with which to pay their obligations, but this would not be necessary if each had a larger acreage to cultivate. This is only an excuse but there are good grounds for the assumption of such an attitude."134 A number of Blackfeet "professional dancers...made Glacier Park Hotel their head-quarters" and received constant solicitation from moving picture companies, rodeos and artists.135 A year after the dance circular supplement was issued, one farmer amongst the Yankton Sioux complained that "the dance craze took on new life last year as a result of the
F.C., Superintendent, Blackfeet Agency, Browning, Montana, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 29, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 19071935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 131 Ibid. 132 Beyer, W.R., Superintendent, Fort Totten Indian Agency, Fort Totten, North Dakota, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 19, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 133 Breid, Jacob, Dr., Superintendent and Physician, Sac and Fox Sanatorium, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, April 2, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 19071935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 134 Ibid.
dancing at the Yankton Sioux fair. There were more visiting dancers and a great many more participants in the different dances than I had see before in five years I have been at this place."136 He was particularly concerned at the "surprising number of the younger generation who frequent them."137 While banning any dances considered "Indian" by his pupils, the superintendent of the Phoenix Indian School observed an increase in dances across the Southwest, particularly those "staged for the white population at railroad points and elsewhere" such as the annual Gallup fair.138 Between forty and fifty Sisseton Sioux danced at the annual fair near their reservation, each earning one or two wellneeded beeves as payment.139 However, once the dance circular supplement was issued, the superintendent felt it his duty to forbid them from participating and thus caused tremendous agitation.140 In Wisconsin the Grand Rapids Agency superintendent noted two pow-wows held the previous year where "admissions were charged and considerable money made on the gate receipts charged the white people."141 That year dancers also made "considerable
F.C., Superintendent, Blackfeet Agency, Browning, Montana, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 29, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 19071935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 136 Martin, Edward G., Agency Farmer, to R.E.L. Daniel, Superintendent Yankton Agency, Wagner, South Dakota, March 28, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 137 Ibid. 138 Brown, J.B., Superintendent Phoenix Indian School, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 20, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 139 Beeves is a reference to beef. 140 Nillshare, N.C., Sisseton Indian Agency, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 26, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 16461666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 141 Dunn, W.E., Superintendent, Grand Rapids Agency, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 14, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to
sums" when hired out on a daily wage in Kilbourn, Marshfield, Wausau, Tomahawk, Rhinelander and Chicago amongst other areas.142 The superintendent expressed some frustration over both his inability to control them and the lack of economic incentives available to them as an altervative: Being citizen Indians and not under reservation restraint and very widely scattered, I find it very difficult to prevent my Indians from leaving home when they have little or no money or provisions and are promised good wages to dance...Farming and stock raising has been paying very poor returns and it is doubtful if much progress can be reported until the price of farm commodities is higher, but I will not allow this argument to influence my course..."143 Several superintendents felt that even if dancing were to continue it, it was not a real problem that the OIA should focus its energies on. H.P. Marble was more direct than the Grand Rapids Agency superintendent in refusing to acknowledge a causal relationship between dancing and the lack of agricultural success on reservations. "As indicated in previous reports," he wrote, "the dances amongst the Pueblo Indians are not thought to interfere with farming or productive labor. On the contrary most of their dances are in celebration of the completion of some particular task in connection with their agricultural activities."144 The Coeur D'Alene superintendent wrote Burke that the "war dance element" on the reservation held two or three Potlatches (giveaways) during a dance, but that such practices were typically harmless: "the value of the presents given
Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 3 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 142 Ibid. 143 Ibid. American Indian dancers were also paid to perform by private ventures such as the Fred Harvey company. 144 Marble, H.P., Superintendent, Southern Pueblos, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 17, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 2 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA.
is, as a rule, not great. Generally the gift is a repayment of an obligation, also the recipient is expected to reciprocate. I do not know of a case where any hardship has ever resulted from the Potlatch dance."145 Superintendent Bauman of the Zuni agency reported the Zuni danced with great frequency, but that he respected the ceremonial nature of the dances and did not feel that they interfered with any industrial or agricultural activities. Like most tribes, the Zuni dances were held more frequently in the winter months than in the summer, because, according to Bauman, after the harvest they had "little else to attend to" until the next season.146 The controversy over the circular and the attempted regulation or suppression of reservation dances by the government continued for many years. By the 1920s, however, many Indian people had grown adept at using dance as a voice in national politics, a voice that could simultaneously critique assimilation, allotment, and the very definitions of Americanness, civilization and citizenship held by the OIA. Others such as Otto Lomavitu used the dance debate to affirm contrary views or to critique the American public that had become engrossed in the dances. The OIA was never successful in turning the tide of popular culture and public opinion against the dances, nor could the office convince many Native people to agree with their particular vision of citizenship
H.D., Superintendent, Coeur d'Alene Indian Agency, April 3, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 1907-1935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 1 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. Lawshe wrote that on the reservation there "are two classes, one, mostly older Indians, who are devout in their [Catholic] church and are opposed to the Indian dances, the other element, which is a small minority known as the `War Dance' element, a number of this class and their leader are of the element that is commonly known as `Agitators' and are generally opposed to all policies of the Government in the administration of Indian affairs." Ibid.
and "civilization." This is perhaps most fully evidenced by the 1933 appointment of John Collier as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the outspoken reformer and leading nonIndian proponent of the dances.147 Collier's Indian New Deal froze the sale of any further allotments and in fact encouraged the celebration of Indian difference through dances, arts and crafts. This vision was not born out of the minds of reformers, however--it depended upon the creative strategies of Native people to maintain and celebrate a sense of difference, their Indian identities, during the most oppressive of times. Dancers used Americanness to advance the protection their Indian identities, and used their performance of Indianness as a platform to advance their case before the American public. Dance participants used the tropes of morality and citizenship to combat the supplement to circular 1665 as newspapers, organizations, and non-Native individuals utilized Indianness to articulate a vision of America often, but not always, counterintuitive to Burke's. The press also used the dance debate to criticize reform movements affecting their own communities. As the Great Falls Daily Tribune remarked, "super-denominational uplifters...furnished blue laws for red skins, and poor
R.J., Superintendent, Zuni Indian Agency, Blackrock, New Mexico, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, April 28, 1924, Orders, Circulars, and Circular Letters (folder: Replies to Circulars, 19071935, Answers to Circulars 1646-1666, #1665), file 1 of 5, Box 102, Entry 133, RG 75, NA. 147 His appointment became a possibility only after a sympathetic president took office and the 1928 Merriem report, prepared by an independent investigative team for congress, revealed what Native people had known all along: that the allotment and assimilation policies created catastrophic economic, health, and social conditions. See Institute for Government Research, The Problem of Indian Administration in Studies in Administration (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1928).
Lo is cribbed, likewise much cabined and confined."148 Certainly this was a reaction by the editors to all of the reformers and prohibitionists of the day. The debate waged in the newspapers reveals a divide not only in terms of the approval of Indian dance but also over competing views of society, race and culture. Cultural relativism had begun to influence the beliefs of some reformers like Collier as much as older theories of social evolution persisted in the minds of Burke and others. Where Burke's policies were based in hierarchical views of race and culture straight out of the nineteenth century, his office was challenged by a new generation of reformers, though often steeped in romantic desires of primitivism, who placed value on cultural difference. The very nature of "Civilization" and citizenship were riddled with contradiction and complexity illuminated in the debate over the "dance evil" and the implications that it had in the national debates over the "Indian question." Even after the Snyder Act granted citizenship to all remaining non-citizens in 1924 (perhaps 2/3 had already gained citizenship status), Indian identities and American identities were never truly reconciled. The diversity of opinions amongst and between Indians and non-Indians alike illuminates the conceptual limitations of distinguishing such categories as binary or oppositional. Everyone involved in the debate had different notions of what constituted Indian identity and its value (or lack thereof), as well as how the bestowal of citizenship should affect the rights and activities of Native people. The meanings of citizenship and nationalism were reconfigured by dancers who used them to support their right to dance. Likewise,
the Indians," Great Falls Daily Tribune (MT), April 10, 1923, newspaper clipping in File 10429-1922-063, General Service File, CCF.
many newspapers supported Indian dance as a freedom as central as anything else to the American way. But the dance debate was as much a debate on the merits and rights of citizenship for Indians as it was a debate over who should wage control over Native cultural practices. Moreover, the dance debate demonstrated the inherent failures of allotment and assimilation policies and the profound sense of disempowerment felt within the OIA as Native people found new ways to celebrate the tribal, community, and ethnic sense of difference that the government had for so long struggled to dismantle. The dialectics of what constituted "dangerous" and "safe," more and less threatening cultural practices fueled much of the debate between Native peoples, OIA officials, missionaries, and public representatives. Never stable, the values and meanings assigned the practice of music changed according to the circumstances of the Indians, missionaries, or agents defining them. Native people were divided over the issue, ranging from the responses of the Lakota missionaries to the angry polemics of many individual Indians and leaders who were offended by what they considered the ignorance and the hypocrisy of the officials' interpretation and attack of their cultural practices. While the Lakota Catholic missionaries felt that the Indian dances were threatening because they were equated with heathenism, many other Indians felt that these dances were morally superior to the `white' dances taught in federal Indian boarding schools. Sometimes the instability of these concepts grew even more profound. In 1927, a group of Lakota who comprised the American Progressive Association petitioned Commissioner Burke to prohibit three specific dances on the Standing Rock reservation:
the Kahomni, or Owl dance, the Rabbit dance, and the Slide Naslohan dance.149 They argued that the dances were barbarous and heathen as well as injurious to the Lakota who practiced them. They pointed out to Burke that these dances violated his directives as comprised in the circular #1665 supplement and "message to all Indians," the same supplement and message spawned from the "dance evil" meeting in Pierre. Many returned students took up these dances, Joseph Otter Robe and the other petitioners complained, thus "instead of trying to do what they have learned in school they go back to the old barbarism ways and disobey the orders from the Indian Office."150 They reported that in the five years since the circular and the supplement were delivered, they noticed no perceptible reduction in the number of "barbarism dances" or in their threat to hindering the goals of making Indians "good citizens."151 Burke asked Mossman, still the superintendent of the Standing Rock Agency, to report back to him on the matter of these dances and the complaints of their practice by Otter Robe and the rest of his organization. Mossman, previously perhaps the most outspoken critic of Indian dances amongst the Lakota, responded, "I agree partly [with] what is said in this petition. However, these dances as enumerated are not really Indian dances. They are a hybrid between the old Indian dances and the modern white dances."152 Mossman detailed the fact that the dances "do not call for Indian costumes" and that the Owl Dance is "something like a waltz" in that male and female partners face
Otter Robe et al to Charles H. Burke, January 17, 1927, File 8058-27-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 150 Ibid. 151 Ibid.
each other and swing around holding hands.153 "The only objection I see to this dance," and the others, Mossman wrote, "is that they insist upon dancing it with a tom-tom and singers, otherwise it would be a white dance."154 Mossman felt that if the OIA officials and government farmers encouraged these dances, but separated them from the "old Indian dances," then the "old" dances would eventually die out.155 With the exception of the "lack of music and the fact that they are danced to the time of tom tom and chanters," Mossman felt these dances were unobjectionable because they were like "white" dances.156 Yet the Lakota American Progressive Association understood these new dances, the Kahomni or Owl dance, the Rabbit dance, and the Slide Naslohan dance, as barbaric and a hindrance to the goals of the federal government's program of assimilation and civilization. Otter Robe said that these three dances would "demoralize their character and their homes and family," lead them to drinking, keep them from working the fields, and lead them astray from their lessons of proper citizenship taught in the boarding school classrooms.157 Yet Mossman saw no such threat in these dances and even supported their practice in lieu of the "older" dances such as the grass dance. Otter Robe and the other Lakota American Progressive Association members restated almost verbatim the complaints that Burke, Mossman, and the other federal officials and missionaries of the "dance evil" meeting had earlier articulated,
E.D. to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 10, 1927, File 8058-27-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 153 Ibid. 154 Ibid. 155 Ibid. 156 Ibid.
while Mossman stood in favor of these new dances as a civilizing influence. While demonstrating the polarizing and political nature of Indian music in this period (and the subjective nature of its interpretation), Otter Robe and the others further exacerbated this complex story in item 5 of their letter: "This here petition does not interfere with the Omaha dance or Grass dance and other dances that is allowed by Treaty law, as a memorial dance."158 The various Native people, OIA officials, and missionaries involved in the dance debate framed the danger involved in either the proliferation or the suppression of dances in different ways, for different reasons. However, all recognized the importance, magnitude, vitality, and deep political resonance of the practice of music throughout this period of American Indian history. The struggles of Native people over the control and meaning of their performative traditions exposed the limits and transformed the directives of federal Indian policy, challenged the notions of citizenship, Indianness, civilization and savagery that shaped that policy, and demonstrated the malleability of those concepts in the early twentieth century. Although the OIA was never again particularly
successful in curbing Indian dances on reservations, boarding schools, as we shall see, provided a very different arena for the politics of music to unfold.
Otter Robe et al to Charles H. Burke, January 17, 1927, File 8058-27-063, Standing Rock Agency, CCF. 158 Ibid.
Chapter 3 The Musical Politics of Federal Indian Boarding Schools
"They called us the skin band, but...our band can play better than those white boys in the town."1
The 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee invigorated OIA officials' desire to suppress Indian performative practices and supplant them with what they considered those of "civilized" white society. Federal Indian boarding schools provided an apt arena in which officials could exert their influence as they attempted to shape the meaning of public musical performance. Inculcating the students with the regimented disciplinary movements associated with military brass, and then displaying those taut, refined Indian bodies to a predominantly white public served to bolster the prestige, Congressional support, and perceived successes of OIA officials and school administrators. Such an appropriation of young American Indian minds and bodies of course enraged several of the parents and elders on the reservations, who considered as dangerous and desecrating the European dances their children learned at school. Caught in this crossfire, music and dance became a moral and cultural battleground. In this chapter I wish to parse that battleground, elucidating the ways in which O.I.A. officials used music as a civilizing tool and the manner in which a white public often displayed hostile reactions to Indians
performing "their" music. At the conclusion of this chapter, I will include comment on the ways in which the students themselves used the music they were taught, ways that reflected the variety of their musical experiences both at home and at school.
CARLISLE INDIAN SCHOOL, 1891: THE TROUBLE WITH INDIAN DANCE
In January of 1891, news of the massacre at Wounded Knee electrified the Carlisle Indian School campus. Although the Carlisle newspaper had kept the students abreast of the rising tensions since early December of 1890, returning students were stunned to hear reports of the killings. Their first concern was to determine whether any of their current or former classmates had been involved. Carlisle's greatest information source was the returned students who corresponded with General Richard Pratt, the founder and head of the school. Conflicting reports both before and after the massacre presented the students with some challenges as to what they believed actually occurred at Wounded Knee. Complicating the story even further was the fact that Pratt tended to adapt reports to fit his own agenda for how the students should understand what was taking place. Pratt consistently referred to the Ghost Dance movement that involved many of the Lakota as the "Messiah craze" and took lengths to disparage its relevance and certainly its value through these accounts. He published a letter from former student Edgar Fire Thunder who wrote in December that "We haven't any trouble except some of the Indians had Ghost Dance, but I think
Morning Star, March 1886, volume VI, number 8, p. 11. 146
they will stop now[. A] good many soldiers came here a few days ago, eight companies in all. The newspapers told that the Indians wanted to fight white men. That is all a mistake. They are going to have council with the soldiers."2 Pratt reported on December 26, 1890 that Frank Locke, another ex-student living near the Rosebud agency, believed that "an Indian outbreak means a great deal more to newspaper men than to any other class of people[,] especially when they want to `finish out columns' and get pay for them."3 Pratt had already reached that conclusion weeks earlier when a letter from George Means from Pine Ridge made no mention of the "troubles."4 The articles and letters he edited for The Indian Helper made it clear that Pratt believed Indian dances represented the antithesis of civilization. On December 5th he wrote, The Messiah craze among the Indians may have been sprung upon those poor ignorant people by white men who are after their lands, or their money, or who want a war with the Indians so that they can rush into battle, kill them and thus win renown. What a shame and an outrage it is! What is the real reason for it all? Ignorance on the part of the Indians, nothing else. Our boys and girls who have learned to read and reason, know better than to be led into trouble in that fashion. Thousands, perhaps of your people will suffer and many [will] be killed before they get their eyes open. Dear boys and girls, if you were there you could not help them. Be content that you are where you can get the education that will save you from such a fearful mistake in the future."5 Pratt welcomed, and perhaps even fabricated, the opinions of the returned students living around the Pine Ridge agency that lent further support to his view. Although he typically included the names of those returned students who sent him accounts of the situation,
Indian Helper: A Weekly from the Carlisle Indian School, vol. 6, no. 15, 12 December 1890, p. 2. vol. 6, no. 17, 26 December 1890, p. 2. 4 Ibid., vol. 6, no. 14, 5 December 1890, p. 2.
Pratt perhaps took some editorial liberties when he recounted a letter, the author of which he referred to only as "W," that supposedly supported his views: "Oh, it makes me laugh when I saw in the paper, that they said someone told them that they must kill all the whites and they are the ones [that are] going to have the world for themselves. Poor Indians! They don't know what is best for them. Dear! The idea they left their farms and houses [and] are going to be turned into savage ways."6 On December 26th Pratt reminded the students that "when each Indian gets his eyes open sufficiently to see that the sooner he learns to lead himself instead of following the advice of ignorant chiefs the better it will be for him."7 The news of the massacre silenced any optimism that the virility of the Ghost Dance movement was a media fabrication. Early reports from the Helper indicated that students Mack Kutepi, Paul Eagle Star and others were killed by the soldiers. This turned out not to be the case, as Moses Culbertson reported to Pratt, but it was clear that the movement had polarized the returned students living around the Pine Ridge agency. 8 Most of the returned students were not involved with the "hostiles," as the ghost dancers were known, and some even carried rifles days after the massacre to protect themselves.9 Pratt asked George Means and other sympathetic returned students to assess which Carlisle students were among the "hostiles." Two months after the massacre, they found that fifty-seven out of a total of sixty-three former students residing near Pine Ridge
5 Ibid. 6 Ibid., 7 Ibid.,
vol. 6, no. 15, 12 December 1890, p. 2. vol. 6, no. 17, 26 December 1890, p. 2. 8 Ibid., vol. 6, no. 21, 30 January 1891, p. 1.
during the events were still alive and accounted for, and six of those accounted for were involved at Wounded Knee. 10 Pratt suggested that, with the exception of George Means, the rest of the "hostile" ex-students "remained long enough [at Carlisle] to gain a smattering of English only."11 In addition to the massacre at Wounded Knee, Pratt manipulated reports of an incident surrounding a young Brul man, Plenty Horses, who further threatened to undermine the assimilation campaign waged at Carlisle. Days after the U.S. cavalry annihilated the "hostiles," including their women and children, Plenty Horses, who had spent five years at Carlisle, shot and killed army Lieutenant Edward A. Casey.12 Plenty Horses was not included among the fifty-seven accounted for and the six that Pratt reported as "hostile." His absence was more than a glaring omission; Pratt blatantly denied that Plenty Horses ever attended the school. Referring to Plenty Horses, he said, "No-Water's son has never been a student of this school, and inquiry among our Sioux Students has developed the fact that No-Water has never sent his children to school anywhere."13
9 Ibid. 10 "Now 11 Ibid. 12 Plenty
We Have the Truth," The Indian Helper, vol. 6, no. 25 27 February 1891, p.1.
Horses Brul name was Senika-Wakan-Ota; his family were members of Two Strike's band. Plenty Horses was with the Ghost Dancers of Two Strike's people, and not at Wounded Knee during the attack, but he heard the guns and, after rushing over, witnessed the aftermath. Robert M. Utley, "The Ordeal of Plenty Horses," American Heritage, vol. 26, no. 1, 15-19, 82-86: 16, 18. 13 The Indian Helper, vol. 6, no. 21 30 January, 1891, p. 1. Utley writes that Plenty Horses' father was Living Bear, a cousin of Two Strike. Utley, 16.
Despite Pratt's promises that education in American schools would lead to the salvation of Native lives, Plenty Horses thought otherwise. After the killing of Casey, he said: I found that the education I had received was of no benefit to me. There was no chance to get employment, nothing for me to do whereby I could earn my board and clothes, no opportunity to learn more and remain with the whites. It disheartened me and I went back to live as I had before going to school.14 Explaining his actions, he continued: I am an Indian. Five years I attended Carlisle and was educated in the ways of the white man....I was lonely. I shot the lieutenant so I might make a place for myself among my people. Now I am one of them. I shall be hung and the Indians will bury me as a warrior. They will be proud of me. I am satisfied.15 Plenty Horses felt alienated after his return to the reservation and desperately sought the respect of his fellow Brul. He did not feel that Carlisle provided him with adequate tools to participate in his community; he found those tools, rather, in the Ghost Dance.16 Plenty Horses rejected his Carlisle education and the school officials' feelings regarding "Indian" dance and other "hostile" activities. But what, then, did the officials approve of? A small book called Stiya: A Carlisle Indian Girl at Home illuminates what the officials did, in fact, approve. The Riverside Press Published Stiya in the same year that the students learned of the Ghost Dance massacre, the same year that Plenty Horses killed
Utley, 15-19, 82-86: 16. Ibid., 86. 16 Ibid., 17. Plenty Horses was eventually acquitted for the murder of Casey after two trials. The acquittal was based on the decision, reached by the judge, that the killing occurred during a time of war. A conviction would allow the possibility that the soldiers responsible for the slaughter at Wounded Knee might face the possibility of similar charges. He died on June 15, 1933, a year after his wife and son passed.
Lieutenant Casey.17 Written by Marion Burgess, a teacher and matron at the school, the book was designed to serve as a moral guide for recent graduates of the Pennsylvania Carlisle Indian School who returned to their reservation communities across the country. Burgess, like all of the teachers and administrators in off-reservation boarding schools, was keenly aware of the difficulties that returned students often faced in applying their vocational and domestic training in such circumstances. Furthermore, she, like the rest, had also heard many stories of students "going back to the blanket," that is, shedding their "citizen" clothes and their "civilized" skills in favor of the "old Indian ways." Burgess was determined to demonstrate through the story of Stiya that the inability of the students to apply their Carlisle instruction was the fault of their families and communities, not that of the school. Stiya, who represented the model of civilized behavior for an alumnus of Carlisle, found life in her Pueblo village particularly horrific: she thought her parents and her people were culturally grotesque, perfect models of the savagery that Carlisle had taught her to abhor. She found herself sleeping on the floor of their home, washing clothes without the aid of a washtub, and warding off her parents' urges to give up her school clothes for her cousins' dress and leggings. But the climax of Burgess's story revolved around Stiya's refusal to participate in a Pueblo dance. Against the Pueblo governor's orders, she convinced her parents that none of them should
Burgess (EMBE), Stiya: A Carlisle Indian Girl at Home (Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1891).
take part in the "disgraceful dances" that represented the very antithesis of all that she had learned in Carlisle as right, proper, "civilized," and morally sound.18
THE ROLE OF MUSIC AND DANCE IN A PROGRAM OF CIVILIZATION THROUGH EDUCATION
Federal Indian boarding schools were established in the late 19th century under the premise that, through formal education and vocational training, native children could become "civilized," Christianized, and assimilated, eventually prepared to assume the rights and duties of American citizenship. Boys learned to plow fields or labor in factories while girls were instructed in domestic skills such as cleaning, cooking, and washing clothes. But the curriculum of the schools was all-encompassing, designed thoroughly to immerse the boys and girls in the values and culture of Anglo-Saxon American citizenship. Hence the students' "transformation" also required training in the "proper arts of civilization." For example, the returned students, as represented by Stiya, in Burgess' fictional account, were trained in Euro-American forms of music and dance that were intended to serve as a replacement for the "heathen" reservation dances. Richard Pratt epitomized the philosophy of Americanization in the first decades of the boarding schools with his infamous slogan that the Carlisle Indian School, in accord with
59. Richard Pratt reinforced this correlation between "Indian dances" and savagism when he instructed Lakota chiefs visiting the Carlisle school to go back to the reservations and "make the Indians stop their dances, change their Indian habits and dress for civilized ones and make different and better surroundings for our returned pupils." Quoted in David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1995), p. 276.
the mission of all boarding schools, should "kill the Indian...and save the man."19 Musical education was one of Pratt's most powerful weapons in this regard. The boarding schools became a fixture in American Indian life beginning in 1879 with the opening of Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Richard Pratt, following a sort of `experiment' with young Indian prisoners at the Hampton Institute for African Americans in Virginia, successfully lobbied for the federal government to reopen as an Indian school the deserted Carlisle army barracks.20 Children from reservations across the country attended the schools, most by the will of their parents although some by force.21 Gradually, the government established several additional large off-reservation boarding schools such as Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma, Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas, Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota, Salem Indian School in
19 Ibid., 20 Ibid.,
52. 46-48. 21 For an example of the government forcing the enrollment of children in the schools at gunpoint, see Peter Whiteley's account of government intervention at the Oraibi Village on the Third Mesa of Hopi. Peter M. Whiteley, Deliberate Acts: Changing Hopi Culture Through the Oraibi Split, (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1988), 76-83. Clyde Ellis also provides examples of parents who did not wish their children to enroll at the Rainy Mountain Indian school and hid them from officials. Clyde Ellis, Indian Education at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 1893-1920 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996), 98-99. At other times, in disputes over treaties and allotment policies, parents would refuse to send their children as well. Helen Sekaquaptewa, a member of a "hostile" family that wished to keep their children out of the schools, recalled the experiences of police raids and evasions by children. Helen Sekaquaptewa, Me and Mine: The Life Story of Helen Sekaquaptewa, as told to Louise Udall (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1969), 8-12. In the early years, school superintendents "practically kidnapped" children in order to fill the quotas of their schools. Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne-Arapaho Education, 1871-1982 (Niwot, CO: University of Colorado Press, 1997), 59. Michael Coleman's study of accounts left by ex-students reveals that, of the seventy or so who made mention of why they first attended boarding school, about one fourth of them reported that they were coerced into going by government officials (including tribal police). About one half of the ex-students were convinced to go by tribal members. Coleman's study is exceptional because of the vast number of autobiographies he analyzed. Michael C. Coleman, American Indian Children at School, 1850-1930 (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993), 60. Parents who supported the enrollment of their children in school often did so because they believed it would better prepare them to deal with non-Indians, particularly because they would learn how to speak English, and because they felt the children would have a better chance to receive daily meals, a luxury on a number of reservations at the time.
