1 Preface, vii-xxi
Lori Taylor, Telling Stories about Mormons and Indians
The trouble with narrative—telling stories, making histories—is that it is so easy, but thinking about it is so hard.
Greg Dening, Performances1
As to re-member presupposes that something has been dismembered, or lost, or forgotten, so too, to repeat suggests that what is repeated is discrete in some sense, and hence repeatable instead of a mere continuation. One of the ironies that inheres in the notion of repetition is that only those things that are finished in some sense can be repeated.
Regina M. Schwartz, The Curse of Cain2
Compelling stories link Mormons and American Indians, stories in the Book of Mormon, in early Mormon doctrines and popular beliefs and practices, and in current popular beliefs. Since Mormons claim (or claimed) to know some religious truths about American Indians as a people apart, the relationships of early Mormons and American Indians might well reveal some important truths about Mormons, particularly Latter-day Saints, and the rocky road to the rocky idea of a universal church in which race does not set any particular people apart.3 Most of these stories have their roots in the period from the 1820s as Joseph Smith was developing his religious thought to the 1840s when a large body of Mormons migrated to the Rocky Mountains.
Though there seems to be less emphasis right now than in times past on a Mormon claim to have a sacred history of and the keys to the spiritual destinies of American Indians, the idea is still available for all to see in Mormon histories and scriptures. Many people still spend great energy investigating the relationship of Mormons and Indians. Mormons still teach about the first mission to the Indians of 1830-1831 in Sunday School classes; individuals spend whole lives and careers collecting and collating information in archaeology, anthropology, and history; and in small groups and among friends, sometimes in whispers, Mormons tell stories. These stories pull Mormons and Indians together and push them apart. Complex relationships among Mormons and Indians tell intriguing stories of the interplay of peoples at American geographical and cultural boundaries.
The content of history is the result of the questions asked by the historian. Some of the questions I ask myself could result in fairly conventional histories—What really happened between Mormons and Indians before 1850? But that was neither where my own curiosity started nor ended. I started with something more like, What on earth compels Mormons to treat Indians the way they do? Buried in there is a question, How DO Mormons treat Indians? I decided not to go at these complex questions directly but to look at the foundations of Mormon assumptions and behavior from the early period. This still starts in the middle of the story, since Mormons brought widely varying assumptions to their new loyalties. My curiosities lead me to ask, How do Mormons remember the early period and for what purposes? How else might they remember? Who else remembers? Though my questions do not stop there, the project generally does.
These questions, and the innovators I have mentioned, have guided me to take a variety of approaches within the covers of one dissertation project. As different as these chapters sometimes are, they all work toward my exploration of answers. What I create here is not just a string of facts about early Mormons and Indians, though I do spend one chapter doing something like that. I have also considered the underlying motivations for Mormons seeking contact with Indians in an exploration of Mormon doctrines and policies and their implications. I have considered how pieces of the past have been shaped into usable stories for popular history and mass consumption. I suggest that in alternative sources we might find very different versions of the underlying relationship between this religion born in North America and in the indigenous peoples who surrounded its birth. I ask about the range of forms in which we could tell these stories. And finally I suggest that the deep commitment of a few Mormons to Indians, both real and theoretical, has never ended despite the decline in institutional interest. Because of the way information has been shaped within the movement and within the broader American culture, this can be problematic, but there is no doubt that the most interesting connections are being made outside of the mainstream.
Some historians continue to insist that they tell truth rather than stories, but there has been considerable return to history as storytelling, “a celebration of the imaginative elements in historical reconstruction, a greater awareness of history writing as a literary practice.”4 This is storytelling as a strategic practice. In an effort not to recreate the assumptions of the dominant discourse in their form, storytellers in history, law, and anthropology set out to deny the progressive view of the forward march of knowledge, each work advancing the whole gradually. These small narratives do not aid the dominant discourse in its progress nor do they directly oppose dominant discourse through reactionary critiques. They disrupt grand linear narratives with small narratives.5
Though there has been more movement toward acknowledging the blurred lines between history and fiction in recent decades, it is still a nasty, dangerous place to wander for some but a place full of possibility for those not so heavily invested in the authority of historical enquiry. I am inspired to experiment with form on seeing the success in play between history and fiction in work of Simon Schama and Natalie Zemon Davis, or in narrative forms in play between history and anthropology in the work of Greg Dening and Richard Price and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing.6 Each of them has received frightened criticism from defenders of discipline as well as highest praise for extending the horizon of possibility in form.
