Monday, May 18, 2009

When Indians Play Indian Symposium: Texas Tech University

The work of Native American/cultural scholars such as Philip Deloria has demonstrated that from the Boston Tea Party, to the Camp Fire Girls, to the hippy movement, non-natives have appropriated Native dress from nearly the first moment they encountered them. However, that appropriation always reflected (and still reflects if the current Native American Mascot issue is any indication) a rather distorted and static view of Native people on the part of the dominant culture. Likewise, other work, some of it also by Deloria, has demonstrated that Native people have throughout the twentieth century lived outside the stock images of their culture held by whites. From their involvement in filmmaking, music, sports and their adoption of technology, Native Americans have, controlled their own interactions with the modern world in the same manner as the rest of society. Yet, society’s persistence in viewing them as relics frozen in time has often prevented non-natives from seeing this.

Now this symposium, and the edited volume it is designed to produce, intends to push these ideas even further. We intend to examine instances throughout the history of North America in which Native People have purposely “played Indian,” that is to say acceded to the caricatured version of themselves created by whites in order to obtain their ultimate ends from whites. Each paper presented in the symposium and the edited volume will study a specific situation or encounter in which Native People consciously acceded to white cultural expectations of what a “real Indian” is in order to gain the leverage by which to extract from the dominant culture their particular objectives.

Email a 300-word abstract and a brief cv to Dr. Ethan A. Schmidt-Texas Tech University by August 15, 2009 Completed papers should be sent to Dr. Schmidt by October 30, 2009.

Dr. Ethan A. Schmidt
Dept. of History
Texas Tech University
Box 41013
Lubbock, TX 79409


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