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That belief not only persisted, writes historian Brian Dippie, but it also spread throughout American culture. Soon the "vanishing Indian" appeared in science, literature, art, popular culture, and, most importantly, federal policy.
"The assumption that the Indians are a vanishing race has about it the quality of self-fulfilling prophecy," Dippie writes. In this classic study, first published in 1982, he traces the origins of this assumption and documents its insidious effects on U.S. policy toward Indians from the beginning of the nation's history through the Indian New Deal of the 1930s. He describes its role in early attempts at civilization and education, segregation of Indians west of the Mississippi, post-Civil War reform, the Dawes Act and allotment, the gradualism of early twentieth-century policy, the reform movement of the 1920s, John Collier's Indian Reorganization Act, and into the 1970s.
Author Biography: Brian W. Dippie, professor of history at the University of Victoria, specializes in the art and popular culture of the American West. He is the author of Custer's Last Stand: Anatomy of an American Myth, Remington and Russell: The Sid Richardson Collection, Looking at Russell, and Catlin and His Contemporaries.