Damon Akins Speaks in Chicago
May 10, 2013
Damon Akins, assistant professor of history, recently presented a paper as part of the American Indian Studies Seminar Series at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
The paper, “Good Fences Make Good Citizens: Citizen-Indians and Home Rule in Southern California, 1850-1924,” examines how California Indians resisted the pull of assimilation to non-Indian culture and undermined the homogeneity of federal Indian citizenship policy in the early 20th century.
Prior to 1924, Indians wishing to become United States citizens had to first demonstrate their assimilation to American culture through the ownership and appropriate use of land. In this way, the Indian Office hoped to align the individual, functional relationship with the state to an affective sympathy with the collective national culture.
The paper provides two case studies of how Indians navigated the crosscurrents of federal Indian policy, leveraging citizenship and off-reservation employment to strengthen Indian communities.
The Newberry is an independent research library with a collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts and other printed material spanning six centuries.