Indian Blues: American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1879–1934

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, Jun 14, 2013 - Social Science - 344 pages

From the late nineteenth century through the 1920s, the U.S. government sought to control practices of music on reservations and in Indian boarding schools. At the same time, Native singers, dancers, and musicians created new opportunities through musical performance to resist and manipulate those same policy initiatives. Why did the practice of music generate fear among government officials and opportunity for Native peoples?

In this innovative study, John W. Troutman explores the politics of music at the turn of the twentieth century in three spheres: reservations, off-reservation boarding schools, and public venues such as concert halls and Chautauqua circuits. On their reservations, the Lakotas manipulated concepts of U.S. citizenship and patriotism to reinvigorate and adapt social dances, even while the federal government stepped up efforts to suppress them. At Carlisle Indian School, teachers and bandmasters taught music in hopes of imposing their “civilization” agenda, but students made their own meaning of their music. Finally, many former students, armed with saxophones, violins, or operatic vocal training, formed their own “all-Indian” and tribal bands and quartets and traversed the country, engaging the market economy and federal Indian policy initiatives on their own terms.

While recent scholarship has offered new insights into the experiences of “show Indians” and evolving powwow traditions, Indian Blues is the first book to explore the polyphony of Native musical practices and their relationship to federal Indian policy in this important period of American Indian history.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
3
Politics of Music in the Reservation Environment
19
Cultural Performance the Press and Federal Indian Policy
66
Music and the Assimilation Campaign in Federal Indian Boarding School
108
Chapter 4 Learning the Music of Indianness
151
Professional Native Musicians in the Early Twentieth Century
201
Epilogue
253
Archives and Abbreviations
260
Notes
263
Bibliography
305
Index
315
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

John W. Troutman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Bibliographic information