College Honors Program


"I Am an Indian; nevertheless I am an American": Indigenous Activists from the Society of American Indians to the Indian Reorganization Act, 1911-1934

Date of Creation


Document Type

Campus Access Only



First Advisor

Gwenn Miller


I will reframe how American Indian intellectuals contested settler colonialism and helped reshape federal policy from the 1910s to the 1930s. My research will concentrate on the political activities of several early twentieth century Indigenous reformers, namely Zitkala-Sa, Charles Eastman, and Henry Roe Cloud. Building on the work of a new generation of scholars in Native studies, I will offer an expanded timeline of Native activism among this generation of reformers during the Assimilation Era (the period of Native history from the end of the Indian Wars in the 1880s until the Indian New Deal in 1934). Additionally, inspired by a recent spat of monographs chronicling diverse forms of Native resistance to American colonialism, I will be the first to examine how these intellectuals subverted federally-sanctioned assimilation policies as political organizers and preservers of Indigenous cultures. My research will additionally expand on recent biographies of these three figures by situating their campaigns for sovereignty and cultural autonomy within the broader currents of early twentieth century anti-colonial struggles.


Reader: Edward O'Donnell

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