In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, federal Indian policy in the United States sought to assimilate American Indians into Euro-American society. Markers of indigenous culture, namely, songs, dances, and ceremonies, were largely targeted by assimilationists because they were considered the strongest barriers to citizenship. In spite of these restrictions, towns across the nation were simultaneously incorporating Indian performances and imagery into local and regional tourist endeavors, putting themselves at odds with Indian policy edicts. This article highlights the struggles between federal policies and Wisconsin state tourism initiatives that pitted town business owners and boosters, who often turned to tourism in hopes of increasing their visibility and advancing their economies, against government agents who considered these cultural components to be the clearest symbols of indigenous savagery. Indians became integral components of numerous ventures in Wisconsin's tourism industry even as government officials worked to eradicate indigenous culture and assimilate Indians.
Katrina Phillips; Performance over Policy: Promoting Indianness in Twentieth-Century Wisconsin Tourism. Radical History Review 1 October 2017; 2017 (129): 34–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-3920667
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