Amid the Mockingbirdâs Laughter Non-Indian Removals in Laura Ingalls Wilderâs Depression-Era Novels Amy S. Fatzinger Most frontier stories share a common theme: non-Indians take possession of the land, while American Indians are forced from the region or fade out of the story. In her Little House series, Laura Ingalls Wilder reverses that theme twiceâtwice it is the Ingalls family who exits the disputed territory while American Indians appear to remain on their land. Wilderâs first scene depicting non-Indian residentsâ forced removal from Indian Territory occurs in Little House on the Prairie, when the federal government identifies the Ingalls family as illegal squatters on Osage land and the family leaves their homestead amid a mockingbirdâs laughter. The second scene appears in These Happy Golden Years, when Lauraâs visiting uncle recounts his experience as a member of a group of trespassing miners driven out of Lakota lands by soldiers. Both scenes suggest that non-Indians, including Wilder and her relatives, were in the wrong when they rushed into Indian Country, thus contradicting the premise of manifest destiny and confounding a basic expectation of a frontier narrative. These scenes are important to more fully understand Wilderâs portrayal of Native characters and themes,
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Aug 16, 2017
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