Native American Historiography

One of the main subjects of the historiography of Native Americans as a whole would he how they have been “cast, recast, interpreted, reinterpreted, and misinterpreted” [1] more than anyone else in American History.
Native American Civil Rights Activists [3] Depictions of the Native Americans in the 19th century portrayed them as “savage” and talked about how america’s “winning of the West” was great. It pretty much was all written to show that what the US did was good and they should be proud of winning the land from the Natives. Later in the 1960’s when the topic came up again, all account of Native Americans took a drastic 180. When the civil rights movement was in full swing, historians looked back and thought a lot differently of the Native Americans. They had more of a “sympathetic and favorable light” towards them. [1] It is very interesting that this social change from the civil rights movement, caused the writing of history to change drastically and become different. The article continues to say that some people changed the understanding of “white man good, red man bad” with “red man good, white man bad.” 
[2] The writing goes on to talk about how this change is very interesting. The social context of the time period got people to rethink the history of an entire subject of study. In the modern times, historians have been able to “blend the best of the old with the best of the new,” [1] and come up with a history that has a mix of both accounts. This seems to be what is now known as the truth. 
Native American storytelling [4] One of the struggles of Native American history has been finding reliable primary sources. Although they have been around for a long times, most peoples were not very literate. This made stories and accounts not written. As a culture, this developed into storytelling orally, which over time would decrease the accuracy of major events in their history. Over time in the recent past, Native American historians have been transcribing as many stores as they can, but many have been lost in time.   References:
  1. Flavin, Francis “Native Americans and American History” University of Texas at Dallas https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/resedu/native_americans.pdf
  2. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/7302
  3. https://zinnedproject.org/materials/native-american-activism-1960s-to-present/
  4. http://www.ilhawaii.net/~stony/loreindx.html
 

  1 comment for “Native American Historiography

  1. hryan
    October 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    It really is interesting to think of how much the current climate affects historical scholarship. I wonder how the future scholarship on our current time period will change.
    -HR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *