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The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930$
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Kate Flint

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691203188

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691203188.001.0001

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Indians, Modernity, and History

Indians, Modernity, and History

(p.288) Conclusion Indians, Modernity, and History
The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930

Kate Flint

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses how attitudes started to shift at the beginning of the twentieth century—partly under the influence of Western movies, partly as modernist writers and artists started to idealize the Indian for their own ends, and as other wannabe Indians, most notably Grey Owl, began to develop the association of Indianness with environmental preservation. It also looks at some contemporary writing by native peoples—especially James Welch and Leslie Marmon Silko—that aims to reappropriate nineteenth-century transatlantic history in a range of imaginative ways. By writing this fiction today, both Silko and Welch reclaim and rewrite the possibilities inherent for native peoples in the late nineteenth century. In so doing, they demonstrate that despite the importance, then and now, of tradition as both concept and practice within Indian society, identity, and modes of thought, it stands not isolated from modernity, but rather in mediation and dialogue with it. At a time when critical attention within American studies has increasingly turned toward imperialism and transnationalism, to explore the importance of the transatlantic Indian is to provide an important reminder that the internal colonial relations of the United States cannot be separated from these other trajectories.

Keywords:   Western movies, wannabe Indians, Indianness, James Welch, Leslie Marmon Silko, native peoples, Indian society, Indian identity, modernity, transatlantic Indian

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