Assimilating American Indians in James Fenimore Cooper’s Novels?

Open access

Abstract

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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Berry John W. “Immigration Acculturation and Adaptation.” Applied Psychology 46.1 (1997): 5-34. Print.

  • ---. “Acculturation: Living Successfully in Two Cultures.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 29 (2005): 697-712. Print.

  • Blauner Robert. Racial Oppression in America. New York: Harper & Row 1972. Print.

  • Cooper James Fenimore. The Chainbearer; or The Littlepage Manuscripts. 2 vols. New York: Burgess Stringer 1845. Print.

  • ---. The Last of the Mohicans; A Narrative of 1757. The Leatherstocking Tales. Vol.

  • 1. Ed. James A. Sappenfield and E. N. Feltskog. New York: Library of America 1985. 469-878. Print.

  • ---. Notions of the Americans: Picked by a Travelling Bachelor. Ed. Gary Williams.

  • Albany: State U of New York P 1991. Print.

  • ---. The Pioneers or the Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale. The Leatherstocking Tales. Vol. 1. Eds. Lance Schachterle and Kenneth M. Andersen. New York: Library of America 1985. 1-466. Print.

  • ---. The Prairie; A Tale. Ed. James P. Elliott. The Leatherstocking Tales. Vol. 1. Ed. Blake Nevius. New York: Library of America 1985. 879-1317. Print.

  • ---. The Redskins; or Indian and Injin: Being the Conclusion of the Littlepage Manuscripts. 2 vols. New York: Burgess Stringer 1847. Print.

  • ---. Satanstoe; or The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale of the Colony. New York: R. F. Fenno 1900. Print.

  • Dippie Brian W. “American Indians: The Image of the Indian.” Nature Transformed TeacherServeR. National Humanities Center. May 2008. Web. Accessed November 3 2015. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/nattrans/ntecoindian/essays/indimage.htm

  • Fiedler Leslie A. The Return of the Vanishing American. New York: Stein and Day 1968. Print.

  • Glazer Nathan. We Are All Multiculturalists Now. 1997. Cambridge: Harvard UP 1998. Print.

  • Gordon Milton M. Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race Religion and National Origin. New York: Oxford UP 1964. Print.

  • Hall Donald E. Subjectivity. New York: Routledge 2004. Print.

  • Kramer Eric Mark. Preface. Religious Misperceptions: The Case of Muslims and Christians in France and Britain. Eds. Stephen Croucher and Daniel Cronn- Mills. New York: Hampton Press 2011. 9-39. Print.

  • Krauthammer Anna. The Representation of the Savage in James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville. New York: Peter Lang 2008. Print.

  • Lyons Scott Richard. “‘Indians’ Constructed and Speaking.” American Literature and Culture. Ed. Paul Lauter. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell 2010. 206-20. Print.

  • McWilliams John. The Last of the Mohicans: Civil Savagery and Savage Civility. New York: Twayne 1993. Print.

  • Naylor Larry L. Culture and Change: An Introduction. New York: Praeger 1996. Print.

  • Parrillo Vincent N. Strangers to These Shores: Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon 1994. Print.

  • Pearce Roy Harvey. Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind rev. ed. 1953. Berkeley: U of California P 1988. Print.

  • Sullivan Sherry. “A Redder Shade of Pale: The Indianization of Heroes and Heroines in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction.” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 20.1 (Spring 1987): 57-75. Print.

  • Vizenor Gerald. “Aesthetics of Survivance: Literary Theory and Practice.” Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence. Ed. Gerald Vizenor. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P 2008. 1-24. Print.

  • Wallace James D. “Race and Captivity in Cooper’s The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish.” American Literary History 7.2 (Summer 1995): 205-206. Print.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 627 336 15
PDF Downloads 276 165 6