University of Kansas
Anderson, Eric P.
Reformers Revealed: American Indian Progressives at Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1884-1909.
Degree: PhD, History, 2009, University of Kansas
Haskell Institute opened in1884, an early example of federal off-reservation boarding schools for American Indian youth. The goal was assimilation: strip away traditional languages, spiritual beliefs, tribal customs, even family ties, and replace them with inculcation into the values of Western civilization upheld by white society. In reality, students, whose ages covered a wide range, often clung tenaciously to older, more familiar ideals. This study looks broadly at the effects of this conflict in the mindsets and behaviors of both students and administrators at the school (and similar institutions). Because Haskell's first quarter-century overlaps with much of the period scholars call "The Progressive Era" in U.S. history, the time frame investigated yields rich data regarding new thinking about educational and social reform. While recent literature on the boarding school system has blossomed, the link between its activities and the larger picture of American Progressivism has not been firmly established within the context of a specific school. By the dawn of the nineteenth century, Haskell Institute was becoming the largest of these federal education outlets, making its success of especial consequence, both because it affected great numbers of students (and their support networks) and served as a model for promoting policy goals. Understanding how Haskell grew and became an increasingly accepted part of the American Indian experience requires the realization that native peoples played an active role in shaping the contours of their own education. While their "partnership" with government functionaries was often limited, the input they provided, through a variety of means, had measurable consequences for the direction and overall influence of the school. In this way, Haskell students (as well as their families, tribal leadership, and a growing vanguard of American Indian elites, themselves often the product of similar educational experiences) may be viewed through the lens of Progressive reform. Precisely defining Progressivism is difficult, but Indians' active participation at Haskell did affect visible change in their education, and comprised another, overlooked example of Progressives in action. Through attendance records, administrative and curricular changes, personal letters and reminiscences, development of a more native-centered school newspaper, elimination (or tempering) of the most egregious aspects of boarding-school life, or other means, a tangible American Indian Progressivism emerges, with its ultimate aim retention of core elements of native cultures and traditions. Thus they were not simply victims of government or outside social engineering, but active participants in the education process. The intertwining of both federal directives and native hopes in the development of Haskell makes a fascinating case study of Progressive activism and reform, the ability to affect quiet change within an oppressive institutional atmosphere, the recognition of a strong native voice in this period, and the…
Advisors/Committee Members: Napier, Rita G. (advisor), Saul, Norman E. (cmtemember), Kelton, Paul (cmtemember), O'Brien, Sharon (cmtemember), Warren, Kim (cmtemember).
Subjects/Keywords: United States – history; Native American studies; American studies; American Indians; Federal boarding schools; Haskell institute/university; Indian ("red") progressives; Lawrence; Kansas; Progressive era
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
Anderson, E. P. (2009). Reformers Revealed: American Indian Progressives at Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1884-1909. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Kansas. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1808/6013
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
Anderson, Eric P. “Reformers Revealed: American Indian Progressives at Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1884-1909.” 2009. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Kansas. Accessed October 15, 2019.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
Anderson, Eric P. “Reformers Revealed: American Indian Progressives at Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1884-1909.” 2009. Web. 15 Oct 2019.
Anderson EP. Reformers Revealed: American Indian Progressives at Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1884-1909. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Kansas; 2009. [cited 2019 Oct 15].
Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1808/6013.
Council of Science Editors:
Anderson EP. Reformers Revealed: American Indian Progressives at Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1884-1909. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Kansas; 2009. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1808/6013