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Evolving voices of dissent: the workshops on American Indian affairs, 1956-1972.

In 1956 Dr. Sol Tax of the University of Chicago began a groundbreaking anthropological experiment that eventually had major repercussions on American Indian education, the increasing political and sociocultural awareness of young Indian college students, the birth of the Red Power activist movement, and the fight for tribal self-determination. An average of thirty young American Indian college students were selected to attend the first Workshop on American Indian Affairs, a six-weeklong summer immersion course in history and anthropological theory. In the mainstream educational setting, these students were still being taught that their cultures were dying and their ancestors were savages. The workshop classes were designed to connect with the students on a more intellectually and culturally sympathetic and empathetic level than mainstream education did. Part of what made this experiment so groundbreaking was that it occurred during the height of the "termination" era, when the federal government pressed ahead with legislation to end its federal trust relationship with Indian nations in an attempt to fully, and finally, assimilate Indian peoples into mainstream US society. The cultural and sociological focus of the workshops was in direct opposition to this aim. Rather than assimilate young Indian students, the workshops were intended to rejuvenate their cultural pride and identity. The experiment was so successful that the workshops lasted until 1972. By this time, however, the students were so engaged with the learning process and the workshops had evolved to such an extent that it was the students, rather than the educators, who dictated how and what should be taught.


When Dr. Tax crafted the workshops, he enlisted the help of his graduate students Robert "Bob" Thomas and Al Wahrhaftig as educators and moderators of the experiment. He envisioned the workshops as being a practical extension of his concept of "action anthropology" and, as such, the ideal intellectual approach toward Native peoples. As Wahrhaftig explained, "Action anthropology held that by intervening in a community in such a way that new alternatives can be created without co-opting the power to incorporate only such alternatives as are perceived by its members to be beneficial, anthropologists can observe 'values in action: they can simultaneously study and help." (1)

Tax saw the workshops as a template for the future direction of American Indian students and wished to compile enough data to present to the Bureau of Indian Affairs as proof of his success. He intended to create his own "community" of students from across a variety of cultural backgrounds, ranging from traditional immersion to almost complete assimilation into US society. His plan was to offer each student the same educational information and opportunities within the controlled settings of the classroom and then track the students successful integration into the worlds of education, tribal politics, or business. It did not take long, however, for the human factor of his subjects to steer the experiment in a direction beyond his control. Tax received financial backing from the Reverend Galen Weaver of the Board of Home Missions of the Congressional and Christian Churches; Indian "reform groups" or "friends" such as the Indian Rights Association; the Association on American Indian Affairs; Arrow, Inc.; the Mission Groups of the Protestant Denominations; and private foundations such as the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation, Inc. As the final plans for the first workshop fell into place, Tax convinced fellow anthropologist Robert Rietz and sociologists Murray Wax and Rosalie Wax to join him in this experiment. Crucially, according to Rosalie Wax, the experiment also had the full endorsement of the National Congress of the American Indians, which she claimed alleviated some, if not all, tribal suspicions of the motives of the non-Native anthropologists. (2)

The early emphasis of the workshops was very much upon the literal interpretation of "workshop." The educators focused upon the aspect of "students producing something," in this case a newsletter, under faculty oversight. Murray Wax and Thomas also devised a strategy of presenting the courses on two simultaneous, or counterpointed, levels, which became the template for subsequent workshops. The essential intent was to allow the students to follow their own study paths while assuming they were following instructions. While this was very much more a sociological and anthropological experiment than an educational tool, according to Rosalie Wax it worked. She reported that "the more serious student ... would tell us privately that he had at last figured out why we had assigned a particular reading or given a particular lecture." The subject matter of the lectures was also a matter for discussion at the workshops. In order to best prepare the students to educate white people about Indians, the organizers decided to educate the students about white people first, although this approach changed radically in the 1960s. (3)

Prior to 1959, when Rosalie Wax assumed directorship of the workshops, the curriculum had been a series of lectures and guest lectures on Indian history and current life situations. While Wax retained this seminar, the curriculum now included a variety of Indian leaders who accepted invitations to speak before the students. The workshops, according to Wax, also succeeded in making the students realize that "the margins of cultural difference between Indian and European were neither clean-cut nor unequivocal as to value." This approach often produced resentment and distrust from the early workshop students toward the faculty, however. Bob Thomas, whose own Cherokee heritage was debated continuously by students over the years, commented in 1960, "We were unable to accomplish much in the Workshops on American Indian Affairs until we redefined the teacher-learning situation." (4)

The tension between students and instructors began to ease after the introduction of a new seminar entitled "Study of the White Man." According to Wax, her husband made a substantial impact on her students with his approach to Indian and white cultural histories in this class. She claimed that the effect of his approach to the subject matter was such that, aside from his becoming so enthused by students' response that he continued to teach the workshops, "the conservative students were entranced and the assimilationists stunned, having never heard the ways of their elders spoken of with such respect by a white man." Indeed, Bernadine Eschief, in her student assessment of the 1960 work shop, commented that "Dr. Wax's lecture on the worldview of the Indian and 'white mans' view may have brought into focus more clearly Indian thinking and the situation we are in now." She surmised, "Probably many have never seen it in this aspect, I know I did not. I was an Indian but I did not know what was expected of me." This approach purportedly led to an atmosphere where the conservative students felt newly confident enough to discuss change in Indian Country. When Wax proposed that the students study white people in an effort to try to understand their behavior, even those conservative Indians his wife was so worried about embraced it as a worthwhile project. (5)

According to Rosalie Wax, in the early years the workshops gave many of the students their first experience of hearing that their history and culture were rich and worthwhile. This was often true even from within their own tribes, where for many the corrosive effect of three generations' worth of boarding school education held full sway. Whether in public schools or Indian schools, they were always subjected to the hegemonic educational mantra of the superiority of Western civilization and culture. The fact that other young Indians shared exactly the same life experiences, was, according to Wax, especially surprising to many of the students as well, sheltered as they had been from the wider world. One student of the 1959 workshop admitted that "my formed opinion before I arrived ... were [sic] mainly that the Indian was just plain stubborn, hard to please, and ought to 'shape-up.'" While the faculty took this to be the dominant opinion that the students heard every day, even on the reservation and in other Indian communities, it was a situation that they could not address through the workshops. What they were aiming for was to alter the self-perception of those students under their tutelage. They also intended to educate them, shape them into "wise Indian leadership," and send them back to their people better equipped to make a positive difference to their communities. (6)

While the workshops offered Indian students the chance to discuss and analyze Indian history from their own perspectives, they were in a controlled environment in which Tax and his assistants could "intervene, study, and help." The main purpose, according to Rosalie Wax, was to help "the young Indian student find himself." The organizers and educators of the workshops saw Indian youths, not just those at college but "whether of tribal or de-tribal background," as suffering from "'marginality': they are unable to see themselves as either Indians or as white people." Despite the generality of this perception and the tendency toward classification and pigeonholing students, which lasted well into the mid-1960s, it was this "marginality" that Tax and his colleagues wished to confront. As action anthropologists they were confident in their own experiences that "with persons so troubled it has usually been helpful to acquaint them with their history and heritage." The common belief was that "even the knowledge that other young people are in the same situation often increases their self-confidence and their ability to cope with their own problems." (7)

