Cover image for The newspaper Indian : Native American identity in the press, 1820-90
Title:
The newspaper Indian : Native American identity in the press, 1820-90
Author:
Coward, John M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
viii, 244 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
Discovery, destiny, and savagery : imagining Indians in America -- Romance and rumor : the Indian in the antebellum press -- Explaining Indian removal -- The Daily Rocky Mountain news and the scandal of Sand Creek -- The war in words : reporting the Fetterman fight -- The making of an Indian villain : Sitting Bull in war and peace -- Indian reformers and the idealized indian.
ISBN:
9780252024320

9780252067389
Format :
Book

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PN4888.I52 C68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
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Summary

Summary

Newspapers were a key source for popular opinion in the nineteenth century, and The Newspaper Indian is the first in-depth look at how newspapers and newsmaking practices shaped the representation of Native Americans, a contradictory representation that carries over into our own time. John M. Coward has examined seven decades of newspaper reporting, journalism that perpetuated the many stereotypes of the American Indian.

Indians were not described on their own terms but by the norms of the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant society that wrote and read about them. Beyond the examination of Native American representation (and, more often, misrepresentation) in the media, Coward shows how Americans turned native people into symbolic and ambiguous figures whose identities were used as a measure of American Progress.

The Newspaper Indian is a fascinating look at a nation and the power of its press. It provides insight into how Native Americans have been woven with newsprint into the very fabric of American life.


Summary

Looks at how newspapers and news-making practices shaped the representations of Native Americans.


Reviews 3

Choice Review

Coward (Univ. of Tulsa) examines how the emerging technology of the 19th century--i.e., the telegraph--standardized and stereotyped the portrayal of Native Americans in the press. Not until the 1870s did the image of Native Americans become more multidimensional in the newspapers. Each of the seven chapters deals with a well-known conflict between Native Americans and the state and/or federal government, for example the Cherokee removal, the Sand Creek Massacre, and the Fetterman Massacre. However, the most outstanding chapter deals with the shifting images of Sitting Bull from that of a murderer of Custer to an "exhibit" in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to a threat during the Ghost Dance. Coward attempts to look at the historic events from a 19th-century point of view by analyzing a range of newspaper stories and at the social and political realities of the time. The use of primary sources is excellent, and the many quotations from newspaper stories give the reader a good understanding of the cultural complexities of the time. Coward's perceptive treatment of culture and his sources make this book valuable reading for anyone interested in Indian/white relationships. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. B. Hans University of North Dakota


Library Journal Review

The image of American Indians in the press has been much discussed, but mainly the focus is on limited areas, such as the journalism of a particular state or a particular war or incident. Coward (communications, Univ. of Tulsa) has written a broader work exploring the depiction of Indians in the press from 1820 to 1890. He considers a mix of newspapers, urban and rural, Eastern and Western, examining their coverage of Indian affairs by showing how they treated certain incidents or issues: the removal of the "Five Civilized Nations" from Georgia in the 1830s, the Sand Creek Massacre in 1865, the Fetterman Fight of 1866, Sitting Bull, and the Indian sympathizer reform movement of the 1870s. Coward provides an intelligent look at the varying American perceptions of Indians in the press and provides a panorama of newspaper development, including the growing influence of the Associated Press. Recommended for American history or communications collections in larger academic libraries.‘Charles V. Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., Brockport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Coward (Univ. of Tulsa) examines how the emerging technology of the 19th century--i.e., the telegraph--standardized and stereotyped the portrayal of Native Americans in the press. Not until the 1870s did the image of Native Americans become more multidimensional in the newspapers. Each of the seven chapters deals with a well-known conflict between Native Americans and the state and/or federal government, for example the Cherokee removal, the Sand Creek Massacre, and the Fetterman Massacre. However, the most outstanding chapter deals with the shifting images of Sitting Bull from that of a murderer of Custer to an "exhibit" in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to a threat during the Ghost Dance. Coward attempts to look at the historic events from a 19th-century point of view by analyzing a range of newspaper stories and at the social and political realities of the time. The use of primary sources is excellent, and the many quotations from newspaper stories give the reader a good understanding of the cultural complexities of the time. Coward's perceptive treatment of culture and his sources make this book valuable reading for anyone interested in Indian/white relationships. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. B. Hans University of North Dakota