I see in narratives such as these the potential for the gradual unfolding of purposes, in contrast to the conventional Western pattern of a beginning which rouses interest, middle which comprises an orderly and complete succession of events, climax which forms story’s point, and end which leaves the mind at rest. Isn’t this the pattern we expect in both history and fiction? In the logic of Western convention, anything other than this is a bad story.7 The academic twist on this is what we teach students to write: This is what I am going to tell you; this is what I am telling you; this is what I told you. Not only that, but the form of histories from the West is still often expected to be progressive—a picture of society moving from somewhere present toward somewhere future. Progress might lead toward democracy or capitalism or proletariat communism or the coming of a messiah, and history is to reflect the assumptions of progress. Though postmodern historian Keith Jenkins claims that “nobody believes in those particular fantasies anymore,” older generations and canons do not yield so easily.8 Many Mormons, and undoubtedly others who are conservative of Western ideologies, do still expect progressive history. The story of the progress of Latter-day Saints from the rise of the West to the inevitable millennial rule of Christ is, in fact, the only history Mormons should be telling, according to Boyd K. Packer, who is currently first in line for the LDS Presidency. “Your objective,” he told teachers of LDS church history at their annual meeting a short generation ago, “should be that [students] will see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now.”9 Progressive history and conventional plots may “look absurd” to many within the academic practice of history and the philosophy of history, but in practice those who continue to use popular history to further their specific ends remain far from convinced. There is resistance to innovative forms, but there is also precedent for innovation.
There have been scholarly innovations in many fields which can inform a study of early Mormons and Indians. I refer to many innovators outside of the immediate subject area because there is not so much written about Mormons and Indians before Brigham Young and his followers crossed the Plains. On the early period there are perhaps ten articles and a few paragraphs in a few Mormon history books.10 Only two articles begin to ask questions beyond who and what—Keith Parry’s “Joseph Smith and the Clash of Sacred Cultures” and Ronald Walker’s “Seeking the ‘Remnant’: The Native American During the Joseph Smith Period.” After writing a dissertation about the Mormon mission to the Blood Indians near Cardston, Alberta, as an agent of social change, Parry contributed his article on the deep differences and misunderstandings between Mormons and Indians to an issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought devoted to Mormons and Indians in 1985, soon after the death of LDS church President Spencer W. Kimball, who was known for his concern about American Indians.11 Ronald Walker’s article was based on his Presidential address to the Mormon History Association in 1992. Walker’s survey dug deeper than any other work had to that point into the continuity of relations between Mormons and Indians, in contrast to the general dismissals popular histories of early Mormons give the role of Indians. Parry did not just ask who did what when. He sought evidence of the cultural differences that led to varying interpretations between Mormons and Indians of their relationships with one another. Walker did not just string together primary reports of contacts but sought answers to the question that sources seemed to cover up: what were Mormons and Indians really up to together? Both of these articles ask interesting questions of their material.
Mormon history cannot be created in isolation from the fields to which it is related. I attempt in this study to take into account recent innovations in writing about religions in the U.S., innovations in writing about American Indians, and proposed innovations in writing about Mormons. In the writing of the history of religions, the first important innovation I see is, ironically, an openness to consider aspects of religious experience beyond the material. A decade ago, Martin Marty, a historian of U.S. religions who has occasionally written on Mormons, saw “disarray in the ranks” of scholars who, a generation ago, “ruled out reference to the metaphysical.”12 He documented the ways in which scholars in many disciplines have made an effort over the past several decades to deal with “the perduring presence of the passional in its sacral and religious forms.”13 Some historians of religion, it appears, have been able to break away from the idea that society (including religion) is on a path of increasing and inevitable secularization. Moving far beyond such a realization, a recent collection of essays, Retelling U.S. Religious History, question the canon in their field and find new ways of situating stories of the past beyond grand narratives.14 In a similar way, I have attempted to break down the grand narratives of early Mormon history that have forgotten Indians or pushed them into the smallest of roles as objects of missions, by creating small, situated stories that show Indians and Mormons as peoples in exchange.
