Cover image for Angie Debo : pioneering historian
Angie Debo : pioneering historian
Leckie, Shirley A., 1937-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 242 pages : illustrations ; 23.
Personal Subject:
Format :


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E175.5.D43 L43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The daughter of Oklahoma sodbusters, a student of Edward Everett Dale, and a Protegee of Frederick Jackson Turner, Angie Debo was an unlikely forerunner of the New Western History. Breaking with the followers of Turner, Debo viewed the westward movement of European Americans as conquest rather than settlement. Her studies on the Five tribes presented the Native American point of view and incorporated ethnological insights more than a decade before ethnology emerged as a separate field.

Shirley A. Leckie's biography of Debo is the first to assess the significance of Oklahoma's pioneering historian in the historiography of the American Indian, the writing of regional history, and the development of national law and court cases involving indigenous people. Leckie sheds light on Debo's family's background, her personality, and the impact of gender discrimination on her career. Finally, Leckie clarifies why Debo became a scholarly pioneer and, later, a "warrior-scholar" activist working on behalf of Native Americans during a period of changing Indian policy.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

One of the progenitors of the "new" Western history was born more than a century ago, in the very year, 1890, that the census bureau announced the frontier's closure. That historian, Angie Debo, lived 97 years, long enough to be recognized for her scholarly contributions. As Leckie (Univ. of Central Florida) effectively shows, Debo was ahead of the curve in depicting early Western history from Native American viewpoints and equally forward-looking in positing the white man's arrival in terms of conquest and imperialism. Debo wrote 14 books, some of them classics, during a career that lasted into the 1970s. How she found her metier and handled the setbacks and frustrations that often faced her is described in a balanced and at times affecting narrative. To Leckie's credit, she portrays Debo as neither victim nor plaster saint, but as a strong-willed character who did things her way, even when it cost her professionally and personally. Thanks to the superb documentary film Indians, Outlaws, and Angie Debo, the story of this remarkable woman is no longer obscure. Leckie's solid biography serves as a rewarding complement to the film. It belongs in libraries at all levels. M. J. Birkner; Gettysburg College