Book Reviews Alan Trachtenberg. Shades of Hiawatha: Staging Indians, Making Americans, 18801930. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004. 400 pp. Paper, $17.00. Judith G. Curtis, University of North Carolina, Pembroke Alan Trachtenberg's work Shades of Hiawatha: Staging Indians, Making Americans, 18801930 examines a pivotal question: What is an American? That question has implications for other immigrant groups mired in the twenty-first century's public policy discussion. Trachtenberg focuses on the dominant culture's construction of what it meant to be American at the turn of the twentieth century with the arrival of twenty-three million immigrants between 1890 and 1920 and how Indian peoples were forced to fit those constructions in a way different from immigrants and African Americans. The constructed image of an American was partly forged by the changing image of the Indian from a savage to be annihilated, to a benevolent savage to be corralled on a reservation, to a noble representation of the triumph of individualism. Never mind that Indian culture valued the communal over the individual. This image was disseminated widely, and consistently, during this period by mass media in poetry, plays, movies, novels, paintings, and photographs. The author sees a linkage between heavy immigration and
The American Indian Quarterly – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Mar 18, 2008
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