The result of this concern displayed itself in the early teaching methods used in the workshops. Tax needed to be sure that he could "reconcile projects, planned entirely by the staff and requiring so much non-Indian leadership and stimulation," to keep the students motivated with "the notion that Indians would do best if they were allowed to make their own mistakes." According to Rosalie Wax's sociological theory and the instructors' desire for classification and categorization, the student body was divided into different "types" of Indians. Wax determined that most of the students were educated in schools and colleges "near their own relatively rural and isolated communities." She reported that the majority of them had very little experience of interaction with the white community. However, those who had such experiences may, "depending on the region of the country ... have been respected, tolerated, ignored, or despised by their white neighbors," which in reality covered most forms of Indian/white interaction. (8)

Wax estimated that the majority of the students were, in her opinion, "marginal" in that they were neither culturally Indian nor white and had "retained, unconsciously, many Indian attitudes and have also adopted a motley collection of 'general American middle and lower-middle class ideas and mannerisms, irrespective of their cultural backgrounds." Conversely, she also estimated that each year of the workshops, "about a third to a quarter of the students are from a tribal or conservative' background." Her point, which she reinforced in a 1960 academic collaboration with Bob Thomas, was that whatever their individual tribal cultural backgrounds or life experiences, every student had an "Indian" identity in common. She did comment, though, upon "the credulous bigotry and self-hatred of some of the students, [who] ironically, if these 'Indian-Haters' had been less Indian in personality, could have fought back on the level of intellectual discussion." (9)

In reality, however, it was these tribal identities that shaped many students' understanding and development of the intellectual discussions Wax and her colleagues tried to formulate. Over the ensuing years of the workshops, the issue of Indianness and tribal identity became a contentious issue as the students surpassed the faculty ideal of "finding themselves" and steadily began asserting their own voices and tribal identities as they demanded far more cultural relevancy in the workshops than the more generic anthropological and sociological approach that Tax endorsed. The students took the choices made available to them through the experiment and directed them in ways that neither Tax nor his educators envisaged.


The redefinition of the "teacher-learner" relationship that Thomas acknowledged as necessary to the workshops' development occurred in the same year that his coauthored article with Rosalie Wax was published. This redefinition effectively marked an entirely unintended "second stage" of the workshop experiment as Dr. Tax relinquished control and the students began to express themselves more forcefully and confidently than they ever had previously, NCAI offshoot American Indian Development, under the aegis of D'Arcy McNickle and Viola Pfrommer, took formal control of the workshops, while Sol Tax focused on preparing for the 1961 American Indian Charter Convention in Chicago. McNickle, a Flathead Indian from Montana, author, activist, historian, and founding member of the NCAI, refocused the workshops, even moving them from their original home of Colorado Springs to Boulder, Colorado, to suit his geographic needs. Initially, McNickle was worried that most of the students attending the workshops wanted "to transform their reservation communities into rural small-town America where everyone would act as whites and set about restructuring the students' educational experience." This was the direct opposite of the results he had in mind for the experience. Over the following three years the workshops underwent several major changes in teaching and thematic focus, as they become more focused on the needs of the students rather than the desires of the faculty. It was during this period that the Indian students began to reclaim their education for themselves, as external influences such as the National Indian Youth Council began to inform their thinking and attitudes. (10)

McNickle's background meant that he had, in the eyes of the students, the right credentials and experience to guide them through the workshops. His leadership also gave the workshops a more coherent approach than the more ad hoc arrangement and experimental approach that preceded his tenure, even if Rietz and Thomas still played things by ear on a number of occasions. He believed that the four thousand Indian students enrolled in universities at that time "represent an investment in the future. They are needed in the communities that brought them forth and that now look to them for leadership." He insisted that "this cannot take place if the student is turned away from his people by teachers who do not understand or are not in sympathy with the students objective." His vision for the workshops was that of "helping the students gain a better view of themselves, of their abilities, of their place in the future." As a leading member of the NCAI he had valuable experience in navigating the complicated relationships between tribes and the federal government. This experience also informed his opinion of exactly how these young Indians could best be trained to help their communities. The students would be instructed in subjects useful to their future vocations as tribal leaders, including "Indian legislation; tribal histories; reservation planning; the administration of law and order in Indian communities; the problems of minority groups in the United States," all of which were designed to enable the students to "emerge with greater respect for themselves and their people." (11)

McNickle introduced a popular skit on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the curriculum, the "Bureau of White Man's Affairs," with the intention of strengthening his students' realization of the complexities of the federal-Indian relationship. In this seminar, the Indians, as the dominant race, "tried to cope with the irrational behavior of white people." He decided that merely educating the students about each other's cultures was not enough. The collective opinion was that these students had no real idea of their own community's "legal and social relationship" with the rest of the United States and that "even more rarely does he [sic] have an accurate perception of the situation of the Indian peoples as a whole." A further desire was that these students would go out and "give the non-Indian world a more accurate understanding of the Indian world." (12)

McNickle also developed and implemented a long-term fund-raising program. Despite the acknowledged support of the organizations mentioned earlier, he felt that primary funding for the workshops should come from the Indian communities themselves. He argued that such a show of support from the communities would send a message to the students that the workshops were a worthwhile investment educationally. In order to win that support, he drafted an overview of the articles in which he stressed that while the "workshop set itself the task of salvaging Indian students," this did not mean that "students must be pampered by designing easy courses for them. On the contrary, they are required to work at stiff assignments." Sponsors recognized, however, that, as with many other Indian-run programs designed to help Indians, only those with experience of the workshops would act. The organizers complained that only those tribal leaders who saw the workshops in action "have been impressed and concerned to recruit students from among their peoples and to raise monies to defray their expenses." Those tribal leaders who had not seen the workshops in action were "naturally skeptical of the enterprise." (13)

Even with McNickle's reorganization, the majority of the faculty, with the exception of Wahrhaftig, who joined the Peace Corps, remained much the same, with primary lectures given by Bob Thomas and Murray Wax. They were assisted by a graduate of the 1957 workshop, Bob Dumont (Sioux), and by Tillie Walker of the American Friends Service Committee. All of them played important roles in the early direction of the workshops. McNickle's tenure also coincided with the recruitment of far more culturally and socially aware students, many of whom already knew each other from the various campus youth councils and organizations that were springing up on campuses across the country. Due to his wider connections as founder and member of the National Congress of American Indians, McNickle could cast the recruitment net farther afield than before. It also meant that most of these students were already aware of the collective economic and social inequality of Indian nations in America. The recruits came from such traditional tribal communities as the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, the Navajo in Arizona, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa in North Dakota, the Ojibway and Saulteaux in Canada, and many Oklahoma nations, including the Osage, Creek, and Ponca. In total, twenty-one tribes and fifteen states were represented at the 1961 workshop, including Seneca-Cayuga tribal chief Richard Whitetree, who was the youngest chief ever to represent his tribe. (14)

