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ERIC Number: EJ904575
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Manifest Meanings: The Selling (Not Telling) of American Indian History and the Case of "The Black Horse Ledger"
Gercken, Becca
American Indian Quarterly, v34 n4 p521-539 Fall 2010
What is the value or perceived necessity--for an Indian or for a white man--of changing Northern Cheyenne history? How are a reader's conclusions affected by her perception of the race of the person altering that history? Why is it acceptable to sell but not tell American Indian history? An examination of the visual and discursive rhetoric of "The Black Horse Ledger," a Northern Cheyenne ledger book history recorded in the late nineteenth century and later defaced, gives one the opportunity to engage these questions. Native American histories have long been contested ground in both the dominant culture and academia, but "The Black Horse Ledger" provides a rare opportunity to see that battle overtly waged on its pages as unknown parties disfigured the original images and made editorial remarks that serve to reinforce the marred history rather than the original record. The coexisting yet competing accounts contained within the ledger embody the unreconciled Indian and Anglo literacies and histories of the American West. The juxtaposition of these opposing literacies and histories forces readers to negotiate the competing economies of meaning that clash in both form and subject. In this article, the author presents an analysis of the visual and discursive rhetoric of "The Black Horse Ledger" and provides a brief history of ledgers, their treatment in academia, and what separates this Northern Cheyenne history from other ledger histories, in particular the most widely known and studied, the ledger art produced by southern Plains Indians imprisoned at Fort Marion, Florida, from 1875 to 1878. The ledger has been doubly altered, first in the drawings themselves and then in the captions provided by an unknown hand. These changes are the focus of the author's argument, changes that tell people that Indians can kill each other but not whites and that whites are, in large part, devoid of culpability for the violence they have wreaked upon America's indigenous peoples and their lands. (Contains 6 figures and 25 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A