One could point in many directions to find the paths of innovation in writing about American Indians. One of the authors in the collection of essays on religion, Joel W. Martin, a professor of religious studies, has also been working to publicize new ways of writing American Indian history. Together with M. Annette Jaimes, a native writer and activist, he edited a collection of essays by scholars, native and non-native, who use new and old methods to write past the colonialist discourses that have dominated writings about Indians for so long.15 Twenty years ago Richard Drinnon published Facing West and Robert Berkhofer, Jr., published White Man’s Indian, two books that exposed the colonialist views still popular of American Indians.16 Vine Deloria, Jr., and Ward Churchill, two native scholars, have been prolific in their essays on a huge variety of subjects that have changed the landscape of writing concerning American Indians.17 Calvin Martin, once a young upstart in history and never well-loved for his iconoclastic ideas and methods, edited in 1987 a collection of essays that question the possibility of imposing Western ideas of time on American Indian history.18 Devon Mihesuah, a professor of history, has more recently edited a lively and confrontational collection of essays by native scholars, originally published in American Indian Quarterly, on the state of scholarship on American Indians, questioning many of the previously cherished assumptions about what should be asked and who should ask.19 Gerald Vizenor, a professor of Native American Literature and an award-winning writer, questions representations of Indianness in narratives that play with words and ideas far more originally than most of us can stretch our reading imaginations, let alone our writing imaginations.20 Even in an area that can be applied much more directly to the study of Mormons and Indians, missions and missionaries, George Tinker, a native professor of theology, has stretched the boundaries of possibilities by writing about the work of major missionary figures as acts of genocide.21 Such a short list is sadly lacking as an overview of innovations that must be considered when writing history that includes American Indians, but perhaps it points out some of the important directions various people have gone to overcome the lack they saw. I have drawn insights and cautions from all of these works.
The stories I tell here are predominantly about Mormons—mostly white, mostly male. When Indians are part of the stories, this happens at points of cultural contact, not in native peoples’ own untranslatable cultures. Those would not be my stories to tell. But I can recognize and resist the one-dimensional Indians of other contact stories. Some of the Indians in these narratives are products of Mormons’ assumptions and imaginations; others are real people with their own reasons for engaging in contact with Mormons. Indians are not in these stories passive receptors to Mormon intentions, though I do talk about the ways in which Mormon stories sometimes represent them as such. An important way in which my content is influenced by innovations in the various fields I mention is in my effort to create active Indian characters out of whatever traces I might find of them in relics of the past.
Among writers of Mormon history the innovations beyond conventional history are fewer and not so impressive, but the potential remains. In particular I point to the comments and proddings of Paul Edwards, retired director of the RLDS Temple School, who has been calling more and more loudly for some kind of change in the way Mormons approach their history. Nearly twenty years ago he suggested that what Mormon history needed was a reevaluation of the questions historians start with, since “Much of what is being written in Mormon history answers questions that are no longer being asked.”22 More recently, reflecting on the first twenty-five years of the Mormon History Association from 1965 to 1990, he considered how Mormon history during that period, new Mormon history, had been briefly revolutionary but its increasing respectability made it less interesting “to the revolutionary mind.”23 He found the movement which was once historical revision was itself ripe for revision—a revision of methods this time. “The desperation of the search [for truth in new Mormon history] reflects the fading power of the current message (or at least the current methods of conveying that message) to grasp the hearts and minds of those for whom the Church has always been a community of heart.”24 He seems, over time, to have made clearer suggestions of what might be done to revitalize the stories of past at the center of the faith of so many. By 1998, he openly declared the RLDS church to be “boring,” concluding that a loss of spirituality was in part related to historical approach.25 “[T]he story told by the church does not match the experience of the members.”26 Though he is not writing here of broadly Mormon history, his points are still broadly applicable. He seeks a new myth and a new approach. He spells it out: Mormon historians suffer lingering, unexamined notions of objectivity and default naive realism. They suffer because of their lack of consideration of the philosophy of history, particularly postmodern history.27 As a model for the form of the new myth he offers midrash, the Jewish way of telling ancient tradition through the present process—a storied story. This form “prefers the consideration of multi-meanings[,] paradoxes, ambiguities, contradictions and the irrational complexities of story.”28 It seems that what he describes is something like the story Greg Dening has created of the mutiny on the Bounty in Mr. Bligh’s Bad Language.29 I do not see storied stories of Mormon history outside of scripture and scriptural commentary right now, but the potential is great.30
Because Mormons share some kind of commonality, even when the nature of that commonality is in dispute—“a community of heart,” Paul Edwards called it—we have found ourselves bound in tight enough circles that we have discussed many of these issues of the practice of history among ourselves even beyond normal disciplinary boundaries. Because of the discussions which have gone before, because of the kind of commitment so many hold to finding a way to speak about Mormons as a people, because of the tight enough circles we have in place, we have the potential to really work on the knots of some of these questions until we find answers and more questions that revitalize the uses and meanings of the past among us. These discussions ought to be informed by similar discussions elsewhere, but what we create together has the potential to be something different. We do not have to create a new, new history, or a post-new history because we need not act within boundaries imposed by disciplines and categories of creating and telling of ourselves. We can create ourselves as we see fit. We can create our past as we see fit. As we do so, we can discuss amongst ourselves how to shape our creations, our representations, and our products.
If Mormon history as practiced, traditional or revisionist, leaves its audiences dissatisfied, whether it is over questions of faith or lingering objectivism or because it does not match peoples’ experiences, it seems clear that not just the context but the form must be consciously changed by the writers of Mormon history. The writers of Mormon history must acknowledge that their writing is, as Greg Dening argues, performance. They are responsible for understanding that “a reader can be intrigued freely by one sentence to read the next.”31 Appeal to factuality does not necessarily attract a reader to history; the writer attracts the reader with a construction that is compelling and persuasive. Since stories of Mormons and Indians are obviously most personally and collectively relevant to a Mormon audience, I must consider what innovations might reach a Mormon audience.
Still, though I often tell Mormon history in the first person plural, I do not necessarily assume an audience of Mormon readers who join me in “we” because I do not discount the possibility that others might be listening. I consider multiple receptions of this work among diverse readers who may have a passing or even a passionate interest in the knot of problems I bring together here. I make occasional contextualizing comments for some when context may seem obvious to others. If I state the obvious, maybe it just was not obvious to me.
What I offer here is not history in the conventional, academic sense but a narrative on history that is interdisciplinary in its models and sources. I find this a far more effective and far more interesting way to explore the past. Occasionally throughout this work, I refer to scholars in the history of science, in folklore, in law, and even in history, whose work has some bearing on writing about religion or history or ethics. I have taken to heart the lessons from new theories which Robert Berkhofer assesses in Beyond the Great Story, assuming with him that we can and must find new ways of writing, teaching, reviewing, and reading histories in order to keep our explorations of the past vital.32 Taken together, the innovations I mention explicitly and others I do not, show some of the ways that related areas have already opened up the possibilities in writing of Mormons and Indians. The ways in which we can make the past vital in the present are limited only by our imaginations.
Michael Kammen writes that the one thing we can assert with assurance about group memory is that “individuals and small groups who are strongly tradition-oriented commonly seek to stimulate a shared sense of the past” within the group.33 I am, undoubtedly, one of those strongly tradition-oriented individuals seeking to stimulate the shared Mormon past. I did my genealogy when I was ten; I am known in my family as being one interested in family history and stories; and I took Church history courses when I was in college at Brigham Young University. But this has not been my career. My career has been based on my interests in aspects of traditional and popular culture. The ways I have worked with film, music, politics, and their social and material cultures inevitably shape the way I come to this topic. I have spent many years attempting to understand the politics of culture in various culture pockets, and this project can be considered my attempt to join the politics of Mormon culture with some of my other concerns.34
It is not inevitable that I address the issues of memory, history, authority, and the sacred through Mormons and Indians. That developed through my experience. I am a native of the group. I grew up in the cultural core—on the Mormon reservation in Utah, as someone pointed out to me. I have been privileged in color (white) and genealogy (with seven generations of Mormon ancestors before me), othered in gender (woman) and maybe in politics and culture. From this place, a place of no particular authority other than the currency of my academic degrees, I create a representation of my own situated knowledge of Mormons and Indians. I want to know more about the root causes of consequences I see among people I know. I have watched the culture I live and love break the hearts of people I love through Mormon Indian doctrines and programs and the deep assumptions that surround them. I want to know why. As I have attempted to find out why, I have learned many interesting stories. I made these stories out of interpretations I found and interpretations I made. I did not reconstruct these stories from a past story; I constructed them from relics of the past. These stories seem to weave themselves together and hold on to one another. In time, as I have collected and considered this material, these stories have created for me a whole picture of early Mormons and Indians, of religion and the sacred, of history and memory, of ambivalence and multiplicity.