In keeping with his agenda to produce "wise Indian leadership," McNickle decided that the students would spend the first week of the 1961 workshop at the American Indian Chicago Conference "learning and participating in a major conference on Indian affairs." The intent of the conference, another idea of Sol Tax, was to gather as many Indian leaders together as possible to give a unified Indian voice of intent to incoming president John F. Kennedy. McNickle wanted the students to observe these leaders as they created "a body of recommendations to guide Indian programs in the future" as a blueprint for their own future behavior as tribal leaders. The experience did indeed inform many of the students about the perceived quality of Indian leadership on display and certainly influenced the way they chose to define and display leadership themselves, although often not in the way McNickle envisaged. (15)

Rosalie Wax speculated that this arrangement boosted applications to and attendance at the workshops exponentially compared to previous years, while McNickle believed that exposure to the event in Chicago would also expose his students to Indian leaders he respected, for example, Thomas Segundo (Papago/Tohono O'odham), whom McNickle respected as traditional yet forward looking. The Chicago Conference, which ran from June 13 to June 21, was organized by the University of Chicago's anthropology department and was the brainchild of Sol Tax. Applying "action anthropology" to a larger test area than the workshops, Tax and his fellow organizers intended using the conference to encourage Indian communities to "take control of their own destinies." Tax believed that in order for Indian communities to truly achieve self-determination, tribes and leaders needed a workable consensus. Working with the cooperation of the NCAI, he conceived the Chicago Conference as a way to reach such a consensus and then present it to the incoming president. (16)

Rather than simply observe and listen, the young Indians threw themselves into the proceedings. It was, however, "sickening to see American Indians just get up and tell obvious lies about how well the federal government was treating them, what fantastic and magnificent things the federal government were doing for us." So frustrated were the students, including workshop students Clyde Warrior (Ponca), Karen Rickard (Tuscarora), and Bernadine Eschief (Shoshone Bannock), that "we began having meetings of our own between sessions, drafting statements and resolutions and said we were going to try to work within that structure." Others, such as Mel Thom and Herb Blatchford, shared the same sentiments. Shirley Hill Witt (Mohawk), who was attending as a tribal member rather than a workshop student, remembers that "the Chicago conference allowed us to recognize that we could be movers and shakers and work towards change. We, at Chicago conference, we watched the older generation engaged in their timeless competition for scarce resources." Clyde Warrior complained, however, that "every time we tried to do it, we stood up and worked within that structure, our own kind stood up and screamed at us, 'Radicals!' 'Possibly Communists are infiltrating us! Ignore these young foolish kids. They really don't know what they are doing.'" He noted that "I was pretty sorry of my own kind of people, they had degenerated to such a level where they would do that." Together, with several other young Indians, they began to meet and discuss Indian affairs themselves as an unofficial youth caucus to the conference. (17)

This frustration and impatience produced a heady cocktail of alternative ideas and demands for action, which resulted in twenty of the youths agreeing, at the suggestion of Herb Blatchford, to meet again at the August 13 Gallup Ceremonial in New Mexico to discuss forming their own organization. Attendance at the Chicago Conference also gave Warrior and his cohort the opportunity to mix with other powerful people beyond the tribal leaders he so disdained, including heads of Indian organizations, important BIA personnel, and influential academics, a network of people that would later serve them well. The experience was not quite what McNickle had in mind when he envisioned the students learning from the experience, but it certainly taught them about the types of leaders they wished not to become. (18)

Indeed, in a letter to Mel Thom dated June 28, 1961, Blatchford extolled the resourcefulness of the workshop students and "other interested young people" who gathered to "discuss the reasons for the youth being represented in an adult conference." He was also proud of the five unnamed persons who, concerned that "the conference was going out on a tangent" and "diverting from the original purpose of the convention," came up with an "alternative statement of purpose to redirect our aims," which was subsequently drawn and presented at the conference. According to Blatchford, it was these incidents that exemplified the need for those young Indians, who were described by many as "the most unified group in the conference," to "participate and prepare for leadership through organized means." Their unity was even more remarkable, considering that McNickle described the conference as an event where "reservation Indians were especially distrustful of their urbanized kinsmen" to the extent that "in the absence of traditional channels for intertribal communication ... at several critical moments the conference stood ready to dissolve." (19)

The conference was not simply about politics and political maneuvering or ideology, however. Hill Witt recalls that each evening they would gather for singing and dancing. "Once or twice it was formal-'All right, all you Indians go out and dance in circles for a while. Were going to put the cameras on, were going to put lights up, and you do your colorful stuff."' Once the cameras were turned off and the "entertainment" was over, they would begin their 49s. A 49 is a purely social dance that is nonsacred. "It's fun, [and] it's also where people get to meet each other in informal ways," where courtships are often played out, songs are sung in English, away from the powwow arena, and etiquette and tradition are forgotten, as the focus is on enjoying oneself and making friends. The ultimate social distraction of the conference was the final weekend's powwow, advertised as the first truly national intertribal powwow, where workshop students Tom Eschief and Clyde Warrior won first and second place, respectively, in the men's war dance contest. From the powwow the students were driven by bus to Boulder for the second week of the workshop. In addition to those lectures already discussed, there was a formal syllabus to the workshop. (20)

The second week saw the beginning of what was essentially an immersion course in anthropological, sociological, and historical theories and how they related to American Indian communities. The students were lectured on basic concepts of the social sciences, using past and present Indian communities as the prism, by Robert Rietz, who had assumed the directorship of the workshops and replaced Wax as a primary instructor. Bob Thomas led a review of American Indian cultural history, from "prehistory" to the colonial period. The students' required readings focused on urbanism, folk societies, and the results of these two culture types interacting. Discussing one such text, Everett Hughes and Helen Hughes's Where Peoples Meet, gave the students an insight into global indigenous nations that they were previously unaware of. This greater knowledge gave them a broader context within which to view their own community's relationships with the federal government. Warrior commented that "I learned that all over the world tribal peoples are coming into contact with the outside world and basically they all have the same reaction. So, after all, we American Indians are not the only ones hitting it tough and not being understood." (21)

Robert Redfield's concept of "folk society" was a firm foundation of Thomas's teachings on the subject and showed his strong belief in the structuralist vision of Indian communities as "folk" cultures that were static and restricted by tradition. He also emphasized the benefit of urban society in defining identity, as "the more kinds of people you come into contact with the more you know who you are." While this jarred with the absolute sense of self-identity of the more culturally immersed students, the overall concept of the differences in personal interaction and traditional motifs between folk and urban societies struck a chord. Thomas also classified Indianness as an ideology rather than a racial or cultural identifier while dismissing the idea of Indian communities as "tribal," because "I would define tribal people as people who do not see other human beings outside their group as really human beings." He did, however, stress the far more personal nature of community interaction in folk societies that could be found in the very impersonal life of urban societies. Despite his formulaic view of Indians as belonging to folk societies rather than tribal cultures and ultimately being static environments and his occasionally awkward encounters with students, Thomas was generally a great influence on the students, many of whom nicknamed him "Uncle Bob." (22)

