Standard narratives of Native American history view the nineteenth century in terms of steadily declining Indigenous sovereignty, from removal of southeastern tribes to the 1887 General
Allotment Act. In Crooked Paths to Allotment, C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa complicates these narratives, focusing on political moments when viable alternatives to federal
assimilation policies arose. In these moments, Native American reformers and their white allies challenged coercive practices and offered visions for policies that might have allowed
Indigenous nations to adapt at their own pace and on their own terms. Examining the contests over Indian policy from Reconstruction through the Gilded Age, Genetin-Pilawa reveals the
contingent state of American settler colonialism.
|"Genetin-Pilawa convincingly reinterprets Seneca Commissioner of Indian Affairs Eli Parker and nineteenth-century reformers in the context of post-Civil War state formation, offering further evidence that U.S. history sans American Indians is a failed project."|
— Jacki Thompson Rand, University of Iowa
"Genetin-Pilawa makes a strong argument bound to stimulate debate. I know of no recent work that does what this book promises to do."
— Jeffrey Ostler, University of Oregon
Genetin-Pilawa focuses on reformers and activists, including Tonawanda Seneca Ely S. Parker and Council Fire editor Thomas A. Bland, whose contributions to Indian policy debates have
heretofore been underappreciated. He reveals how these men and their allies opposed such policies as forced land allotment, the elimination of traditional cultural practices, mandatory
boarding school education for Indian youth, and compulsory participation in the market economy. Although the mainstream supporters of assimilation successfully repressed these efforts,
the ideas and policy frameworks they espoused established a tradition of dissent against disruptive colonial governance.
C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa is assistant professor of history at Illinois College.
First Peoples books are part of a special publishing initiative among four scholarly presses, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Books with the logo exemplify contemporary scholarship and research in Indigenous studies. The initiative supports this scholarship with unprecedented attention to the growing dialogue among scholars, communities, and publishers.