Indian Play: Indigenous Identities at Bacone College


When Indian University—now Bacone College—opened its doorways in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1880, it used to be a small Baptist establishment designed to coach younger local americans to be academics and Christian missionaries between their very own humans and to behave as brokers of cultural assimilation. From 1927 to 1957, besides the fact that, Bacone collage replaced path and pursued a brand new technique of emphasizing the Indian identities of its scholars and projecting often-romanticized photos of Indianness to the non-Indian public in its fund-raising campaigns. funds was once funneled again into the college as directors employed local American school who in flip created cutting edge curricular courses in song and the humanities that inspired their scholars to discover and boost their local identities. via their common use of humor and artistic wordplay to reference Indianness—“Indian play”—students articulated the (often contradictory) implications of being knowledgeable Indians in mid-twentieth-century the United States. during this supportive and artistic tradition, Bacone turned an “Indian school,” instead of simply one other “school for Indians.”

In analyzing how and why this alteration happened, Lisa ok. Neuman situates the scholars’ Indian play inside greater theoretical frameworks of cultural creativity, ideologies of authenticity, and counterhegemonic practices which are significant to the fields of local American and indigenous experiences today.

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