Chemawa, Oregon and the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, along with some day schools on reservations. Many of the largest schools were located far from the homes of most of the students in order to diminish the "demoralizing" cultural influences of parents and other reservation community members. Carlisle was the most nationally recognized among these schools; their famous football team and marching band brought young Indian athletes and musicians before thousands of people who had never seen a single American Indian, and certainly not an entire team of them trouncing rival college teams or blowing notes through saxophones and trombones. The music education programs in the off-reservation schools were all very similar in content and design. The OIA sought to use music in the schools as a mechanism to cultivate the students' tastes for the "proper," that is, Christian, Euro-American arts. The administrators who oversaw the schools attempted to create a dialectic of civilized and savage behavior that could infiltrate every aspect of the students' lives, even after their return to the reservation. By instilling in the students a sense of proper and civilized music, federal Indian boarding schools sought to churn out students like Stiya, who shunned the practice of native songs and dances on reservations. Alongside a curriculum in which boys were trained to cultivate crops and girls were trained in domestic skills, there existed simultaneously a program for training in the Euro-American performative arts of song and dance, a musical program intended to replace the culturally dangerous native-derived songs or dances. The politics of music within the schools, that is, the selection of "acceptable" forms of music for instruction, provides a frame through which to view the students' various responses to the music they played. 154
As Santee Sioux and Carlisle graduate of the class of 1915 James Garvie put it, "The whole object of the school was to turn out loyal Americans. That was the object of the whole thing."22 The concept of the "loyal American" included the idea that the students should develop the responsibilities of becoming proper citizens. Their musical training not only served to create disciplined Americans, or to demonstrate the benefits of that education to the public, but also to provide the students the cultural background necessary properly to assimilate themselves into the mainstream of American popular culture. According to the educators, the appreciation of Western music and traditions could perhaps more easily acclimate the students to the cultural requirements of American citizenship. "Uncle Sam's officials at the Indian Department," according to a Pittsburg Gazette-Times article in 1914, "were quick to realize the civilizing influence [that an education in Western music] could exercise upon the Indian himself, if developed."23 Carlisle school bandmaster Claude Stauffer even suggested that his success in "softening" the Indian students through music could find application to uplift the character of poor whites: "Here lies a splendid social uplift idea for the masses of the supposedly more cultured and civilized white race. Would little slum dwellers, if thoroughly versed in music in the settlement houses and other uplift agencies around or among them, develop into strong-arm men and thugs?"24 The appreciation of and ability to perform "civilized" music, according to an article on Stauffer, would enable the
with James Garvie by Helen Norton, December 3, 1980, Carlisle Indian School Oral History Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, p. 8. 23 "Indians Display Musicalability [sic]: Cases of Exceptional Talent Pound at Carlisle Indian School," The Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, 9 October 1914, Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society.
students "to enter certain classes of society which might otherwise remain closed to them."25 The musical education was not simply aimed at inculcating the students with the tastes anyone considered white, but rather the taste of a particular type of white person--that of an upper middle class or elite citizen with Victorian ideals and tastes.26 In order to acculturate the students to the habits of proper white citizens, the students participated in a wide variety of musical exercises and performances deemed culturally appropriate. In addition to various musical organizations, the students performed songs from a number of songbooks acceptable to the administrators and most of the schools even performed compositions written by students or music teachers. The official school songs and songbooks closely resembled the type of material that was distributed in public schools throughout the United States. Claude Stauffer wrote a number of songs for the Carlisle student body. The words to "Hail to Thee, Carlisle" followed the formula of the typical, spirited school anthems of the day: Carlisle we love you, yes we do! do! do!
24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Several
scholars have assembled a broad interrogation of whiteness. Shelley Fisher Fishkin, for example, explores whiteness in relation to black/white issues, but other scholars such as Neil Foley, Gloria Anzaldua, and Antonia Castaneda have dissected the meaning of whiteness in relation to a multiplicity of races and ethnicities while focusing on identity and race formation in the United States. See Shelley Fisher Fishkin, "Interrogating Whiteness, Complicating Blackness: Remapping American Culture," American Quarterly 47 (September 1995): 428-466; Neil Foley, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands: La Frontera=The New Mestiza (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987); Antonia Castaneda, "Women of Color and the Rewriting of Western History: The Discourse, Politics and Decolonization of History," Pacific Historical Review 61 (November 1992), 501-33. See also George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998); David Gutierrez, Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexician Immigrants and the Politics of Ethnicity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
Our hearts to thee will e'er be true! true! true! Thou can'st depend upon us without fail; To thee our Alma Mater, dear, we hail. Then wave our colors true of Red and Gold, Onward to vict'ry send her braves so bold. No son shall ever thy good name beguile-- All Hail to thee, our Dear Carlisle.27 The Chilocco School song performed in the 1930s was similar in spirit: Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! Where the prairies never end, Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! You are still our famous friend. School of schools you are the best, You're the school that stands the test, You're the school that brings us fame, Ever we'll revere thy name. Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! We love your campus grand, We love your lawns and shady walks Where graceful maples stand. We love the sunsets and the stars at night, Reflected by the lake so bright. We love the cardinal's cheery call, And the bright red maples in the fall. Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! Where you old stone buildings stand. Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! Ivy covered they are grand. They are monuments of hope As we on learning's ladder grope, School that makes our dreams come true, We are ever loyal to you. Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! When the morning bugle calls,
to Thee, Carlisle," Words and Music by C.M. Stauffer, Songs and Yells: U.S. Indian School, Carlisle, Penna., Claude Maxwell Stauffer, ed. (The Carlisle Indian Press, a department of the United States Indian School, n.d.).
Oh Chilocco! Oh Chilocco! We are glad to fill your halls. We come here that we may learn, Life's great secret to discern, Teach us how to work and play, Bring us something new each day.28 By 1923 the OIA had established a standard set of songbooks for use in the schools. H.B. Peairs, OIA Chief Supervisor of Education, wrote, "it is believed that as the Indian young people are preparing for citizenship among young people of all other nationalities who are citizens of the United States it is better to have them use the same songs, sacred and secular."29 These books included Gloria by Shephard (sacred), Song of the Nation, Revised, by Johnson (Patriotic, secular and sacred) and Golden Book of Favorite Songs, Revised and Enlarged (Miscellaneous well known secular, sacred and patriotic)."30 Peairs added, "these books are giving very good satisfaction and the Indian children sing the songs as enthusiastically and as well as do the children of the public schools."31 Beyond the regimentation of the marching bands and the fervor of school songs, the schools boasted a variety of other groups including string quartets, harmonica and mandolin clubs, and choirs. The Sherman school Mandolin Club, for example, consisted of around twenty girls in 1909, with fourteen more beginners. Supervisor of Indian Schools Harwood Hall reported that "Prof. Charles Wayland is a high class musician and most excellent instructor, as well as a gentleman in the full sense. He has no bad habits
28 "Chilocco," 29 H.B.
Chilocco School Song, in Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light, v. Peairs to A. F. Corbin, President, Indian Normal School, Pembroke, North Carolina, July 9, 1923, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 814, file 53984-23-814. 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid.
and his actions and influence stimulate the boys and girls to good conduct."32 The Carlisle Literary Society was very popular and performed music at several school-related and public events including the Belgian Relief Fund benefit in 1914 when they gave a rousing rendition of "Filipino No Got Money" among other songs and marches. 33 Flandreau's school included a harmonica band, an orchestra heavily laden in mandolins, an operetta, and boys' and girls' glee clubs, while a select group of Chemawa Indian School students formed the Indian String Quartet, which toured the country on numerous occasions.34 Saturday night dances comprised one of the favorite activities for the boys and girls. According to a description from the Sherman Institute in 1909, Every second Saturday evening a general dance party is given in the student dining hall. The school orchestra furnishes the music. These parties are much enjoyed by the pupils. Indeed they conduct them as young people of the white race do and dance all the popular round dances. The employes [sic] join with the pupils and a general good, healthy time is had. The parties last from 7:15 to 9:30.35
10, "Report of Harwood Hall, Supervisor of Indian Schools, Subject--General Inspection Sherman Institute, Riverside, Cal," November 6, 1909, NA RG 75, CCF Sherman Institute, file 91083-10751. 33 Dehuff, John D., to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, December 7, 1914, NA RG 75, CCF, Carlisle 047, file 130868-14-047. 34 The Indian String Quartet is featured in chapter five of the dissertation. The Indian Normal School that served the Lumbee population around Pembroke, North Carolina attempted to cater to the desires of the Lumbee farmers by printing songs in shape notes. Shape note singing was prominent in the South among rural people who could not read music. The president of the school, A. F. Corbin, reported to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that "We are trying to teach the round notes in a singing school held here Sunday afternoons. It is slow work. We need something besides hymns. The state is slow in music matters and has not published a book for 10 yrs. alto [sic] they insist that music shall be taught. The result is that we teachers of agriculture have to teach music for love." Corbin, A.F., President, Indian Normal School, Pembroke, N.C. to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, July 1, 1923, NA RG 75, CCF General Service 814, file 53984-23-814. 35 Section 22, "Report of Harwood Hall, Supervisor of Indian Schools, Subject--General Inspection Sherman Institute, Riverside, Cal," November 6, 1909, NA RG 75, CCF Sherman Institute, file 91083-22750.
Speaking of her father's experience at Carlisle, Luana Mangold said, Dad had a lot of girl friends. And we often wondered how in the world, you know, he had time to have all his girl friends when he was doing all those other things he said he was doing. But they would have socials, and they would have dances. As a matter of fact, Mr. [James] Garvie, who used to always play in the band, he says, `it was really hard, we didn't have as many socials as the others did because I always had to play in the band." Every once in a while they would have one for the band to socialize. And they did, they got to, you know, socialize a little bit that way."36 While the OIA sought to suppress dance on reservations, most schools actively instructed students not only to learn dances such as the foxtrot, waltz and others, but they created a situation in which dancing became a regular, eagerly anticipated, part of the students' lives. Although the dances proved quite popular, and allowed the boys and girls to interact on a much more personal level than their typical rigid, disciplined activities permitted, these "white" dances fell under protest by Indian and non-Indian communities alike. The OIA did not provide a strict policy on "white" dances; rather, they allowed each school superintendent to determine the extent to which their students could participate in them. Proponents of these dances believed that the dances socialized the students to the American norms of acceptable adolescent interaction between boys and girls. In 1910, however, Charles Davis, the superintendent of the San Juan School in Shiprock, New Mexico, listed for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs four reasons that
Life and Culture Reflected by the Carlisle Indian School," transcript #10, tape #1, Interview, Luana Mangold, interviewed by Helen Norton, January 19, 1981, Norristown, PA, Cumberland County Historical Society.
he felt dancing of any sort should be prohibited. First, he argued that because some of the church organizations sponsoring mission work on the reservations forbid dancing among their communicants, when pupils belonging to those churches danced in the schools, they disobeyed the rules of the church and the wills of their parents. Secondly, he wrote, "the principal form of amusement of white communities near Indian reservations is dancing, and in many localities much drinking and other forms of vice are practiced at these dances...In short the social tendencies of the dances on or near the Indian reservations is for evil instead of good."37 In addition, because of the dances taught in the schools, "several girls returning from boarding schools...have met with ruin through going to these dances near their homes."38 Third, he pointed out the fact that the round dances practiced and sometimes required in the schools involved contact between the boys and girls. Such contact, he argued, "requires the Indian youths to violate social rules obtaining among their people from time immemorial...This form of dance is usually quite obnoxious to the parents, and they dislike to see thier [sic] children thus violating their home rules and teachings."39 Finally, Davis argued that permitting the "white man's dance" in the schools would hinder the ability of the department to curtail "Indian dance" on the reservations: "the real Indian contrasts the Indian dance and the white man's dance, and in his own mind comes to the conclusion the white man's dance is quite as prone to evil and that of the Indians...This being the case, the Superintendent of a
L. Davis, Inspection Report, January 15, 1910, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 752, file 580510-752, p. 2. 38 Ibid. 2-3.
reservation who permits or requires dancing in his school is greatly handicapped in attempts to control the evils of the Indian dance."40 He was also deeply troubled over the fact that returning students seemed to organize "white" dances on reservations as much as "Indian" dances: "it would be far better for the Indian youths returning to their homes if they were trained in other forms of social amusements that they may entertain their friends without the necessity of calling a dance. It is now frequently found that dances are about the only forms of social amusements engaged in by young people on the reservations."41 Dance of any form was politically charged, and some school superintendents regulated what they considered "white" dances as much as "Indian" dances. The lines became blurred, however, as students returning to reservations introduced dances from the schools to their communities. Ex-students who left the reservations participated in urban dances, but they did not do so with the approval of the more conservative superintendents, and they did not necessarily do so at the expense of their tribal affiliation. The dance became, most importantly, what the students made of them;
Ibid., 3. In 1916, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bo Sweeney indicated that the OIA "do not require dancing in the Indian schools and do not prohibit it." Bo Sweeney to J.W. Brink, August 2, 1916, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 752, file 82353-16-752. 40 Charles L. Davis, Inspection Report, January 15, 1910, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 752, file 580510-752, p. 3, emphasis in original. Davis recognized the argument that dance "gives the Indian youths ease and grace of bodily movement and in company of the other sex, all of which is admitted. But there are other forms of amusement which will accomplish the same end, against which the objections raised above can not [sic] be urged. The grand march, to the accompaniment of the orchestra, the piano, or even the phonograph, does much to bring out the backward pupils, and I can see no objection to such figure movements as the Virginia reel, and similar forms of amusement, if engaged in as mere amusement and not made a part of a dance. Ibid, 4. 41 Ibid.
assimilative directives and in-fighting among OIA officials could not manage the significance that the students attributed to them. Music filled the grounds and the halls of Indian boarding schools from morning until night, but perhaps the most central music organizations in the schools (and certainly the loudest) were the brass and marching bands. Beginning at 7:30 a.m. every Monday through Saturday morning, the grounds of Carlisle reverberated with the first band practice of the day. The bands performed for practically every formal school function as well as for extracurricular activities such as football games, parades, and dances. For the school administrators, the performance of marching and brass bands served a variety of essential functions within the civilization curriculum. Particularly in off-reservation schools from the 1880s through the early 1920s, discipline and regimentation were of the highest educational priorities, as American Indian people at this time were often seen by the OIA as lazy and undisciplined. Richard Pratt was in fact a commissioned army officer before and during his tenure at the school. An ardent believer in the idea that the Indian "problem" was not genetic but cultural, he felt that through rigid discipline and education, and by living near communities of white citizens as far away from their families' homes as possible, students could acquire the discipline, refinement, and cultural attributes necessary for them to become potential, proper American citizens. Marching bands were regarded as a perfect vehicle for instilling such discipline not only in the musicians themselves, but in all the students: while their minds were to be cultivated within the classroom, their bodies were to respond to the cadence and calls of
the band.42 For some boys and girls like this former Phoenix Indian School student, the OIA goal of using the band to shape their movements worked all too well: At first the marching seemed so hard to learn, but once we had mastered the knack, we couldn't break the habit. Sometimes on our once-a-month visit to town, a talking machine would be blasting band music outside a store to attract customers. Then we girls would go into our act; try as hard as we could, we just couldn't get out of step. It was impossible! We'd try to take long strides to break the rhythm, but soon we would fall back into step again. How embarrassing it was!43 The students' bodies were regulated and regimented not only through the music of the band but also through bugle calls and whistles that commanded the students, twentynine times per day at Carlisle, to wake, eat, work, attend class, study, and go to sleep at night.44 The boys in the schools typically donned old military uniforms and drilled with rifles to the sounds of the band. James Garvie (Santee Sioux) was perhaps the most audible and visible musician during his years on campus--he was the assistant bandmaster and the school bugler. Sixty-five years later he recalled, One hour before breakfast we would go out and drill. I would stand over there and blow "Reveille" in the morning to wake them up and blow "Taps" at night for
has demonstrated the school officials' fixation on the bodies of the Chilocco Indian students. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of the Chilocco Indian School (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994). 43 Adams, 118. 44 Annual School Calendar, U.S. Indian School, Carlisle, PA, `15-16'. Carlisle: Carlisle Indian Press, September, 1915. In NA, RG 75, Entry 1349 C, Records of Non-Reservation Schools, Records of Carlisle Indian School, Miscellaneous Publications and Records, ca. 1908-1918, Box 1. An account from 1909 indicated that the Sherman Institute band, in addition to practices, played "two times daily upon the campus, while the flag is being lowered and raised and also while pupils march to breakfast and supper. The band takes part in the inspection ceremonies as well as regimental parades; on Sunday a concert is also usually given" Section 10, "Report of Harwood hall, Supervisor of Indian Schools, Subject--General Inspection Sherman Institute, Riverside, Cal," November 6, 1909, CCF Sherman Institute, file 91083-10751.
the lights to go out. Strictly military! Oh god, we might as well be at West Point!45 As David Wallace Adams notes, no element of daily life in the schools left a more pronounced impression on the students than its militaristic nature.46
PUBLIC PERFORMANCE AND DEMONSTRATION
While such militaristic musical cues aided administrators in regulating the student body, in more ways than one, the bands also served to influence the non-Indian public's perception of the schools and of OIA education policy on the local and national level. According to Richard Pratt, the Carlisle music groups "gave the school and all government Indian school work great publicity" when they performed in public.47 Such publicity was necessary, as Pratt recognized that he must gain the support of the public in order to keep the school running with government funds; the school band provided the perfect vehicle through which school superintendents such as Pratt could heighten awareness and enthusiasm for their own programs.
with James Garvie by Helen Norton, December 3, 1980, Carlisle Indian School Oral History Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, p. 1-2. 46 Adams, 117. A Riverside Indian school student later recalled that boarding school "was really a military regime.... Every year an official from Fort Sill would come down and review our companies and our drilling maneuvers. We marched everywhere, to the dining hall, to classes; everything we did was in military fashion. We were taught to make our beds in military fashion, you know, with square corners and sheets and blankets tucked in a special way....On Sundays we had an inspection...just like the military." Sally J. McBeth, Ethnic Identity and the Boarding School Experience of West-Central Oklahoma American Indians (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1983), 102-103. 47 General R.H. Pratt, The Indian Industrial School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, (1908; reprint, Cumberland County Historical Society Publications, 1979) vol. 10, no. 3, p. 37.
Several Indian school bands performed at World Fairs and Presidential Inaugurations and other important national functions throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.48 Luther Standing Bear (Lakota) recalled leading the Carlisle band across the Brooklyn Bridge during its dedication in 1883.49 At the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago the Carlisle band played all of the bandstands and the band and choir gave a concert in Festival Hall, attracting large crowds of curious onlookers.50 Dennison Wheelock (Oneida), a Carlisle graduate and the bandmaster at Carlisle at the time of the fair, organized a band of sixty-five boys from the school to make the journey.51 In 1898 Wheelock traveled the country, visiting seventeen Indian schools in order to select the best Indian musicians to perform at the 1900 Paris exposition.52 The
on another musical tradition, Lakota survivors of the Ghost Dance massacre were featured at the 1895 Cotton States International Exposition in Atlanta. According to the official history of the event, "Many of the [Lakota] men [who lived in the "Indian Village" exhibit at the exposition] were participants in the "ghost dances" of 1890 and the fights which followed. The lodges of the Indian village on which the United States troops turned their Gatling guns were there, occupied by the same Indians. One of the women, `Yellow Dogface,' had been wounded by a bullet from one of the Gatling Guns, and her papoose, now grown to be a boy of seven or eight years, had received two bullets in his little body. This boy, known as `Little Wound,' seems to be no worse physically for his early taste of war, and during the Exposition showed all the lively and mischievous tendencies of a robust urchin." Walter E. Cooper, The Cotton States and International Exposition and South, Illustrated (Atlanta: The Illustrator Co., 1896), 91. 49 Standing Bear led the band across the bridge because, for reasons unknown, the bandmaster did not show up in order to lead the band. Pratt, "greatly worried," that the band would not make a good impression before the public, asked Standing Bear to lead the band across the bridge. Luther Standing Bear, My People the Sioux, E.A. Brininstool, ed., (1928; reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975), 171. 50 Pratt, 37. 51 "Is Oneida's Counselor," The Red Man by Red Men, vol. 4, no. 8 (1912): 352-354. 52 "Mr. Wheelock on the Move," The Indian Helper, vol. 6, no. 86, 24 June 1898, p. 1. A Music journal reported, "the government will send a band of Indian musicians to the Paris Exposition of 1900. Professor Dennison Wheelock, musical director at the Carlisle Indian School, has been touring the Indian Agencies in California, Colorado, Dakota and other States, endeavoring to secure the best Indian musical talent to augment the school band to a membership of sixty. So far he has engaged thirty-eight new members, and the enlarged band will be equipped with new instruments of a superior tone and finish." "Pennsylvania," The Dominant: A Journal for Musicians and Music Lovers, vol. 6, no. 6 (1898): 7-8. Wheelock unfortunately had to cancel the trip at the last minute when an infant daughter died. Dennison Wheelock is the subject of a section in chapter five of this dissertation.
Carlisle band played the inaugural parades for McKinley, Roosevelt and Wilson, marching behind the Army and Navy bands during the latter.53 The Office of Indian Affairs assembled the World's Fair Indian Band to participate in the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Along with the Indian Male Quartette, the Indian Girls' Quartette, and the Saxophone Quartette, Chilocco superintendent S.M. McCowan petitioned all of the Indian schools to submit the names of exceptional student musicians for consideration to join the band. Director N.S. Nelson selected thirty-five, with many relocating from other schools to Chilocco in order to prepare for the fair.54 The band performed twice daily for the duration of the fair and drew large crowds at each show. According to their promotional brochure, the band members represented "in every way the educated, civilized and enlightened American Indian."55 The brochure also lauded the Indian Girls' Quartette, noting that "their singing is the more remarkable when we consider that but a few decades lie between them and savagery, with its monotone, while our civilization, musical and literary, dates back thousands of years."56 Indian school bands were sought after by national organizations as well. West Virginia's Shenandoah Tribe Improved Order of Redmen asked one of their senators to secure the use of the Carlisle Indian Band for their 1910 Fourth of July
Friedman, Superintendent of the Carlisle Indian School, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 8, 1913, CCF Carlisle, 2819-1913-047, RG 75, NA; "Is Oneida's Counselor," 354. 54 The Government Official Indian Band, Organized by the U.S. Government Expressly for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904, Hollister Brothers, Engravers and Printers, Chicago, 1904. Redpath Chautauqua Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Iowa Libraries (Iowa City). 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid.
parade.57 The Society of American Indians invited the Chilocco school band to play for their annual conference in 1917.58 In 1923 the management of the New York Hippodrome asked the Chilocco band to perform as the season's opening attraction.59 Curiously, the National Indian Congress meeting of 1926 featured both Chemawa Indian students performing an operetta and a screening of D.W. Griffiths's "Birth of a Nation."60 Both representations displayed a social order defined by race, yet the performance of the operetta seemed to offer hope for the cultural evolution and mental faculties of American Indians while "Birth of a Nation" justified a racial hierarchy and permanently transfixed, unequal relations between whites and African Americans. These national events provided the OIA with a unique opportunity to advertise the product of its assimilation policy: the finely tuned, dressed and groomed Indian child.
R.A., to H.B. Scott, April 2, 1910, NA RG 75, CCF Carlisle 929, file 26485-10-929. The Improved Order of Red Men is a fraternal organization that has origins in one form or another as early as 1765. It is a "patriotic" organization formed by non-Indians but the ceremonies and rituals of the organization require members to dress up in stereotypical "Indian garb." This organization is described by Philip Deloria in Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). See pages 62-68 of that volume for an analysis of the ways in which the members invoke an American identity through the appropriation of American Indian related iconography. 58 Gertrude Bonnin was the secretary of the Society at the time. However, the Society cancelled the conference in lieu of the war. Allen, Edgar A., to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, October 3, 1917, NA RG 75, CCF Carlisle 047, file 89513-17-047. 59 Burke, Charles H., to Clyde Blair, August 30, 1923, NA RG 75, CCF Chilocco 047, file 62357-23-047. 60 "Approved Tentative Program for the 1926 National Indian Congress to be held in Spokane, Washington--July 21 to 27, 1926," Office File of Harvey B. Peairs, Chief Supervisor of Education and General Superintendent, 1910-1927, Entry 722, Box 1, RG 75, National Archives. The girls at the Bismarck Indian School were in demand for their singing abilities as well. According to Bismarck's annual report, During the last few years the Bismarck girls have acquired considerable reputation by their proficiency and artistic ability in vocal music. They are popular and in considerable demand among the communities nearby for entertainment purposes. Last year the women of North Dakota provided funds to send the Indian Girls' glee Club to the National Federation of Women's clubs in Denver. The future of this as a girls' school should, no doubt, continue to give considerable attention to developing and cultivating the aesthetic and artistic sides of the Indian girl's life. Annual Report, 1931, Bismarck Indian School, Narrative Section, NA RG 75, CCF Bismarck, file ____-31031. (no file number given).
