Assimilating American Indians in James Fenimore Cooper’s Novels?

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The article employs critical concepts from sociology and anthropology to examine the stereotype of the Vanishing Indian and disclose its contradictory character. The article argues that in James Fenimore Cooper’s late novels from the 1840s a type of American Indian appears who can be regarded as a Vanishing Indian in many respects as he displays some slight degree of assimilation but at the same time he can be found to reveal a surprising amount of resistance to the process of vanishing and marginalization. His peculiar mode of survival and his mode of living demonstrate a certain degree of acculturation, which comes close to Gerald Vizenor’s survivance and for which I propose a term critical integration. I base my study on Susquesus (alias Trackless), Cooper’s less well-known character from The Littlepage Manuscripts, a three-book family saga.

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