ENG 302: Trails of Tears: Indian Removal and the Literature of Resistance in Nineteenth-Century America


Dr. Henigman 3 credits

          A study of nineteenth and early twentieth century literary responses to the US government policy of Indian Removal, or displacement of First Peoples from their ancestral lands, from the Indian Removal Act of 1830 through the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890. We will spend some time with the works of the white anti-Removal activist Helen Hunt Jackson, who hoped that her writings would spark outrage and activism on behalf of Indian rights, much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for abolition; but the bulk of our studies will concern works by native Americans, drawn from various tribal groups, responding to these policies. Readings will include as-told-to narratives and other autobiographical forms by such figures as Black Hawk, Zitkala-Sa, and Black Elk, novels, treaties and treaty speeches, and poetry. We will need to examine varieties of forms of literacy, native responses ranging from assimilation to resistance, and patterns of intercultural collaboration between native speakers and interested white writers.

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