Abstract: Construction of American Indian Racial Perception and Identity in the Greater Reconstruction Era

In this project, I will examine the question of how the conflicts during the incorporation of the American West and the redefinition of citizenship during the Greater Reconstruction Era between 1845 to 1877 influenced the construction American Indians’ perception of their racial identity and of African Americans on the Indian Territory. In this period, the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” underwent the important reconstruction with other groups of people in the United States and attempted to rationalize their identity against the backdrop of the radical changes. It is important to examine how the participation of Indians in this transformative era of American history worked in the ongoing development of Indian racial ideas and contributed to the racial dynamics in the United States. It would also provide the historical perspective for the contemporary controversies over the “black Indians”. I would mainly make use of the historical approach to analyze the subject by examining both primary and secondary sources. For secondary sources, I will use scholarly articles and books of both Greater Reconstruction and race theories. For primary sources, I would focus on archives, publication, and digital collections of documents. The archive would include but not limited to family photos, records of genealogy, business accounts and correspondence.

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