This is NOT a church history, though it is Latter-day Saint-oriented (because I am a Latter-day Saint perhaps?). This is NOT Indian history, though sometimes I focus on situations of contact between Indians and Mormons. This is NOT a history that aspires to be definitive—there are plenty of those to be found elsewhere. I am not attempting in any way to speak other than as who I am and where I stand—though admittedly I have tried to stand wide. I stand in a web of influences which include institutions, and it is easy to focus on these, but they do not determine where I stand. I do not protect an institutional base. I find no reason to avoid the private in favor of the institutional. This, in fact, is one of the points I am trying to make: that I must bring some of what is private into light among us in order to expand our view of the collective history. It is precisely because of the professionalization of Mormon history and the foundation of knowledge we have of ourselves past and present that I feel quite comfortable in insisting that I, at least, must take my history writing to another place.
Covering small areas within the broad area of relationships of Mormons and Indians, the whole of this dissertation grows slowly while tensions build up to a middle chapter after which the pieces to not fit tidily together and tensions increase between legitimate scholarship and the ideas I cover.35 I leave things in pieces while clearly taking my own stand in favor of multiple and particularly vernacular versions of history. After this more personal explanation of the background of this project in the Preface, I explore the academic considerations in writing on the subject of people’s sacred history in the Introduction, “Re/Dismembering Mormon Sacred History.” I set out the terms through which my readers will come to understand the relationship of early Mormons and Indians—memory, history, authority, sacred. I expose the entanglement of the terms in discussions of authority, ideologies of disbelief, and collective memory. I join the ideas of memory and history with specifics of Mormon doctrines on Indians in Chapter 1, “Forging Lamanites: Mormon Doctrines on Indians and Race.” I also discuss broader race theories as they concern American Indians. In Chapter 2, “Remembering the First Mission: Reaching out to the Lamanites,” I show the importance of Indians to early Mormons who sent missionaries soon after establishing the church in 1830 and the importance of remembering that mission in various official and popular forms since then. In Chapter 3, “Alliances and Removals: Finding a Home among the Indians,” I show the active involvement of Indians, particularly as members, in early church history (1830s-1840s), and I discuss how these stories are and are not part of our various histories (institutional, family, popular, and other histories). I tell a story of Mormon origins from a (filtered) Indian view in Chapter 4, “Joseph Smith in Iroquois Country: a Mormon Creation Story.” Since the story claims followers of Seneca prophet Handsome Lake taught Joseph Smith when he was young, I examine the plausibility of those claims. In Chapter 5, “Asking Uncomfortable Questions, Telling Untidy Stories,” I explore what forms are available to tell histories that do not fit popular models. Through pageants, fictions and forgeries, I wonder how Mormon similarities and differences to Indians have been and can be imagined. Finally, in Chapter 6, “Forget Indians, Forget History, Forget Dangerous Memories,” I discuss a variety of recent efforts to reconcile Indians, early Mormon history, and the present-day implications of both.
I do not end by endorsing one conclusion. I end by accepting the necessity of many different histories, each situated within a particular, knowable context. I hope that despite the discomfort this ending will cause in some among my audience, reaching this point will have been interesting for the stories told of Mormons and Indians. I have found these stories exciting and entertaining—laugh-out-loud funny, nightmare frightening, and ethically chilling.
Each time these stories pass from person to pen to institution to person to typewriter to you shapes their interpretation. I would like to believe that these stories I am telling in writing are important in the formation of our collective identity, that they will move from my fixed versions to fluid versions told again among us—revised, revived, and relived; affirmed, criticized, reviewed, checked, added to, corrected, reframed, and so on.
- Main Page: Telling Stories about Mormons and Indians
- Current/First Section: 1 Preface
- Next Section: 1.1 Acknowledgments
Lori Elaine Taylor, Telling Stories about Mormons and Indians. Ph.D. dissertation, American Studies. State University of New York at Buffalo, 2000.