Marching with such discipline, playing "civilized," even popular, songs through refined instruments, the bands offered a glimpse of assimilation at its most mechanical and perfect. Keeping a military stride, celebrating a national, American event, wearing military uniforms, for Pratt and other OIA educational leaders in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the band spoke volumes. National events drew the largest onlookers and the most publicity, but equally important to the OIA was edifying local communities about the nature of the schools and the benefits they would provide American society. The bands again served as the primary diplomats in this endeavor, performing at a variety of local functions. In 1908 and 1909 the Sherman Institute band performed twice during the presidential campaign, for the Riverside Driving Park Association, for a variety of charitable associations, and to "serenade" Senator Frank P. Flint.61 Ralph Stanion, superintendent of the Theodore Roosevelt Indian School in Fort Apache, Arizona, reported to the OIA commissioner that the performance of their band in several local cities "attracted much in the way of sympathy and understanding to the cause of Indian education."62 The Phoenix Indian School Band and others often held regular public performances on Sundays in parks and other venues.63 The bands were often heralded in newspaper articles for their
Harwood, Superintendent Sherman Institute to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 17, 1909, NA RG 75, CCF Sherman Institute, file 9588-09-929(see also 54448-09-929). 62 Ralph P. Stanion to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, May 21, 1928, NA RG 75, CCF, Theodore Roosevelt School 814, box 6, file 00-28-814. 63 These performances were often reported in the local and school newspapers with brief descriptions that included the highlights such as this one from a performance by the Phoenix Indian School Band in 1930: "The program was featured by a cornet solo by Stanley Chiago who played Rollinson's `Columbia Polka." Our trombonists played "Lassus Trombone" by Filmore as another feature number." "Campus News," The Native American (Phoenix), 6 December, 1930, p. 244.
performances as well as their drawing power for townspeople who were curious to see the effects of the schools and the novelty of Native musicianship. At times this drawing power attracted local communities to use the bands on a national level in order to advertise their towns to distant tourists. For example, in 1914 the Phoenix Board of Trade asked the Phoenix Indian school band to tour the East during the summer in order to promote tourism to Arizona and the southwest.64 The local reporters often fixated on the elements of the performances that affirmed both the "accomplishments" of the schools and their assumption of cultural superiority. "Bishop was captured by the Indians," reported the Owens Valley Herald, with regard to a performance by the Bishop Indian School students at the Bishop Opera House in 1914.65 "The battle was not accompanied by the war songs of the past," the Herald advised, "but was won by the arts of peace, as exemplified by Principal George Simeral."66 The Herald considered the military marches and drills by thirty-two boys and girls as the most interesting feature of the evening, and reported that the students' performance along those lines was the "result of careful training and discipline."67 "The Indian School band," the Herald reported, "played a number of pieces and played them well, in time and harmony. There was [also] a duet by two dusky maidens Kate and Lena Turner."68 Regarding the same performance, the Inyo County Register noted, "We don't
Harry, to C.W. Goodman, February 18, 1914, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 22198-14-929. Capture Bishop," Owens Valley Herald, 20 March 1914, clipping in CCF Bishop, 48264-14047, RG 75, NA. 66 Ibid. 67 Ibid., 68 Ibid.,
appreciate the Indians as we should; they are entitled to our best sympathy and cooperation in efforts for their upbuilding."69 Although the Register criticized the "vocal ability" of the Piute children, the paper reassured its readership that "doubtless it will come in time, as it has with the Hawaiians and other peoples who have had longer contact with white influences."70 The reporter was impressed that "each year sees a higher standard more generally recognized; more of agreement with white codes of right and wrong and of mortality[sic]."71 The Sherman Institute Band entertained and competed at the 1917 California State Fair. They were originally sent, according to the Sherman superintendent, to introduce the public to the success of the school in "civilizing" the students in order to "show the attending public that our Indian boys and girls are worthy, in every way, a more appreciative consideration that has been accorded them by the white citizenship of this state."72 The fair organizers reiterated the superintendent's hopes that the exhibition of the band would tangibly demonstrate what the Government is accomplishing with the Indian--through the various Indian Agencies and Schools in California as to the end, that, ultimately all prejudice against him be dissipated and he be allowed to take his place as a law-abiding, self-respecting and self-supporting citizen of the State...As the Indians will, sooner or later, be absorbed into the citizenship of the State their progress as tillers of the soil and industrial workers, and their fitness in trades and domestic arts, should be matters of interest and importance to the people of California. It is expected these exhibits will prove that the Indians contribute a commendable share toward the prosperity of our State, and that
Show," Inyo County Register, 26 March 1914, clipping in CCF Bishop, 48264-14-047, RG 75, NA. 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid. 72 Edgar H. Miller to E.B. Merritt, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, September 20, 1917, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 22954-17-047.
owing to the work of the Government in their behalf they are fast assuming a standing as workers whose results are not to be belittled through competition with similar results of the whites."73 Superintendent Miller of the Greenville, California Indian school believed the inclusion of the Sherman band was essential to forwarding the mission of the Indian schools before the public. The band, he wrote, would "aid very materially to attract attention to the work of the Riverside Indian school as a Government institution for Indians and will liven up the exhibit in a way that can not be accomplished in any other manner. There is no question about the exhibit's success if we have a desirable musical organization attached to it."74 The band members probably felt "livened up" by the experience as well: they had their expenses paid and earned a daily wage of one dollar for spending money, played twice daily, at one and seven p.m., slept in tents on the fairgrounds, formed a "conspicuous" part of the downtown parade, and won first place in the class `b' band contest.75
Department, Indian Exhibit, Director, Edgar K. Miller," NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 22954-17-047. 74 Miller, Edward K., Superintendent Indian School, Greenville, California to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, May 22, 1917, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 22954-17-047. 75 Edgar H. Miller to E.B. Merritt, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, September 20, 1917, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 22954-17-047. The prize money ($300) had to be returned to the State Agricultural Society after it was determined that, even though the boys had not yet graduated, some of them were too old to participate in the competition. Despite the age infraction, however, the boys did surprisingly well given the fact that Sherman Institute had not had a permanent band leader at the school in the months leading up to the fair--the band had not practiced in months. Only two weeks before the fair, superintendent Conser hired a temporary employee to get the band into shape for the event. Conser, F.M., to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, October 13, 1917, NA RG 75 CCF Sherman Institute, 95282-17047.
RACISM AND UNION RESISTANCE
While school officials tried to establish control over the meaning of public musical performance for both the students, in terms of the perceived civilizing effects of Euro-American music, and for the audience, in terms of its demonstration of the success of OIA policies, their control was challenged in myriad ways. Despite the OIA objective that the public performances generate for American Indians "a more appreciative consideration that has been accorded them by the white citizenship," nevertheless white citizens at times demonstrated a reluctance to embrace or even accept the musicians. Some of the Indian bands were actually too good: the success of the school bands in securing local community gigs often created jealousy and contempt among white bands rather than bolstering their support of federal policies. In a letter to his father, a Carlisle student voiced frustration at the attitude of some of the local bands: There was an entertainment held at the opera house last night and they wanted our band to play for them, so we went to town and played for them. There were two bands besides our band. One band was going to play one piece but we played the piece before they got ready so after they heard us play, they got vexed at our band and didn't play any. The other band played two times, then after they got through we played so that band got mad at our band and they called us the skin band, but we played until the band went home, then we came home too. Our band can play better than those white boys in the town.76 The students faced resistance from not only individual non-Indian musicians but also from musician associations. The Sherman, Haskell, Phoenix and Salem Indian school bands were so successful in their communities that the OIA received a number of complaints from American Federation of Musicians (AFM) locals who felt their union
members were unfairly losing gigs to these "inmates" and "wards" of the government.77 In 1908, AFM president Owen Miller, distressed by the success of the Salem Indian School band, wrote to the OIA: "the American Federation of Musicians has not the slightest objection to these Indians being educated in all the arts. If any understand, we certainly do, the great humanizing and civilizing influence of music, therefore the Indians should be given an opportunity of the benefits of this method of civilization."78 Nevertheless, the AFM staunchly protested practically any paid community event in which the school bands performed. Joseph Weber, president of the AFM in 1926, wrote Secretary of the Interior Hubert Work, condemning the Haskell band: On behalf of the musicians of the United States, I beg to protest against the activities of H.B. Pearse, Superintendent of the Haskell Institute of Lawrence, Kansas. Mr. Pearse places a band composed of Indian boys in direct competition with musicians...Such activities by the inmates of an Institute are absolutely contrary to the principles why the Institution is maintained are injurious to civilian musicians, therefore turn to you for redress.79 In 1913 the AFM protested the performance of the Sherman Institute band at a rodeo in Los Angeles.80 In most cases the OIA investigated the complaints but allowed
Morning Star, vol. 6, no. 8, March 1886,0 p. 11. Joseph, President, American Federation of Musicians to Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior, February 12, 1926, RG 75, CCF, Haskell 929, file 6088-26-929. 78 Owen Miller to T.E. Leupp, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, August 26, 1908, CCF Salem, file 4414608-929. 79 Weber, Joseph to Hubert Work, February 3, 1926, NA RG 75, CCF Haskell 929, file 6088-26-929. 80 NA RG 75, CCF Salem, file 44146-08-929; Miller, Owen, Secretary of the American Federation of Musicians to Walter G. Fischer, Secretary of the Interior, February 27, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF Sherman Institute, file 105850-13-929.
the schools to use their own judgment for band performances, believing that public performance was beneficial to both the musicians and the schools.81 Sometimes band leaders, working with both Indian and non-Indian musicians, became rather excessive in their territorial squabbles. For example, a dispute in Phoenix between several bands and individuals reveals the competitive nature of local bands in the early 1900s, and the complicated politics that arose from a situation wherein nonIndian bands tended to distinguish the Indian school bands, by their government subsidies rather than their talent. In May of 1913 the Musician's Mutual Protective Association, AFM Local 586 of Phoenix, petitioned the government to investigate and put a halt to the attempts by the Phoenix Indian School band to "defeat...organized labor." J.M. Shott, manager of the Pioneer Band of Phoenix and representative of the local union argued that the school band was stealing jobs from non-Indian musicians: They are able to play practically for nothing or a small compensation for the reason that the Government is supporting them in their undertaking for the purpose of defeating Organized Labor and our Local Musicians Union #586...The latest system that they have inagurated[sic] to defeat Organized Labor is to have Mr. Peter Vanne the leader of the Indian School Band get in behind some Scab Band as leader and He draws pay for this as well as leader, Then he will have as many of the Indian School Band as is needed to fill in and make up the Band. This is for the express purpose of defeating...Organized Labor and the best interest of our Local band and the purpose that it was organized for thereby defeating us out of our daily earnings which belong to us.82
American Federation of Musicians protested on numerous occasions to the OIA with regard to Indian bands, even when they were private bands and not at all connected to the schools or the OIA. See their protest in 1909 against an Indian band of Onondaga, New York, in NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 42783-09-929. 82 Shott, J.M. to Carl Hayden, M.A. Smith, H.F. Ashurst and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, May 20, 1913, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 66058-13-929.
Vanne was, in fact, leading another band at the time, the Industrial Liberty Band. The band, composed of "young Mexican boys and returned students of the Indian School," seemed to Cato Sells, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, a "splendid opportunity of helping these returned students to whom the school owes an obligation." Yet, in response to Shott's complaint, superintendent Goodman of the school forbid Vanne from participating further.83 Vanne and his students, however, were not satisfied with this agreement and one month later proposed that he, along with several other students of the school, both current and former, enroll in the Arizona National Guard for the express purpose of serving in the First Arizona Infantry Band. Justified as "post-graduate" music education for the students, the OIA agreed to the request, after several months of correspondence and the encouragement of a member of the House of Representatives.84 Less than a year later, however, the leader of the First Infantry Band made a formal complaint to the Adjutant General of Arizona about the Indian School Band, despite the fact that they had recruited several members from the school. Adjutant General Harris of the State National Guard of Arizona filed a complaint to Secretary of the Interior Lane who, familiar with the complaints from the previous year, addressed the issue with the OIA and Phoenix Indian School. Harris argued that the school band was robbing the First Infantry Band of jobs and income: "this protest has nothing whatever to
Cato to John M. Shott, September 15, 1913, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 66058-13-929. Dr. Francis H. to Supt. Goodman, October 3, 1913, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 6605813-929; Meritt, E.B., Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Honorable Carl Hayden, House of Representatives, March 2, 1914, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 66058-13-929.
do with the fact that the Band is an Indian Band, but the same protest would be made should the students of any institution, who are educated at the expense of the Government, be allowed, as an organization, to compete with men who derive their living from their occupation."85 Harris accused the band of playing ballpark engagements and other public events with only expenses covered in remuneration, thus undercutting the First Infantry Band and stealing their potential opportunities to perform. After an investigation and the reports submitted by the disciplinarian and superintendent of the school, the OIA determined that the First Infantry Band had no cause for complaint. The twenty-six members of the school band played six free engagements that year: once during fair week, once for "Dr. Hughes anti-saloon celebration," for an A.M.E. church benefit, a Salvation Army benefit (that did not involve a giveaway dance), and at two baseball games (Tucson vs. Phoenix and Albuquerque vs. Phoenix). The band also played three paid engagements (payment was a nominal fee for expenses that totaled sixty-eight dollars): the Illinois picnic, the Mesa Mayday celebration, and the opening for a Mesa skating rink. At the time there were three organized bands in the Phoenix area: the First Regiment Band, the Pioneer Band, and the Phoenix Indian School Band. The scale for band musicians in the Phoenix area was three dollars per day, but neither the Pioneer Band nor the First Infantry Band was composed of musicians who depended on the bands for their livelihood--both bands
Charles W. to Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, May 7, 1915, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 53142-15-929.
typically only played Sunday concerts, a day on which the Phoenix Indian School Band during those years never played. Oddly, the disciplinarian of the school, Edgar Grinstead, reported that the Pioneer Band had "always been on friendly terms with [the Phoenix school band]. The manager Mr. J.M. Shott says they have never regarded the Indian School Band as competing with them."86 Recall that Shott, some months previously, had petitioned the OIA to prohibit the school band from competing with his. On the other hand, reported Grinstead, the First Regiment Band had no room for complaint because they were supplied their instruments by the U.S. government. Three members of the 30-piece band were current Phoenix school students, and eight more were former Indian school students, seven at Phoenix and one elsewhere. The leading representative of the band, who apparently made the most trouble for the Indian school and Pioneer bands, was Francis Redewill, the leader of the First Regiment Band and the same man who petitioned the school in October of the previous year to allow some of the musician students to enroll in the state national guard in order to play in his band.87 After the investigation determined that none of the bands mentioned consisted of musicians making their living at music, and with the conviction that public performances
Edgar to J.B.Brown, superintendent of the Phoenix Indian School, May 26, 1915, NA RG 75 CCF Phoenix 929, file 53142-15-929. 87 Ibid. According to Fernando Rodrigues, a graduate of the school, "Dr. Redewill told him that he would see Mr. Ashurst and Mr. Hayden and have Mr. Venne, the Indian band leader [the same man Redewill had earlier sought to recruit as a member of the First Regiment Band along with his students] lose his job. Also that the director on one occasion had a keg of beer on tap in the rear of the Redewill music store while rehearsal was going on and that members of the band including Indians had free access to it, and that one member (Frank Whitman, since dead) got drunk. Also that the director kept Absinthe in his office where
did nothing but aid the goals of the school, Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs Meritt defended the school band and encouraged the superintendent to continue the public performances. The OIA consistently, throughout the complaints from local bands and unions, defended the school bands because they tangibly demonstrated, if only in the moments of a public performance, the successes of the assimilation policy.
Despite the fact that the school officials believed the bands and music clubs would contribute to the citizenship training of their students, and to the public relations campaign of the OIA, the students often found other benefits in their musical instruction. Chapter five will address the ways in which some students used their training professionally, but we can get a sense as to how students gave significance to their musical instruction, in other ways, closer to home. James Garvie was given his first bugle at the Haskell Indian school when he was seven years old, enjoying a passion of American band and popular music for the rest of his life.88 "By being a Sergeant Bugler, I got out of a lot of things I didn't like," he chuckled years later. "That's right," he continued, "I refused the promotion when I was a
members of the band could and did get it." Throughout this correspondence Redewill's band is referred to interchangeably as the First Infantry Band, the First Regiment Band, and the First Regimental Band. 88 "When Garvie Blew His Horn, Indian School `Fell Out,'" June 19, 1983, Sunday Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society. Interview with James Garvie by Helen Norton, December 3, 1980, Carlisle Indian School Oral History Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, p. 12.
senior. I was getting out of things I didn't like so I might as well stay as Sergeant."89 He was most concerned to get out of the "strenuous training" required in the gym: "By being a bugler, I got out of that. I didn't tell them why I refused it--the promotion--but that's why I did it. I wanted to get out of things I didn't like."90 According to Robert Trennert's study of the Phoenix Indian School, band members occupied very prestigious positions on campus and enjoyed many "fringe benefits."91 One of these benefits, for students with exceptional musical ability, was to be relieved of typically required chores by the bandmaster in order to practice.92 Garvie, like other exceptional musicians at the schools, catered his coursework to suit his own interests, and training in the shops to prepare for farming or for the lowwage, minimum skill jobs that the OIA envisioned for the future Indian citizens was not among those interests. He had aspirations that took him beyond the limited confines of the OIA's imagination: I didn't bother with any shops because I wanted to devote my time to music...So I specialized in music, and it paid off. In the fall of the year, that is for the coming year, the band votes on one member, whoever it is, they vote on him. He becomes the student director. In case of emergencies, supposing Mr. Stauffer gets sick, well, then I take his place temporarily. Now the good that that does is that it keeps you under supervision how to direct the band. Now when you get out in a civilian band you have a better idea what you are doing. That's what it did for me. That's how I got into it professionally from there.93
with James Garvie by Helen Norton, December 3, 1980, Carlisle Indian School Oral History Project, Cumberland County Historical Society, p. 2. 90 Ibid. 91 Robert A. Trennert, Jr., The Phoenix Indian School: Forced Assimilation in Arizona, 1891-1935 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), 127. 92 Ibid., 128. 93 Interview with James Garvie, 23.
His recollections of band life in a 1980 interview were mostly positive. Although he missed most of the Saturday outings in the town of Carlisle due to band obligations, and had to perform rather than dance at most Saturday evening socials, he fondly recalled taking the train for band trips such as those for football games.94 The band members, he said, "got a lot of shoe boxes from the shoe factory. Shoe boxes to put lunch in for us to eat because we didn't have time to eat over there, so each one of us got a box of lunch when we got on [the train]. It was up to you to eat it whenever you wanted it."95 There was strong camaraderie between the band members, he recalled, and they even cared for a dog as their mascot, a rat terrier that looked "like that dog's picture on the Victor records."96 The boys adopted it from a man who brought the dog along with him when he delivered food to the school from a local bakery.97 Many students not only enjoyed the music lessons, they requested further training, beyond the capacity of their school's program. In 1908, Carlisle student Elizabeth Penny sought such additional training, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs agreed to keep her on the Carlisle rolls if arrangements were made with Wilson College to further her training. Penny desired the training to "thoroughly equip herself to go back to her people and assist them by furnishing music for their devotional work."98 Nearly thirty students at Flandreau in 1923 sought additional private lessons because the music
94 Ibid., 95 Ibid.,
19. 23. 96 Ibid., 26. 97 Ibid. 98 Friedman, Moses, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, May 1, 1908, NA RG 75, CCF, Carlisle 814, file 29456-08-814.
teacher was already completely booked. A number of Flandreau parents wrote Superintendent House expressing their willingness to pay for the additional instruction of their children.99 Over thirty girls who were enrolled in the Bismarck Indian school in 1933 paid two local piano teachers for additional lessons with their own money. Ten Bismarck girls paid for orchestra lessons as well, and around twenty-five paid for dancing lessons.100 Student musicians did not always act as seemingly complacent, however; because the bands had such high visibility, any resistance to the demands of their superintendents spilled out quickly into the local newspapers. On one occasion such resistance spawned an investigation by the Office of Indian Affairs into allegations that Carlisle housed a "dungeon" to send rebellious children. James Riley Wheelock, the brother of the former Carlisle bandmaster Dennison Wheelock, both Carlisle graduates and members of the Oneida nation, desired to procure temporarily the service of Carlisle students for his professional band during the summer of 1909.101 He believed this training would fit into the parameters of Carlisle's outing program, a program that typically placed Carlisle boys and girls in the homes or work environments of non-Indians in order to provide them with life experience among successful white people. For unknown reasons Superintendent Friedman refused to allow any of the band members to participate in the outing program that summer. Of the more than 900 students enrolled in the 1908-09
J.F., Superintendent Flandreau Indian School to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, October 16, 1923, NA RG 75, CCF Flandreau 814, file 80994-23-814. 100 Annual Narrative Report, 1933, Bismarck Indian School, CCF Bismarck, file ____-31-031. (no file number given).
school year, only 200 remained on campus during the summer.102 Seeking life experience and perhaps a bit of adventure outside the confines of the campus, two of the boys from the band attempted, against Friedman's wishes, to join Wheelock's band and as a result had their trunks taken to the train depot. When Friedman found out he had them returned. The rest of the band was so resentful of what Friedman did that they expressed their grievance by refusing to perform during that evening's "salute of the flag," a daily ritual at Carlisle. The boys were locked in the guardhouse as punishment for their actions.103 Wheelock was infuriated by Friedman's actions and charged in the newspapers that the superintendent was jealous of his band's success, was the cause of disciplinary problems in the school, and held students illegally in a "dungeon" (the guardhouse). Friedman responded that he had "refused permission to students to enter his organization to play, simply for the reason that invariably in the past they have indulged in the kind of dissipation and debauchery during the summer which taints and brings about an unhealthy condition in the fall when they return to the school." Wheelock dismissed these allegations by stating that the only Carlisle students he had ever before included in his four-year-old band were graduates, and never enrolled students.104 The story made headlines and thoroughly embarrassed both Carlisle and the
101 Dennison 102 "Indian
Wheelock features prominently in chapter five of this dissertation. School is Strongly Endorsed," clipping of unknown newspaper article, July 15, 1909, CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society. 103 "Why Band Did Not Play Flag Salute," American Volunteer (Carlisle, Pennsylvania), 1 July 1909, CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society. 104 "Attacks Head of Indian School," American Volunteer (Carlisle, Pennsylvania), 8 July 1909, CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society.
OIA. After several weeks and an investigation by the OIA, the matter was dropped and the government supported Friedman. The students who forged resistance through the flag controversy, however, did not do so because they did not wish to play. On the contrary, they rebelled because of their intense desire to perform beyond the campus and the city of Carlisle. Other students found a variety of ways in which they could use their training after leaving the schools. For example, music education figured prominently in the lives of many of the students after they left, and while it is impossible to ascertain the impact of this education among all of the students from this time period, a series of interviews conducted in the homes of Chilocco ex-students in 1934 provides us with an interesting cross section of responses. Some students not only excelled in the musical curriculum, but also, as we have seen, returned to Indian schools to carry on the instruction. Carlisle graduate Dennison Wheelock serves as the most conspicuous example and will undergo closer examination in chapter five. Chilocco ex-student Francis Chapman (Cherokee) is another; Chapman would have graduated in 1904 from Chilocco, but because his band and his classmates were exhibited in the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, he was unable to remain at Chilocco to finish his requirements.105 However, by 1934 he was the director
Who Took Training, But Did Not Graduate," Chilocco Graduates, 1894 to 1932, Ms. Claude Hogg Hayman, ed., n.d. NA RG 75, CCF Chilocco 820, file 64151-34-820. American Indians from dozens of tribes were showcased at the 1904 world's fair in St. Louis, serving as live exhibits in a display meant to demonstrate human cultural and racial evolution. The Chilocco school, under superintendent McCowan, sent an entire class to the city in order to participate in mock classroom exercises, in a mock Indian school building, for tens of thousands of visitors. John W. Troutman, "`The Overlord of the Savage World': Anthropology, the Media, and the American Indian Experience at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition," (MA Thesis, The University of Arizona, 1997). Nancy Parezo has completed a forthcoming monograph on the experiences of American Indians at the 1904 fair.
of the Chilocco band.106 A discussion with Ms. Claude Hogg, who made the home visits to Chilocco ex-students, revealed that Oscar Pratt (Arapahoe) had an affinity for "good, semi-classical music."107 It is not clear, however, if Pratt turned the radio of his Geary, Oklahoma home to the classical station every morning, or whether he only did so when an Indian bureau official was checking up on him. James Ussrey (Cherokee), of the class of 1929, found in his musical education a much more viable and interesting career path than that of his vocational training, and after leaving Chilocco he pursued a profession in band music through the Northeastern Teachers' College in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. However, when asked if he ever used his vocational instruction, he said, "I certainly do. I couldn't have a car at all, if I didn't know how to repair it myself. It is an old rattle trap, but it goes."108 Instruction of any sort in the boarding schools at this time was heavily defined by gender. Fred Hoxie has argued that by 1900, the OIA had grown pessimistic about the abilities of American Indian children beyond rudimentary, vocational training. Conducting oral histories by ex-students of the Chilocco school, Tsianina Lomawaima demonstrates that vocational instruction in the Indian schools is a "case study" for educational historians who have argued that vocational education found its origins within an upper-class movement to contain the lower classes and maintain the social order.109
Who Took Training, But Did Not Graduate," Chilocco Graduates, 1894 to 1932, n.d. NA RG 75, CCF Chilocco 820, file 64151-34-820. 107 "Class of 1927," in Ibid. 99. 108 "Class of 1929," in Ibid. 123. 109 Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light, 65. See Harvey Kantor and David Tyack, ed., Work, Youth, and Schooling: Historical Perspectives on Vocationalism in American Education (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1982).
This search for containment extended beyond class and race and established separate, acceptable forms of labor for men and women. For the boys, this meant an instruction in typically rural, small-scale craftsmanship: harness making, blacksmithing, printing, masonry, carpentry and other trades.110 For the girls, it meant instruction in the "domestic arts" of housekeeping, laundry, and cooking.111 While not necessarily unique to Indian schools, this training also contributed to a larger purpose: to teach the Indian children to become docile, subordinate citizens who knew their "place," and who recognized the fact that through allotment, their relationship with the land, and their role in the modern world, was severely curtailed.112 The music instruction in the schools was likewise constrained by considerations of what was deemed culturally appropriate for boys and girls. Only boys participated in the bands, which were associated with the world outside the home, while girls took piano, guitar, and mandolin lessons (proper instruments for the parlor). But some instruction permitted both boys and girls to participate--women occasionally participated in orchestras, and both boys and girls took vocal lessons and sung in the choirs and glee clubs. Facing employment opportunities that did not extend beyond domestic services, some girls successfully turned their musical instruction into a trade. Chilocco ex-student Alice Frazier Braves (Santee Sioux) learned to play piano and eventually began giving
110 Lomawaima, 111 Ibid.,
They Called It Prairie Light, 65.
