turning point in federal policy and attitudes. Besides the encouragement of tribal governments and cultures, the act rejected "the erroneous, yet tragic, assumption that the Indians were a dying race--to be liquidated." The document furthermore acknowledged, "We took away their best lands; broke treaties, promises; tossed them the most nearly worthless scraps of a continent that had once been wholly theirs." 53 Nearly twenty years later, in 1953, the government granted full citizenship to the Indians, and terminated federal supervision and control of tribal affairs.
Thus the demands for the Discovery's and the Rescue's removal, beginning in 1939 and continuing until 1958, coincided with these two hall- mark legislative acts of the twentieth century. Although no evidence suggests that people recognized the connections between the statues, nineteenth-century westward expansion, and the dispossession of Indians from their ancestral lands, nonetheless a number of twentieth- century Americans regarded the imagery as inappropriate to contemporary developments. Nevertheless, because the works are kept in storage, many Americans today are unaware of the historical significance and stereotypical imagery of the works. Despite the difficulty in acknowledging this aspect of our historical past, the Discovery and the Rescue remind us that "civilization" has "triumphed" at the expense of native Americans.
Revised by the author from The American Art Journal, vol. 19, no. 2. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Critical Issues in American Art:A Book of Readings. Contributors: Mary Ann Calo - Editor. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 106.
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