- Greg Dening, Performances (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 33.
- Regina M. Schwartz, The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), 174-175.
- The imprecision with which I use the term “Mormon” reflects historical and contemporary usage around me. It may mean members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City, Utah; it may mean those culturally connected though excommunicated, inactive, or “less active” as is so often said; or it may mean those who are actively involved in other restoration groups, other churches and organizations who claim Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon as their own. There is no one precise usage of the term possible as it is continually negotiated. It is sometimes possible to be more precise in referring to Latter-day Saints (LDS, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those who followed Brigham Young after this early period), Latter Day Saints (RLDS, members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those who organized around Joseph Smith III, son Joseph Smith the founder, by 1860; as of 1 January 2001, they will be known as Community of Christ), or others in their locations within the broader movement. I make an effort to refer to people as they refer to themselves, and I favor vernacular rather than institutional usage. For the same reasons, when arguments break out over “Native American,” “indigenous,” “autochthonous,” and so on, I tend to stay with “Indian,” being more specific when I can. Both “Mormon” and “Indian” are common enough nicknames among insiders and outsiders. Both create the illusion of a coherent body of people where none exists. Their use here is strategic.
- Paula Hamilton, “The Knife Edge: Debates about Memory and History.” In Memory and History in Twentieth-Century Australia, eds. Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994), 25.
- I am advocating storytelling as Critical Race theorists do in law reviews. See Richard Delgado, ed., Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1995); and Richard Delgado, The Rodrigo Chronicles: Conversations about America and Race (New York: New York University Press, 1995). According to Marcus and Fischer, anthropologists, variants on defamiliarization used in new narratives might include epistemological critique and cross-cultural juxtaposition. “Disruption of the common sense, doing the unexpected, placing familiar subjects in unfamiliar, or even shocking, contexts are the aims of this strategy to make the reader conscious of difference.” The point to this is “more than an attention-grabber, but is a process that should entail a critical reflecting back on the means of defamiliarization itself.” Marcus Fischer, “Two Contemporary Techniques of Cultural Critique in Anthropology,” 137.
- I mention just one book from each, but their play extends beyond these works: Simon Schama, Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations) (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991); Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983); Greg Dening, Mr. Bligh’s Bad Language: Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Richard Price, Alabi’s World (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990); and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an Out-of-the-Way Place (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993).
- Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 142.
- Keith Jenkins, “Introduction,” The Postmodern History Reader (London: Routledge, 1997), 5.
- Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect,” BYU Studies 21 (Summer 1981): 262.
- In order of publication, these are the works published on or including early Mormons and Indians (before Brigham Young crossed the Plains). A few are less directly about Indians and more about Mormon ideas of Indians. Warren A. Jennings, “Isaac McCoy and the Mormons,” Missouri Historical Review 61/1 (October 1966): 62-82; Lawrence George Coates, “A History of Indian Education by the Mormons, 1830-1900” (D.E. dissertation, Ball State University, 1969); Warren A. Jennings, “The First Mission to the Indians,” The Kansas Historical Quarterly 37/3 (Autumn 1971): 288-299; Lawrence G. Coates, “Brigham Young and Mormon Indian Policies: The Formative Period, 1836-1851,” BYU Studies 18/3 (Spring 1978): 428-451; Lawrence Coates, “Refugees Meet: The Mormons and Indians in Iowa,” BYU Studies 21/4 (Fall 1981): 491-514; Lawrence G. Coates, “Cultural Conflict: Mormons and Indians in Nebraska,” BYU Studies 24/3 (Summer 1984): 275-300; Keith Parry, “Joseph Smith and the Clash of Sacred Cultures,” Dialogue 18/4 (Winter 1985): 65-80; David J. Whittaker, “Mormons and Native Americans: A Historical and Bibliographical Introduction,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18/4 (Winter 1985): 33-64; Richard E. Bennett, “Lamanism, Lymanism, and Cornfields,” Journal of Mormon History 13 (1986-1987): 45-59; G. St. John Stott, “New Jerusalem Abandoned: The Failure to Carry Mormonism to the Delaware,” Journal of American Studies 21/1 (April 1987): 71-85; John A. Price, “Mormon Missions to the Indians,” in Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 4: History of Indian-White Relations, ed. Wilcomb Washburn (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1988): 459-463; Danny L. Jorgensen, “Building the Kingdom of God: Alpheus Cutler and the Second Mormon Mission to the Indians, 1846-1853,” Kansas History 15/3 (Autumn 1992): 192-203; Byron R. Merrill, “Joseph Smith and the Lamanites,” in Joseph Smith: The Prophet, The Man, ed. Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate, Jr. Vol. 17, Religious Studies Center Monograph Series (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1993), 187-202; Ronald Walker, “Seeking the ‘Remnant’: The Native American During the Joseph Smith Period,” Journal of Mormon History 19/1 (Spring 1993): 1-33; and Ronald E. Romig, “The Lamanite Mission,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 14 (1994): 24-33. This list is not exhaustive because I did not find some of the early, unpublished works (theses and class papers on deposit in libraries) to be particularly informative.In order of publication, these are the works published on or including early Mormons and Indians (before Brigham Young crossed the Plains). A few are less directly about Indians and more about Mormon ideas of Indians. Warren A. Jennings, “Isaac McCoy and the Mormons,” Missouri Historical Review 61/1 (October 1966): 62-82; Lawrence George Coates, “A History of Indian Education by the Mormons, 1830-1900” (D.E. dissertation, Ball State University, 1969); Warren A. Jennings, “The First Mission to the Indians,” The Kansas Historical Quarterly 37/3 (Autumn 1971): 288-299; Lawrence G. Coates, “Brigham Young and Mormon Indian Policies: The Formative Period, 1836-1851,” BYU Studies 18/3 (Spring 1978): 428-451; Lawrence Coates, “Refugees Meet: The Mormons and Indians in Iowa,” BYU Studies 21/4 (Fall 1981): 491-514; Lawrence G. Coates, “Cultural Conflict: Mormons and Indians in Nebraska,” BYU Studies 24/3 (Summer 1984): 275-300; Keith Parry, “Joseph Smith and the Clash of Sacred Cultures,” Dialogue 18/4 (Winter 1985): 65-80; David J. Whittaker, “Mormons and Native Americans: A Historical and Bibliographical Introduction,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18/4 (Winter 1985): 33-64; Richard E. Bennett, “Lamanism, Lymanism, and Cornfields,” Journal of Mormon History 13 (1986-1987): 45-59; G. St. John Stott, “New Jerusalem Abandoned: The Failure to Carry Mormonism to the Delaware,” Journal of American Studies 21/1 (April 1987): 71-85; John A. Price, “Mormon Missions to the Indians,” in Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 4: History of Indian-White Relations, ed. Wilcomb Washburn (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1988): 459-463; Danny L. Jorgensen, “Building the Kingdom of God: Alpheus Cutler and the Second Mormon Mission to the Indians, 1846-1853,” Kansas History 15/3 (Autumn 1992): 192-203; Byron R. Merrill, “Joseph Smith and the Lamanites,” in Joseph Smith: The Prophet, The Man, ed. Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate, Jr. Vol. 17, Religious Studies Center Monograph Series (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1993), 187-202; Ronald Walker, “Seeking the ‘Remnant’: The Native American During the Joseph Smith Period,” Journal of Mormon History 19/1 (Spring 1993): 1-33; and Ronald E. Romig, “The Lamanite Mission,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 14 (1994): 24-33. This list is not exhaustive because I did not find some of the early, unpublished works (theses and class papers on deposit in libraries) to be particularly informative. For a few short sketches of early relationships of Mormons and Indians in the most common reference sources for Mormon history, see: Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, “Mormons and Native Americans,” The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints. 2nd ed. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Illini Books, 1992), 146-147; and James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints. 2nd ed. rev. and enlg. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 62-63. See also articles in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Max H. Parkin, “Lamanite Mission of 1830-1831,” 802-804; Bruce A. Chadwick and Thomas Garrow, “Native Americans,” 981-985; Gordon C. Thomasson, “Lamanites,” 805. Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism: The History, Scripture, Doctrine, and Procedure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992).
- Keith William John Parry, “‘To Raise These People Up’: An Examination of a Mormon Mission to an Indian Community As an Agent of Social Change” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Rochester, 1972).