Thomas continued his survey of American Indian history in the third week, while Rietz did the same with his study of the social sciences. The readings continued along the same lines of cultural interaction but now also included John Collier's Indians of the Americas with the idea of taking the concepts of folk societies, urbanism, and cultural interaction and applying them to Indian nations for a conceptual analysis. Collier's text, while lauding "the enduring organization of Indian groups," also blatantly defended his tenure and achievements as commissioner of Indian Affairs by emphasizing that "the democratic way has been proved to be enormously the efficient way, the genius-releasing and the nutritive and life-impelling way, and the way of order," in contrast to the Indian policies followed before and after his term in office. (23)

The fourth week saw both lecturers focus on American culture, history, character, communities, and federal Indian policy. The readings were still shaped to emphasize comparison and contrast, with Tom Hagan's newly published American Indians joining Colliers text in contrast to David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd. Hagans text was a welcome historical addition to the sociological and anthropological dominance of the workshops

and offered a far more academic analysis of Indian-white relations than Colliers more romantic and self-serving overview. Riesman's text, on the other hand, offered what is now considered a classic sociological study of (white) American character. He identified three character types: "tradition-directed," "inner-directed," and "other-directed" people. The existence of each type of person depended upon the type of society he or she appeared in. For the sake of the comparisons the workshop lecturers were interested in, Indians, or "folk societies," consisted of tradition-directed people who relied on their elders for advice and guidance and were ill equipped to deal with the modern world. This contrasted with contemporary white America, which was dominated by other-directed people who craved the approval of their peers above all else--the "lonely crowd" of his title. The text also served to supplement the argument put forth by Redfield and extrapolated by Thomas on the lack of evolutionary development of Indian communities. (24)

In the fifth week, the focus was purely upon Indians and Indian communities of the 1960s, that is, the students themselves, their families, tribes, and peers. The readings included articles by both Rietz and Thomas on Indian population trends and urban Indian agency reports, as well as studies of urban Indians compiled for the American Indian Chicago Conference. Thomas's article, "Population Trends in American Indian Communities," formally presented at the Chicago Conference, contradicted his affirmation of Redfield's static and rigid community hypothesis by arguing that while "American Indian communities, as a whole, are distinct growing communities that still preserve the core of their native system of life," many of those that had interacted with American society had taken over "a great many Euro-American traits and institutions but fit them into a context of the older covert Indian patterns of life." (25)

The sixth and final week of the 1961 workshop entailed a lecture about comparative minority problems, widening the scope of the students' intellectual analysis from the strict duality of Indian-white relations to include an appreciation of African American, Chicano, and other minorities in the United States. The final lecture was a reevaluation of the Chicago Conference, while the readings included the Statement of Indian Purpose drafted by the Chicago Conference participants, including Clyde Warrior and other students now studying it.

As well as these standard lectures, readings, and discussions, there were also guest lectures presented during the five weeks in Boulder. McNickle presented the first lecture on June 27, discussing American Indian Developments Crownpoint Project, helping the Navajo build their own meeting hall. As well as being pertinent to the subjects under discussion at the workshops, McNickles lecture introduced Clyde Warrior and his cohorts to the concept of self-determination. In 1954 McNickle had warned his colleagues in the NCAI that "the battle for civil rights may not yet be won, but the battle for the right to be culturally different has not even started." (26) Now he told them "not to have any preconceived ideas--let the people work it out for themselves" before reemphasizing the need to "let the people make the decisions all alone." McNickle left the students in no doubt that that had "not been the policy in the past with the dominant societies' relationship to the American Indian." (27)

The second guest lecture was also enlightening, introducing to the students the idea that "American Indian Affairs are international affairs." Presented on July 5 by Ataloa, a Chickasaw Indian from Oklahoma, the lecture, titled "The Value of Indian Culture," "covered every aspect from arts and crafts to political movements." Inadvertently building upon the broader awareness of global indigeneity gleaned from earlier course readings, Ataloa's lecture intrigued many of the students. After the lecture, she and the students discussed the problems, and possible solutions to those problems, facing contemporary American Indians. Ideas of "utilizing certain organizations, creating interest and better educational facilities" were all later espoused by Warrior in his speeches and articles. (28) The third lecture, presented on July 13 by NCAI executive director Helen Peterson (Oglala), emphasized that Indian youth needed to be more aware "of the history and special terms which affect their lives." She emphasized land rights and discussed such issues as "fractionated heirship lands, allotments, fee simple patents, and trust title lands," personal and tribal. She also highlighted the importance of education to the students in order for them to be aware of the position of Indians in society and stressed that "Indian young people must begin taking more active rolls [sic] in the affairs and problems of their people." While not entirely along the trajectory Peterson had in mind, that was exactly what several students were planning to do in Gallup, New Mexico. (29)

The 1961 workshop was a major turning point in the projects evolution from controlled experiment to a more dynamic and inclusive educational experience. Several incidents led to changes occurring faster than the educators anticipated. The 1961 Chicago Conference galvanized several students into becoming more actively involved in Indian affairs than merely attending regional youth councils. The revised curriculum widened the intellectual horizons of the students and introduced them to indigenous cultures they were previously unaware of, and guest lecturers helped them to understand how to connect their burgeoning activism in ways that connected Indians to the rest of the world while maintaining focus upon domestic concerns. In addition, a growing camaraderie within the student body itself allowed them to test ideas and theories with each other before putting them in the public arena. A far more confident, dynamic, and determined student body graduated from 1961 than had enrolled, and their reputation and influence filtered down to future summer cohorts. Very few, however, returned to their reservations to immerse themselves in tribal politics as McNickle had intended.


As with the Chicago Conference, the workshops were not solely about work for the students, who bonded outside of the classroom and formed tight friendships, many of which were maintained through adulthood. The bonding sessions were a mixture of social fun, relaxation, and intellectual "jam sessions" where they would talk politics and culture, comparing experiences and stories of home, often being surprised as to how similar their communities were in relation to external relationships with the dominant culture, economic disparity, job shortages, and downright poverty, all during a time of growing wealth and extravagant consumption across mainstream America. Many of these sessions led to the students imagining ways and means to improve their communities and Indian Country as a whole. This bonding and these common ideas led to a more vibrant classroom atmosphere and a student body more demanding for information than its predecessors.

