"The Indians Would Be Too Near Us": Paths of Disunion in the Making of Kansas, 1848-1870
AuthorRyan, Luke Cramer
Committee ChairMorrissey, Katherine
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe dissertation complicates the familiar narrative about the coming of the Civil War in American national history by exploring how several Native American groups participated in the conflicts of Kansas Territory.The creation of Kansas in the lands reserved for removed tribes brought fervent local negotiation over land and treaty rights between Indians and whites. Most Indians were forced to select new options and allegiances by the impositions of white settlers' agendas and federal initiatives. Rather than hapless victims of settler manipulation, members of several reservation communities on the Kansas-Missouri border, among a total of twenty-six tribes, vied for political and legal control in ways that shaped and salvaged the legal survival and identities of these tribal nations.The dissertation examines how two members of the Wyandot community negotiated their identities around divergent American discourses of race and ethnicity, how the Christian Moravian Indian community contested the terms of their own future collective place and identity, how the New York Indians vied for treaty rights in competition with settlers' claims groups, and how the Delaware Indians responded to legal violations by whites. The multi-faceted conflicts left many Indians to choose sides between competing white political partisans and between a future of U.S. citizenship or separate tribal collectivity. Over these chapters, Indians negotiate their own individual or group identities by the maintenance or expansion of particular discourses of difference. The choices and discourses related to Indian collectivity were, in part, colonial legacies that informed tribal nationalism and identity later in time.The importance of territorial Kansas is not simply a battle between white partisans over the fate of slavery and democratic government, but also a critical struggle between Indians and whites that re-defined racial and ethnic identities and collective rights of Native peoples during the Civil War era. Manifestations of difference developed among and between Indians in the wake of Kansas. This process illustrates how `paths of disunion' shaped the collective histories and the survival of several American Indian tribes, in ways reflective of the conditions, choices, and logics that many more Indian peoples faced after the Civil War.