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Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869-1933

Overview

Established in 1824, the United States Indian Service (USIS), now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was the agency responsible for carrying out U.S. treaty and trust obligations to American Indians, but it also sought to "civilize" and assimilate them. In Federal Fathers and Mothers, Cathleen Cahill offers the first in-depth social history of the agency during the height of its assimilation efforts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cahill shows how the USIS pursued a strategy of intimate ...

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Overview

Established in 1824, the United States Indian Service (USIS), now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was the agency responsible for carrying out U.S. treaty and trust obligations to American Indians, but it also sought to "civilize" and assimilate them. In Federal Fathers and Mothers, Cathleen Cahill offers the first in-depth social history of the agency during the height of its assimilation efforts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cahill shows how the USIS pursued a strategy of intimate colonialism, using employees as surrogate parents and model families in order to shift Native Americans' allegiances from tribal kinship networks to Euro-American familial structures and, ultimately, the U.S. government.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] gracefully written social history."--H-SHGAPE

"Will appeal to scholars interested in colonialism and Native American studies, especially students of the assimilation era in the United States. Beyond North America, Cahill's work will be of use to scholars interested in the social history of large gove

"This work is essential in understanding the history of the Bureau of Indian Affairs."--The Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

"A valuable contribution to Indian history."--Western Legal History

"Innovative and compelling reading by a promising young scholar. . . . Cahill writes beautifully. . . [and] her research and significant interventions into historiographic trends make this an important book."--Journal of Social History

"An outstanding investigation of the Indian Service and its employees. Cahill's work bolsters scholarship, challenging the unidirectional impact of empire and colonialism by demonstrating the domestic consequences of imperialism."--Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

"An in-depth social history of the United States Indian Service. . . . Well-researched, interesting, even inspirational, Cathleen Cahill's Federal Fathers and Mothers highlights Indian history and the American historical context and brings the term

"A groundbreaking account."--Ethnohistory

"A new perspective on Indian-U.S. relations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. . . . An essential library addition for all scholars of federal policy and colonialism."--Western Historical Quarterly

"A major contribution to our understanding of how gender and ethnicity shaped Indian affairs in this era. The book is well written and deeply researched, and it gives readers a sophisticated and informed account of an era that remains understudied."--North Carolina Historical Review

"Cahill's work is perceptive and astute . . .[and] offers uncommon insights into myriad other topics."--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"A social history in the best sense of the term."--New Books Network

"Cahill offers the first in-depth social history of the agency during the height of its assimilation efforts."--McCormick Messenger

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469606811
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Series: New Directions in Southern Studies Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 847,633
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathleen D. Cahill is assistant professor of history at the University of New Mexico.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

I From Civil War to Civil Service

1 There Is an Honest Way Even of Breaking up a Treaty The Origins of Indian Assimilation Policy 15

2 Only the Home Can Found a State Building a Better Agency 34

II The Women and Men of the Indian Service

3 Members of an Amazonian Corps White Women in the Indian Service 63

4 Seeking the Incalculable Benefit of a Faithful, Patient Man and Wife Married Employees in the Indian Service 82

5 An Indian Teacher among Indians American Indian Labor in the Indian Service 104

6 Sociability in the Indian Service 136

7 The Hoopa Valley Reservation 170

III The Progressive State and the Indian Service

8 A Nineteenth-Century Agency in a Twentieth-Century Age 209

9 An Old and Faithful Employee: The Federal Employee Retirement Act and the Indian Service 236

Conclusion 257

Notes 267

Bibliography 327

Index 353

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