There were also several moments when social gatherings were a curricular requirement. There were formal social gatherings, such as the one on July 1, 1961, when the White Buffalo Council of Denver entertained the students with baseball and a barbecue at the Lone Star Ranch in Elizabeth, Colorado. There were several uncomfortable attempted informal gatherings between students and faculty, at one of which Bob Thomas described the students as "expressionless and non-committal guests" who "had concluded that his role at the party was to paint his academic future," and so when confronted conversationally by the instructors "delivered a modest, but well organized address describing his [the students] educational plans." However, despite the constraints of early morning starts and the intellectual demands of the faculty, the students would often escape campus and visit a bar called Tallages to drink and dance. Each weekend, many of the students would also 49 at nearby Boulder Canyon. Some of the students would complain about the socializing of the other students, especially the alcohol consumption. The instructors, however, never saw fit to impose a curfew on the after-hours activity. Indeed, Thomas saw "joining them in their social activities," which often included "drinking late into the night," as an ideal way to gain the students' trust. The unofficial rule among the students was "if you couldn't get up and be at class at 8 o'clock, then don't go." (30)

Their social life did not seem to interfere with the more serious academic pursuits of the students, and in the 1961 class, Bernadine Eschief and Clyde Warrior served as coeditors of the workshop newsletter, titled the Indian Progress. The newsletter that was published on July 10, 1961, during week four, carried several ringing endorsements of the conduct and vision of the leaders present at the Chicago Conference, in contrast to the later testimonies of disgust at the same leaders. Leo LaClair (Muckleshoot) declared that "the experience of attending the American Indian Chicago Conference has helped me a great deal in understanding some of the major current and historical problems in American Indian Affairs," while Bruce Wilkie was proud that "for the first time in recorded history American Indians assembled, representing all parts of the country to form a common front to define the things in which they all believe." (31)

In the following issue, however, Warrior and Eschief's editorial comment painted an entirely different picture. Without referring directly to events in Chicago, the pair declared that "TODAY the Indian people are without great leadership. Today the Indian people are in dire need of leadership." They went on to argue that "the Indian people must provide this leadership from their own kind: from their own young people" before concluding, with echoes of Beryl Spruces 1955 Santa Fe Indian Youth Council call to arms: "Young people, we must, by the fact that we are born American Indians, be dedicated to our people. There is nothing else we should do except work for, with, and among our Indian people. TODAY, Indian young people, we are born at a time when our Indian people need us." (32)

On that note of defiance and bravado, several of the workshop students set off for Gallup, New Mexico, for the inaugural meeting of the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) (two of the students, Clyde Warrior and Bruce Wilkie, attended the following years workshop). The NIYC and its leaders became extremely influential in the fight for community autonomy, cultural retention, and tribal self-determination over the following decade, with Warrior later crystallizing the issues under the slogan "Red Power." Prior to his return to the 1962 workshop, however, Warrior produced one more issue of the Indian Progress with Eschief. Published in March 1962, it was intended to update the 1961 class with news of their peers' achievement since they had gone their separate ways. The issue opened with a summary of the intentions of the workshops and an analysis of the 1961 model. The joint editors declared that "everyone became aware of the needs, the lacks, the problems of the Indian people. Everyone left with one thought in mind--to help in one way or another all the American Indian people on this continent." (33)

In the "news extra" section the editors proudly announced that they had been introduced individually, along with several others, as students of the workshops at the annual American Indian Exposition at Anadarko, Oklahoma. They also mentioned that Warrior, Eschief, and Ansel Adams had participated in the annual Oklahoma Society affair in the Senate auditorium in Washington dc, where they had visited with Commissioner of Indian Affairs Phileo Nash and Assistant Commissioner Fred Massey. Tucked away in the middle of the newsletter was the announcement that "on August 11, 1961, the National Indian Youth Council was formally initiated." It was an inauspicious announcement for the birth of a movement that would galvanize thousands of young students across Indian Country and eventually have the ear of the commissioner of Indian Affairs and the president of the United States. The list of officers included Warrior, Eschief, and Karen Rickard from the class of 1961. (34)

When Warrior and Wilkie returned in 1962 they found that much had changed, as did the instructors. Whereas there had been a gradual evolution from the compliance of the early students in the 1950s to the more vocal students of 1961, there was a vibrancy about the 1962 class that the instructors noticed immediately. Robert Rietz commented on the energy of the class, telling them that it "felt different from previous years" and that "something had changed." He noted that "almost all students had the conviction that there is an 'Indian way' which is contradicted by and therefore in conflict with a 'white man's way.'" Much of this energy came from the buzz created by the NIYC. Since the organization's inauguration in the previous August, Warrior, Eschief, Blatchford, Rickard, and other founding members such as Mel Thom (Paiute) and Shirley Witt (Mohawk) had been sending letters and newsletters and attending regional and local youth conferences all across Indian Country, exhorting their friends and peers to join their cause. By the time of the 1962 workshop, membership numbered in the thousands, and Warrior and others had already garnered something of a celebrity status among other young Indians. The wife of guest lecturer and legal defender of Indian rights John Cragun commented that "the group seems very sophisticated and they were beginning to 'organize themselves' on the second day, which hadn't happened in previous workshops according to D'Arcy and Viola, until about the end of the second week." That being said, Rietz also noted that due to the various environments from which the students were recruited, an "ambivalence ranged over definitions of Indian identity, from being something to be overcome to being something to be defended with pride." These issues of Indian identity and even the validity of Indianness as a label were discussed extensively by the students and became somewhat of a theme for NIYC leaders during their activism. (35)

Rietz and Thomas had been retained as director and assistant director of the workshops, but they dramatically changed the curriculum to accommodate the issues raised by the rising number of urban Indians in America. As with previous years, there were plenty of guest speakers during the six-week course. Sol Tax, Murray Wax, and Rosalie Wax each discussed social science contributions and social concepts with the students. Dr. John Taylor, a consultant for the House Committee on Indian Affairs, outlined the machinery of the legislative process, while John Cragun discussed issues of jurisdiction and Indian claims. Dr. Omer Stewart discussed specific claims he had stood witness for as well as the legal and cultural defense for peyote. Four former officers of the NCAI, including Joseph Garry and Helen Peterson, again spoke before the students about the practical problems facing Indian communities and efforts that the NCAI had undertaken to tackle these problems.

The readings were also more substantial than those of the previous year. Alfred Schutz's The Stranger replaced Riesman's The Lonely Crowd, which was assigned only to the upper division. Felix S. Cohens essays "Colonialism US Style" and "Colonialism: A Realistic Approach" were added to the fourth weeks readings, as was Robert Manners's Pluralism and the American Indian. Two of Thomas's essays, "Cherokee Values and Worldview" and "Social Problems of the Eastern Cherokee," were added to the final week. The expanded reading list, especially Cohen's analysis of Indian communities as subjects of American internal colonialism, astounded the students, some of whom were overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge and experience made available to them over the six weeks. (36)

The first four weeks of the course covered contemporary Indian issues and community action, tribal government, and discussions upon "enemies of the People," which was supplemented by a field trip to Pottawatomie, Kansas, and organizational impingement by religious organizations and benevolent associations who were responsible for keeping decision making away from Indians. The fifth week and "focal point" of the course was a field trip to Chicago to visit the American Indian Center. Rietz felt that "much of the program will revolve around the sessions held in Chicago, since the Indian in the urban settings tend to be a microcosm of the issues of development in contemporary Indian communities." (37)

The final week, building upon those discussions and lessons in Chicago, focused on discussions of social movements and the concept of "New Indians." According to Rietz's postworkshop report, "this did not work out too well" due to the failure of the students to understand conceptual abstractions of general thinking rather than applying everything to "the particular and personal." The particular and personal were the core issues of the students' intellectualization, however. Rather than compare their situations to other social movements and see their own situations as part of a global movement, they internalized the issues at the center of these movements and individualized the issues as they related to the students' own communities. Only then did they extend the rhetoric to the rest of Indian Country, and the colonial relationship with the federal government. The global decolonization of the Cold War was a rhetorical reference point for the workshop students rather than a "call to arms."


