5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
This paper examines the public events surrounding Benjamin O’Fallon’s 1822 delegation of Plains Indian leaders. The O’Fallon delegation brought Pawnee, Omaha, Kansas, Oto, and Missouri leaders to Washington DC for the first time, where they met with President Monroe, sat for portraits, attended social gatherings, and were at the center of various public performances. In this paper I focus on the speeches that the Plains Indian delegates delivered to President Monroe in the White House, and situate these within the larger context of the social interactions between the delegates and Washington civil society. Through these various publication events the Plains Indian delegation challenged and manipulated Americans’ ideological and affective preconceptions of Indianness, and asserted Native autonomy west of the Missouri at a moment of national consolidation and imperial aspirations. These performances were therefore projective acts that staged the tensions between Indian nations and the US at a historical moment marked by increasing US imperialism.
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