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Title:Indigenous Detroit: indigeneity, modernity, and racial and gender formation in a modern American city, 1871-2000
Author(s):Mays, Kyle T
Director of Research:Hoxie, Frederick E.; Warrior, Robert A
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hoxie, Frederick E.; Warrior, Robert A
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Harris, Dianne; Roediger, David; Thrush, Coll
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Indigenous studies
urban history
racial formation
urban studies
Abstract:This dissertation traces the role of indigeneity in the formation of modern Detroit and the impact of urban culture on the reemergence of Indigenous people in that same location at the end of the 20th century. Covering more than a hundred years of urban Indigenous history between the nexus of urban history and Indigenous studies, Indigenous Detroit examines, first, non-Natives elites, and later, Native people, and how both deployed gendered and racialized versions of indigeneity. In both instances, “indigenous” identities carried racial and gendered meanings that helped to animate their appeal. Using local newspapers, government documents, and oral histories, this dissertation demonstrates how non-Indians used images of indigeneity to erase Native people from Detroit’s history. Indigenous people reasserted their presence in the Motor City, challenging longstanding definitions of indigeneity. In the first two chapters, I argue that, in a quest to bolster both white masculinity and Detroit’s urban standing, elite white men both memorialized and erased Detroit’s indigenous past. However, as I argue in chapters three and four, Indigenus residents such as Dakota Charles Eastman and women like my great-grandmother Esther Shawboose Mays carved out spaces in Detroit to reinvigorate and redefine indigeneity through the creation of Indigenous cultural and educational institutions in a city now predicated on blackness, whiteness, and labor.
Issue Date:2015-04-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Kyle Mays
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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