82-83. 112 Ibid., 86.
piano lessons in Shawnee, Oklahoma.113 Ruby Falleaf Jeunesse (Delaware) graduated from Chilocco in 1928 and by 1934 had worked for eight years as a music teacher.114 Mary Ellison (Choctaw-Chilocco class of 1930) became the clerk of the Southern Navajo Agency, but supplemented her work by playing in the orchestra and for student dances.115 After Ethleen Pappan (Pawnee-Winnebago), a Carlisle graduate of 1920, had separated from her husband, she sang over the radio to help support her and her son.116 Although fewer Indian women succeeded in professional musical careers than Indian men, Dora Armstrong (Eagle Harbor-Alaska) pursued her training beyond Chilocco to the halls of New York City, where she had an opportunity to sing in light opera and continue her study.117 Many Chilocco graduates utilized their vocal instruction in church singing, and were often very proud of their musical abilities. Kenneth Mills (Shawnee), a Chilocco graduate of 1917, sang in the same Arkansas City, Kansas, Presbyterian church choir as Minnie McKenzie (Cherokee), who graduated just two years later. "In spite of her housekeeping duties, her sewing, etc.," wrote interviewer Hogg, McKenzie also found time to "engage in Choir work at the Presbyterian Church, the "C" Club activities, and is
Who Took Training, But Did Not Graduate," Chilocco Graduates, 1894 to 1932, n.d. NA RG 75, CCF Chilocco 820, file 64151-34-820. 114 "Class of 1928," in Ibid., 102. 115 "Class of 1930," in Ibid., 127-8. 116 "Class of 1920," in Ibid., 56. 117 When, by 1934, Armstrong had not been heard from in some time, interviewer Claude Hogg wrote, "whether or not she is still there, no one [in her home of Eldorado, Kansas] seems to know." "Class of 1930," in Ibid., 126.. Tsianina Redfeather Blackstone (Creek/Chickasaw) enjoyed a lasting professional career. Her story is taken up in chapter five.
a very proficient golfer."118 Palmer Byrd (Chickasaw) of St. Louis told Hogg that he and his wife "are both members at the Lafayette Park Baptist Church. This choir recently won in a contest over fourteen other church choirs. We sang on Christmas over KMOX, St. Louis. I am bass soloist in the choir and have for the past four years been the president of it."119 Singing in church choirs was practically the only constant in Chilocco graduate Francis Kekahbah's (Kaw) life: Francis has a wonderful baritone voice, and everyone expected great things of him when he should leave school. He went to Southwestern College of Fine Arts, at Winfield. He sang in the Methodist Choir in Winfield, and was doing really well. However, he met a girl, a white girl, and married hastily. He gave up school, and they moved to Arkansas City where he sang in the Presbyterian Choir, and did such work on spare time as he could get to do. Apparently they were not as congenial as they thought, for they have separated. He is now working on the E.C.W. at Chilocco, still singing in the Presbyterian Choir on Sundays.120 Many Chilocco ex-students took deep pride in their church singing, and those who interviewed with Hogg made sure to indicate that they were fully utilizing the training they learned at the school. Former students also performed in local bands. Van Horn Flying Man (Cheyenne) of Colony, Oklahoma, graduated from Chilocco in 1908. He told Hogg that "he really used the musical training more than any that he received here, for he had developed bands and orchestras that had won much praise, of which he was very proud. This statement was born out by some more men who were sitting about on the porch
of 1917," in Ibid, 35; Chilocco Graduates, 1894 to 1932, n.d., NA RG 75, CCF Chilocco 820, file 64151-34-820, p. 35; "Class of 1919," in Ibid, 48. 119 "Class of 1921," in Ibid., 59. 120 "Class of 1928," in Ibid., 106.
where we were talking."121 Kenneth Mills, who performed with Minnie McKenzie in the Arkansas City, Kansas, Presbyterian church, also played the bass horn in the municipal band.122 Louis Brueninger (Cherokee) simply told Hogg that "the musical training he received here has been of the greatest advantage to him since leaving school."123 And class of 1922 graduate John Johnson (Seneca) told Hogg that although he did not follow up the trade he learned at Chilocco, he found "that the training in discipline, music, etc., has benefited me greatly."124 Bert Brown and three other Otoe men--Francis Pipestem, Amos Black, and Joe Young--formed the "Otoe Quartet" after leaving Chilocco. Pipestone had, according to Hogg, "a very promising baritone voice" while at Chilocco. A patron funded his additional vocal training at the Baptist College in Boliver, Missouri. However, the patron failed to advance his second semester's tuition and did not tell him. He did not learn of this until he secured his board, room and clothes and returned to the campus after the holidays. He was "let down" and bitter, according to Hogg, but he later married and began farming.125 The Otoe Quartet, although, allowed him to continue his interest in singing. The quartet even left Oklahoma on occasion and made good money while traveling on the road with an evangelist.126
121 "Class 122 "Class
of 1908," in Ibid, 26. of 1917," in Ibid., 35. 123 "Class of 1922," in Ibid., 68. 124 "Class of 1922," in Ibid., 69. 125 "Class of 1929," in Ibid., 118. 126 "Class of 1924," in Ibid., 77.
The publication of Stiya and Pratt's admonitions during and following the Ghost Dance events illuminate the fact that boarding school officials truly desired to eliminate from among their students the performances that they considered hostile and dangerous, antithetical to their civilizing program. But Plenty Horses' analysis of boarding school education, that it was "of no benefit to [him]," and his killing of Lieutenant Casey in order to "make a place for [him]self among [his] people," demonstrates clearly the range of the students' response to the assimilation program. Pratt and the other officials sought to supplant the performative practices they considered dangerous with those that were acceptable to the tastes of a Victorian, middle-class, white American citizenry. However, many of the students who loved the popular swing, waltz, and jazz dances of their school days and took them back to the reservations faced criticism from parents and elders who also exhibited a variety of responses. Many of them held that men and women should not dance together at all, so that the dances learned in the schools were more dangerous to the proper mores of their society than the grass dances, giveaways, or other more familiar social entertainments. Music and dance thus became a moral and cultural battleground that invoked the desires and beliefs of the OIA officials, the students, and their home communities. Between these extreme reactions, however, lay a more representative array of actions exhibited by the students, who often felt that they had benefited from and even enjoyed their formal musical education. While a few of their favorite entertainments were shunned by an older generation of American Indians, and while Claude Hogg found an occasional ex-student whose "present occupation," she wrote of James Thomas 190
(Delaware and Shawnee), was "probably attending all the Indian pow-wows," most used their musical talents in a way that reflected the sheer variety of their experiences, both at home and in the schools.127 They culled what they desired from the education at the boarding schools and implemented their learning in ways that suited them, not their parents or those of the OIA. They used their music, as members of every modern twentieth century generation had, to define who they were as individuals. Based upon the words of the ex-students, it seems as if the lives of most were not incredibly different from those of any member of their generation, Indian or non-Indian. Most students readily accepted their musical training, settled in small towns, and their lives, often defined by church as much as anything else, reflected in many ways the OIA's vision of a subdued, assimilated generation of American citizens. But such a conclusion obscures the realities of their lives and these accounts only tell half of the story. As we shall see in the next chapter, the OIA used music to train the students to become, not just proper citizens, but proper Indians as well.
of 1929," in Ibid., 121. Thomas at that point resided in Dewey, Oklahoma. Hogg wrote, the "agent at Tulsa [told me that] James comes from a home that has little to inspire one. He stays in it as little as possible."
Chapter 4 The Music of Indianness, or, Teaching Indians How to Become Indians
As the sixty Paiute students from the Bishop Indian Day School filtered into the local Bishop, California, opera house on March 28th, 1913, their nerves could not have been more on edge: not only were they about to perform for a sold-out audience of strangers, but their parents and friends also awaited them in the galleries with eager anticipation. Organized as a benefit for their school band, members of the audience had traveled through horrendous weather in order to witness their stage debut.1 Their parents had worked hard to provide them with the proper attire for the performance: new blue overalls and white shirts for the boys and white dresses with blue sashes and red hair ribbons for the girls.2 Superintendent Spalsbury was nervous too; the townspeople had seemed prior to the performance to have lost their former interest in the Indians. This lack of concern was evidenced by the fact that no white people had visited the Indian church in months.3 All of their fears were abated, however, when from the moment the students walked onto the stage in drill formation, waving small American flags above their heads,
Entertain," Inyo County Register, 5 March 1913, clipping in NA RG 75, CCF Bishop, file 48264-14-047. 2 "Entertainment Planned For Band Benefit Big Success," Owens Valley Herald, 6 March 1913, clipping in NA RG 75, CCF Bishop, file 48264-14-047. 3 George Simeral to F.H. Abbott, March 29, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, Bishop 814, file 43895-1913-814.
the audience immediately came alive.4 Band member Harrison Diaz played a baritone solo "in absolute key" then later joined in a duet with cornetist Edward Lewis. Six-yearold Hiram Meroney performed a recitation entitled "Our Flag."5 But these displays of citizenship and discipline were soon eclipsed by an altogether different type of performance. Twenty-four of the children launched into a rendition of the ever popular "Old Indian Love Song," a song which, according to one newspaper, the students were "all familiar."6 Concluding the evening on an exciting note, eight of the older Paiutes, parents and relatives of some of the students, performed an "Indian dance" complete in Indian "costume" with, according to another newspaper report, "due concessions to white conventionalities in the way of attire."7 The performance was a rousing success, and the students earned over two hundred dollars for the school band.8 The performance at the Bishop opera house that evening reflects in many ways the shifting philosophy of the OIA and the realities of life for American Indians in the early twentieth century. Recruits of a new order in the ranks of the OIA effected a gradual dismissal of Pratt's philosophy that their mission is to "kill the Indian and save the man." The schools, although founded on the premise that Native children must shed the cultural practices of their parents, soon began, seemingly, to propose an opposite premise by incorporating Indianness within public musical performances. Though it may
4 "Entertainment 5 "Indian
Planned For Band Benefit Big Success." Show" program for February 28, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, Bishop 814, file 43895-1913-814. 6 "Entertainment Planned For Band Benefit Big Success." 7 Ibid. And "Indians Entertain."
have appeared as if the OIA had finally recognized the great flaws in its philosophies of cultural superiority, nevertheless, an analysis of the type of Indianness taught in the schools reveals otherwise. Such an analysis demonstrates that what vestiges of native culture were permitted to be performed were specifically tailored to the OIA's notions of what was necessary for developing "proper" citizens. Perhaps most telling is the
relegation of parents and friends to segregated galleries during these supposedly "public" performances of student assimilation. Nevertheless, the establishment of Indian-themed music in the schools certainly empowered the ways in which the students negotiated their own identities. This chapter explores the cultivation of Indianness by ethnologists, the reasons why Indianness emerged as a mainstay in Indian education in the early twentieth century, and the methods in which music served as its mediator. Although Richard Pratt steadfastly supported the Americanization and assimilation agenda in the boarding schools, his earliest, "deep impression" of Native Americans, as he wrote in his autobiography, was made "by the pathetic singing of Indian song by an early and accomplished friend:" Oh, why does the white man follow my path Like the hound on the tiger's track? Does the dusk on my dark cheek waken his wrath, Does he covet the boy at my back? He has rivers and seas where the billow and breeze Bear riches for him alone, And the sons of the wood never plunge in the flood Which the white man calls his own. Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, Yoho. Go back, go back on the hunter's track, The red man's eyes grow dim
To think that the white man would wrong the one Who never did harm to him. Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho. Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, Yoho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho.9 The "Song of the Indian Hunter," as it was known, became part of Pratt's song repertoire during his military duties in the Civil War. While the lyrics to the popular song represented a stereotypical allusion to defeat, sadness and acceptance by Indians and nonIndians alike over the inability of Indians to transcend the racial gulf imposed in the rhetoric, Pratt was dedicated to the proposition that he could teach the surviving Native American children how to become proper American citizens. The song was certainly not written by an American Indian, or performed at Lakota dances, but it nonetheless reveals a tradition in American popular music that came to influence federal Indian policy. Pratt's affinity for the Indian-themed song, as he fondly recalled it years after his departure from the service, prefigures a more complicated side of the Indian education program, one in which the OIA reached a level of comfort with a specific form of Indianness that they felt the students should enact. An article by Pratt published in 1896 in The Red Man further illuminates the politics of music in the schools. When Carlisle first opened, he recounted, the students created their own music education in the halls: During the first year's existence of the school, the two great musical instruments to be heard were the tom tom and Indian flute, which were as annoying and unmusical as they were constant in their use. From early morn until obliged to
R.H. Pratt, The Indian Industrial School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, (1908; Reprint, Cumberland County Historical Society Publications, 1979), 10.
retire at night, the only musical sounds coming from the boys quarters were the tom-tom, tom-tom, tom-tom and [notation of melody] or other like melody.10 While Pratt held the songs in contempt, the school apparently did not forbid such performances. The article continues: The aim of the school being the complete transformation of the Indians in respect to their ambition, habits, language, and the substitution of the better elements of civilization in their places, the display of savagery and barbarism, even in song and language, within its very walls were certainly incompatible with the accomplishment of the object in view and necessitated, sooner or later, the entire prohibition. But while early in the school's history the rule was made that the use of the Indian language and the practice of Indian customs by students would not be allowed Indian singing was never prohibited...To take [the Indian songs] away was to take away the source of their enjoyment and happiness.11 Although Carlisle was never considered a school that placed student enjoyment and happiness at the top of any agenda, Pratt seemed to take pleasure in recounting this tale, particularly because of the demonstration of his beneficence. He concluded the tale by reifying the "aim of the school," that is, replacement of the "savage" Indian for a "proper" citizen. In line with this aim, Pratt sought to replace the performance of Indian songs with those of Euro-American origin, on Euro-American instruments. However, in the first two years of the school's operation Pratt did not receive enough funding for the purchase of such instruments. When a benefactor offered to make a donation to the school, Pratt was quick to list their needs, saying, "If you will give me [a] set of brass band instruments I will give them to the tom tom boys and they can toot on them and this
Red Man, February 1896, vol. 13, no. 7. CCHS Numerous Carlisle periodicals were created and renamed during the existence of the school. Pratt merged The Indian Helper with The Red Man. This was replaced by The Arrow. The Red Man, retitled after Pratt's departure The Indian Craftsman, was meant for a readership of outside interested parties as well as for the students. See Joel Pfister, Individuality Incorporated: Indians and the Multicultural Modern (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 86.
will stop the tom tom." "And so," the tale ended, "Mrs. Baker sent the boys a set of Boston instruments and the girls were provided with pianos. Strange to say, the order to stop the singing of Indian songs was never issued, but as the first band became more musical, the Indian songster in proportion became musicless."12 This origin story of the Carlisle band reveals both Pratt's philosophical problem with Indian songs and his solution. He believed that when civilized trombones and pianos were placed respectively at the boys' and girls' fingertips, any natural proclivities toward the savage "tom tom" and "Indian flute" disappeared; and thus the "Indian songsters" became "musicless." Pratt considered the assembly of the bands and the delicate playing of the piano a great success in thwarting the celebration of difference and tribal or Indian identity through music, at least on the school grounds. But the performance of Indianness was never completely eliminated or shunned by the Carlisle and other school administrations. At times presentations of Indianness were in fact trumpeted at the schools. Pratt left Carlisle in 1904, right around the time that returned students began dancing by force on reservations. But before his departure, he tolerated particular displays of Indianness on his campus. On February 24th, 1880, a group of government officials including Secretary of the Interior Schurz toured the Carlisle grounds. That evening three of the older students "for the day wore their native garb, [and] performed an Indian dance." As described in the official Interior report, "this was most humorously varied by the assistance of a little half-breed boy who had a ludicrously droll and acute face. This was
greeted with great laughter, even the stoical calm of the Indians breaking down at the sight."13 This early performance served, in the eyes of Pratt and the Carlisle staff, simply to entertain the visitors who had already created an image and an expectation of Indianness in their minds. That expectation positioned them to see "native garb" rather than the detail of a tribal or community-specific dress; an "Indian dance" rather than, for example, an Omaha dance; a "half-breed" and "full-bloods" rather than people of a complex and diverse ancestral history; the "stoical" stereotype of native people and humor and harmlessness in the dance rather than the danger the OIA associated with their lives on the reservations.14 Or, perhaps, they saw what had truly become a more generic and mainstream display of Indianness by this time--a plains war bonnet with buckskin and Indians beating a tom-tom to one universally-recognized "Indian" melody or another.15 And perhaps the students were laughing for reasons completely beyond the comprehension of Pratt and the guests of honor at Carlisle that day. We will never know the details of the dance or the meanings that the dancers and the students attributed to the event. But we can attempt to reconcile federal Indian boarding school performances of
Indian School at Carlisle Barracks," 1880 Report, Department of the Interior: Bureau of Education, Washington. 14 The Omaha Dance is closely related to the Grass Dance. Both names were given to the dances as the Northern Plains tribes inherited them in the 1860s from the Inloshka and Hethuska societies of the Kansa, Omaha, and Ponca, as well as from the Iruska of the Pawnee. See Kavanagh, "Southern Plains Dance: Tradition and Dynamism," in Charlotte Heth, ed. Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions (Washington, DC: National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, with Starwood Publishing, Inc., 1992), 109. Tara Browner points out that although many historians and ethnomusicologists consider the Omaha and Grass Dance as one in the same, many Lakota people, for example, see clear features that distinguish the two. Tara Browner, Heartbeat of the People: Music and Dance of the Northern Pow-wow (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 20-21. 15 Phil Deloria explores the way in which the stereotypical "sound of Indian" evolved in American popular culture. See his chapter on music in Philip J. Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, forthcoming).
native dance for government visitors with the fact that those very schools were seemingly designed to eliminate all vestiges of the cultural attributes defined as Indian. Such reconciliation commences with the recognition that Indianness itself became a powerful force in negotiating federal Indian policy. The stereotypical images of Indianness that circulated in American popular culture were pervasive and penetrating. Take, as an example, Pratt's nostalgia for Indianness, the "deep impression" left on him by the Indian song, and his occasional embrace of the performance of Indianness before OIA officials. Even he could not ignore the images that had long circulated in American popular culture. No other OIA official held a stronger conviction that Indians must shed their tribal affiliations and the cultural traditions of their communities, yet, even if only seldom, Pratt paradoxically encouraged his students to perpetuate the very stereotypes that most disturbed him. The pursuit of Pratt's educational agenda of eradicating all cultural signifiers of racial difference for the sake of civilization began to waver slightly as new anthropological theories, an overwhelming popular desire to embrace Indianness, and the reluctance of Native Americans to shed their tribal affiliations caused a shift in Indian education policy. Indianness became a powerful bargaining tool for Pratt, his successors, and other school superintendents, as they sought to control the meaning of Native actions within the symbolic universe of the assimilation doctrine. Frederick Hoxie argues that government policy shifted away from the hopes of "civilizing" and completely incorporating assimilated American Indians into American society with full rights of citizenship to, by 1920, a more "pessimistic spirit" based in large part upon a lack of faith in the abilities of native people to fulfill the values and 199
duties expected of an American citizen with full rights. Native people left the spotlight of reformers' and government officials' high expectations for a state of permanent marginalization and ambivalence, if not indifference, demonstrated in federal policy.16 This marginalization, Hoxie argues, was also witnessed in the educational programs that became geared, due to lowered expectations, away from common-school training and more towards vocational and domestic training. American Indians were then "fully" assimilated into American society when they were relegated to the second-class citizenship of a non-white minority.17 The optimism of the early Indian reformers was symbolically extinguished when Pratt was forced out of the service in 1904. Pratt was fired because of his rants against the OIA over various matters; he had grown unpopular within the bureau, in large part because of his belief that American Indians, if given a proper education, could achieve the same goals as those of whites. Pratt embodied the older character-driven American middle-class value system that placed an emphasis on hard work, dedication, and thrift.18 But such an explanation for the shift in educational policy does not adequately address why the students, even under Pratt's administration, received occasional permission and were later trained in the "arts" of Indianness. In fact, as we have seen in
the exception being U.S. citizenship granted to all American Indians in 1924. But the decision to grant such citizenship, once a goal of the assimilation policy, and instituted initially among certain Native people in the Dawes Act of 1887, fell under much critique by OIA officials, further demonstrating their ambivalence, if not reversal of opinion, regarding the policy. This critique of citizenship is more fully explored in chapter one. 17 Frederick E. Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
both the examples of the dance suppression and the continued emphasis on regimentation, discipline, and assimilation in the schools from the 1880s through the 1920s, OIA policy was in many ways much more consistent throughout the decades than transitional. Citizenship through allotment and assimilation remained the central goal of the OIA during this period. The inclusion of Indianness within the educational curriculum of the schools only makes sense when we take into account the emergence of consumer culture, the influence of ethnologists within the OIA, and the reluctance of Native Americans to embrace the model of docile citizenship that the OIA desired. These factors are also key to understanding the role of music as a mediator of Indianness within the schools.
MUSICAL INDIANNESS IN POPULAR CULTURE
The Native Americans who performed Indianness in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the late nineteenth century prefigured the emergence of consumer culture that would eventually shape the character of twentieth-century American society. Prior to the formation of all-Indian bands and other entrepreneurial ventures that sold entertainment through Indianness, Native American performers, or `show Indians' as they were called, had already discovered a way to gain entry to the market economy. As scholars of Wild West Shows have shown, hundreds of American Indians performed Indianness (typically
86. Pfister's reading of the Carlisle periodicals and Pratt's personal papers as a historical study of the category of individuality is particularly interesting. See also Warren Susman, Culture as History: The
as "war-bonneted equestrian raider[s] of the plains") in shows that recounted Indian wars and "primitive" Indian life within a contemporary representation of the past.19 These people were able to profit from performance because their very "Indianness" transfixed a non-Indian public who found shelter from modern anxieties through the gaze of the Other. As Americans, particularly those who lived in urban industrial areas, began to make sense of the displacement and uncertainties that modernity wrought, Indianness gathered appeal because of its apparent cultural authenticity in a seemingly inauthentic, vapid modern world. Phil Deloria argues that the romanticization of Indianness played a crucial role in the movement of antimodern primitivism and laid the foundation in some ways for a modern American identity.20 Indianness became a commodity in the emerging consumer culture, with `show' Indians offering a live, authentic product for the audience to experience.21
Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York: Pantheon Books, 1973). 19 L.G. Moses, Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991), 4. See also The Frontier in American Culture: An Exhibition at the Newberry Library, August 26, 1994-January 7, 1995, James R. Grossman, ed. (Chicago: The Library, 1994); Sarah J. Blackstone, Buckskins, Bullets, and Business: A History of Buffalo Bill's Wild West (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1986); Joy S. Kasson, Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000); Jonathan D. Martin, "`The Grandest and Most Cosmopolitan Object Teacher': Buffalo Bill's Wild West and the Politics of American Identity, 1883-1899," Radical History Review 66 (1996): 92-123; Michael Lee Masterson, "Sounds of the Frontier: Music in Buffalo Bill's Wild West," (Ph.D. diss., University of New Mexico, 1990); Paul Reddin, Wild West Shows (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999); Barbara Williams Roth, "The 101 Ranch Wild West Show, 1904-1932," Chronicles of Oklahoma vol. 43, no.4 (1966): 416-431; Louis S. Warren, "Buffalo Bill Meets Dracula: William F. Cody, Bram Stoker, and the Frontiers of Racial Decay," American Historical Review vol. 107, no.4 (2002); 1124-1157; Louis S. Warren, "Cody's Last Stand: Masculine Anxiety, The Custer Myth, and the Frontier of Domesticity in Buffalo Bill's Wild West," Western Historical Quarterly vol. 34, no.1 (2003): 49-69. 20 Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 105. 21 Deloria's reading of the relationship between authenticity, modernity, and Indianness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is particularly insightful. See his Playing Indian, 95-127. For discussions on authenticity, see Regina Bendix, In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997); Marshall Berman, The Politics of Authenticity
American Indians contributed to the public appetite for Indianness, not only by performing in Wild West shows, but also by producing an appealing genre of literature. Charles Eastman's (Ohiyesa's) Indian Boyhood (1902) and Gertrude Bonnin's (Zitkala Sa's) Old Indian Legends (1901) established a vanguard of twentieth-century Native writing that presented first-hand, "authentic" accounts of Native American life.22 Omaha writer and anthropologist Francis LaFlesche not only collaborated with Alice Fletcher to collect Omaha music, but also used Charles Cadman as his assistant for transcribing music while he completed a four-volume work on the Osage.23 These authors were instrumental not only in reassessing what should be the proper treatment of American Indians, but also in gratifying non-Indian desires of authenticity, primitivism, and nostalgia. On occasion sympathetic accounts of Indian life by non-Indians also caught the attention of mainstream publishers who hoped to expose the material to a broader audience. Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor (1881) and Ramona (1884), both critical of American Indian policy, drew widespread attention to the mistreatment of
(New York: Atheneum, 1972); T.J. Jackson Lears, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984); Miles Orvell, The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880-1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989); Lionel Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972). On modernity see also Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (New York: Penguin, 1982). On the relationship between ethnicity, primitivism, and consumerism, see Erika Bsumek, "Making `Indian-made': The Production, Consumption, and Construction of Navajo Ethnic Identity, 1880-1935" (Ph.D. diss., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 2000). 22 Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa), Indian Boyhood (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1902); Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Bonnin), American Indian Stories (Washington: Hayworth Publishing House, 1921). 23 Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places, 245-46.
