In Unconventional Politics, Dean studies works by both Native and non-Native writers who tackled “the Indian Question.” She depicts these women as “writer-activists,” documenting how they combined political strategies like delegations, petitions, letter writing and lobbying with conventional literature like poems, novels, magazine fiction and personal narrative to fight against policies that oppressed Indigenous peoples in the United States. Focusing primarily on a suite of writers: Sarah F. Wakefield, Lydia Huntley Sigourney, S. Alice Callahan, and Ora V. Eddleman (two professional and two amateur writers, two Anglo and two Native American), Dean argues that we’ve been unable to appreciate their political and literary activism in part because their activism was less overt than such later-century notables as Helen Hunt Jackson, Zitkala-Ša, and Sarah Winnemucca but also because literary critics’ collective valorization of the sentimental novel as “the primary form women writers...

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