Rather than the assessments of guest speakers or faculty members, the best analysis of the students' perceptions of identity or Indianness is found in their own writings. It is here that we see a self-awareness that many did not have when entering the workshops and also a growing confidence in their own ability to force change in their communities. In addition to readings and discussions, the students were required to take five tests, including a final exam and four written essays. It was in the final exam that the intellectual impact of the workshops upon the students became abundantly clear. Answering the question of where his community would fall on the folk-urban scale, Clyde Warrior divided the Poncas into two categories, "folk-like" and those "midway between Folk and Marginality." He proudly identified himself as belonging to the folk-like half of the community. They were "the ones who take an active part in all tribal organizations and functions" and "never refer to the person as 'I' but refer to themselves as 'we' or the tribe." He stated, simply, that "these are my people." Confirming Rietz's comment about the student concept of the "Indian way" contrasting with the "white man's way," Warrior observed that "these people have no idea of leaving this life, they think white men are strange and have bad ways and they're out to get the Indian." In addition to his people being the traditionalists of the tribe, Warrior also marked them as the cultural core of the tribe's heritage, claiming that "the majority of these people are the full-bloods, many are from chieftainship blood," while, like his drum-making grandparents, "each one has a definite role, with the role each one has a definite status and they all recognize it as being that way." (38)

In contrast, the other people of the Ponca were "out for themselves and they don't hesitate to tell you. They say Indian way will not work today, that only dumb, ignorant people, and lazy people cling to a way of life that is gone." They were the people who "care less what the tribal organizations do" and "think tribal functions are a malarkey." They were the "wealthy farmers who have exploited their relatives land" and "teach their children to be ashamed of being Indians." While he hoped that one day these two groups would form an understanding, he was doubtful, because "presently neither one understands and don't want to understand the other." (39)

Fellow student Jeri Cross offered a similar assessment of her own identity when she wrote that "I feel pretty 'folkish' and I know that the Indians in my community are a whole lot more than I am." Interestingly, however, she also described the white community in the same terms, albeit with a different worldview, undermining Thomas's use of the urban-folk opposition as a tool to reinforce Indian-white differences. While the "folkish" white farmers in her community displayed "narrow-mindedness" and were "suspicious, tending to squabble over petty things," the Indians were quite "personal and spontaneous in their relationships with themselves." Thomas had constantly reinforced Redfield's assertions that folk societies intrinsically lacked any sense of spontaneity. Cross also argued that the Indians, young and old, displayed a "cohesiveness of thought and action ... much more than any other group in the area." In another blow to the Redfield/Thomas theory of ceremonial institutionalization among folk societies, Cross asserted that the young Indians were incurring the wrath of the older Indians "who believe religiously in the ceremonies and dances which the Indians attend and frown upon the 'secularization' that is creeping into powwows." This anger was due to "this abandoning of the more sacred connotations which is largely done by the younger influential Indians." (40)

The following year, Della Hopper (Otoe) typified the growing awareness that each Indian nation did not suffer indignity in isolation from the others. She argued that in order for her people to retain their culture, their "identity must be established." This would enable them to "remain Indian and preserve their culture." She also wrote: "I would like to see Indians on an equal basis with white people, not only in my community but throughout the nation." This was another example of the "particular and personal" focus of which Rietz complained, yet what he failed to account for was that this focus was now stretching beyond the students' immediate vicinity, such as Hopper's Otoe Reservation, and incorporating the whole of Indian Country in their desire for change. (41)

In 1963 the faculty decided that it would be better to begin with a "general analysis of the situation of the American Indian" before offering a "simple exposition of the scientific method and its application to Indian affairs and in the social sciences generally." These issues were seen as "basic in genuine understanding of the analysis and which is part of the academic purpose of the Workshop to teach." Even after six years and countless changes to the curriculum and reading materials, the instructors were having to change the format to suit the students' needs rather than expecting the students to change and conform to the format of the workshops. In light of this, the report stated that "this last summer was the most difficult, trying and successful workshop." The students were seen as being able, for the first time, "to look at their own communities and themselves with insight and without abhorrence." A "side effect" of this insight was a "nationalism," increasingly being labeled as pan-Indianism by Thomas, despite the extremely tribal focus, "which had both positive and negative aspects." The negative included anger "at the people (teachers, administrators, etc.), whom they felt had misled them." What Thomas and the other faculty were ignoring was the growing nationalism being expressed outside of the workshops' venue. The NIYC was gaining national visibility and credibility in its campaign for tribal self-determination and the right of cultural determinacy, and each year an increasing number of enrollees were NIYC members, bringing this anger and frustration with them. The "failure" of the workshops was to not try and harness this anger into greater intellectual debate rather than worry about its potential to distract the students and undermine the curriculum. (42)

The following year's workshop saw Bob Thomas take over the directorship from Robert Rietz. The students continued to offer a diverse representation of tribal affiliations, with twenty-two different tribes represented. The influence of previous workshoppers in driving attendance was also visible, with students such as Della Hopper, Charmain Penseneau, and Mel Thom attending upon the recommendation of Clyde Warrior. Similarly, other students were encouraged to attend by reports from workshop alumni on college campuses and at youth conferences around the country. The coursework followed the 1962 model with a few important changes, as the entire workshop focused upon concepts of folk and urban society. The first week now involved an introduction to genetic concepts of race and the "relationship between race and society." The discussion of folk and urban societies was now split between weeks two and three rather than as the single comparative exercise previously used. The two concepts were then brought together in week four, with the focus now very much on Cohens analysis of internal colonialism rather than Redfield's folk society analysis. The fifth week discussed when urban and folk societies meet and interact, before the final week's assessment of Indian-white relations in the contemporary world. (43)

In a move not seen since Rosalie Wax's 1960 report, Thomas divided the students into categories. He defined them as being "conservatives," "assimilationists," "rebels," or "self-haters." According to Thomas's definitions, the conservatives had "little or no conflict about their Indian identity," while the assimilationists "had accepted negative definitions of Indians and were resolving their negative self-definitions by being 'good Indians.'" The rebels were influenced by "Pan-Indianism" or "Indian nationalism," which he later, curiously, defined as being the same thing while ignoring the tribal pride the majority of the rebels attached to their nationalism; rebels, "while accepting much of the definition of Indian given by the majority culture, rejected the majority culture in varying degrees of aggressiveness." Meanwhile, the self-haters "were uncertain how to handle the situation or which way to move." Thomas appeared to allow for no middle ground, whereby any student might have one or more of these traits within him or her. Indeed, many students of that time, even the most culturally conservative, enjoyed mainstream influences such as rock and roll, television, radio, and fashion. (44)

The students themselves were outgrowing such labels and deliberately rejecting classification. While Warrior later used similar labels in an article about the corrosive effects of outsiders on Indian self-perception, he did so as an example of definitions being forced upon individuals desperate to conform. Many of the workshop students had been pigeonholed or defined by educators, social workers, or BIA agents for much of their lives, and they chafed at the idea of being boxed into yet another category at the workshops. This was especially so when the workshops were purported to encourage them to break free of the intellectual bondage of the assimilationist mainstream and embrace their cultures and heritages in such a manner as to go home and protect and preserve them. Indeed, many were rejecting the notion of Indianness as a racial signifier and using it merely as the most convenient method of identification. It was during this period that the students began to outgrow the workshops and demand even greater change than had occurred already.


