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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

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Activities: Author Activities

Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin) - Selected Archive Items

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[1056] William S. Soule, Arapaho camp with buffalo meat drying near Fort Dodge, Kansas (1870),
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Still Picture Branch.
Parlor culture was not limited to white, upper-class women; less privileged women struggled with the imposition of these values. In her essays, Zitkala-Sa poignantly narrates her Sioux mother's difficulty in making the transition from her traditional dwelling to a Euro-American style cottage.

[1801] J. N. Choate, Group of Omaha boys in cadet uniforms, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania (1880),
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration [NWDNS-75-IP-1-10].
Ten uniformed Omaha boys of various ages pose at the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Many schools like Carlisle, which was one of the most famous and where Zitkala-Sa taught, opened in the nineteenth century with the purpose of immersing Native American children in "civilized" European American ways.

[5365] Frances Benjamin Johnston, Carlisle Indian School (1901),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-119133].
Photograph of students at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. Poet Marianne Moore taught at the school for four years.

[5810] Unknown, Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Bonnin), a Dakota Sioux Indian (c. 1900),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-119349].
Portrait of Zitkala-Sa, a writer, musician, educator, and Indian rights activist. Much of Zitkala-Sa's work was driven by the injustices she witnessed against Native Americans and the feeling that she lived on the margins of both Indian and white culture.

[5819] Zitkala-Sa, An Indian Teacher among Indians (1900),
courtesy of Cornell University, Making of America Digital Collection.
Zitkala-Sa's essays on her experiences among the Sioux and in white culture appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1900.

[5820] Zitkala-Sa, Impressions of an Indian Childhood (1900),
courtesy of Cornell University, Making of America Digital Collection.
Frustrated by her position on the margins of both Indian and white culture and outraged by the injustices she saw visited on Native Americans, Zitkala-Sa resolved to express her feelings publicly in writing.

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