I owe a debt of gratitude to the incredible group of scholars at the University of Chicago. Kathleen Neils Conzen is a gifted teacher, giving her students enough freedom to truly explore their topics but enough guidance to hone the results. Amy Dru Stanley urged me to think about the links between Indian policy and Reconstruction. Catherine Brekus offered much advice and encouragement. Ray Fogelson’s suggestion about fictive kin changed the way I thought about the Indian Service. Conversations and classes with Julie Saville and Bill Novak significantly helped shape my thoughts about the nineteenth century. And without Mae Ngai’s suggestion that I look into the sources at the National Personnel Records Center, this would have been a very different book.
My years in the doctoral program were among the most enjoyable of my life. The rigorous intellectual milieu at Chicago was complemented by a boisterous social life. Many close friends fostered this project at its inception: Kathy Brosnan, Tom Chappelear, Sean Forner, Danny Greene, Karrin Hanshew, Matt Lindsay, Rebekah Mergenthal, Andrew Oppenheimer, Melinda Pilling, Kim Reilly, Laurel Spindel, Kyle Volk, Amber Wilke, and many others.
Time, space of one’s own, and invigorating conversations with fellow scholars are a great gift to a historian. A fellowship from the Spencer Foundation brought me to the Newberry Library for a productive and invigorating year. Along with the incredibly rich archival collections that the Newberry provided, I made many lasting friendships with colleagues, including Loretta Fowler, Rob Galler, Jim Grossman, Brian Hosmer, Rowena McClinton, Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, Lavonne Brown Ruoff, and Helen Hornbeck Tanner. It was also my privilege to hold the Michigan State University Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in American Indian Studies. My thanks to Susan Sleeper-Smith and the late Susan Applegate-Krouse, who welcomed me with warm hospitality and inspired me with their example. Thanks also to Joe Genetin-Pilawa, who kept me company in the basement of Morrill Hall. Both at Chicago and Michigan State, I had the great privilege of participating in the Newberry Committee