American Indians over the previous century.24 These works were paternalistic in nature, but they coincided with the reformist and progressive traditions of Eastman, Bonnin, and others, and they certainly contributed to the growing idea that something had gone terribly awry in Indian policy. These writers and performers captured the minds of the American public, particularly in the East where non-Indians were not as overtly hostile to local Native populations as they were in many parts of the West. "Sham battles" in Wild West Shows and other reenactments contained on the premises of public fairgrounds placed American Indians in the safe, temporal arena of the past; however these simulations only served further to disguise other battles being waged by allotment policy, the practice of Native dance, and the constant negotiation of modern Indian identities taking place on reservations, schools and in cities and towns throughout the country. Non-Indian Semi-classical music composers, supported by the public's fascination with Indianness, increasingly attempted to capture the "sounds" of Indianness. Since 1880, when Theodore Baker first began an attempt to systematically document Native music, non-Indian composers began to take notice of the potential by which they could incorporate Native melodies into their works.25 Early "Indianist" composers, as they became known, such as Edward MacDowell and Amy Beach, along with later
Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor; A Sketch of the United States Government's Dealings with Some of the Indian Tribes (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881); Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1912). 25 Tara Browner, "`Breathing the Indian Spirit': Thoughts on Musical Borrowing and the `Indianist' Movement in American Music," American Music, (Fall, 1997): 265-284, 265. See also Michael Pisani, "Exotic Sounds in the Native Land: Portrayals of North American Indians in Western Music" (Ph.D. diss., University of Rochester, 1996).
composers such as Arthur Farwell, Charles Wakefield Cadman, and Thurlow Lieurance, established a large body of work dedicated to the production of Indian themes palatable to non-Indian ears.26 Influenced in some ways by Dvork, MacDowell used Indianist compositions to establish an "authentic" American, nationalist musical tradition. The nationalist emphasis on the compositions remained strong after the turn of the century, and at this point the works of the composers began to resonate in primitivist circles as well. No other race or ethnic group represented a closer relationship to the American landscape. In order to legitimate the authenticity of their works, no matter how transcribed, idealized, and harmonized, the second generation (1900-1920) of Indianist composers led by Farwell and Cadman collaborated with or based their compositions off of melodies collected by contemporary ethnologists such as Alice Fletcher, Frances Densmore, and Natalie Curtis. Although their products were extremely distilled, nevertheless Indianist composers gained much authority in the eyes and ears of the non-Indian American public. Combined with popular songwriters who also took up the low-brow Indianist call on Tin Pan Alley, ethnologists, composers and songwriters contributed to a widespread
not all composers who wrote Indian-themed pieces were considered Indianists, Browner's use of the term is fitting: "`Indianist' is used here to refer to any American who used Native American music as source material for art music on a consistent basis (as opposed to just once or twice) between 1890 and 1920." Browner, "`Breathing the Indian Spirit,'" 266. In addition to Browner and Pisani, for more information on these composers see Adrienne Fried Block, "Amy Beach's Music on Native American Themes," American Music, (Summer, 1990): 141-166; Phil Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places, 236289.
movement in American music that continued to generate interest in American Indian cultural traditions.27
THE INFLUENCE OF ETHNOLOGISTS WITHIN THE OIA
The performance of Indianness within federal Indian boarding schools was largely a result of the tensions produced when anthropologists negotiated with federal officials. Ethnologists were interested in directly engaging contemporary Native people on modern reservations, but their efforts resulted in the presentation of an image of the past, not of the present, and they considered modern influences as a corrupter of Indian identity, not a transformer.28 In this way their work seemed to fit hand in glove with the public's burgeoning fascination with Indianness. Ethnologists took increasing interest in "salvaging" the lore, stories, and songs from native communities due to the fear that, through destruction and/or assimilation, they would all but disappear. Typically the ethnographies were collected and shared by a small audience in academic journals or in publications by the Bureau of American Ethnology, but eventually their work began to garner attention from the public.
C. McNutt, "John Comfort Fillmore: A Student of Indian Music Reconsidered," American Music, (Spring, 1984), 61-70: 61. 28 Thomas Biolsi, writing a piece on Haviland Scudder Mekeel's work among the Lakota in the 1930s, presents an interesting analysis on the preconceptions by anthropologists that scuttled their ability to move beyond the quest for a `pure' Indian. See Thomas Biolsi, "The Anthropological Construction of `Indians': Haviland Scudder Mekeel and the Search for the Primitive in Lakota Country," in Indians and Anthropologists: Vine Deloria, Jr., and the Critique of Anthropology, Thomas Biolsi and Larry J. Zimmerman, ed. (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1997), 133-159.
Natalie Curtis, Frances Densmore, Alice Fletcher and other late nineteenth-/early twentieth-century ethnologists' efforts to `preserve' Indian music coincided with public pressure on OIA officials to reconsider their valuation of Indianness in the schools.29 Federal Policy was only intermittently influenced in the first few years of the twentieth century by the work of anthropologists and new theories on race and culture. Their investigative agenda required compliance by the OIA and placed them in an extraordinary position. The anthropologists were requesting permission to record the same songs that the OIA continued to suppress. Anthropology and federal policy were thus wed in highly unusual circumstances that contributed to the movement within the schools to create safe and contained Indians as well as proper citizens. Frances Densmore, born in 1867 in Red Wing, Minnesota, spent most of her life visiting reservations to record and transcribe the songs she collected from native communities. By the time of her death in 1957 she had recorded about 3,500 songs and transcribed 2,500 of them for her numerous publications and lectures. Densmore's efforts and dedication are remarkable, revealing in many ways the intersection of anthropology, the market economy, and federal policy in the early twentieth century. By exposing these relationships, we can understand how the very utterance of native songs was challenged and temporally infused to variously signify either the past, present, or the
examples of their work, see Natalie Curtis, The Indians' Book: An Offering by the American Indians of Indian Lore, Musical and Narrative, to Form a Record of the Songs and Legends of Their Race (1923; reprint, New York: Bonanza Books, 1987; Frances Densmore and American Indian Music: A Memorial Volume, Charles Hofman, ed. (New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1968); Alice C. Fletcher, A Study of Omaha Indian Music (1893; reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994). See also Joan T Mark, A Stranger in Her Native Land: Alice Fletcher and the American Indians (Lincoln:
future viability and value of Indian identity within the United States polity, and the ways in which Native people responded to the emergence of those relationships. Finally, her work also provides an introduction to the ways in which the OIA constructed a "proper" Indianness for didactic purposes within the schools. Although Densmore believed deeply in the historical value and beauty of American Indian music, she recorded the songs because she believed that American Indians could not afford to perform them much longer in an increasingly modern world. She dedicated her work to the `preservation' of native songs, the preservation of a racially-encoded cultural performance. Densmore believed their value as racial artifacts was more significant than their value within native communities to foster community ties or communal, tribal identity. Historically rather than actively relevant, Densmore and other ethnologists worked toward preserving these performances as relics of the past, relics of a race that would either disappear or sacrifice these practices in order to assimilate into a white American society. The immediate problem for Densmore and others, however, lay in the fact that the OIA maintained a policy of suppressing the performances that the ethnologists wished to observe and transcribe. Her ability to find singers reveals that many of the performative traditions banned by the OIA persisted in the memories if not also the practices of the Native people she encountered. For example, the Sun Dance was officially blacklisted since the 1880's, yet Densmore on multiple occasions such as her trip to Fort Yates in
University of Nebraska Press, 1988); Alfred R. Bredenberg, "Natalie Curtis Burlin (1875-1921): A Pioneer in the Study of American Minority Cultures," Connecticut Review vol. 16, no.1 (1994): 1-15.
1911 tracked down singers in order to persuade them to sing again.30 Often singers questioned Densmore, a government worker, as to why she was asking them to perform songs that the OIA had forbidden. She recalled, I was asking the Indians to tell me about customs that [the reservation superintendent] was forbidding them to practice. I was asking them to sing songs that were con[n]ected with those customs. It was hard for the Indians to understand this anomaly but I was always loyal to the Government of the United States. My explanation to the Indians was, `I want to keep these things for you, just as you keep valuable things for a child until he grows up. You have much to learn about the new way of life, and you are too busy to use these things now. The young men are too busy with the new life to learn the old songs but I will keep the songs and the information for them.31 Densmore's valuation of native songs gradually became as complicated and conflicted as federal Indian policy initiatives; while she told the Lakota at Fort Yates that the younger generation of native people did not have time or an inclination to learn the songs she was recording, she was already directly involved in a plan to introduce her own version of their songs to both Indian school students and the non-Indian public. Densmore's efforts to present Indian songs to Indian students began as early as 1904, the year in which she delivered a talk on the subject to the students at the Morris Indian School in Morris, Minnesota.32 In 1906 she recorded two songs by a Dakota woman named Wapatanka. Densmore "wrote down the songs as they were sung," then she played the melody on a nearby piano, "adding simple chords like those used by Miss
30 Frances Densmore, extract from diaries, "Chronology of the Study and Presentation of Indian Music from 1893 to 1944 by Frances Densmore," Densmore, Francis, papers, MS 4250, Box 1, National Anthropological Archives. 31 "I heard an Indian Drum," (manuscript for autobiography), Densmore papers box 2, file 16, p. 7, NAA. 32 Frances Densmore, extract from diaries, 1904, "Chronology of the Study and Presentation of Indian Music from 1893 to 1944 by Frances Densmore," Frances Densmore Papers, MS 4250, Box 1, NAA.
Fletcher."33 She eventually turned one into a "choral march," and both were printed in the April 1907 edition of the Chilocco Indian School Journal.34 She made several more trips to schools including those at Sisseton and Phoenix through 1921, often transcribing the songs of students as much as teaching them.35 While she did not believe that the songs she collected on reservations should play a role in the lives of modern Indians other than to testify to their ancestral past, Densmore recognized a need for modern non-Indians to experience the "authenticity" of Native songs. In fact she seemed most proud when composers applied her transcribed songs within operas and other forms of Euro-american orchestration. She considered such application as the "practical use" of her studies and used their success as justification for renewing her contracts with the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). Among those who incorporated Densmore's transcribed melodies into their orchestration was Alberto Bimboni in his operas Winona and The Maiden's Leap, Alfred Manger in his Fantasie on Sioux Themes, and Carl Busch in two compositions for string orchestra entitled Second Indian Rhapsody and Sun Dance Rhapsody.36 At a time when federal policy was directed toward the allotment and eventual liquidation of all remaining Indian lands in an effort to prepare American Indians to live in a modern world, the non-native public sought refuge from that very same modern
33 Ibid., 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid.
36 "Record of the field work by Densmore for the BAI, 1907-1941, on the music and customs of the American Indians," 1943, p. 28 (`personal memoranda'), Densmore papers, Box 2, file 25, NAA; Frances Densmore to F.W. Hodge, July 17, 1914, BAE correspondence (1909-1950), file: Densmore, Frances, 1914, Box 27, pp. 1-2, NAA.
world in the music of Indianness. Of course the adaptations of Indian melodies were culturally and temporally removed from the context in which they were originally intended to be performed; nevertheless, the music purported to represent a distant yet preserved racial heritage, an apparently authentic experience of the American natural landscape. Densmore and her preserving efforts were explicitly involved in providing this refuge. In June of 1913 she walked into the office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and asked if the allotment of John Red Fox, a Lakota from the Standing Rock Reservation who had befriended her, could be transferred to the Smithsonian whereby the institution would sell his property in order to pay her expenses for "making an investigation of music in the Sioux country."37 The principal of the Sisseton Indian school was in fact fearful of the response Densmore's visit would evoke among the students. When she visited the school in 1911 she wrote, I find here the greatest possible prejudice against the teaching of Indian songs to pupils in the school. As the principal here said, `when the boys take to singing Indian songs in the evening I know it's time to look out for a lot of runaways.' The first question asked me by the school principal was whether I `had any notion of putting the children up [to] singing Indian songs' and I had to prove very conclusively that my work was purely scientific before I could get any attention from him.38 In the early twentieth century, despite all of the efforts of the OIA to manage and contain the musical expressions of Indianness, returned students or boarding school alumni were
F.H. Abbott to Frances Densmore, June 7, 1913, RG 75, National Archives, Central Classified File, General Services 751. 38 Frances Densmore to F.W. Hodge, July 11, 1911, BAE correspondence (1909-1950), box 26, file: densmore, frances 1911, NAA.
often those most responsible for combating government directives aimed at the suppression of dances on reservations.39 The principal recognized the difficulties of `controlling' his students and was doubtful of Densmore's attempt to inculcate a proper, sanitized appreciation of native music even when she defended her work as clinical and scientific. While Densmore may have felt that her experience with the principal was difficult, she faced a multitude of challenges from her native subjects as well. In 1914 Densmore visited the Uinta and White River bands of Northern Utes in an effort to record their songs on wax cylinders. By this point in her career she had spent over 10 years traveling to native communities in order to capture voices and melodies and preserve them within the halls of the Smithsonian Institution. Like this experience with the Utes, it was not always easy for Densmore to convince the native performers that her efforts were sincere or worthwhile. She recalled, From the day of my arrival the Utes did not like the idea of my work...I set up the phonograph in the front room, secured a good interpreter and hoped for singers. Many Indians came out of curiosity, looked in the windows, sat around the room and laughed. In vain I explained, through the interpreter, that I had been with many tribes who were glad to record their songs. I told of the building in Washington that would not burn down, where their voices would be preserved forever, but still they only looked at each other and laughed...It was absurd to think that a white woman would pay money to record their songs, for the government to keep forever in that building that would not burn down!40 Densmore tried to convince them to sing by laying a quarter on the phonograph and leaving the room, telling them that whoever was willing to sing would earn the quarter.
chapter one for a discussion on returned students.
After hearing only snickers for several minutes while she waited in another room, someone eventually sang into the machine. But when she returned she discovered the singer was her interpreter, who kept the quarter as well as his regular pay.41 Densmore's intentions to record native songs were multiply foiled by the Utes. After failing to convince them to sing, she asked them to find Red Cap, the Ute leader adamantly opposed to allotment who had gained notoriety in 1906 by attempting to join the Utes and the Sioux together in war against the United States. She believed that if she could persuade him that her mission was worthy, then he would tell people in his community to sing for her. After meeting with him, he seemed convinced and told her he would bring the best singers to her. When she finished recording them Red Cap said, "I have done as you wished. Now I want to ask a favor. I do not sing, as I said, but I would like to talk into your phonograph. Will it record talking?"42 Densmore replied that it would. He continued, Well...Then I will talk and I want you to play the record for the Indian Commissioner in Washington. I want to tell him that we do not like this Agent. WE want him sent somewhere else. We don't like the things he does. What we
Densmore to F.W. Hodge, August 10, 1914, BAE correspondence (1909-1950), box 27, file: densmore, frances, 1914, NAA, p. 1. 41 Frances Densmore to F.W. Hodge, August 10, 1914, BAE correspondence (1909-1950), box 27, file: densmore, frances, 1914, NAA., p. 1. Frances Densmore, "Incidents in the Study of Ute Music," manuscript, no. 4250, in densmore papers, box 2, file 20, NAA, p. 2. Indianist composer Thurlow Lieurance also reported difficulties in convincing Native people to record songs for him. He said, "In one tribe, the chief told the young men not to sing for me. He said that instrument would suck the breath out of their bodies and that they would die before sundown. But a few of them could not be scared away with this. Now if one of them had become sick that afternoon, I probably would not be here to tell the tale." "Thurlow Lieurance, Lincoln's Composer of National Prominence, Tells of His Latest Indian Rhapsody," The Lincoln Sunday Star, 14 November 1920, p. 1., clipping in Thurlow Lieurance, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 139, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. 42 Frances Densmore, "Incidents in the Study of Ute Music," manuscript, no. 4250, in densmore papers, box 2, file 20, NAA, p. 4.
tell him does not get to the commissioner but I want the commissioner to hear my voice. I want you to play this so he will hear my words, and I want you to give him a good translation of my speech. We want to get rid of this Agent.43 Densmore realized Red Cap had taken the upper hand through his diplomacy and so she agreed to play the recording for the commissioner.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF INDIANNESS IN THE SCHOOLS
Despite Red Cap's innovative use of the recording and transcribing technologies that began to permeate reservations, Densmore and the OIA continued to believe that their vision of Indianness, one that wed public desire with federal Indian policy, was the only one that would matter in the end. While Densmore agreed with the current OIA philosophy that recognized Indian identity as antithetical to the requirements of American citizenship, she nevertheless sought to infuse Americanness with Indianness for the benefit of "civilized" whites. Such an infusion began to complicate federal Indian education policy as, building upon the work of Densmore and other anthropologists and their work with Indianist composers, OIA officials of the post-Pratt era such as Commissioner Francis Leupp and Carlisle superintendent Moses Friedman found a way to present a sanitized, decontextualized form of Indianness that responded to public pressure, scientific thought, and the overriding citizenship agenda. They began an effort to introduce a form of "Indian" instruction in the schools that would not undermine their goals of establishing a citizenry, however racialized, of vocational and domestic laborers.
Emphasis in original.
Commissioner Leupp--an archrival of Pratt--did not hold much faith that Indian students would be able fully to assimilate within white society, and he did not necessarily believe that they even should.44 Influenced by friends in the social sciences and new trends in anthropology, Leupp subscribed to some of the ideas of cultural relativism (that there was value in subaltern cultural traditions, and that they should be judged on their own terms and not in relation to others), but he continued to believe that, ultimately, American Indians should aspire to assimilate into white American society.45 His expectations were significantly lower than Pratt's and were shared with the most prominent of Pratt's successors at Carlisle, Moses Friedman, who believed that Indians (whom he often referred to as "savages") should instead resign themselves to a class of laborers, a proletariat that could serve the country ably as citizens, though second-class at that.46
Leupp served as the Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1905-1909. The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1824-1977, Robert M. Kvasnicka and Herman J. Viola, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979) 221-231. 45 Pfister, 87. Leupp prefigured the relativist aspirations of John Collier (Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1933-1945) in asserting that Native arts and crafts did retain value for Indians and non-Indians alike, and that an Indian "will never be judged aright till we learn to measure him by his own standards, as we whites would wish to be measured if some powerful race were to usurp dominion over us." But he also believed that their standards were lower, arguing that Indians retained "primitive instinct[s] common to all mankind in the lower stages of social development." Quoted in Pfister, 89. It took much time before cultural relativism, as first espoused in anthropology by Franz Boas in 1896, would replace the theories of racial and cultural evolution prompted by nineteenth-century thinkers such as Herbert Spencer and Lewis Henry Morgan. Leupp's positive valuation of Native arts and crafts, along with his staunch belief that American Indians held inferior cultural practices and values, not only justified the paternalistic approach of the OIA but also reflected the emerging market of Indian crafts and the creation of primitivism as a modern style. For a history of anthropology that covers this period, see George W. Stocking, Jr., Race, Culture, and Evolution: Essays in the History of Anthropology (New York: The Free Press, 1968). On social and cultural evolution theories in particular, see George W. Stocking, Jr., Victorian Anthropology (New York: The Free Press, 1987). 46 Pfister, 85. Friedman served as the superintendent of Carlisle from 1908 to 1913. Goals of racial assimilation were transformed to and perhaps more aptly described by, in the words of one scholar, goals of "proletarianization." Littlefield, A. "The B.I.A. Boarding School: Theories of Resistance and Social
As the performance of Indianness grew increasingly popular, through Wild West shows, Indianist compositions, the cottage industry of Native arts and crafts in the Southwest, and the work of ethnologists, so too did the realization by the OIA that assimilation and allotment were failing. Officials grew less convinced that Indians could learn how to become white, mostly due to the staunch refusal of Native Americans to shed their tribal identities. Allotment did not result in Jeffersonian farmers, but rather in disaster, as un-arable lands and broken tools left people starving. Dancing and giveaways began to proliferate in response to these woes. Still seeking to suppress such cultural
flourishes, the OIA not only blamed Indians for their own failures, but began to believe that Indians simply did not possess the faculties that could transcend their perceived cultural deficiencies. Despite the emergence of cultural relativism in anthropological circles, racial inferiority rather than learned cultural practices seemed to distinguish Indians from whites in the economic and educational policies of Leupp and his contemporaries. Faced with what would appear to be the failure if allotment and assimilation, the OIA did not abandon such policies, but rather augmented them. The Burke Act of 1906 amended the Dawes allotment act, allowing the secretary of the interior to grant patents of fee simple title to those Indian allottees he considered "competent and capable of managing his or her affairs."47 This greatly increased the number of allottees who received title to their lands, and between 1906 and 1908, over sixty percent of those
Reproduction." Humanity and Society 13 (1989): 428-441; Littlefield, A. "Learning to Labor: Native American Education in the United States, 1880-1930." In The Political Economy of North American
receiving fee simple titles under the amendment had quickly lost their lands and the proceeds through sales to non-Indians. Between the years 1916 and 1921, Commissioner Cato Sells issued over 20,000 patents in fee, twice as many as had been issued in the ten years prior.48 Likewise, the assimilative educational curriculum remained largely intact from the creation of Carlisle through the 1920s. Vocational training for American Indians was a mainstay at Carlisle since the very beginning, even though Pratt believed that higher education was within their grasp. In 1906 Leupp sent troops to arrest Hopis who refused to send their children to boarding school, and in 1908 he proposed legislation to force fee simple title allotments on those who refused to send their children away, knowing full well that they could easily lose their allotments through swindle.49 And finally, the bestowal of citizenship remained the goal of the OIA, even though it became clear that Indians would continue to fail, from the OIA's perspective, in meeting the responsibilities and cultural requirements of citizenship. Yet Leupp ushered in a new era in federal Indian policy, one that actively advanced displays of Indianness within the schools. In 1907 he wrote education circular no. 175 that contrasted dramatically with previous policies in the OIA regarding Native songs in the Indian schools: I have, in a few speeches and other public utterances, made special mention of the successful practice of one of our teachers in the Southwest, of inducing her pupils to bring to the class-room the little nursery songs of their homes, and sing them there in concert, in their own tongue and with their own inflections and gestures.
Indians, edited by J.Moore, 43-59. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993., p. 43. 47 Quoted in Viola, 227. 48 Ibid., 249. 49 Ibid., 227-8, 230.
As everyone who reads this letter probably knows, I have none of the prejudice which exists in many minds against the perpetuation of Indian music and other arts, customs and traditions, provided they are innocent in themselves and do not clash needlessly with the new social order into which we are inducting our aboriginal race. Indeed, I am glad to have the simple songs which the Indians have learned at home in their childhood preserved by their young people, just as among the children of the Caucasian race the nursery songs and lullabies are among the sweetest memories they carry into later life. Although I would use every means to encourage the children to learn English, that being one of the objects for which they are brought to school, I do not consider that their singing their little songs in their native tongue does anybody any harm, and it helps to make easier the perilous and difficult bridge which they are crossing at this stage of their race development."50 Leupp's seeming acceptance of Indian music, even if only "innocent...nursery songs," reflects one of his innovations in the OIA: influenced by anthropologists who forwarded theories of cultural disparity, he believed that Indians could not, as Pratt believed, shed their Indian traits through education.51 Rather, he argued, the OIA must accept the fact that Indians and whites were in some ways fundamentally different. These differences, he believed, did not necessitate outright elimination unless they clashed with the "new social order." While the instruction in Euro-American music was designed to teach the students to become proper Americanized citizens, it appears that by 1907, some OIA officials, influenced by anthropologists and trends in popular culture and believing, unlike Pratt, that American Indians could not transcend their racial inferiority through education, proposed that they use music to teach the students to become, on their terms, proper Indians.
Leupp, Education Circular no. 175, December 3, 1907, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 814, file 56074-1934-814, emphasis added. 51 Viola, 231.
Leupp's particular decision to take a seemingly opposite stance on the inclusion of curricular material that celebrated Indianness was most likely in response to the growing canon of literature by ethnologists on Indian music. Ethnologist Natalie Curtis's collection of Indian songs, called The Indians' Book (1907), seems the most likely publication that spawned Leupp to reconsider the music curriculum in the schools. Curtis' book, which drew positive reviews and has remained in print ever since its publication, initially attracted attention because of President Roosevelt's support of her work. He wrote a note that introduced the book: "These songs call a wholly new light on the depth and dignity of Indian thought, the simple beauty and strange charm--the charm of a vanished elder world--of Indian poetry."52 Roosevelt's support of her work, in the midst of a federal policy that rendered native traditions antithetical to citizenship, caused quite a bit of controversy within the OIA.53 Yet Leupp was a friend of Roosevelt's and a member of his "cowboy cabinet."54 While the anti-dance sentiment remained intact within the OIA, the popularity of The Indians' Book and Roosevelt's support prompted some within the OIA to rethink school policies.55 Leupp's challenges lie in integrating his directive to support the inclusion of Indian or Indian-themed songs with the overriding citizenship agenda.
xxv. Curtis, "Mr. Roosevelt and Indian Music," March 5, 1919, The Outlook (vol. 121): 399-400, 399. 54 Pfister, 88. 55 Michael Castro argues that Curtis' work, along with Roosevelt's support, "did little to soften the overall governmental oppressions." This is true, as can be seen by the acceleration of allotment and the continuity of the assimilation philosophy. Yet the valuation (severely flawed as it was) of Native culture as exemplified by Curtis and supported by Roosevelt, along with consistent resistance to assimilation by American Indians, did cause Leupp and his successors to attempt new strategies in order to forward their
Although we find by Leupp's tenure as Commissioner of the OIA a recognition that a distinct value lay in Indianness, one that did not necessitate extermination, as Pratt's assimilationist zeal typically extolled, this perceived value was still of course inferior to the cultural traits exhibited by whites. Indeed the cultural relativism that appeared to invade the OIA in the early twentieth century maintained, at least in OIA policies, a racial hierarchy that valued Indianness more as a critique of white society than as a call for self-determination or self-governance of tribes. OIA officials conceived of the practice of Indianness among American Indians as a spectrum of signifiers and acts; performance of difference ran from what they considered a safely contained, rather impotent, yet marketable display of Indianness to an extremely dangerous form of resistance that was exhibited in many ways through the dances that Commissioner Burke and other officials sought to destroy. In order to justify the racial order that seemed relatively fixed in the minds of Leupp and others who exhibited pessimism with regard to the abilities of Indians to transcend their cultural "binds," particular exhibitions of Indianness were deemed in line with, and not in opposition to, the continued assault on Indian lands and communal values. In other words, racial displays of Indianness, sanitized and removed from all harmful elements to white society, not only supported the notion of white superiority, but also justified the economic conditions of American Indians.
agendas. Michael Castro, Interpreting the Indian: Twentieth Century Poets and the Native American (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983), 9.
