Playing Indian

Paperback | September 10, 1999

byPhilip J. Deloria

not yet rated|write a review
The Boston Tea Party, the Order of Red Men, Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts, Grateful Dead concerts are just a few examples of the American tendency to appropriate Indian dress and act out Indian roles. This provocative book explores how white Americans have used their ideas about Indians to shape national identity in different eras—and how Indian people have reacted to these imitations of their native dress, language, and ritual.

At the Boston Tea Party, colonial rebels played Indian in order to claim an aboriginal American identity. In the nineteenth century, Indian fraternal orders allowed men to rethink the idea of revolution, consolidate national power, and write nationalist literary epics. By the twentieth century, playing Indian helped nervous city dwellers deal with modernist concerns about nature, authenticity, Cold War anxiety, and various forms of relativism. Deloria points out, however, that throughout American history the creative uses of Indianness have been interwoven with conquest and dispossession of the Indians. Indian play has thus been fraught with ambivalence—for white Americans who idealized and villainized the Indian, and for Indians who were both humiliated and empowered by these cultural exercises.

Deloria suggests that imagining Indians has helped generations of white Americans define, mask, and evade paradoxes stemming from simultaneous construction and destruction of these native peoples. In the process, Americans have created powerful identities that have never been fully secure.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$32.01

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
HURRY, ONLY 1 LEFT!

From the Publisher

The Boston Tea Party, the Order of Red Men, Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts, Grateful Dead concerts are just a few examples of the American tendency to appropriate Indian dress and act out Indian roles. This provocative book explores how white Americans have used their ideas about Indians to shape national identity in different eras—and ho...

Philip J. Deloria is assistant professor of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a coauthor of The Native Americans.

other books by Philip J. Deloria

Indians In Unexpected Places
Indians In Unexpected Places

Paperback|Mar 31 2006

$24.48 online$27.00list price(save 9%)
Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations
Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States an...

Kobo ebook|Sep 30 2014

$35.49 online$46.00list price(save 22%)
Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods)
Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods)

Kobo ebook|Jan 1 2011

$18.59 online$24.08list price(save 22%)
see all books by Philip J. Deloria
Format:PaperbackDimensions:262 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.57 inPublished:September 10, 1999Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300080670

ISBN - 13:9780300080674

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Playing Indian

Reviews