Amid the Mockingbird's Laughter: Non-Indian Removals in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Depression-Era Novels

Amid the Mockingbird's Laughter: Non-Indian Removals in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Depression-Era Novels Amid the Mockingbird’s Laughter Non-Indian Removals in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 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 twice—twice it is the Ingalls family who exits the disputed territory while American Indians appear to remain on their land. Wilder’s first scene depicting non-Indian residents’ 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 mockingbird’s laughter. The second scene appears in These Happy Golden Years, when Laura’s 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 Wilder’s portrayal of Native characters and themes, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Amid the Mockingbird's Laughter: Non-Indian Removals in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Depression-Era Novels

Western American Literature, Volume 52 (2) – Aug 16, 2017

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
Publisher site
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Abstract

Amid the Mockingbird’s Laughter Non-Indian Removals in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 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 twice—twice it is the Ingalls family who exits the disputed territory while American Indians appear to remain on their land. Wilder’s first scene depicting non-Indian residents’ 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 mockingbird’s laughter. The second scene appears in These Happy Golden Years, when Laura’s 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 Wilder’s portrayal of Native characters and themes,

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Aug 16, 2017

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