Jefferson and the Indians

Based off of these books: Choose one of the writing topics 1. Anthony F. C Wallace, Jefferson and the Indians, by a premier anthropologist and historian 2. Elizabeth Fenn, Encounters at the Heart of the World, a recent Pulitzer Prize Winner, which deals with one of the major Indigenous communities whom Lewis and Clark met along the way 3. Bernard de Voto ed., The Journals of Lewis and Clark, which we will use to follow the “corps of discovery” on its journey, in the second part of the course. Here is your assignment for the first short paper. Based on Wallace, Fenn, and De Voto, what did the Corps of Discovery expect to find when they reached the Mandan villages and prepared to winter over? What experience and knowledge did the Mandans and Arikaras have by 1804 of other people like these latest newcomers? Was the Corps of Discovery different from previous encounters at the heart of the world? Or Picture the conventional image of almost-empty, untouched, unorganized “virgin’ land in the American West. How well does this image apply to the country that the Corps of Discovery encountered when it reached the Mandans and Arikaras? Or What issues were at stake when the Corps of Discovery announced that the Mandans and Arikaras had a new “great father?” How meaningful would this concept have been to the people who heard the announcement? Or How well does the way that people like the Mandans lived fit with your understanding of Indigenous people on the Northern Plains in the early nineteenth century? What other ways of life co-existed with theirs? Or Might it be that in principle the Mandans knew more about their visitors coming up the river than the visitors knew about them? Or Both the Corps of Discovery and the Mandans and Arikaras had deep histories when they met. How did those histories differ? Or How much had the effects of distant colonization already Mandan and Arikara country when the Corps of Discovery arrived from the south? Where had those effects originated.?

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