- Martin E. Marty, “The Sacred and Secular in American History.” In Transforming Faith: The Sacred and the Secular in Modern American History. M.L. Bradbury and James B. Gilbert, eds. Contributions to the Study of Religion, Number 23. Jon L. Wakelyn, advisor (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989), 3-4.
- Martin E. Marty, “The Sacred and Secular in American History,” 9.
- Thomas A. Tweed, ed., Retelling U.S. Religious History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
- M. A. Jaimes Guerrero and Joel W. Martin, eds., “The Scholarship of Cultural Contact: Decolonizing Native American History,” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques 21/2 (Spring 1995). Jaimes and Martin guest edited this volume devoted to postcolonial/anticolonial discourse.
- Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1980); and Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: Random House, 1978).
- Among Vine Deloria’s publications are: Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto (London: Macmillan, 1969); We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New Turf (New York: Dell, 1970); God Is Red (New York: Dell, 1973); Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (New York: Scribner, 1995); For This Land: Writing on Religion in America (New York: Routledge, 1999). Among Ward Churchill’s publications are: Marxism and Native Americans (Boston: South End Press, 1982); Critical Issues in Native North America, 2 vols. (Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, 1989 & 1991); Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema and the Colonization of American Indians (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1992); and with Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Boston: South End Press, 1988).
- Calvin Martin, ed., The American Indian and the Problem of History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
- Devon A. Mihesuah, ed., Natives and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1998).
- Among Gerald Vizenor’s works are Manifest Manners: Postindian Warriors of Survivance (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, University Press of New England, 1994); and The Heirs of Columbus (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, University Press of New England, 1991). He won the 1990 American Book Award for Griever: An American Monkey King in China (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).
- George E. Tinker, Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993). In a collection of essays to which Tinker was a contributor, native authors take a variety of approaches to questions of religious identity. These essays are very thought provoking. Jace Weaver, ed., Native American Religious Identity: Unforgotten Gods (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1998). Orbis Books publishes for the Catholic Foreign Mission Service of America.
- Paul M. Edwards, “The Irony of Mormon History,” in Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History, ed. George D. Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992), 23-24. Originally published in Utah Historical Quarterly 41 (Autumn 1973): 393-409. The irony he refers to in Mormon history is that “we have not related the lesson of our religion to the value of our discipline. We have not allowed the revolutionary nature of the movement from which we have sprung to make us revolutionaries.” 23-24.
- Paul M. Edwards, “A Community of Heart,” Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 33.
- Paul M. Edwards, “A Community of Heart,” 32-33, 30.
- Isleta Pement had already said much the same thing in her Presidential address to the John Whitmer Historical Association annual meeting in 1994 when she spoke of “a malaise in our historical community,” which I take rather broadly to include me. She sees this as “an expression of boredom, not about Mormon history, but with it.” Isleta L. Pement, “The Boring of Mormonism,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 15 (1995): 3-4.
- Paul M. Edwards, “Christ-centered Boredom: History and Historians,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 18 (1998): 22. This was given as the John Whitmer Historical Association’s first Sterling McMurrin Memorial Lecture.
- Paul M. Edwards, “Christ-centered Boredom,” 24.
- Paul M. Edwards, “Christ-centered Boredom,” 34.
- Greg Dening, Mr. Bligh’s Bad Language.
- There has been discussion of LDS scripture and scriptural commentary as midrash in many places. In particular see, Anthony A. Hutchinson, “A Mormon Midrash?: LDS Creation Narratives Reconsidered,” Dialogue 21/4 (Winter 1988): 11-74.
- Greg Dening, “Ethnography on the Mind,” Performances, 30.
- Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1995).
- Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), 9-10.
- Kammen, quoted above, is only one of a host of scholars whose understanding of the politics of culture has been helpful in the development of my own. In particular I would like to acknowledge David Whisnant, who has been a personal and a scholarly inspiration in this area. See David E. Whisnant, All That Is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Region (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983).
- I think of the build up and what comes after as two sections very loosely following Michel Foucault’s ideas of archaeology and genealogy. The first three chapters address archaeology—the “production of discourse, its correlation with institutions and systems of order, appropriation, and exclusion.” The second three chapters address genealogy— “resistance to dominant forms of power and knowledge.” Sharon D. Welch, Communities of Resistance and Solidarity: A Feminist Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1985), 19.