Academic journal article American Studies International

Introduction

Academic journal article American Studies International

Introduction

Article excerpt

As promised, this issue is the second on the topic of American Indians, dedicated to the memory of our friend and colleague Wilcomb Washburn of the Smithsonian Institution and George Washington University, who died February 1, 1997. Wid's range of interests included early exploration of the Americas, American political and legal history, Native American history, the history of the District of Columbia, and the large question of American identity, which is the common theme of the three essays that follow.

Jacqueline Fear-Segal's deeply researched essay describes the struggles of Thomas Wildcat Alford, a member of the Shawnee nation that had been dispossessed from its traditional home in Tennessee and forced to relocate in Oklahoma, who was chosen by his people to attend a whiteman's school in order to better understand and negotiate with the federal government on behalf of the Shawnee. Ironically, the school he attended was the Hampton Institute in Virginia, which had been established primarily to educate newly freed slaves. Alford's conversion to Christianity and his life-long efforts to be a "cultural broker" and interpreter between the Shawnee and whites is at the heart of Professor Fear-Segal's story. …

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