In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, indigenous communities in the United States and Australia suffered a common experience at the hands of state authorities: the removal of their children to institutions in the name of assimilating American Indians and protecting Aboriginal people. Although officially characterized as benevolent, these government policiesIn the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, indigenous communities in the United States and Australia suffered a common experience at the hands of state authorities: the removal of their children to institutions in the name of assimilating American Indians and protecting Aboriginal people. Although officially characterized as benevolent, these government policies often inflicted great trauma on indigenous families and ultimately served the settler nations' larger goals of consolidating control over indigenous peoples and their lands. "White Mother to a Dark Race" takes the study of indigenous education and acculturation in new directions in its examination of the key roles white women played in these policies of indigenous child-removal. Government officials, missionaries, and reformers justified the removal of indigenous children in particularly gendered ways by focusing on the supposed deficiencies of indigenous mothers, the alleged barbarity of indigenous men, and the lack of a patriarchal nuclear family. Often they deemed white women the most appropriate agents to carry out these child-removal policies. Inspired by the maternalist movement of the era, many white women were eager to serve as surrogate mothers to indigenous children and maneuvered to influence public policy affecting indigenous people. Although some white women developed caring relationships with indigenous children and others became critical of government policies, many became hopelessly ensnared in this insidious colonial policy....
|Title||:||White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940|
|Number of Pages||:||592 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940 Reviews
I knew this book would be hard to read because I know the outline of the story here. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, white Americans and Australians practiced a new strategy to obtain and secure large territories that had been occupied by indigenous peoples: they labeled indigenous homes, families, and mothers 'deficient' and 'pathological,' and sought to 'save' children in those communities by kidnapping them and sending them to orphanages, missions, and boarding schools. The whole business is an atrocity; in Australia, along with all of the other despicable practices, it amounted to near-genocide. Jacobs addresses this terrible and shameful history, pointing out where the US and Australia diverged and where they took the same unbelievable path. "White Mother to a Dark Race" is full of detail, oral histories and memoirs, not enough photographs, and thorough research. I found myself shaking my head throughout and wondering 'how can people do this to each other?' Racism, ethnocentrism, greed, and the dangerous 'missionary zeal,' just to start. How horrible.
"It's time to discard the Band Aids, remove the blindfolds, and squarely confront our pasts." -Margaret Jacobs (433)Jacobs' comparative work focuses on the indigenous removal policies of Australia and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She argues that the policies of child removal and boarding schools were not a matter of education, but more an attempt to assimilate the indigenous cultures into the larger colonial nations. This argument is not new, but her comparative and gendered approach to these polices provide new critical understandings about these removal policies. Focusing on the role of white women and maternalist concepts of the time, Jacobs shows us the inherit paradox of removing children from "unfit" mothers, yet inherently breaking the familial bonds so sacred to these women and maternalist thought. A truly thought-provoking read!I suggest this for all who are interested in comparative ethnohistory and indigenous policy through a gendered lens.
A big, bold book. Jacobs is fearless in two respects: first, in attempting such an ambitious, intercontinental work of comparison, and second, in recounting her findings frankly, aware that they will not be taken well by certain interest groups, but going ahead anyway. It is a hard teaching when Jacobs tells us that many well-meaning white women participated in the destruction of aboriginal families. It is a harder teaching when she shows that some of the maternalists were not even well-meaning. I read this work mainly to tone up my treatments of matters aboriginal in my course on the history of Australia & New Zealand, but I learned a fair bit that was new in regard to American Indian history, too.
I agreed with the book's overall argument but it also felt in points that the author was more interested in white women's overall actions, complicity and journeys than in those of indigenous people. I was more interested in the later. I was also surprised, having read Canadian material on similar topics, how little attention that was given to abuse of children in the schools. I wonder if this reflects historical documents of the period? The 1960s material about indigenous activism and the ongoing impact on contemporary families gets put in the epilogue, which is too bad as it was among the most interesting sections in the book. Still, it's a well researched and cohesive look and contrast between American and Australian practices of child removal.
It was an interesting read. However the repetition detracted for the flow and readability of the book, not to mention made it significantly longer than necessary. Nevertheless the comparison of the US and Australian indigenous policy was wonderful and allowed for a much broader understanding of policy and regulation of motherhood. There were a lot of generalizations without any of statistical analysis, even though the data is available for the US policies.
Probably the most heartbreaking book I've ever read. Jacobs compares the policies of Indian removal in American and Australia and powerfully shows that a "benevolent" form of colonialism still had brutal results.
I want to read more of this, I've only read chunks from the middle. It seems extremely useful and still obviously relevant.
Do watch Tracey Moffatt's "Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy" after reading this. There are no words to speak of these traumas.
This is a marvelous book that weaves together the history of women, gender, and race into larger themes of late nineteenth-century nation-building.