Cover image for Crossing the pond : the native American effort in World War II
Crossing the pond : the native American effort in World War II
Franco, Jere Bishop, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Denton, Tex. : University of North Texas Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvii, 232 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1580 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D810.I5 F73 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"Crossing the Pond" is a term Native Americans used to describe the process of being transferred overseas for military duty. This was both an event and a duty taken quite seriously by tribal members, who participated in every aspect of wartime America. On the homefront, Native Americans gave comparable and sometimes exemplary contributions to civilian defense work, Red Cross drives, and war bond purchases.

Crossing the Pond also chronicles the unsuccessful efforts of Nazi propagandists to exploit Native Americans for the Third Reich, as well as the successful efforts of the United States government and the media to recruit Native Americans, utilize their resources, and publicize their activities for the war effort. This research asserts that Native Americans fully intended to return to their reservations after the war, where they believed they would participate in "a better America" as the "First Americans." Attention is also given to the postwar experiences of Native American men and women as they sought the franchise, the right to purchase alcohol, educational equality and economic stability.

This meticulously researched study utilizes oral history narratives and interviews, along with documents from the Congressional Record, papers from various state museums, collections of various tribal councils, and records from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and War Relocation Authority.

Author Notes

Jeré Bishop Franco lived several years in Phoenix, Arizona. As an undergraduate and a counselor with the University of Texas at El Paso Upward Bound Program, she traveled to New Mexico and visited pueblo villages, reviving her interest in native cultures. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona and has taught as a part-time lecturer at the El Paso Community College and raised four children. She lives with her husband and youngest son in El Paso, Texas.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

"Crossing the Pond" was a term Native Americans used to describe the process of being transferred overseas for military duty in WW II. Franco aptly uses this title to describe how that war affected Native Americans. She deals very little with traditional compartmentalized categories of Native American history, e.g., federal policy, Indian/white relations, and white viewpoints of Indians. Rather, her work concentrates on the reciprocal relationship between Native Americans and whites when they confronted war as comrades and not as enemies, and she explores the ambivalence that occurs when a society suddenly realizes it is fighting with rather than against a particular group of people. Franco makes no attempt to describe military strategy, instead focusing on the apprehensive and complex attitudes that accompanied the outset of war. Like other historians who have studied ethnic issues, she convincingly argues that WW II had a more profound and lasting effect on the course of Native American affairs in this century than any other single event or period. Her sources include government documents, manuscripts, and oral histories as well as secondary works. Complements Alison Bernstein's American Indians and World War II: Toward a New Era in Indian Affairs (CH, Dec'91). Endnotes and photographs. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. R. E. Marcello University of North Texas

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. xiii
The Swastika Shadow Over Native America: John Collier and the Aifp. 1
Bringing Them in Alive: Selective Service and Native Americansp. 41
The Return of the Native: American Indian Laborersp. 80
The Great Give-Away: Tribal Resourcesp. 98
Publicity, Persuasion and Propaganda: Stereotyping the Native Americanp. 120
Across the Blue Waters: the Santa Fe Indian Clubp. 154
Empowering the Veteran: Postwar Civil Rightsp. 190
Afterwordp. 205
Bibliographyp. 209
Indexp. 219