Part of the intellectual maturation process that saw the students pull away from the faculty and begin demanding a more culturally relevant curriculum began with a change ironically implemented by the faculty themselves. The 1963 workshop held the First Annual Meeting of Workshop Alumni. The event, described as "exciting as well as hectic and disrupting," helped the current students gain some perspective on the workshop as they heard from the experiences of the previous year's students. While the only academic contribution the alumni made to the workshop that year was a presentation titled "The Coming of the Red Man or Reverse History," a precedent was set. In each of the following years the alumni not only hosted an event at the workshops but also became increasingly involved in the lectures and seminars. As these alumni became increasingly influential in youth councils and national Indian politics away from the workshops, so their influence and authority grew within the workshops. A1 Wahrhaftig, who returned to the workshops in 1964 after a three-year hiatus, was struck by the changing dynamic of the workshops in the short time since he had left. His own worldview had expanded greatly in his time away from Boulder, as he served in the Peace Corps in Colombia, working with the Guambiano and Paez Indians. He began by working on small community development programs before helping the local Division of Indian Affairs "completely revise its approach to development in Indian communities and its relationship with traditional Indians leaders" before traveling to Bogota to witness these changes being "adopted as policy on a national level." This experience was invaluable to Wahrhaftig, and as somebody who had actually worked to help traditional communities, his was an opinion that the students immediately respected. (45)

Wahrhaftig recognized a far less "compliant" student body than had been the case during the early years of Sol Tax's action anthropology experiment. He remembered that "the thing really began to catch fire, and people began wanting to come because their older siblings or because other people in their tribe or their community had gone. And you know it's like any success of that sort. It gained a momentum of its own." He credited much of the success of this momentum and the intellectual vibrancy of the class of 1964 to the influence of the NIYC in spreading its message of pride and honor in tribal identity. (46)

By the time that the NIYC assumed sponsorship of the workshops in 1967, its leaders and workshop alumni had testified before Congress and spoken before the vice president, the secretary of the interior, and the commissioner of Indian Affairs. They had staged the first direct action mass protest by American Indians in the civil rights era, were organizing Indian voter drives in some western states, and organizing community action programs on their own reservations. The NIYC also extended the location to include three separate workshops, at the University of Colorado, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stout State University in Wisconsin. They also increased the credit hours from three to six. (47)

These were superficial changes compared to the way the NIYC reorganized the curriculum, however. Clyde Warrior, by now president of the NIYC, and Browning Pipestem, NIYC board member and workshop alumnus, felt that the workshops served a valuable purpose, but they felt that the workshops had not evolved quickly enough to keep up with the changing environment in Indian affairs since their inception in 1956. Warrior and Pipestem argued that the lessons taught there were no longer sufficient for the more culturally and politically aware generation coming through the educational system. They acknowledged that the Boulder workshops addressed the cultural differences inherent in the American learning environment and bridged the gap between the standard "technical" American curriculums with an increased focus on social sciences that Indian students generally lacked. They also admitted that the Boulder version helped students address their feelings of marginality and helped them realize that this problem was "not just unique and personal to him [sic]. Then can he see his marginality in the total context of Indian-White relations and as part of an historical process." In a November 1967 letter to Warrior, Bob Dumont agreed with Warrior and Pipestem that the one thing the workshops lacked was an emphasis on "self-determination, responsibility and free choice for Indian students." Dumont argued that "the Boulder Workshop never really provided this experience for students." For a program designed to "create new Indian leaders," to be categorized in such a manner by two such leading alumni was a damning assessment. Dumont encouraged Warrior that an NIYC version could offer "this kind of experience" for students who had not "gotten this needed development either in their home communities or in their education." He also reminded Warrior that "you can make this point as well as I can." (48) By 1969 these issues were such an important aspect of the workshops that they were renamed the Clyde Warrior Workshop on American Indian Affairs in honor of the recently deceased alumnus and most vocal proponent of self-determination and choice. Warrior had passed away the previous year at the age of twenty-eight.

The influence of the students' desire to dictate the terms of their education on issues such as cultural relevancy and political and social self-determination was a major catalyst for change in the various evolutionary stages of the workshops. This desire was not isolated to the workshops, however. Increasingly, through the National Indian Youth Council, the myriad regional youth councils, and many other individual workshop alumni, the message of using education as a tool for self-determination stretched across university campuses nationwide. Protests, occasionally sponsored by the NIYC and more often than not the impulses of localized student anger and rebellion, forced academic institutions to create American Indian or Native American studies programs, the majority of which still flourish today. Protests were not limited to the pursuit of education, however, and encompassed such issues as tribal self-determination, cultural retention, boycotting of Indian mascots for sports teams, and many different issues of abuse at the hands of city, state, and business organizations across the country. Ironically, however, as the workshops were altered to reflect the growing militancy and political awareness of its student body, so funding and interest waned. At the height of American Indian militant protest and the fire and violence of the American Indian Movement, the workshops closed their doors. The 1972 Clyde Warrior Memorial Workshop on American Indian Affairs was the final installment in this chapter of American Indian education and intellectual sovereignty.


The legacy of the workshops, which began as an anthropological experiment but ended as a vehicle for intellectual self-determination, is found in the sheer scale of successful alumni it produced. The original aim of producing "wise Indian leaders" succeeded, although, more often than not, not in the manner in which Sol Tax or D'Arcy McNickle had intended. Among the over three hundred students who passed through the workshop doors, there were numerous lawyers, judges, tribal leaders, educators, business leaders, award-winning artists, and activists. The workshops built a community that lasted long beyond the summer enrollment and far into adulthood for many of the students. Far from simply offering alternatives to the status quo, the workshops offered the students the chance to grow intellectually bold enough to demand intellectual sovereignty from the faculty at the same time as they demanded cultural and political sovereignty and self-determination from the federal government. The workshops were certainly not the single most influential catalyst of this change, but they played a hugely significant role in it by offering the students a safe environment in which they could experiment with and discuss intellectual solutions to Indian affairs free from the supervision or interference of teachers, social workers, or bia personnel. This safe environment gave them the confidence to challenge the status quo and, in many instances, force lasting change in American Indian affairs.

Perhaps, though, the legacy is best summarized in the words of the alumni themselves. For many, it was the knowledge that they and their people were not alone in their experiences that drove them on to bigger and better things. Delaine Byington (Sioux) declared that "the Workshops brought together many people who would never have met. Many friendships would not have come about if it wasn't for the Workshop." Jeri Cross remembered that the workshops gave her "a voice" with which she could express her anger and frustration. Prior to the workshops she, as with many of her peers, had no way to express her sense of injustice at Indian affairs or the inequality of the poverty of Indian communities when compared to white communities right next door. Bernadine Eschief claimed that "from all these varied individuals came much valuable and vicarious knowledge." Robert Dumont (Sioux-Assiniboine) testified that "it cannot be said we learned about Indian problems and legal procedures, for we learned more than these things, we learned of ourselves." (49)


(1.) Albert L. Wahrhaftig, "Looking Back to Tahlequah: Robert K. Thomas' Role among the Oklahoma Cherokee, 1963-1967," in A Good Cherokee, a Good Anthropologist, ed. Steve Pavlik (Berkeley: University of California, American Indian Studies, 1998), 93.

