At home and industriously employed: The Women's National Indian Association
AdvisorHill, Jane H.
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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 Women's National Indian Association (WNIA) organized in 1879 to advocate fair treatment of Native Americans. By manipulating the Victorian ideology of domesticity, the organization was able to send women missionaries to the reservations. Because women could only work "at home," the WNIA redefined the Indian reservation as the missionaries' home. This redefinition ideologically enabled women missionaries to engage in non-traditional work. Conversely, the WNIA believed Indians would only become "civilized" if they moved from traditional dwellings into frame houses. In addition, native houses could only become "homes" if Indian women became ardent housekeepers and converted to Christianity. Accordingly, the WNIA provided financial support to Indians who wished to build houses, and taught the domestic arts to native women and children. In so doing, and by supporting the government's allotment policy, the WNIA participated in the subjugation of Native Americans and in the westward expansion of the United States.
Degree ProgramGraduate College