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The Yale Indian


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A biography of Henry Roe Cloud (c. 1884-1950), a Winnebago educator, scholar, and minister who was one of the most renowned Native Americans of his time

Table of Contents

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction. Chapters in the Education of Henry Roe Cloud 1
1. Yale Education 23
2. Sentimentalized Education 83
3. Cultural Incentive-and-Activism Education 127
Coda. The Indian Ethos of Service 161
Appendix. Sometimes History Needs Reminding 175
Notes 177
Index 243

About the Author

Joel Pfister is Professor of American Studies and English at Wesleyan University. He is the author of four books, including Individuality Incorporated: Indians and the Multicultural Modern, also published by Duke University Press, and Critique for What? Cultural Studies, American Studies, Left Studies. He is a co-editor of Inventing the Psychological: Toward a Cultural History of Emotional Life in America.


"A provocative anatomy of the privileges and penalties of an elite early-twentieth-century liberal education for one accomplished Native American, Henry Roe Cloud, the "Yale Indian" of the title. Drawing upon a rich array of Roe Cloud's personal and professional correspondence as well as published papers, Joel Pfister lays bare the effects of powerful and mutually sustaining operations of Indianization, individuation, sentimentalization, spiritualization, professionalization, and bureaucratization on Roe Cloud's life course and chances. In the process, he brilliantly illuminates Roe Cloud's strategic and successful self-fashioning as a classed, raced, sexed, and gendered modern subject at a particular place and time. As Indian-White history, The Yale Indian also extends and deepens our sense of the productivity of private life in forging and maintaining what Ann Stoler has termed the 'tense and tender ties' of U. S. Empire." Laura Wexler, author of Tender Violence: Domestic Visions in an Age of U. S. Imperialism "The Yale Indian advances a project begun in Joel Pfister's Individuality Incorporated and also breaks new ground. This book, based on archival research, is about the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Henry Roe Cloud (1884-1950), the first full-blood Indian to graduate from Yale (BA 1910, MA 1914). Mostly overlooked by historians, in his era he was recognized as one of the greatest Native leaders. Roe Cloud expanded the meaning of 'Indian,' in part by striving to develop a university-trained professional and managerial class of Native people at a time when the Carlisle Institute was educating Indians to work on Ford's assembly lines. This is a rich and important book." Arnold Krupat, author of Red Matters: Native American Studies

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