American Indians and the Rhetoric of Removal and Allotment

American Indians and the Rhetoric of Removal and Allotment

Jason Edward Black

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9781628461961

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


Situating U.S. governmental and American Indian rhetoric in a colonial context, Native Dualities examines the ways that both the government’s rhetoric and American Indian voices contributed to the policies of Native-U.S. relations throughout the removal and allotment eras. These discourses co-constructed the silhouette of both the U.S. government and American Indian communities and contributed textures to the relationship. Such interactions – though certainly not equal between the two – illustrated the hybrid-like potentialities of Native-U.S. rhetoric in the nineteenth century. That is, both colonizing discourse and decolonizing discourse added arguments, identity constructions, and rhetorical moves to the colonizing relationship. Native Dualities demonstrates how American Indians decolonized dominant rhetoric in terms of impeding the realization of the removal and allotment policies. Likewise, by turning around the U.S. government’s discursive frameworks and inventing their own rhetorical tactics, American Indian communities helped restyle their own and the government’s identities. Interestingly, during the first third of the twentieth century, Native decolonization was shown to impact the Native-U.S. relationship as American Indians urged for the successful passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 and the Indian New Deal of 1934. In the end, Native communities were granted increased rhetorical power through decolonization, though the U.S. government still retained a powerful colonial influence over them. This duality of inclusion (controlled citizenship) and exclusion (controlled sovereignty) was built incrementally through the removal and allotment periods, and existed as residues of nineteenth century Native-U.S. rhetorical relations.