Accordingly, Leupp, who faced criticism from both Indian and non-Indian people alike for allowing such practices in the schools, reconciled the policy of celebrating racial difference in the schools by sanitizing the meaning of Indian song and dance--removing the context and value of the songs from the adult spheres of the reservation environment, rendering them impotent of any claim toward divisiveness or resistance. If the songs did not challenge the "new social order," they could serve instead as signifiers of an ancestral racial pride, safely relegated to the past and removed from the contemporary conditions that fueled the dance resurgence that had begun to plague reservation agents. Therefore Leupp sought to manage the way in which the students understood their native identity in relation to the government civilization and citizenship agenda, in this case through a carefully designed music curriculum. The OIA immediately began to implement the curriculum in the schools. In 1907, the year that Leupp composed the circular, the Carlisle school band performed Stauffer's arrangement of the "Song of the Ghost Dance" for the school's commencement exercises.56 By 1909 the OIA had even created an appointment to collect Indian music and transcribe it.57 Indianist composers had already requested a lead role in the effort of teaching Indianness to Indian schoolchildren. Eagerly seeking government endorsements, as well as a share in the Indian school market, these composers flooded the OIA with offers of their services. In 1914 Charles Wakefield Cadman recorded "tribal
"Graduation Exercises," April 4, 1907, Carlisle Indian School, Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society. 57 R.G. Valentine to Cromwell Childs, September 13, 1911, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 76581-11-751. This first effort by the OIA did not produce results, however, as the appointee "failed to appreciate the work in which he was engaged and practically nothing was accomplished."
songs" by the "full blooded" Pima children at the Phoenix Indian School in order to develop compositions for further use.58 There exist volumes of correspondence between Thurlow Lieurance and the OIA from the 1910s and the 1940s. Lieurance frequented the schools during this period and often reported to the OIA when he heard "a piece of Indian music" in the schools, as he did by the Haskell school band in 1913. Though not a government official in any capacity, Lieurance composed several "Indian-English songs, adapted for use in the Indian schools," and gave them to the superintendent of the Crows. "I taught them, the children, a complete list, gratis," he wrote.59 The next year Lieurance took the Santa Fe Rail Road to visit several schools collecting music along the way.60 Through such cooperative efforts the OIA discovered a way to further the policy of assimilation while recognizing the public pressure to produce alumni characterized in their displays of Indianness by safety, control, and harmlessness. At the same time that such Indianness flourished as performance in the schools, students were constantly admonished, in the tradition of the tale of Stiya, not to cross the line into a dangerous performance of tribal identity. In a 1911 article from Carlisle's The Red Man, students were warned of the grave consequences befalling them in a participation of the Shoshoni Sun Dance:
Indian Children Sing Tribal Chants for Composer," Musical America, 11 April 1914, Clippings--Names, Cadman, Charles W., Music Division, Performing Arts Library, New York Public Library. Tsianina Redfeather accompanied Cadman and performed for the children. Redfeather is featured in chapter five. 59 Thurlow Lieurance to The Indian Office, May 6, 1912, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 47389-13-751. 60 Thurlow Lieurance to P.P. Campbel, April 2, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 4481413-751.
It's practice [and the practice of the `Sand Dance' and `Half-Dance,' closely related to the Sun Dance if not cloaked versions of it] is wholly inconsistent with the teachings of Christian civilization and progress. It effectively counteracts the best efforts of teachers and missionaries, and not only is an impediment to the advancement of the tribe, but it yearly takes the Indians from their farm work at a time when crops need the most careful attention.61 The article continued, "It is a wild, weird and fascinating performance; a fanatical fantasy; an orgie [of] nearly naked and frenzied Indians...Certainly a religious rite devoid of morality and virtue, an idolatrous and pagan worship from which women and dogs are excluded!"62 This voyeuristic description revealed not only the barometer of savagery that OIA officials placed on Native performative traditions, but also informed the students that the dance remained intensely popular among the Shoshoni, despite the ban. The description may have frightened some of the students, but it is equally plausible that it gave others something else to look forward to when they returned. The same edition of The Red Man dedicated a section to the "legends, stories, customs of Indians" written by Carlisle students.63 Editions of other Carlisle periodicals maintained a long held tradition of including published letters from alumni, updating their friends as to life back home. Often they referenced particular dances, as early as the mention by Henry North of a Kiowa medicine dance planned for the summer of 1887.64 While Pratt used the opportunity to editorialize about the evils of dance ("Of course, the lazy, worthless Indian will try to do all they can to hinder the progress of those who have taken the right road"),
61 T.B.LeSieur, 62 Ibid. 63 Ibid. 64 The
"The Shoshoni Sun-Dance," The Red Man, November 1911, vol. 4., no. 3.
Indian Helper, June 17, 1887, p. 1.
the alumni, it could be argued, found ways to use the Carlisle publications to advertise the dances to their friends.65 These dances, of course, were forbidden on school grounds. Seeking a more sanitized evocation of Indianness, the OIA in 1913 proceeded formally to implement a form of "Indian education" within the boarding schools. The office hired Geoffrey O'Hara to record native songs on reservations, arrange them in the medium of Euro-American orchestration, and then teach them to the Indian school students.66 In this way the OIA cleansed native music of any elements of "heathenism" that were associated with native songs and dances in the reservation environment. One OIA official stated, "it is not considered desirable to smother everything distinctly aboriginal in the young Indians, nor is it deemed necessary that they should entirely lose their identity as a race in the process of civilization. Mr. O'Hara's duty will be to record native Indian music and arrange it for use in the Indian schools."67 Commissioner Abbott added in the same year, "There is much of good in the music and life of these people which should not be lost to the world as it will be if they become mere imitators of another race...to preserve the best in their music, arts, and economics is not a backward step in the course of their material progress...The purpose of this conservation of native music is not a fad but an earnest sympathetic effort to help both races in giving to life one thing that is worth preserving of a vanishing race. Nor is it intended nor will it have the effect of perpetuating any of the baser or ignoble parts of Indian life."68
65 Ibid. 66 Albert
Beedon to Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, March 20, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 39494-13-751. 67 Lewis G. Laylin to Frank Parker Stockbridge, April 29, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 46377-13-751. 68 F.H. Abbott to A.S. Ely, May 16, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 64029-13-751.
O'Hara, a composer in his own right, began his work by immediately descending upon the Carlisle Indian School. At the request of Commissioner Abbott, O'Hara traveled to the school from New York City to hear a sacred concert by the pupils. The week prior, a group of Blackfeet had arrived at the school to witness the commencement ceremonies; O'Hara quickly recruited them to sing into his phonograph machine in New York. After the records were made, as reported by a Carlisle paper, they would be "sent to Washington to be put among the Government archives, therefore preserving for all time the music of the Original Americans who are rapidly passing to the Happy Hunting Ground."69 Despite the apparent zeal with which the OIA eventually established Indian music in the schools, uniform instruction, regulated by the OIA, never occurred. It is unclear exactly how much of the music collected by O'Hara was actually included in individual school curricula. When, in 1914, Senator William S. Kenyon requested Commissioner Sells to "forward me a set of Indian music taught in the schools of the different Indian reservations," Sells indicated that Indian music had not been uniformly included in the school curricula and instead directed him to a set of recordings that the OIA licensed to the music merchants M. Witmark & Songs in New York and Chicago.70 Nevertheless, it is clear that, by that same year, Indian-themed music had infiltrated the schools in nearly
Chiefs Hesitate Before Singing Into Phonograph Horn," Carlisle Evening Herald, 7 April 1913, p. 1. CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society. 70 Kenyon, Senator William S. to Cato Sells, November 24, 1914, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 751, file 75297-13-751; Sells, Cato to Senator William S. Kenyon, November 30, 1914, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 751, file 75297-13-751. O'Hara recorded at least eight cylinders worth of music by American Indians in 1913 alone. Chief Clerk to J.W. Fewkes, January 29, 1926, CCF General Services 751, file 4976-26-751.
every component of musical instruction. The attempts within the schools to foster music that consisted of Indian-themed content, whether in the form of stereotypic representations or otherwise, was much more localized and school-specific than based upon the centralized policy proposed by Leupp or undertaken by O'Hara. Although the school superintendents and teachers developed their own curricula, similarities in content reflect not only an unwillingness to consider the inclusion of songs and dances performed currently on the reservations, but also a general acceptance of the stereotypical images and sounds that circulated in popular culture at the time. Indian school children's performances of native songs at this time provide insight into the ways in which Indianness was envisioned and disseminated within the schools. Superintendents struggled to reconcile the celebration of performed difference with the principles of assimilation that demanded homogeneity. School administrators and OIA officials, in differing degrees, believed that their inclusion of Indian-themed material in the school curricula responded to the demands of a non-Indian public via an innocuous calculus of Indianness, safe from causing the students irreparable cultural damage despite the fact that they often reaffirmed the stereotypes they ostensibly sought to dismantle. The Carlisle school, for example, incorporated stereotypical references to Indianness into the fight songs of its heralded football team. Claude Stauffer, head of the music program at the school, wrote a number of these songs that the band and students performed at games, often to huge crowds of curious onlookers. Rather than seeking to accentuate the similarities between Native and non-Native people as demonstrated in the 226
games, the songs emphasized the Native American warrior, scalping their foes as the Carlisle team trounced them on the field: "Tammany"
Harvard, Yale and Willie Penn With half a score or more Of the other Colleges Are looking for a war. Won't they be surprised to see Among the Red and Gold All Big Chiefs like Tammany, Who was a Warrior Bold. Now that's what we've been told. (CHORUS) Wau-se-ka! Wau-se-ka! Heap Big Chief, he make a rush Their whole line go down, "oh slush" Wau-se-ka! Wau-se-ka! Keep them humping by your bumping Wau-se-ka!71 Stauffer's song "Cheyenne" included the line, "You're up against a real proposition, The `Big Chiefs' from Old Carlisle."72 A verse from his adaptation of "My Wife's Gone to the Country" proclaimed that, "We aim to take Penn's scalp today, There's no other way."73 Stauffer's words penetrated the psyche of the public (and Carlisle's football
written and adapted by C.M. Stauffer, Songs and Yells: U.S. Indian School, Carlisle, Penna., compiled by Claude Maxwell Stauffer, The Carlisle Indian Press, a department of the United States Indian School, n.d. 72 "Cheyenne," written and adapted by C.M. Stauffer in Ibid. 73 "My Wife's Gone to the Country," words adapted by C.M. Stauffer in Ibid. The Rainy Mountain School had a school song that directly challenged their biggest rival, the Fort Sill Indian School: A big long train comes `round the bend, good-bye Fort Sill, good-bye; It's loaded down with Kiowa men, good-bye Fort Sill, good-bye;
foes) through their expectations of Indianness while they prompted the students to invest their repertoire with lyrics that only reified the stereotypes that an education at Carlisle would supposedly inoculate.74 Soon after the publications of Curtis, Fletcher, Densmore, and others began to circulate, contemporaneously with the rise in popularity of Indianist compositions, the non-Indian public began to petition the OIA for information on how they could access more such music. In 1909, when Henry Finck of New York's The Evening Post was preparing for a vacation to the Southwest, he asked the commissioner of Indian affairs where he could hear some "real Indian singing right `on tap.'" The office told him to visit the Colorado River, Sherman, Klamath, Mohave City and Havasupai Indian schools, and in fact sent him letters of introduction for each superintendent that read, "no doubt you have among the Indians around the agency those who should be willing to sing for him. I would like very much to have him hear something really characteristic. Please furnish him such facilities as your place affords to get genuine Indian singing."75 It is important to note that the OIA invited him to the schools in order to find the "genuine" article. The
We got your goose, so what's the use, good-bye Fort Sill, good-bye; We got your scalp, that makes us yell, good-bye For Sill, good-bye. Clyde Ellis, To Change Them Forever: Indian Education at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 18931920 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996), 126. 74 In 1914, the year that Friedman was suspended from the service for various improprieties, some involving corporal punishment, Stauffer was fired for beating an eighteen-year-old Potawatomi student named Julia Hardin. Hardin had not had time to pack her trunk to prepare for an outing assignment. Because of this, she refused to leave for the five p.m. train. Stauffer was called to the room by two matrons; he slapped her across the face and then, after the matrons held her down, he grabbed a board from a windowsill and struck her several times in the head. Episode recounted in David Wallace Adams, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1995), 325.
OIA not only provided Finck with letters, but also made a special recommendation to visit the Sherman Institute, where he could hear "a class of Hopi pupils, some of rather mature age, who were sent there over a year ago. They are `of Indians most Indian', and you could probably hear something interesting from them."76 Other letters commended the new musical program in the schools, especially in the wake of O'hara's 1913 appointment.77 Mazzini Slusser and his wife wrote Lane Franklin, Secretary of Interior: "As long time friends of the American Indian we were made very happy by finding in the Chicago Tribune of today the announcement that you had appointed a musical composer to study and prepare native Indian music for use in the Indian schools. The far reaching and beneficial effect of such an act can not be measured."78 The OIA even turned the eager public towards the work of the ethnologists who were partly responsible for the rising popularity of Indian-themed music. After Lucy Barlow from New Albany, Indiana, witnessed a Mohave song and its accompanying dance, she later "reproduced it" on paper and submitted it to the department. She noted that she did not know the meaning of the words, and that the song was "sung with a jerky
Valentine, Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Henry T. Finck, May 10, 1909, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 36178-09-751, and letters of introduction in same file to each school superintendent. 76 Ibid. 77 See, for example, Hauke, C.F., Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Mrs. L.C. Short, Silver Beach, Washington, June 27, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF General Service 751, file 75667-13-751. 78 Mr. and Mrs. Mazzini Slusser to Lane Franklin, March 20, 1913, CCF General Service 751, file 3949513-751. The Slussers added, "We are hoping that you are acquainted with the beautiful Ojibway melodies, found and harmonized by Mr. Frederick R. Burton, a musical composer of New York. There is nothing more majestic in the world of music than the Ojibway Death Song. Not only the Indians but all music lovers, the world over, will be enriched by the results which your action is sure to bring about."
movement."79 Chief Clerk J.M. Conser forwarded her transcription to the Southern Workman at the Hampton School, but he noted that if they did not publish her "reproduction," he would then send it along to Alice Fletcher, a "pioneer in the work of preserving Indian music."80 When J.H. Bratley, a former teacher and superintendent of various Indian schools for nine years, decided that he "would like some Indian music," the acting chief clerk recommended he look at Indian Story and Song by Alice C. Fletcher, The Indians Own Book by Natalie Curtis, the Indian School Journal published at Chilocco and Hampton's Southern Workman. He also recommended the work of composer Arthur Farwell of Boston who had published "Four American Indian Songs" through the White-Smith Music Publishing Company as well as "Navajo War Dance No. 2 for piano" in 1904.81
The move to encourage Indian or Indian-themed songs in the schools prompted a response from Native Americans as well. Some had been working from the inside in an
J. Barlow to the Supervisor of Indian Music, December 11, 1908, CCF General Services 751, file 83086-08-751. 80 J.M. Conser to Lucy J. Barlow, December 15, 1908, CCF General Services 751, file 83086-08-751. 81 J.H. Bratley to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, April 2, 1909, CCF General Services 751, file 26376-09-751; John Francis, Jr., to J.H. Bratley, April 14, 1909, CCF General Services 751, file 26376-09751. In 1923 the Chilocco School Print Shop printed a bulletin for the Office of Indian Affairs on Indian Music. Reprinted from Handbook of American Indians, published by the Bureau of American Ethnology, the bulletin provided a two-page explanation of the meaning and performance of "Indian Music," along with a bibliography featuring several pieces by Frances Densmore. "Indian Music," Bulletin No. 19, 1923, Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, in Clippings, subject--Indians, North America, Folder no. 1, Music Division, Performing Arts Library, New York Public Library.
attempt to celebrate, and thereby resist the imposed suppression of, Native arts. Noted artist Angel DeCora (Winnebago) taught art for nine years at Carlisle. She dedicated her work there to encouraging the students to express racial pride through art.82 After Pratt's departure, she established in 1906 a Native Arts and Crafts program at the school; she wrote, "[White] educators made every effort to convince the Indian that any custom or habit that was not familiar to the white man showed savagery and degradation." She continued, "In looking over my pupil's native design work, I cannot help calling to mind the Indian women, untaught and unhampered be the white man's ideas of art, making beautiful and intricate designs on her pottery, baskets, and beaded articles, which show inborn talent."83 DeCora lashed out against the assumptions of cultural superiority that colored her own experience at the Hampton Institute. Others wrote the Commissioner with regard to the Indian music initiative. A selfdescribed "full blood," J.W. Gibson (Delaware) offered to furnish songs to the office. He wrote, I can muster about 100 or more ancient and modern songs of the various tribes...I am the only living Indian today who can sing that many songs. Among the songs one the War dance from 5 different tribes the Ghost Dance. Medicine. Sun dance. Buffalo. Wolf. Turkey. (not Turkey Trot) doll. Stomp dance and many others. I am the Indian who presented the late Senator M.S. Quay to the Delaware Indians and was made a chief of the Delawares. 1904. I am here representing the M K & T Ry. [Missourie, Kansas, & Texas Railway Company] with headquarters in Rosedale [Kansas].84
88. in Ibid. 84 J.W. Gibson to the Honorable Secretary of the Interior, March 30, 1913, CCF General Services 751, file 43092-13-751.
Acting commissioner F.H. Abbott forwarded the letter to O'Hara and assured Gibson that "there is no doubt but that he will appreciate every opportunity to get into touch with Indian musicians."85 The OIA was not as interested in dance songs, particularly those in the Ghost Dance, Sun Dance, or War Dance traditions. Nevertheless, at this point the office was fielding all sorts of interest from the Native and non-Native public alike. While some Native Americans were excited about the OIA's interest in Indian music, others were very upset. Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai) lashed out in print against this policy shift.86 Montezuma, who was born in 1871 and alternatively went by the name his parents gave him, Wassaja, was captured by the Pima when he was four and sold to a man who adopted him for fifty dollars. He attended public schools and eventually worked his way through the Chicago Medical College. He served as a reservation and Indian school physician at various locations for a number of years, and ended up at Carlisle where he felt a deep kinship with Pratt. He, like Pratt, believed in immediate assimilation as the only course for American Indians. He later established a private practice in Chicago and co-founded the Society of American Indians (SAI). He was an outspoken critic of the OIA, and even of the SAI, as the association eventually split apart.87 He was proud of his heritage, but he had a deep distrust of the teaching of
85 F.H. 86 The
Abbott to J.W. Gibson, April 22, 1913, CCF General Services 751, file 43092-13-751. Yavapai are also referred to as the Mohave-Apache. Montezuma was often referred to by the public as simply an Apache, and in fact gained the nickname of "the fiery Apache" in the press. Peter Iverson, Carlos Montezuma and the Changing World of American Indians (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982), 3-4. 87 Hazel W. Hertzberg, The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1971), 43-44.
Indianness in the schools. He condemned the instruction of Indian music in Indian schools in a letter to the Chicago Herald in 1913: Indian music, Indian art and like fads are shame and the real Indian abhors such foolishness...Indians do not want to be kept as Indians, but seek education and light and more ability to cope with their pale face brother...The people of this country are taxed to civilize and elevate the Indian children into modern usefulness and Americanism, and to eradicate their Indianism with its primitive life, which has cursed them with the title of `uncivilized.' The development of the Indian to civilized usefulness is far more important than filling his mind with Indian legends and Indian songs. These have a place in the Smithsonian Institute, but certainly not in Indian schools. A thousand times better is it for the Indian to fight out his own salvation that to have sentimentalists and special interests add their impractical and deteriorating efforts to his so-called uplifting...For nearly eight years the Indian bureau has been experimenting on the Indians and cultivating Indian fads to the neglect and serious injury of his advancement. If the present administration is going to continue exploiting Indian fads, then our race will continue to suffer.88 Montezuma's convictions ran deep, dedicating his life to reforming federal Indian policy in a way that fully supported educational guidelines for native students, particularly in regard to opening up more opportunities for higher education. He was discouraged by Leupp's 1907 education circular, and altogether outraged by the hiring of Geoffrey O'Hara. A Cherokee named John Oskison wrote the Secretary of the Interior in support of Montezuma's arguments, adding that "too much experimenting on the Indians has been done, and that too much publicity has been given to the more spectacular features of Indian life. The big job to be done is to prepare them for industrial competition with the Whites."89
Chicago Indian," newspaper clipping, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 64029-13-751. John M., a Cherokee Indian to Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of Interior, April 1, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF General Service 751, file 87252-13-751.
The OIA in fact received a number of newspaper clippings from individuals that reported Montezuma's opposition to the policy. Assistant Commissioner Abbott responded to one such individual by acknowledging that white citizens could benefit from an assimilation of their own: There is much in the aboriginal life of the Indian of which he may be proud and we should not be ashamed to adopt and assimilate all that is good in him, nor can I see harm to the Indian or to the white race in so doing...The American people of today is an assimilation of the best of many nations, it is a composite of the great races of the world, and to draw the best and noblest of the original American will not detract from our own civilization or affect the Indians adversely. 90 Abbott continued by taking Montezuma to task: The purpose of this conservation of native music is not a fad but an earnest sympathetic effort to help both races in giving to life one thing that is worth preserving of a vanishing race. Nor is it intended nor will it have the effect of perpetuating any of the baser or ignoble parts of Indian life. It is to the shame of some educated Indians, that in their veneer of white civilization, they overlook the real Indian, who is quite as much, if not more, entitled to our friendly sympathy than he is.91 Abbott's critique of educated Indians, "in their veneer of white civilization," is astounding given the fact that the OIA had spent decades attempting to assimilate individuals in just the manner that Montezuma had. Yet the "real Indian," however fabricated through the negotiation of Indianness, continued to infiltrate the directives of federal Indian policy. But not every OIA official agreed with such directives. The public desire for Indian students to perform Indianness often confounded the attempt of school superintendents to manage such expressions, and the resulting tension often confused the
Abbott to A.S. Ely, May 16, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 64029-13-751.
students drastically. In 1911 Carlisle Superintendent Friedman sent five students, four male and one female, to sing at an exposition in Boston. He, along with OIA Commissioner Valentine, believed the students would demonstrate the "Indians progress, and to be of assistance in a demonstration of Indian Missions and Indian education."92 Their repertoire, however, consisted of Indian-themed songs by Charles Wakefield Cadman, who based his compositions off of transcriptions of Chippewa songs collected by Frances Densmore. 93 The songs included "Ho, Ye Warriors on the Warpath," and the quartet was very popular: they performed nine times a day for a month to crowds of around two hundred people each time. Apart from other special appearances, they also performed the songs for about five thousand school children every Saturday morning during the duration of the fair.94 Although several people who heard them sing wrote the OIA praising the work at Carlisle, the office also received word that the students did not exactly follow the letter of Friedman's instructions. Friedman wrote one of the students, James Mumblehead, halfway into their Boston visit: I understand that you attended the Lacrosse game between Harvard and the Indians in your Indian costume, which was, of course, a serious mistake. I understand also that you emphasize the primitiveness of the Indian, rather than the Indian's progress in civilization. I am grieved to hear this and I am sure that you will agree with me in my desires that you four young men shall represent in "The World in Boston" what Carlisle stands for, namely, progress, industry and Christian civilization...I desire that you boys at all times...dress yourselves as other men are dressed, and that you shall act in conformity with the training that
emphasis added. Friedman to Rev. William B. Humphrey, May 8, 1911, NA RG 75, CCF, Carlisle 047, file 40586-
11-047. 93 Frances Densmore to F.W. Hodge, July 17, 1914, BAE correspondence (1909-1950), box 27, file: densmore, frances, 1914, NAA. 94 Ibid.; Frances Densmore, to F.W. Hodge, June 28, 1911, BAE correspondence (1909-1950), box 27, file: densmore, frances, 1911, NAA.
you have received...Show my letter to the other boys and use your influence in getting them to make the most of this opportunity, not in emphasizing "Indianism," but rather in showing to those about you the progress of the Indian in Christian civilization.95 Despite Friedman's allowance of Indian-themed songs in the students' repertoire, Mumblehead and the boys clearly crossed the line as to what was deemed appropriate. After an investigation and response from Mumblehead, however, it became clear that the "Indian" boys were told to dress "Indian" by the leaders of some Indian Missions that were taking care of them in Boston.96 Even missionaries, like Pratt years earlier, could not escape an attraction to displays of Indianness. In other situations, school officials who disagreed with the mandate faced admonitions by the press, similar to what Burke faced during the dance controversy. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas News reported that OIA commissioner Cato Sells had forbidden the Chilocco band students from donning tribal dress. Referring to him as an "official nincompoop," they wrote that he expressly forbid the Chilocco band from playing one of their "especially attractive" pieces, an "Indian folk composition requiring the use of tribal attire." The paper reported that, "if the members of the band appeared in typical Indian costume the band would not be permitted to exist longer but would be disbanded permanently. That's going some, if you leave it to us. They'll have to use chloroform to keep us quiet after that, for he's our foxy friend."97 Sells, however, did not issue such an
95 Moses 96Moses
Friedman to James Mumblehead, May 8, 1911, NA RG 75, CCF, Carlisle 047, file 40586-11-047. Friedman to Rev. William B. Humphrey, May 8, 1911, NA RG 75, CCF, Carlisle 047, file 4058611-047. Friedman subsequently reprimanded the missionaries. 97 Oklahoma Oil and Gas News, 18 February 1915, vol. 1, no. 42, p. 1,4. Clipping in CCF, Chilocco 047, file 26966-15-047.
order. The YMCA had invited the Chilocco band to play in Tulsa, and although, according to Chilocco superintendent Allen, the band never dressed "Indian," the organization requested and advertised that one boy would dress in "costume" during the performance of one of Harold Loring's Indian suites.98 The superintendent said that under no circumstances would such a performance occur, which led the newspaper to lash out against the OIA. The school officials struggled much more than the far-removed OIA commissioners in configuring public presentations of their students that at once demonstrated their abilities to assimilate while also captivating the public through displays of Indianness. The majority of the public who supported the right of American Indians to dance on reservations in the early twentieth century also preferred and demanded presentations of Indianness over the disciplined, regimented whiteness traditionally featured in the school programs. The overwhelming representations of "authentic" Indian people in popular culture, after all, were not of students in band uniforms or "citizen" clothes but rather of "warriors" and "maidens" donning war bonnets and buckskin. What resulted was a performance by the students of both Indianness and whiteness, a performance that emphasized the assimilative qualities of education by students who were simultaneously bound by the racial bonds of immutable difference.
