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Title:Reconcile the Indian, reconcile the nation: Transnational Indian reform in the era of inter-American politics, 1930-1960
Author(s):Escobar, Raquel L. Cárdenas
Director of Research:Hoxie, Frederick E
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hoxie, Frederick E
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hertzman, Marc; Loza, Mireya; Gilbert, Matthew Sakiestewa
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):indigenous politics
Native politics, Indian reform, US diplomacy
Inter-American affairs
Abstract:Focusing on the unique, hemispheric institution, the Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII), and the lead historical actors from the U.S. and Mexico, this dissertation illuminates both national and transnational anxieties that arose as the United States, Mexico, and other American nations responded to what many viewed as an increasingly multicultural and multiracial public and sought to incorporate and transform indigenous populations. In the process, this research provides the first in-depth examination of the United States National Indian Institute. This dissertation argues that during the twentieth century, the concept of the Indian "problem" began to serve as a transnational grammar for nation-states to engage one another under the guise of indigenous aid and research. This "grammar" was initially utilized by leaders of the IAII to secure funding for research and developmental aid. The utilization of the Indian "problem" provided a framework for national leaders to discuss issues of national identity and national integration in an arena seemingly separate from military or trade policy. In turn, this leveraging of the supposed helped created and expand increasingly invasive U.S. non-militarized intervention in Latin America, and in the U.S. provided justifications to move towards legal termination of Native nations and indigenous people's unique legal status. Despite the failure to launch a transnational Indian policy or to collaboratively engage indigenous communities, these structures became avenues for Native actors, rather than those speaking on behalf of Indians, to produce indigenous movements and advocate on behalf of themselves. The dissertation consists of six chapters. The first four chapters examine the creation of United States National Indian Institute and the Inter-American Indian Institute and their operations during World War II. Chapter One frames the dissertation and provides critical historical background. Chapter Two examines the lead up to the creation of the IAII, the founding Conference, and the emergence of a hemispheric priority to solve the supposed Indian "problem. Chapter Three interrogates United States investment in the IAII and the technologies used to circulate and reshaped iterations of wartime indigenous imaginaries. Chapter Four looks at early internal tensions and the struggle both the US NII and IAII had in surviving the war. Chapters five and six explore the changing nature of U.S. involvement in the Institute after the war. Chapter Five covers the demise of the US NII and the shifting political nature of the IAII. Chapter Six acts as a bookend to this story, highlighting that although the US NII was dead and Indian experts sidelined from U.S. participation in the IAII, this space remained a fruitful investment for the Department of State to monitor communist influences in Latin America.
Issue Date:2020-04-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Raquel Escobar
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-27
Date Deposited:2020-05

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