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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

The extent of the contributions of Indian peoples has remained a point of contention in U.S. History classrooms. Throughout the years, Native Americans have been presented in textbooks as either bloodthirsty, soulless heathens standing in the way of American Manifest Destiny, or as children of the forest, living in harmony with nature, cruelly oppressed by white conquerors. The purpose of this paper is to examine the history of historians’ attitudes towards Native Americans. By examining how authors have presented Native Americans, changing attitudes about the first inhabitants of the Western hemisphere can be understood. The author considered a number of textbooks while researching the historiography of Native American studies. Beginning with the earliest accounts, including an American history textbook published in 1827, and concluding with a U.S. history textbook published in 2008, the author examined six textbooks from the primary through the college level, along with other non-textbook sources.

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