(2.) Rosalie Wax, "A Brief History and Analysis of the Workshops on American Indian Affairs Conducted for American Indian College Students, 19561960," 4, manuscript, Murray L. Wax Papers, Roger and Julie Bases Department of Special Collections, Newberry Library, Chicago. Also, Arrow Inc. was an offshoot of the NCAI that was formed in part to offset crippling tax charges by the federal government. For more information, see Thomas Cowger's The National Congress of American Indians: The Founding Years (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).

(3.) Wax, A Brief History, 13; interview with A1 Wahrhaftig, October 8, 2010.

(4.) Wax, A Brief History, 14; Rosalie Wax and Robert K. Thomas, "American Indians and White People," Phylon 22, no. 4 (1961): 315.

(5.) Student assessments, box 7, folder 12, Robert Rietz Papers, University of Chicago Library, Chicago.

(6.) Indian Progress: Newsletter of the Workshop on American Indian Affairs, no. 1, July 8, 1960, box 9, folder 5, Sol Tax Collection, Records of the American Indian Charter Convention, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

(7.) Wax, "Report," 3.

(8.) Wax, "Report," 2.

(9.) Wax, "Report," 15, 2. There is a rich, unintended irony about the "American Indians and White People" article in that while Wax and Thomas decry white interference in American Indian lives to create certain reactions or outcomes as culturally aggressive and jarring, they openly extol the virtue of interfering and experimenting with their workshop students to arrive at predeterminedly acceptable modes of student behavior and reaction.

(10.) McNickle's life and career have been documented in a number of texts, perhaps the most respected of which is Dorothy Parker's Singing an Indian Song: A Biography of D'Arcy McNickle (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992). This career included, among other things, working as an author, novelist, and program director for the Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian. The text quote is from page 186.

(11.) "Education for Leadership," information factsheet on the 1961 workshop, 4, box 7, folder 3, Rietz Papers.

(12.) Parker, Singing an Indian Song, 190.

(13.) Wax, "Report," 5; see also "Education for Leadership."

(14.) Wax, "Report," 5.

(15.) "Education for Leadership."

(16.) There are many excellent articles written about the Chicago Conference, with Nancy O. Lurie's "The Voice of the American Indian: Report on the American Indian Chicago Conference," Current Anthropology 2 (December 1961), being the most authoritative, as she was assistant coordinator under Sol Tax.

(17.) Interview with Shirley Hill Witt, March 9, 2010; Clyde Warrior, lecture on social movements, Wayne State University, February 4, 1966, transcript in author's possession.

(18.) Although the actual number of students who founded the National Indian Youth Council was nine, there were many more who originally signed up for the idea at Chicago.

(19.) Herb Blatchford to Mel Thom, June 28, 1961, box 1, folder 11, National Indian Youth Council Papers, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico; McNickle quoted in L. Hauptman and J. Campisi, "Eastern Indian Communities Strive for Recognition," in Major Problems in American Indian History, 2nd ed" ed. A. Hurtado and P. Iverson (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001).

(20.) Interview with Shirley Hill Witt, March 9, 2010.

(21.) Clyde Warrior, 1962 assignments, box 7, folder 3, Rietz Papers.

(22.) Tape recording of Robert Thomas lecture on folk society.

(23.) John Collier, The Indians of the Americas (New York: Norton, 1947), 326.

(24.) Thomas, folk society lecture.

(25.) Robert K. Thomas, "Population Trends in American Indian Communities," presented at the American Indian Chicago Conference, in Native American Tribalism, by D'Arcy McNickle (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), 7.

(26.) McNickle's warning came as the NCAI fought congressional termination policy on behalf of its member tribes and is probably the most succinct summation of the American Indian struggle during the twentieth century. See Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians, 113.

(27.) Indian Progress, no. 3, July 10, 1961, 3, box 7, folder 4, Rietz Papers.

(28.) Indian Progress, no. 3, July 10, 1961, 3.

(29.) Indian Progress, no. 4, July 17, 1961, 3, box 7, folder 4, Rietz Papers.

(30.) Wax and Thomas, "American Indians and White People," 307. The "joining them" and "drinking late" quotes are from Bradley Glenn Shreve, Red Power Rising: The National Indian Youth Council and the Origins of Intertribal Activism (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011), 93, 100. The "couldn't get up" quote is from an interview with Della Warrior, February 17, 2010.

(31.) Indian Progress, no. 3, July 10, 1961, 4.

(32.) Indian Progress, no. 4, July 17, 1961, 2.

(33.) Records of the American Indian Charter Convention, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. Shreve's text Red Power Rising gives an excellent and detailed account of the Gallup meeting. The text quote is from Indian Progress, no. 5, March 30, 1962, box 9, folder 5, Records of the American Indian Charter Convention.

(34.) Indian Progress, no. 5, March 30, 1962.

(35.) Interview with Jeri Red Corn, October 12, 2010; Workshop on American Indian Affairs, 1962 Report, 5, box 8, folder 7, Rietz Papers; Mrs. John Cragun to Clarence and Alice Wesley and Ruth Bronson, July 1962, box 12, folder 15, Helen Peterson Papers, National Museum of the American Indian Archives; Rietz quote from the 1962 Report, 5.

(36.) Cohen's essays formed the bedrock of all future academic analysis of Indian reservations as being subject to internal colonial rule. Written in the 1950s, they mapped out the many ways that the American government served as internal colonial "master" over the Indian nations of the United States. See Cohen, "Colonialism: A Realistic Approach," Ethics 55, no. 3 (1945), and "Colonialism: U.S. Style," Progressive 15, no. 2 (February 1951); Robert K. Thomas, "Cherokee Values and Worldview," unpublished MS, University of North Carolina, 1958, and "Social Problems of the Eastern Cherokee," also unpublished.

(37.) 1962 Report, 5.

(38.) Clyde Warrior, 1962 final exam, box 7, folder 3, Rietz Papers.

(39.) Warrior, 1962 final exam.

(40.) Jeri Cross, 1962 final exam, box 21, folder 19, Peterson Papers.

(41.) Della Hopper, 1962 exam, folder 6, box 29, Peterson Papers.

(42.) 1962 Report.

(43.) Workshop on American Indian Affairs, 1963 Report, 5-6, box 25, folder 7, Peterson Papers.

(44.) 1963 Report, 12.

(45.) Email exchange with A1 Wahrhaftig, February 29, 2012.

(46.) Telephone interview with Al Wahrhaftig, September 19, 2010.

(47.) National Indian Youth Council press release, box 1, folder 14, National Indian Youth Council Papers.

(48.) Bob Dumont to Clyde Warrior, November 27, 1967, box 1, folder 6, Robert V. Dumont Jr. Papers, Native American Educational Services, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

(49.) Student assessments.
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Author:McKenzie-Jones, Paul
Publication:The American Indian Quarterly
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Date:Mar 22, 2014
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