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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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1. Native Voices   

1. Native Voices

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities


This timeline places literary publications (in black) in their historical contexts (in red).

1490s Columbus lands in the Bahamas, returns to Spain with first Indian slaves (1492)

1500s Geographer Martin Waldseemüller names the "new" land "America" for Vespucci (1507)

1510s Spanish Laws of Burgos forbid enslavement of Indians and advocate Christian conversion (1512)

1550s - Bernardino de Sahagûn, Florentine Codex (c. 1558-85)

1580s - Thomas Harriot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588)
Spanish begin settling New Mexico (1582)

1590s First Spanish colony on the Rio Grande, establishing control over Pueblo Indians (1598)

1600s - Garcilaso de la Vega, The Florida of the Inca (1605)

1620s First Indian uprising in an English colony: Powhatan Confederacy attacks Jamestown (1622)

1630s Pequot War (1637)

1640s - Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of America (1643)

1670s King Philip's War decimates native tribes in New England (1675-78)

1700s Approximately fourteen hundred Indian slaves in the North American colonies (1708)

1750s French and Indian War establishes English possession of Northeast (1755-63)

1760s - Samson Occom, A Short Narrative of My Life (1768)
Pontiac's War (1763-75)

1770s Continental Congress establishes first treaty with Indian tribe, the Delaware (1778)

1780s Northwest Ordinance approved by Confederation Congress (1787)

1790s Congress enacts first law regulating trade and land sales with Indians (1790)

1810s War of 1812, the last war in which Indians fight with a foreign colonial power against the United States (1812-14)
First appropriation by Congress of a fund ($10,000) to "civilize" the Indians (1819)

1820s - Cherokee Memorials (1829-30)
Bureau of Indian Affairs established (1824)
Cherokee Nation ratifies its new constitution (1827-28)

1830s - William Apess, "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man" (1833)
Congress passes Indian Removal Act, legalizing removal of eastern Indians to west of the Mississippi (1830)
Cherokees travel the Trail of Tears (1838-39)

1840s Mexican War; Southwest is ceded to the United States (1846-48)
Bureau of Indian Affairs shifts from War Department to the Department of the Interior (1849)
California Gold Rush (1849)

1850s - John Rollin Ridge (Yellow Bird), The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit (1854)
United States war against Plains Indians (1854)

1860s Standing Bear court case establishes that Indians are "persons within the meaning of the law" (1868)

1870s - Cochise, "[I am alone]" (1872)
- Charlot, "[He has filled graves with our bones]" (1876)
- Lorenzo Asisara, "Punishment"' (1877, 1890)
Congress appropriates first sum earmarked for federal administration of Indian education (1870)
Congress passes a law putting an end to further treaties with Indian tribes (1871)
General Custer and his Seventh Cavalry defeated by Sioux and Cheyenne in Battle of Little Big Horn (1876)
Congress appropriates first funds for Indian police (1878)
Carlisle Indian School founded (1879)

1880s Geronimo and his band of Apaches captured, ending Indian fighting in Southwest (1886)
Dawes Severalty (General Allotment) Act redistributes tribally held lands (1887)
Paiute Wovoka inaugurates Ghost Dance religion (1889)

1890s - Franz Boas, Chinook Texts (1894)
- James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890 (1896)
Massacre of nearly 300 Indians at Wounded Knee ends Indian resistance to U.S. government (1890)
Curtis Act dissolves tribal governments (1898)

1900s - Zitkala Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), "Impressions of an Indian Childhood," "The School Days of an Indian Girl," "An Indian Teacher among Indians" (1900)

1910s - Frances Densmore, Chippewa Songs (1910)
- Selin Williams, "The Bungling Host" (1910)
- Charles Alexander Eastman, From the Deep Woods to Civilization (1916)

1920s Congress makes all Indians U.S. citizens and grants them the right to vote (1924)

1930s - Black Elk and John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks (1932)
- Ella Cara Deloria, Dakota Texts (1932)
- Mourning Dove, Coyote Stories (1933)
- D'arcy McNickle, The Surrounded
Congress passes Wheeler-Howard (Indian Reorganization) Act, ending Dawes era (1934)

1940s Founding of National Congress of American Indians (1944)
Congress establishes Indian Claims Commission to judge all tribal claims (1946)

1950s - Paul Radin, The Trickster (1956)
Congress adopts House Concurrent Resolution 180, declaring its intent to terminate treaty relations with Indian tribes (1953)

1960s - Hugh Yellowman, "Coyote, Skunk, and the Prairie Dogs" (1966)
- N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain (1969)
- Alexander Posey, Poems of Alexander Lawrence Posey, Creek Indian Bard (1969)

1970s - Vine Deloria, God Is Red (1973)
- John Bierhorst, Four Masterworks of American Indian Literature: Quetzalcoatl, The Ritual of Condolence, Cuceb, the Night Chant (1974)
- Simon J. Ortiz, Poems from the Veterans Hospital (1977)
- Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)
American Indian Movement members occupy Wounded Knee and battle FBI agents (1973)

1980s - Joy Harjo, She Had Some Horses (1983)
- Louise Erdrich, "Fleur" (1986)
- Paula Gunn Allen, The Sacred Hoop (1986)
- Luci Tapahonso, A Breeze Swept Through (1989)

- Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War (1990)
- Gerald Vizenor, Landfill Meditations: Crossblood Stories (1991)
- Simon J. Ortiz, Woven Stone (1992)
- Luci Tapahonso, Saanii Dahataal: The Women Are Singing (1993)
- Greg Sarris, Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream (1994)
- Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)
- Diane Glancy, Firesticks (1993)
Congress passes Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, protecting Indian remains and sacred objects (1990)

Acoma and Santo Domingo, JARS
Acoma and Santo Domingo, JARS (c.1900, 1920) courtesy of Portland Art Museum, Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection.


John White, THE MANNER OF THEIR FISHING (ca. 1585) courtesy of John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.

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