Allen to the Editor, Oklahoma Oil and Gas News, March 1, 1915, CCF, Chilocco 047, file 2696615-047. For Sells' inquiry into and rebuttal of this charge see Cato Sells to Edgar A. Allen, superintendent of Chilocco School, February 25, 1915, NA RG 75, CCF, Chilocco 047, file 26966-15-047.
Eventually school officials and bandmasters created various "educational" evolutionary paradigms in which they could utilize performances of Indianness in order to affirm the whitening assimilation campaign. Even this strategy was old hat for some, as several bandmasters had, as early as the late 1800s, dabbled in evolutionary narrative within their compositions. In 1896, Oneida bandmaster Dennison Wheelock composed such a piece for the Carlisle band. According to a review of one performance, "Dennison Wheelock with his cornet band...brought out a new and entirely original compositionFrom `Savagery into Civilization' in which the sounds produced led up from the wild tom tom, through curious and intricate twists and turns to the sweet and classic strains of civilized horns. It was very appropriate for the occasion and was highly appreciated by the audience."99 Wheelock's composition reflected his shared beliefs with Pratt, that assimilation to a white, "civilized" standard was not only possible, but also completely necessary. Superintendent McCowan was eager to incorporate Indian-themed songs in the repertoire of the Chilocco School band and choir as well, particularly for their performances at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. After ethnologist Alice Fletcher had pulled him aside earlier that year in order to convince him of the merits of teaching the students "Indian" songs for the fair, McCowan wrote her back in agreement: "I believe with you that Indian music touches chords in the human soul beyond reach of most of the stuff used today. I am really anxious to get something in the musical line for the Band that portrays something at least of what Indian music really means to the Indian
American Volunteer, October 1896, CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society.
and his interpretation of nature. I wish an Indian could write this."100 McCowan and Fletcher clearly believed in the innate value of "Indian music," but it is unclear whether they believed that the performance of such music by the band would better serve the needs of the students or of the non-Indian public.
PAGEANTS: THE EVOLUTIONARY PARADIGM OF MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
An evolutionary paradigm of musical programs, however, would render the question moot. This paradigm established a relationship between performances of Indianness and whiteness in such a manner that demonstrated the inevitability of white superiority while assuaging the demands of Indianness by non-Indian audiences. In 1926 the Haskell Institute orchestra performed in accordance with the competing desires for Indianness by the public and for assimilation by the OIA: The first half of the program...consists entirely of Indian music and during the time that that part of the program is being given the boys dress in Indian costume. The second half of the entertainment is made up of music similar to what any good orchestra would play and during the time that that part of the program is given the boys dress in evening dress. It can be readily understood that the contrast is striking and that the program is unique, no other organization being able to put on such a program.101 The program, however, was not unique in the slightest.
McCowan to Alice Fletcher, May 27, 1904, Alice Fletcher Papers, Box 2, file: Incoming Correspondence, 1903-04, NAA. 101 H.B. Peairs to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 11, 1926, NA RG 75, CCF, Haskell 929, file 6088-26-929.
T.J. McCoy of "Colonel T. J. McCoy's Last Great Council and Historical Spectacle Winning of the West" show utilized a similar evolutionary structure in order to gain a government endorsement for his wild west show at the Philadelphia SesquiCentennial Exposition in 1926. McCoy arranged with Wheelock, who had since retired from his profession as a musician, to assemble an Indian band of thirty-two school alumni, "not to have the Indian band arrayed in war paint and feathers, but dressed in the most immaculate white uniform, in order to show the contrast between the wild Indian and the finished product."102 Indian schools and private entertainment groups seeking governmental approval reconciled the educational mandate of the schools with the public longing to experience Indianness through an often vague evolutionary musical performance. During the performances students would demonstrate an ability to both perform a civilized whiteness and a contained Indianness with their horns, pianos and mandolins. Despite the local struggles between the public and the schools over the ways in which the young musicians and singers would represent themselves, the evolutionary narrative seemed the best solution for the school administrators when orchestrating public performances. This type of display reached a pinnacle in school pageants, presented for both the parents and the public during commencement exercises. In these often elaborate performances, administrators hoped to display a controlled form of Indianness
McCoy to Charles H. Burke, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, November 27, 1925, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 65346-1925-047; "Is Oneida's Counselor," The Red Man by Red Men, vol. 4, no. 8 (April 1912), pp. 352-354; "Echoes from Flandreau, S.D.," The Red Man and Helper, vol, 18, June 27, 1902, CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society.
within historical reenactments of American history, thus forging a musical politics by the joining of a racial evolutionary with a nationalist narrative. The pageants presented in Indian schools across the country required the students to perform the roles of various European colonial heroes and Native American foes cast in the literary tradition of Longfellow and other Puritan descendants. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American historians and textbook publishers strove to rewrite American history in a manner that favored and exaggerated the role of the Puritans in creating a moral and civic compass for all Americans to follow. Just as Parson Weems created the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, these historians fashioned a narrative of good and evil in American history, with the Puritans acting clearly as the representative hallmark of the colonial conquest of North American tribes. Although these pageants filled the auditoriums of public schools nationwide, including even federal Indian schools, it was the Native students who, frustratingly perhaps, had to perform, for audiences consisting of both the non-native local public and their parents, Indianness and whiteness in narratives that celebrated their own subjugation. The pageants gained favor among the OIA officials in the years following Roosevelt's approval of Curtis's work and especially around the time that the OIA hired O'Hara to compose Indian music for the students. During the 1913 commencement exercises of the Seger School, fittingly in Colony, Oklahoma, the school children performed "A Colonial Pageant"--"a portrayal of the elements and influences operating
in the growth of the Colonies into Nationality, 1650-1775."103 The pageant included students dressing as Students, Indians, Dutch Settlers, Puritans, Colonial Ladies and Gentlemen, Plantation Servants, and a Witch. Among the multiple scenes was "The Foundation of Manhattan," in which "Indians are frightened at the approach of the white men. War Song follows...Indians give presents to Dutch settlers who treat in return. Closes with the peace-pipe scene" and "The Rescue of Hadley," in which an Indian attack on the Puritans, while in church, was thwarted.104 The evening closed with all of the students joining together onstage for a rendition of "America." 105 The very next week at the Fort Sill closing exercises in Lawton, Oklahoma, the students pantomimed, to the music of the band, a rendition of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha."106 The Fort Sill program began with the school band performing the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Oklahoma," followed by piano solos by Alice Bear and Edith Poco, "Merry June" by the Girl's Chorus, a duet, and then a recitation of "Blackhawk's Farewell" by Samuel Mochodo and "Bob White" by the primary pupils.107 The largest segment of the performance, however, was the students' rendition of "Song of Hiawatha" in the following pantomime: Hiawatha's Childhood
103 Seger 104 Seger
School, program, June 19, 20, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 120567-13-047. School, program, June 19, 20, 1913, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 120567-13-047. 105 "A Colonial Pageant," Seger School, Colony, Oklahoma, June 19, 10, 1913, RA NG 75, CCF General Service 047, file 120567-13-047. 106 "Closing Exercises, Fort Sill U.S. Indian School," June 20, 1913, program, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 047, file 120567-13-047. 107 "Program, Academic Department, 8:00 P.M.," Program, Closing Exercises, Fort Sill U.S. Indian School, Lawton, Oklahoma, June 20, 1913, RA NG 75, CCF General Service 047, file 120567-13-047; "`Draped in the Habiliments of the Forest' Indians Act," newspaper clipping, unknown newspaper, no date, RA NG 75, CCF General Service 047, file 120567-13-047.
The Killing of the Red Deer Hiawatha Visits the Dakotas Hiawatha's Friends Hiawatha's Courtship The Wedding Feast The Ghosts Death of Minnehaha Hiawatha's Departure The performance concluded with all of the children singing, according to the program, a "Song in the Indian Language."108 The drills, songs, school choruses and individual numbers, according to a newspaper review, "brought out with emphasis the good work being done by the teachers at the Ft. Sill school." 109 A review of the Ft. Sill program fixated on the costumes that the children wore during the pantomime. The children were clothed, according to the review, in the "habiliments of the forest in a splendor of array that only the Comanche tribe can present."110 Their dress was "priceless" in value, in particular that of Hiawatha, who wore a "gorgeous war bonnet of eagle feathers, not a feather in which would cost less than a dollar and a half."111 The girls, particularly the one who played Minnehaha in this adaptation, wore shawls and "other garments of priceless value and great beauty."112 The program was attended by approximately one thousand people, about half of whom were Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache people who lived on allotments within a radius of about forty miles, while the rest of the audience consisted of "white guests"
108 "Program, 109 "`Draped 110 Ibid. 111 Ibid. 112 Ibid.
Academic Department, 8:00 P.M.." in the Habiliments of the Forest' Indians Act."
mostly from Lawton.113 Relatives of the children who aided them in the dining room as they prepared for their scenes probably provided much of the dress for the pantomime.114 The reporter, who paid close attention to the material value of the clothing and accoutrements, did not feel the need to exercise such interest in the names of the individuals, much less, ironically, in grammar: "the name of the Indian... [who wore the bonnet of eagle feathers] is to [sic] unspellable [sic] to try to reproduce."115 Later the reporter added, it is difficult to individualize concerning the performers, but it would do positive injustice not to mention the dancing of the young man at the "wedding scene.["] His name likewise, tangles the alphabet too seriously for effort at reproduction by the uninitiated scribe. But [with] his grace of movement, ease of stage presence and perfect blending with the theme[,] he was exemplifying histrionic talent hardly to be expected in one of his race. In fact, the excellence of this entire presentation suggests the possibilities of the Indian as an actor not hitherto developed.116 The names were not important to the reporter because the children were evaluated not as individuals but as to whether or not their performances of Indianness satisfied the reporter's preconceptions. The parents, on the other hand, not only had a chance to visit their children and watch them perform, but they were also able to dress the children as they saw fit so that the children could at least perform Indianness in a physical expression that they could control. Carlisle students began performing a pageant of an entirely different sort in 1908; it was so popular that they took it on the road to neighboring towns for a number of years
113 Ibid. 114 Ibid. 115 Ibid.
thereafter. The pageant was an adaptation into a pilgrim setting of Longfellow's "The Courtship of Miles Standish," known throughout the schools (Carlisle was not the only Indian school to perform it) as "The Captain of Plymouth--A Comic Opera."117 The 1909 performance at commencement resulted in three consecutive sold-out performances in a venue with a capacity of one thousand.118 With Carlisle students dressed as both "Indians" and "whites," the pageant playfully engages the founding myths, reifying the superiority of the Pilgrims. When a Philadelphia reporter asked bandmaster Claude Stauffer why he selected "The Captain of Plymouth" for the students to perform, he replied that he chose the opera for its "civilizing influence." He continued: I thought if Oscar Hammerstein can spend $1,000,000 to civilize Philadelphians, we could spen[d] a few weeks for the same civilizing influence on the wards of the nation. And say, you know that I believe we got the better results. It is plain that the Indians are capable of taking up the white man's burden, and before long these aborigines will realize how superior to their peaceful tribal ways are the manners of church choirs and other amateur musical organizations.119 The opera parallels the love triangle plot of Longfellow's story, but the authors of the Carlisle adaptation included a twist in which Indian Chief Wattawamut's people hold Standish captive. He is released after promising to marry the chief's daughter, Katonka. Standish, completely disgusted by the princess, then refuses to marry her. In another change from Longfellow's poem, Standish meets a group of Indians in the forest with "friendship...in their looks, but in their hearts...hatred." After receiving an insult from
116 Ibid. 117 Eldridge,
H.C., to Robert G. Valentine, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, April 28, 1910, NA RG 75, CCF, Carlisle 814, file 37199-10-814; "Indian Opera Company Off On Special," The Evening Sentinel (Carlisle, PA.), 1 April 1 1910, p. 2, CIIS drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society; E.B. Meritt to W.I. Endicott, August 17, 1927, NA RG 75, CCF, General Service 751, file 38143-27-751. 118 Pfister, 72.
an Indian character named Pecksuaot, Standish stabs Pecksuaot through the heart. The result is an all out war culminating in the Pilgrims' victorious display of Chief Wattawamat's decapitated head at the church. The Indians in the pageant served only as instigators of the Pilgrim's travails, and in the end, they face annihilation. The odd twists inserted to include Indians in the plot seem not only downright disturbing, but also almost inexplicable for a "comic opera."
It is difficult to determine what the students and their parents made of these performances. On the one hand, the students had, in many cases, to enact narratives that supported the notion of their racial inferiority and justified their historical devastation. The bands and singers performed evolutionary narratives that could simultaneously evoke what were considered their cultural deficiencies as well as their skills at `playing white.' They were trained to become docile "Indians" as well as proper citizens, and their participation unwittingly justified for many the failures of federal Indian policy. The Indianness they learned in the schools had nothing to do with the realities of their modern lives, yet that Indianness in many ways established a standard and a stereotype by which they would be judged daily. On the other hand, performances of Indianness must have felt somehow liberating for the students; although they were punished for speaking their native languages, these opportunities at least allowed them to perform an ethnic construction of Indianness in the era of assimilation. Although they had to perform within the confines of a narrative they
Captain of Plymouth--A Comic Opera," The Indian Craftsman, May 1909, p. 47.
could not control, they could certainly inflect their performances with dignity or devious humor. Since the early days of the `show Indians,' Native people increasingly participated in the construction and consumption of Indianness that transfixed the imagination and opened the wallets of the American public. Education in boarding schools, far away from their homes, did not seem to preclude the non-Indian public from investing in their authenticity. And as the next chapter details, American Indian musicians in the early twentieth century succeeded in using their Indianness, and transforming their identities, in remarkable ways.
Chapter 5 "Piece de Resistance:" American Popular Music in the Making of Indian Identity
In 1904 a seedy American entrepreneur by the name of W.M. Thompson sailed towards the Bering Sea from St. Michaels, Alaska in search of a group of coastal Native community with whom he was eager to trade. Thompson had devised what he considered a brilliant business strategy, "the piece de resistance was one of those old onecylinder phonographs with the horn... This was to be our magic, and with the god-box on our side, [they] could be induced to come down a few notches in their demands."1 Upon docking, Thompson planned to display for the curious indigenous "primitive" people the divine "talking machine," whereupon he expected that they would fall to their knees offering furs and ivory in an awestruck act of worship. Accordingly, Thompson cranked the phonograph, which pumped out the American favorite "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree." Rather than prostrating themselves as he had anticipated, however, Thompson was stunned to note that, after the first stanza, "the crowd was still standing." He continued:
Machine Fails to Win Fortune in Arctic," The Talking Machine World, September 15, 1919, vol. 15, no. 9, p. 3.
There were smiles on their faces as if they were waiting for something and when the chorus began we got the surprise of our lives. Every one of those unwashed denizens of the Arctic Circle chipped in with the chorus and sang it to perfection.2 Thompson's chagrinned surprise indicates that, even as far north as Siberia, Native people were especially, and surprisingly, fluent with an American musical dialect that often furnished them with an unexpected edge in all varieties of cultural barter.3 One of my salient points throughout this dissertation has been that music in many various ways provided American Indians in the early twentieth century with a cultural legitimacy that both empowered them to assert a public voice and enabled them to forge a "modern Indian identity." During a period when native values and cultural traditions were often suppressed by OIA assimilation policies and the media largely ignored native voices, a number of American Indians were able to access government officials,
2 Ibid. 3 Many
American Indians were already long familiar with the record industry and its technologies by the time that Indian music had infiltrated the American popular music scene. Anthropologists such as Frederick Starr and Frances Densmore, along with OIA contractor Geoffrey O'Hara and other composers brought wax cylinder and phonograph recording devices to reservations as soon as they became portable. By the 1920s, Natives were closely familiar with recording technologies. For example, a group of Blackfeet visiting Newark, New Jersey to dance before the showing of a 1921 film, "Bob Hampton of Placer," visited a Victrola store in order to hear records they made three years prior. In a promotional stunt, a group of Flathead Indians from Arlee, Montana, danced at the 1926 Chicago rodeo to songs transmitted from a Thorola radio receiver. Many American Indians grew an affinity for American popular music early on and local record dealers scrambled to accommodate those who could afford their own phonographs and records. The Pendleton Drug Company in 1920 reported that they not only sold many phonographs to local Indian community members, but that they sold a "surprising...number of grand opera selections" to them as well. James Neece, Jr., manager of the Carney-Neece Music Shops in both Okmulgee and Henryetta, Oklahoma, established a strong clientele of local Indian residents who bought records by the dozen.3 Perhaps due to the ubiquitous nature of the band and drills on boarding school campuses, a dealer for an Osage community noted in 1917 that "martial music was appreciated the most, as is the case with all the Indians, band records selling like hot cakes." The records included a Grass Dance song, Gambler's Song, and a song from the White Dog Dance. "Blackfeet Indians Return Call, The Talking Machine World, June 15, 1921, vol. 17, no. 6, p. 10; "Thorola Set Used by Indians," The Talking Machine World, September 15, 1926, Vol. 22, No. 9, p. 110; "Oregon Indians Buy Opera," The Talking Machine World, August 15, 1920, vol. 16, no. 8, p. 163; "Record Trade with the Indians," The Talking Machine World, July 15, 1922, vol. 18, no. 7, p. 19; "Selling Talkers to Indians Requires Special Gifts," The Talking Machine World, October 15, 1917, vol. 13, no. 10, p. 105.
influential non-Indian audiences, and the press through musical performance.4 Although by the early twentieth century stereotypes of Indianness permeated the public imagination as well as infiltrated the federal Indian boarding schools, in many cases Native musicians used the pervasive concepts of Indianness in popular culture in order to further their own goals, ambitions, or political agendas. The primary weapons of critique that these musicians wielded were those unwittingly provided by the schools' music curricula. Not only did they learn a command of western styles in their lessons on the saxophone, the violin, or the singing of an operetta, but they also received training in the arts of "Indianness," which taught them how to play into the imaginations of their non-Indian audiences. Their practiced familiarity with the role of "exotic" subject, especially in the technologies of the emerging record and entertainment industries, prepared them to subvert the normative gaze by using for their own advantage the tools acquired in the schools. Indian-themed music reached an apex in American popular culture within the first two decades of the twentieth century. Indianist composers brought music to the large theaters and opera houses frequented by members of the bourgeoisie, but the sounds of Indianness quickly infiltrated all of the major musical arenas and genres, there meeting with a more varied audience. Indian songs resonated from vaudeville, tin pan alley, bandstands, even jazz and nightclubs. Lieurance's "By the Waters of the Minnetonka"
example, L.G. Moses was able to collect the accounts of a number of "show Indians" as reported by the press in his Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians, 1883-1933 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996).
was one of Edison's six top sellers in October of 1920.5 "Indian Dawn," was a major hit in 1926, heard in "both concert and vaudeville."6 Tin Pan Alley began cracking out hundreds of Indian-themed songs, often performing Indianness in surprising contexts. "Big Chief Killahun," for example, played upon the stereotypes of the ruthless warrior, but in a "positive" Nationalist context advocating the killing of Nazi Germans.7 The public interest generated by the work of ethnologists, Indianist composers, and the media coverage of the `dance evil' debate, created a political atmosphere that many Native musicians could manipulate. Although many of these musicians utilized and marketed their Indianness, others refrained from doing so. Documentation exists for hundreds of Native musicians and bands of musicians who traveled the United States in the first three decades of the twentieth century, yet the evidence ranges from fleeting references in newspapers and names on phonograph records to oral histories and autobiographies. An examination of materials documenting a sample of individual lives illustrates that early twentieth-century native musicians were an extremely complex group of artists who daily navigated treacherous theatres of identity politics along the pot-holed roads and missed trains that characterized the typical life of a working musician. By piecing together correspondence of musicians and managers with the OIA,
Our Chicago Headquarters," The Talking Machine World, October 15, 1920, vol. 16, no. 10, p. 144. 6 "`Indian Dawn' a Hit," The Talking Machine World, July, 1926, vol. 22, no. 7, p. 126; The song had longevity as well, circulating as early as April of 1925, and was performed by numerous non-Indian and Indian singers such as Rose Raisa, Frances Alda, Tsianina Blackstone, Anna Case, Barbara Maurel and Marjory Moody. Ibid.; "Indian concert Artist Praises `Indian Dawn,'" The Talking Machine World, April 15, 1925, vol. 21, no. 4, 160; See also the advertisement for "Indian Dawn," The Talking Machine World, August 15, 1925, vol. 21, no. 8, 162-63.
school records, newspaper accounts, performance programs and other ephemera, one can glimpse the unique and individual lives of a number of American Indian musicians, and the complexities and significance by which they included evocations of their identities, their politics, and performances of Indianness in their musical lives. The OIA, as we have seen, used musical training and the arts of Indianness to contain, racialize, and produce docile citizens; those very "products," American Indians, often accepted the role of "the authentic Indian," and in turn used their training to assert a modern Indian identity, to access the public, to earn decent wages, and even to critique OIA policy.
JOE SHUNATONA AND THE UNITED STATES INDIAN RESERVATION ORCHESTRA
The various incarnations of the United States Indian Reservation Orchestra, and their divergent managers over a four-year period from 1929 to 1933 provide a glimpse into the different ways in which music and Indianness combined in the American cultural landscape. Influenced by the increasing popularity of Indian-themed songs in popular culture, non-native bandmasters quickly recognized the exotic appeal of and potential capital stemming from Indian bands and thus often solicited the aid of the OIA to locate potential prospects for and endorse as authentically "Indian" their entrepreneurial
Chief Killahun," DeVincent Sheet Music Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
endeavors.8 Thomas O'Brien's repeated requests for support from the OIA demonstrate well these appeals. In January of 1929, O'Brien sent the first in what would become a long series of telegrams to Commissioner Charles Burke asking for Burke to endorse O'Brien's band name, the United States Indian Reservation Orchestra.9 O'Brien informed Burke that he was planning a "world tour" for his band, which consisted of "between twenty and thirty five men" from twenty tribes. The financial investment, he reported, was "tremendous."10 In order to add credence to his request, O'Brien additionally convinced George Lamotto, a soloist for the band, to send a separate telegram from Tulsa that same evening.11 Burke, typically disapproving of such requests, and suspicious of them all, asked O'Brien for a full report and quietly asked Superintendent Wright of the Osage Agency to launch an independent investigation.12 After a time, however, O'Brien persuaded Burke and the others at the OIA that he would legitimately insure the safety and moral upkeep of the native performers. Native Americans had traveled in Wild West Shows since the mid nineteenth century, so that the
for example, Dixon Van Valkenberg to the U.S. Department of the Interior, October 21, 1912, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 105640-12-929; Dixon Van Valkenberg to the Department of the Interior, December 28, 1912, CCF General Services 929, file 105640-12-929; R.V. Kelring to Dr. Frederick A. Stock, Director of Chicago Symphony Orchestra, February 11, 1932, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 8793-32-929; R.V. Kelring to J. Henry Scattergood, Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 11, 1932, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 8793-32-929. 9 Thomas U. O'Brien to Charles H. Burke, Western Union Telegram, January 9, 1929, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. O'Brien also requested that Burke secure the Secretary of the Interior's help, suggesting the Secretary write a letter to compliment the "organization in its proof to the world of the remarkable advancement of the American Indian." 10 Ibid. 11 George H. Lamotto to Charles H. Burke, Western Union Telegram, January 9, 1929, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929.
OIA was well aware of the various problems performers would incur--lack of pay, being stranded far from home or even overseas, lack of medical care--so the OIA urged O'Brien to provide for the musicians in an adequate manner.13 Although the OIA never officially endorsed his band (which was their policy with regard to any private band), they lauded his efforts through genteel correspondence. O'Brien, too, lauded his own efforts. In August of that year he reported eighteen "full-blood" Indians in the band, from fourteen different tribes. "Every one," he wrote, "is a college man and three of the boys are now taking a law course through the LaSalle Correspondence Law School in Chicago."14 He continued: I am egotistical enough to believe that this is the only successful Indian organization that has ever attempted to become prominent with the finer theatrical circuits of America. I have had hundreds of Indians tell me that this organization is doing more to show the honest evolution of the Indian than anything that has ever been done before.15 Although the composition of the band's "Indian blood" seemed to vary significantly each time he corresponded with the OIA, nevertheless O'Brien repeatedly managed to book gigs by wielding the novelty of their "Indianness." Over the next two years, The United States Indian Reservation Band gathered momentum as they performed for the Presidential inaugurations of 1929 and 1933. By mid 1930 they had played Boston five
H. Burke to J. George Wright, January 16, 1929, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 13 Moses recounts these problems in Wild West Shows. 14 Thomas O'Brien to C.S. Rhoades, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, August 11, 1930, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 15 Ibid.
different times over a sixteen month period, New York City for twenty-six consecutive weeks, and Chicago for nine.16 In November of 1930 O'Brien, who at that point reported twenty-two "fullblooded Indians" from eighteen tribes, including "two Indian girl soloists," requested the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles J. Rhoads (Burke resigned in March of 1929) to endorse an upcoming European tour.17 The tour centered around an appearance at the 1931 Paris Exposition Coloniale Internationale. Rhoads was more adamant than Burke in his refusal of O'Brien's request: Generally speaking, the use of Indians for what may be classed as `show purposes' is frowned upon. In any event, it is essential that public performances of any nature in which Indians participate be so managed and supervised as to elevate the Indian rather than exploit him, thereby creating favorable impression in the mind of the general public which will in turn ultimately react to the advancement of the Indian race as a whole.18 Rhoads continued, "It should, therefore, be clearly understood that the proposed trip is in no way under governmental auspices. To this end may we suggest that you eliminate the word `reservation' from the name of the band, as its inclusion might give an erroneous impression."19 O'Brien was devastated by this new wrinkle in his rapport with the OIA. He responded one month later stating that he was in agreement with Rhoades that
16 Ibid. 17 Ibid.
Burke was targeted by Congress after the publication of the Meriam Report that provided a scathing critique of the Office of Indian Affairs on practically every level. John Collier continued his attacks on Burke as well. In January of 1929, Burke accused Senator Pine of Oklahoma of conspiring to destroy his reputation. He included Collier, who he referred to as a "notorious Indian agitator," in the conspiracy. Even before he failed to provide evidence of a conspiracy, his reputation was shattered. At the urging of incoming President Hoover, Burke submitted his resignation, which the administration accepted on March 9, 1929. The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1824-1977, Robert M. Kvasnicka and Herman J. Viola, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979) 260.
