The Tribal Memoir, Bad Indians By Deborah Miranda Essay

1237 Words Nov 17th, 2015 null Page
The tribal memoir, Bad Indians by Deborah Miranda is an intricately written body of work that recounts the social and historical story of an entire peoples. The memoir’s use of several different mediums assists in exposing all aspects of Indian life including periods of subjugation through missionization and secularization. The period labeled as “Reinvention” focuses deeply on the wave of immense interest in the study of Indian culture by white men. Miranda includes in this period a section titled “Gonaway Tribe: Field Notes” which recounts the effort of ethnologist, J. P. Harrington to obtain the Indian language through the use of native informants. The use of the term “field notes” implies that the subjects being studied are only samples to aid research rather than human beings rich in knowledge and culture. Many researchers were intrigued with the idea of securing the native culture for scientific purposes. Despite the apparent white effort to preserve the Indian culture through an anthropological study, the selfish intentions of the white man resulted in a continual cycle of dehumanization by animalization and objectification of indigenous peoples. The animalization that Harrington and others with anthropological motives concentrated on was the idea that Indians were plain savages who lacked the capacity of intelligence. When considering the basis of objectification, the study made certain to reduce the Indians to mere objects and possessions of the dominant culture.…

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