By Rosalyn R. LaPier
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Extra resources for City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934
In 1897 he arranged with Edward G. ” In this speech Pokagon would have pointed out that the whites had ignored the stipulations of the treaty that ceded land to the Americans; the Indians had not received the payments agreed to for their land and considered it stolen. Pokagon also would have pointed out that one of the white men who had been shot was on his way to murder Indian children who had been hidden by their families to keep them safe. 36 But this would be just one of many occasions over the coming years in which Indian leaders attempted to correct the American perspective on both the history of Chicago and the role that Indians played in that history.
When he heard that Mayor Harrison claimed to be part Indian, he wrote a letter requesting help in bringing Potawatomi people to Chicago to participate in the fair in a way that would be more appropriate, and more functional, than as props or mere visitors. “I heard with pleasure that the blood of Pocahontas ﬂows in your veins, and as one of my people I call upon you to help the educated Indians of our great country in their efforts to celebrate this great fair. . ” He reminded the mayor that the United States still had not paid the Potawatomi for the land on which the fair was being held.
43 The 1893 fair organizers did make room for American Indians, and the role deﬁned for them illustrates social and racial power relations. American Indian participation in the world’s fair was meant both to place Indian cultures near the bottom of humankind’s developmental progression in social Darwinian terms and to show the potential beneﬁts and successes of assimilation efforts of federal agencies and reformers. Some Indian participants began what would become a long-standing pattern at such events in Chicago of refuting the majority culture’s narrative of their history and their place in American 32 The World Comes to Chicago culture and society.
City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934 by Rosalyn R. LaPier