384 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 23 halftones, 1 figs., 2 maps, notes, bibl., index
A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869-1933
2011 Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award
Finalist, 2012 David J. Weber-Clements Prize, Western History Association
A 2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Established in 1824, the United States Indian Service (USIS), now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was the agency responsible for carrying out U.S. treaty and trust obligations to American Indians, but it also sought to "civilize" and assimilate them. In Federal Fathers and Mothers, Cathleen Cahill offers the first in-depth social history of the agency during the height of its assimilation efforts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cahill shows how the USIS pursued a strategy of intimate colonialism, using employees as surrogate parents and model families in order to shift Native Americans' allegiances from tribal kinship networks to Euro-American familial structures and, ultimately, the U.S. government.
"Cahill offers the first in-depth social history of the agency during the height of its assimilation efforts."
"A social history in the best sense of the term."
--New Books Network
"Cahill's work is perceptive and astute . . .[and] offers uncommon insights into myriad other topics."
--Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"A major contribution to our understanding of how gender and ethnicity shaped Indian affairs in this era. The book is well written and deeply researched, and it gives readers a sophisticated and informed account of an era that remains understudied."
--North Carolina Historical Review
"A new perspective on Indian-U.S. relations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. . . . An essential library addition for all scholars of federal policy and colonialism."
--Western Historical Quarterly
"A groundbreaking account."
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