"A most welcome history of the development of a national sense of Indianism. . . . If ever a topic and an era needed to be covered, it was this topic and this era. Mrs. Hertzberg has done a good job of marking out a trail for us to follow. . . . As the first credible history of Indian affairs on a national basis covering the years 1889 to 1934, it is a valuable book and indispensable to any understanding of what the situation is today."—Pacific Northwest Quarterly
"Beautifully focused upon a rather narrow but important historical period from about the tum of the century until the early New Deal. A well-researched study on a fresh aspect of Indian history is as welcome as it is rare. This book will be invaluable."—Commonweal
"Should be of immense importance to anyone concerned with relations between groups of varying racial backgrounds. . . . This is a work that deserves to be widely read."—The Canadian Historical Review
"The Search for an American Indian Identity clearly points out that the solution to Indian problems does not lie in the direction these Indian 'leaders' have taken in trying to change Indian attitudes to the attitudes of the dominant white society, but that society must change its attitudes toward Indians and see us clearly and realistically as people with intrinsic values, moral, political, and religious, with as much right to exist as a culture as the newer society."—Chief Oren Lyons, Onondaga Nation, New York History
American Indian national movements, asserting a common Indian interest and identity as distinct from tribal interests and identities, have been a significant part of the American experience throughout most of this century, but one virtually unknown even to historians. Here for the first time Pan-Indian movements are examined comprehensively and comparatively.
The opening chapter provides the historical background for the development of modern Pan-Indianism. The first major Pan-Indian reform organization, the Society of American Indians (SAI), was founded in 1911. Led by middle-class, educated Indians. The SAI adapted many of the reform ideas of the Progressive Era to Indian purposes. The SAI rejected the old dream of restoring tribal cultures and worked instead for an Indian future identified with the broader American society, to be realized through education and legislation.
During the twenties, the SAI declined and the direction of Pan-Indian efforts shifted. Pan-Indian fraternal movements arose that were more in keeping with the spirit of the times than was reformism. Based in towns and cities, the fraternal orders and social clubs provided a means for urban Indians to retain or regain an Indian identity.
In the meantime, an Indian religious movement, the peyote cult, spread far beyond its Oklahoma heartland,
gaining Indian adherents in many parts of the country. Abandoning the messianic hopes of earlier Pan-Indian religions, the peyote cult developed as a religion of accommodation, a blending of elements from many tribes and from Christianity as well. In 1918 Oklahoma peyotists incorporated the first Native American Church as a defense against a campaign to outlaw the use of peyote by Indians. During the succeeding decade churches were organized in other states.
The Indian New Deal, which radically changed governmental policy, provided a new context for Pan-Indianism.
The author examines briefly developments since 1934. Her concluding chapter places the various Pan-Indian movements in historical perspective.
The research for this study included extensive use of a wide variety of primary sources—journals published by 1he Indian groups, collections of documents and letters, governmental records, and interviews with Indians, anthropologists, and government officials.
Hazel W. Hertzberg is associate professor of history and education al Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the author of several books including The Great Tree and the Longhouse: The Culture of the Iroquois.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
6 x 9, 376 pages, 18 black and white illustrations