"Indians should not be exploited just because of the fact that they are an Indian. Please allow me to say that this Indian band is not being exploited just because they are Indians. We have twelve members in the band now, most of them are full blooded, and ten of them are college graduates."20 Although O'Brien seemed to be losing members, along with the degree of their "Indian blood," he was determined to press for an endorsement. Accordingly, O'Brien had Bascom Slemp, head of the U.S. exhibit for the 1931 exposition, attempt to persuade Rhoads that their presentation would be educational in nature, and not merely titillating or exploitative. In a letter to Rhoads, Slemp wrote, The cultural developments will be shown by their musical progress as displayed by this band, so the appearance of the band at our Exposition would be an exhibit in itself of many things. The band will show three things: 1) The Indians in their original garb 2) The progress and development of the Indian race as shown by their appearance; and 3) The musical or cultural development of the Indian.21 The well-worn logic used by school officials to justify displays of Indianness in the midst of policies of assimilation was repeated here, in the private sector. Furthermore, O'Brien was able to call in a favor to Vice President Charles Curtis, for whom his band had
Rhoades to Thomas O'Brien, December 22, 1930, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 111929-929. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. Thomas S. O'Brien to C.S. Rhoads, January 20, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 21 C. Bascom Slemp, Commissioner-General, Commission of the United States of America, The International Colonial and Overseas Exposition at Paris to Charles J. Rhoads, no date, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929.
performed and favorably impressed.22 Curtis wrote Rhoads, urging him to support the band in any way possible.23 Rhoads begrudgingly wrote a letter endorsing the band.24 Although O'Brien served as the principle contact between the band and the OIA, the star of the band was "Chief" Joe Shunatona, a Pawnee and former Chilocco student, who had directed the band since at least 1929.25 Shunatona was an able performer and director who led the band through countless tours of the U.S. and Europe into the early 1930s. Joe was very much tied into Chilocco, as his mother, S.B. Lincoln, remained an employee of the school, and his wife, Gwendolyn Johnson (Wyandotte), was a 1916 Chilocco graduate.26 Gwendolyn and Joe had two children whom they left with a relative at the Pawnee Indian Agency while they toured together.27 By 1932 the couple had moved into a residence on West 55th Street in New York City, though they spent most of their time living out of hotel rooms on the road as the band hit Vaudeville circuits that took them routinely through St. Louis, Chicago, Portland and Seattle. Whenever they stayed in New York, however, Shunatona performed on radio station W I N S three times a week.28
22 Charles 23 Charles
Curtis had Kansa, Osage, and Potawatomie relatives on his mother's side of the family. Curtis, Vice President of the United States, to C.J. Rhoads, February 4, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 24 C.J. Rhoads to Thomas O'Brien, February 9, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29929. 25 W. Q. Farris, Day School Inspector, Osage Indian Agency to W.M. Crawford, S.D.A. In Charge, Osage Indian Agency, January 24, 1929, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 26 "Class of 1916," Chilocco Graduates, 1894 to 1932, no date, NA RG 75, CCF Chilocco 820, file 6415134-820, p. 31; "All Indian Band," The Native American, December 6, 1930, p. 245. Clipping found in NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 27 Ibid. The names of their children are Baptiste and Mifaunwy. The daughter, Mifaunwy, is still alive and lives in New York City. Personal Correspondence with Gwen Shunatona, May 12, 2004. 28 "Class of 1916," p. 31.
While Shunatona led the band, O'Brien continued to manage it, soliciting words of support from the OIA whenever he could. While preparing for the European tour in 1931, however, things began to sour. A number of merchants wrote Commissioner Rhoads with concerns that irked the department. Although the OIA had made it clear to O'Brien that they could never, under any circumstances, support or sponsor his ventures, O'Brien purchased two hundred dollars worth of "Indian equipment" from a shop in Brooklyn with the request that they would be sent collect to Paris. To ameliorate the concerns of the shop owner, O'Brien told him that "this band is under the supervision of the United States Government, Bureau of Indian Affairs."29 During the next month O'Brien, under the first name of Harry, ordered hundreds of dollars worth of "Indian customes [sic], rugs, and decorations" from various shops in New York and told the merchants that "it was for the U.S. Government and that the Goverment [sic] would send a check in a few days."30 The BIA categorically refuted O'Brien's statements and made it clear that while they were familiar with the band, they took absolutely no responsibility for it. Even the composition of the band fell under controversy, as one merchant claimed that the band, performing "negro jazz," was comprised not solely of "full-blooded," educated Indians, but of "Orientals" and "Jews" as well.31 To further complicate matters, at some point during the European tour Shunatona and O'Brien parted ways. Shunatona and the rest of the band "severed all connections"
M. Luongo to C.H. Rhoads [sic], April 27, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 30 Mrs. V. Croissette to Charles Rhoads [sic], May 25, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929.
with O'Brien, quickly hired a new manager, and renamed the band "Chief Shunatona and His American Indian Band."32 Even after Shunatona and the rest of the band left him, O'Brien told their new manager that he and the band had worked "under the direct patronage of the Department of Justice and Indian Affairs."33 In the midst of these lies O'Brien continued to correspond with Rhoads, who apparently never brought up any of the allegations that merchants were flinging at O'Brien. O'Brien reported that the band cut him loose because they had "gone the way of all Indians who insist on drinking."34 He wrote that his "own decentness" kept the dignity of the band high and that he refused to accompany them on the "dance hall tour" that Shunatona and the rest were eager to book.35 Joe Shunatona certainly seemed more apt to succeed in the business than O'Brien. In 1932 he was still appearing on W I N S in New York, and earning enough money that his wife was able to resign from her waitressing job at a local Caf. Additionally, Shunatona passed the screening tests in New York for Universal Picture's adaptation of Oliver La Farge's Pulitzer winning book, Laughing Boy.36 The book, which focused on two Navajo, Laughing Boy and Slim Girl, was recognized for its take on the very contemporary issues of racism, poverty, cultural dispossession and prostitution. John
31 Ibid. 32 Arthur
M. Kraus to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, July 2, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 33 Ibid. 34 Thomas S. O'Brian to Charles J. Rhoads, Western Union Telegram, July 1, 1931, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929. 35 Ibid. 36 Chief Joseph Shunatona to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, July 28, 1932, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929.
Huston and William Wyler collaborated on both the casting and screenplay, and were anxious to hire Native American actors for the roles.37 Upon Shunatona's request, Commissioner Rhoads wrote a letter on his behalf that he sent to Carl Laemmle, Jr., the Vice-President and General Director of Universal.38 Unfortunately Universal ran into numerous problems with censors over the material, and in addition to the muchpublicized challenge of casting the film, along with mounting costs, the film company shelved the idea before it was firmly off the ground.39 The story of Joe Shunatona and the United States Indian Reservation Orchestra, in its various incarnations, reveals not only the dangers of managers bent on exploiting "Indianness," but also, perhaps even more crucially, the readiness of Native performers to control their own destinies. Although the degree of "Indian blood" was subject to ebb and flow, the band's Indianness nevertheless provided the principal draw. While for O'Brien that draw, and the attendant claim to authenticity, was essential, for Shunatona the performance of music remained key. Shunatona's simple love for playing music, rather than profiting by playing "Indian" music, is clear from his preference for performing in "low-down" dance halls the African-American inspired jazz as opposed to
Herman, A Talent for Trouble: The Life of Hollywood's Most Acclaimed Director, William Wyler, (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1995) 105. Obviously the casting of a Pawnee-Otoe such as Joseph Shunatona to play a Navajo character met their requirements of authenticity, but Wyler and Huston spent months in the Southwest, among the Navajo, Hopi, Piute, Apache, Comanche, Crow and Blackfoot, looking for actors. 38 C.J. Rhoads to Carl Laemmle, Jr., August 4, 1932, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29929. 39 Herman, 107. In 1934, O'Brien requested that the BIA support him once again: he had constructed a new United States Indian Band and sought governmental backing to perform at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition. Thomas O'Brien to Herold [sic] L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, March 26, 1934, NA RG 75, CCF General Services 929, file 1119-29-929.
the high profile displays of cultural evolution associated with O'Brien's vision of the band.
FRED CARDIN AND THE INDIAN STRING QUARTET
The story of Fred Cardin's career spotlights a Quapaw musician who built a career out of his boarding school training, performing both music and Indianness on a difficult tour circuit. While Cardin certainly profited from his own performative exoticism as an Indian, he also used that to his advantage by including tribally-specific information in his performances and by writing his own consciousness-raising compositions and historical pageants. But Cardin also utilized the trope of Indianness as a stepping stone to reach his own goal of establishing a successful, lifelong career in music, shattering the pessimistic expectations of the OIA. His story like, Shunatona's, reveals a similar track of self-determination in his navigation to form and direct his own bands. It also exemplifies the pitfalls of life on the road, and the dedication of a Quapaw musician who lived and breathed music for the entirety of his life. Born in 1895, Cardin graduated from Carlisle in 1912 and became particularly successful in his early life as a concert violinist.40 During Cardin's enrollment at Carlisle he performed and was featured at practically every function that required music. Like many students, he maintained a deep affection for Carlisle and the experiences it brought
him.41 In the summer of 1911 he traveled to Fallsington, Pennsylvania, to take part in Carlisle's outing program and later published a piece based upon his experience in The Carlisle Arrow: My work was not hard and I had a good home. I tended a small truck patch, took care of two horses, and drove sometimes, as my patron was a doctor. He also owned an automobile, about which I learned a great deal during my stay with him...Although I had spent a delightful vacation and had left many friends behind, I was overjoyed to be back. The feelings that overcame me when I met my school friends once more can only be expressed by musicians and poets; my humble words are too feeble to do the subject justice. The uppermost sentiment in my heart at moment of arrival has been long ago put into words by the poet who wrote, "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.42 After he graduated, he briefly took up post-graduate work in the Business Department of the school in order to continue his studies under Fred Stauffer, the Carlisle music director. Cardin craved further musical education, however, so that he could leave his mark on the world as a renowned violinist. He sought the means to continue his studies in a conservatory, but neither he nor his family was able to cover the cost of tuition or living expenses. Too young to receive a two hundred acre parcel in the first division of the Quapaw reserve allotments, he instead received forty acres of "rough, untillable land" in the second division, land that could by no means provide him any
N. Elmer, Musical Remembrances (Reading, PA: The Berksiana Foundation, 1976) 61. According to a 1900 account in the newspaper Western Spirit published in Paolo, Kansas, he was a descendent of Chief J.B. Richardville who died at Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1840. 41 Many scholars of Indian boarding school history have recently demonstrated that students often recalled fond experiences at the schools. These experiences typically had more to do with the friendships they developed at the schools and other ways in which they crafted an alternative world within the confines of the strict discipline and assimilationist agendas of the school officials. See, for example, K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: the story of the Chilocco Indian School (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994). 42 Fred Cardin, "My Outing," The Carlisle Arrow--A Weekly Letter To Our People, vol. 8, no. 19, January 19, 1912, p. 7.
revenue.43 His father did no better, receiving an allotment of "undesirable" lands that brought him a scant income. Laboring in the railroad shops of the Missouri Kansas & Texas railway in Parsons, Kansas, his father had a wife and several other children to support.44 By the end of the summer of 1912, however, Fred Cardin was awarded a scholarship to study the violin at Dana's Musical Conservatory in Warren, Ohio.45 While at the conservatory he became the protg of Jake Gimbel.46 After leaving the Conservatory, Cardin worked as a member of the orchestra for the Chautauqua Institution, but summarily came down with Typhoid Fever.47 Unable to cover medical bills in New York, he took a train to the Carlisle hospital in order to recover.48 Cardin recovered and briefly moved home to Parsons, Kansas. From there he
C. Deaver, Superintendent, The Seneca School, Wyandotte, OK, to O.H. Lipps, Supervisor in Charge, United States Indian School, Carlisle, PA, July 23, 1914, NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140. 44 Ibid. 45 "Fred Cardin Honored," clipping in NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140. Cardin studied at the conservatory off and on for at least the next three years. He periodically returned to Carlisle during these years and performed a violin duet with Caroline Hewitt at the 1913 Carlisle Commencement Concert. Program, "The Carlisle United States Indian Band," Commencement Concert, April 1, 1913. Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) drop files, Cumberland County Historical Society. 46 "Talented Indian Boy on Visit Here," The Vincennes Sun, undated clipping, NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140. 47 The Chautauqua Institution was founded in 1874 in New York as a summer retreat for Sunday school teachers on Lake Chautauqua. Based upon white middle class participants, it was imbued with the principles of the Social Gospel movement and the teachers were exposed to a series of lectures and entertainments during their residency. Such "constructive entertainments" quickly gained popularity throughout the United States. Andrew C. Rieser, "Canopy of Culture: Chautauqua and the Renegotiation of Middle Class Authority, 1874-1919," (Ph.D. diss. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999) 3-6. 48 Arthur Bestor, President, Chautauqua Institution, to David DeHuff, Superintendent and Principle, Carlisle Indian School, August 31, 1915, NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140.
apparently moved to Alabama to perform a short stint in an orchestra for a movie theatre.49 Cardin was sought after both as a musician and as an Indian musician. The Indianist composer Thurlow Lieurance was immediately impressed by him and wished him to join his Lyceum act in 1916.50 Of his own volition, Cardin had begun to master popular Indianist compositions such as Charles Cadman's "From the Land of the Sky Blue Water" and Lieurance's "Pakoble (Cheyenne Melody)" and even wrote his own piece by 1915 entitled "Quapaw." He returned to Carlisle on November 30th, 1915, to perform these pieces in a violin recital.51 Faced with numerous opportunities, in the Spring of 1916 he accepted the position of first violin in the Indian String Quartet based out of the Salem Indian School in Chemawa, Oregon.52
Cardin to William Palin, March 7, 1916, NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. to William Colledge, October 24, 1916, Thurlow Lieurance, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 139, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. Lieurance wrote the Redpath Lyceum Bureau that Cardin was a "fine violinist. A soloist. A real man. Good habits. Fine education. People are always interested in him. He is fine looking." Stretching back to the 1820s, Lyceums in the United States were community institutions that organized weekly debates, entertainments, and lectures. 51 "The Cardin Violin Recital," The Carlisle Arrow--From the Carlisle Indian School, vol. XII, no. 14, December 3, 1915, p. 3. The newspaper reported, "To those who appreciate good music, the concert was indeed a treat. Mr. Cardin plays with a depth of feeling surprising in one so young, and each number was beautifully executed." 52 Fred Cardin to O.H. Lipps, March 13, 1916, NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140. The next month Cardin wrote to Lipps, superintent of Carlisle, "I hope when we get on the road...we may have the pleasure of playing at my old Alma Mater." Fred Cardin to O.H. Lipps, April 16, 1916, NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140. Cardin often wrote to the superintendent of Carlisle and expressed his fondness for the school and his appreciation of The Arrow, one of the Carlisle periodicals. With reference to an article in The Arrow on the Indian Day Program at the school, he wrote Lipps, "I hope all the students at Carlisle appreciate the value of a national Indian Day, and the citizenship which will soon be ours, as much as I. Fred Cardin to O.H. Lipps, received May 21, 1916, NA RG 75, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file Cardin, Fred (5529), Box 140.
50 Thurlow Lieurance
The Indian String Quartet, assembled by Ruthyn Turney, an Indianist composer and faculty member of the Chemawa School, originally consisted of Turney and three young men who received their musical training in various Indian schools. Alex Melovidov, from St. Paul of the Pribilov Islands in the Bering Sea, played second violin. Melovidov, an Aleut, spent his early education in a local public school and a Russian school under the Greek Catholic Church. He arrived at the Chemawa school in the fall of 1911 principally to further his musical training.53 Willie Reddie (a/k/a Willie Reddy) from the Hydah tribe of Wrangell, Alaska, played the cello.54 Reddie had attended Chemawa since 1908 in order to study under Turney, but later switched to the cello and began working with a master cellist in Portland.55 Rounding out the quartet was William Palin, a Kootenai (Confederated Flathead), who, after attending Carlisle, joined the group at Chemawa as the viola player.56
Indian String Quartet: From the Indian Training School, Chemawa, OR.," brochure in NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. 54 The Indian String Quartet: and Richard H. Kennedy, Portland: James, Kerns & Abbot, no date, p. 3, brochure in the Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. 55 "The Indian String Quartet: From the Indian Training School, Chemawa, OR." 56 Palin's childhood was difficult yet he persisted through the ranks in the Indian schools with an eventual focus on music. He had lived on a farm on the Flathead reservation until he was fifteen. By that point his family had suffered the loss of several members--four of his fourteen siblings were dead, including one brother who had been fatally shot, and his father had died of cancer. Despite the difficulties of farm life he completed 6 years of schooling in Montana and in 1910 he enrolled in the sixth grade class of Carlisle and developed skills as a printer. The next summer he performed general farm work for David Plough of the nearby town of Newville through Carlisle's outing system, a task he was familiar with from his younger years in Montana. Although Palin arrived at Carlisle in "vigorous, robust, and healthy" condition, his health began to deteriorate at the school and he soon requested a transfer to the Sherman Institute in California in the hopes that his condition would improve. While male students typically pursued a trade such as printing in this era of the schools, Palin also studied music and became consumed by his passion for it. After graduating from the Cushman Indian School in Tacoma, Washington in 1914, he traveled to Chemawa at his own expense in order to further his study of music with Turney. "The Indian String Quartet: From the Indian Training School, Chemawa, OR.;" Medical History form, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file William Palin (3905), Box 84; Report of William Palin, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file William Palin (3905), Box 84;
Palin and Cardin were peers and became fast friends at Carlisle, and it was Palin who proposed to the quartet that they locate and hire Cardin to take Turney's chair of first violin after the group's aspirations and potential extended beyond Oregon. Palin wrote Cardin, urging him to come on board. After some soul searching, Cardin agreed. He wrote, Now Bill, confidentially, I say this to you. I [have] become, (quite contrary to my make-up when you knew me) to a certain degree a thinking man. I look at this job as an opportunity not as something to `get-by with' before the public--I am not yet a demonstrative artist but one at heart also Indian and in this work I hope to find that which is elevating and inspiring--To--Art for God's sake.57 His dedication reflected the motivation of all the young men in the quartet who were willing to chance the hardships of the road in order to celebrate both their art and their identities as Native people. He continued, I realize Bill that money is existence in this world but we must look farther than a comfortable fireplace and a variety of eatables. I will go into this work with my whole heart and ambitions and we will make it a policy to help one another for the benefit of all concerned. I realize that accomplishment is the result of hard work and I am not looking for a snap nor do I wish to impose any idea of my own into your plans. My argument is based on Shakespeare's idea-which incorrectly constructed runs something like this--"Be-first of all, --true to yourself and it follow like night the day, you will wrong no man."58
William Palin to Superintendent M. Friedman, August 16, 1913, NA Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file William Palin (3905), Box 84. Palin wrote that his mother, unable to write, approved of his choice to leave Carlisle; Application for Enrollment in a Nonreservation School, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file William Palin (3905), Box 84; Superintendent, Carlisle Indian School, to Fred C. Morgan, Superintendent, The Flathead Agency, August 25, 1913, Entry 1327, Carlisle Indian Industrial School Student Records, 1879-1918, file William Palin (3905), Box 84; R.H. Kennedy to Cato Sells, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 22, 1916, NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. 57 Fred Cardin to William Palin, March 7, 1916, NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. Emphasis in original. 58 Ibid.
By the time Cardin joined the band, the quartet had already met with much critical praise in its tours of the Northwest.59 A non-native named Richard Kennedy, the former chaplain at the Chemawa Indian School and a graduate of Harvard University, affixed himself to the group as road manager of the quartet. Additionally, Kennedy provided lectures on Indian art and legends during the band's performances.60 While Kennedy seemed to maintain a good rapport with the quartet during their many consecutive months of touring, he also understood the quartet as a vehicle to forward his own aspirations for a career in the entertainment business. In a brochure he ostensibly crafted for the quartet, he wrote, "In the role of narrative lecturer [Kennedy] is in a class by himself, and without any assistance whatever can provide an evening of intense interest and educational value."61 Oddly enough, Kennedy often included lectures on seemingly unrelated topics such as Victor Hugo's Les Miserables while espousing on Native legends.62 The troupe billed itself as the Indian String Quartet and attracted audiences to their recitals of classical or classically influenced pieces juxtaposed with performances of
brochure of press notices and personal letters for the Indian String Quartet, printed in 1915 or early 1916, included over a dozen glowing newspaper reviews written on their behalf. "The Indian String Quartet," brochure in NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. 60 The Indian String Quartet: and Richard H. Kennedy, Portland: James, Kerns & Abbot, no date, p. 3, brochure in the Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. Kennedy wrote Commissioner Cato Sells that the addition of Cardin "will give us a full Indian quartet, all clean, manly young men, of high ambition, earnest purpose and industrious habits." R.H. Kennedy to Cato Sells, March 22, 1916, NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. 61 "The Indian String Quartet: From the Indian Training School, Chemawa, OR.," brochure in NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929. 62 Ibid.
Indianness, complete with "artistic Indian costumes."63 Although prior to Cardin's inclusion in the quartet the boys performed all of their pieces in suits, they decided to alter the program by performing their first, classical act, in suits, then for their second act, which featured Turney's Indianist compositions, dressing in Native regalia.64 The quartet maintained a treacherous touring schedule throughout the year of 1917. After touring the Pacific Northwest in the spring, they performed seventy-two dates in Illinois and Indiana on the Meneley Chautauqua Circuit without a single day off.65 In these early Chautauqua tours the quartet performed a Haydn, Beethoven, or Mozart quartet piece followed by several short "bright, varied, `catching'" numbers in the first half, and then provided their renditions of Indianist pieces by Salem School music instructor Ruthyn Turney in the second.66 To "give a better Indian effect," according to Kennedy, they played these songs from memory, with all of the musicians except for the cellist standing during the performance.67 In between the sets, Kennedy would lecture about his collection of baskets, beadwork, and Navajo rugs (on display), and would often introduce the Indianist songs with brief explanations.68 The quartet gathered much
63 R.H. 64 Ibid.
Kennedy to Cato Sells, March 22, 1916, NA RG, CCF Salem, file 33873-16-929.
String Quartet and Richard Kennedy, Itinerary, Summer of 1917," in letter from Fred Cardin to Redpath Lyceum Bureau, September 17, 1917, Indian String Quartet, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 115, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department; R.H. Kennedy to L.B. Crotty, January 16, 1917, Indian String Quartet, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 115, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. 66 R.H. Kennedy to William A. Colledge, October 24, 1916, Indian String Quartet, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 115, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. 67 Ibid. 68 Ibid.
momentum and in an effort to further their exposure, the band signed a contract for the 1917-18 season with the renowned Redpath Lyceum Bureau of Chicago.69 Life on the road for the Indian String Quartet during the Redpath season was filled with surprises and hazards. The fastest form of communication between the Redpath Bureau and the quartet was the telegram, but because the quartet sometimes performed six or seven days a week, in different cities, for six months straight, special care had to be taken to wire information and correspondence to the proper town, on the proper day.70 Right before the quartet was to perform in Harlan, Kentucky, for example, the Redpath Bureau wired them in Benham, Kentucky with the news that the show was cancelled due to a smallpox outbreak. "Do not go in there," the Bureau advised.71 Cancellations and added shows, often at the last minute, caused the Bureau to send the quartet changes in plan practically in mid-voyage. . After one cancellation for an April
Concert Contract between Richard H. Kennedy and the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, December 19, 1916, Indian String Quartet, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 115, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. The Redpath Lyceum Bureau first made the offer on October 30, 1916, which originally consisted of twenty consecutives weeks in the 1917-1918 Lyceum season at $150 per week plus transportation. William A. Colledge to Richard H. Kennedy, October 30, 1916, Indian String Quartet, Redpath Chautauqua Correspondence, Box 115, Redpath Chautauqua Collection, University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department. The Redpath Lyceum Bureau was the flagship bureau of many such institutions that combined the spirit of the Chautauqua Institution's dedication toward social uplift and education with the traveling entertainmentoriented programs offered by Lyceum circuits. The Redpath Bureau stretched throughout the midwestern states. The "Circuit Chautauquas" were typically commercial ventures organized by talent agents and entrepreneurs and were at times scorned by cultural elites. Rieser argues that the Circuit Chautauquas held more in common with the forthcoming entertainment industries of radio and television than the religious underpinnings of the Chautauqua Institution. John E. Tapia, Circuit Chatauqua: From Rural Education to Popular Entertainment in Early Twentieth Century America (Jefferson, N.C.: ...