Native American Imagery in the Nebraska State Capitol
In the Nebraska State Capitol Supreme Court room there is a tapestry that depicts Manuel Lisa, who many call the first white settler of Nebraska. (Fig. 1) The tapestry, oddly enough, depicts a landscape full of trees with mountains in the background. In the foreground, Manuel Lisa stands with two Indians – a man and a woman. The man stands at attention in a full headdress, and the woman kneels to examine the giant squash, grown from the seeds that Lisa brought to the region. Behind Lisa and the Indians, there is a trading fort, and a man plows the fields. The tapestry is labeled “Manuel Lisa – Agriculture.” The tapestry, like much of the rest of the State Capitol, is careful to show the peaceful existence of white settlers and Native Americans. White men are depicted as peaceful, benevolent, and kind teachers of the Indians. In addition to showing the compassion of the white man for the Indians, the artwork shows the Indian culture in much the same way as we depict Roman and Greek cultures today, by examining the art apart from its people. 1 The government that actively removed Indians to reservations in remote parts of the state then used Indian imagery and lore to help create a more substantial and glorified past for itself. The removal of Native Americans to reservations served to remove them from the minds of the rest of the population, and soon the only image Nebraskans had of Indians were from advertisements and Wild West Shows, where “authentic” Indians were trotted out for the ‘oos’ and ‘aahs’ of the crowd. The imagery in the Nebraska State Capitol is notable not only for what it shows, but also for what it does not show; to look at the idealistic scenes of Natives and Whites living together, one might think that no conflict ever existed. In fact, it was only through these conquests that such images were even able to exist. The makers of the Nebraska State Capitol used Native American imagery not only to help make Nebraskans feel better about the past by ‘honoring’ American Indians, but also appropriated the symbols and stories of the very people they decimated to create a government sanctioned spirituality. 2
The Nebraska State Capitol, like most large public projects, did not come about easily. The Nebraska citizens wanted to make sure that their money was not wasted, and many would jump on any opportunity to point out the waste of the government. Still, it became obvious by the early part of the twentieth century that a new government building was needed, as the old one was quite literally falling apart. The government created a Capitol Commission, which was to be in charge decisions. The first duty of the commission was to write a competition. Their competition, written by Thomas Kimball, was unique in that it did not define a style that the competitors had to follow, but instead mandated that the entries should consider cost as well as aesthetics.3 The commission also dictated that the Capitol would be a memorial as well as a state building to the Nebraskan soldiers killed in various wars. The winning entry, designed by New York Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, utilized space in an efficient manner and made a leap in style that was unprecedented in US government buildings at the time. Goodhue also included many details, such as a memorial room at the top of a 400 foot tower, which made the plan palatable to even the most conservative of Nebraskans. In fact, the Memorial was indeed one of the most talked about features of the New State Capitol.4
Despite the fact that the people of Nebraska wanted a beautiful and functional Sate Capitol, they also wanted the cheapest building possible. To intercept argument about the cost of the decoration in the state capitol, the government listened to what the people wanted. Pictures published in the May 10, 1922 edition of the Nebraska State Journal elicited a fair amount of comment about what the inside decoration, and specifically, what the murals should depict. Goodhue received letters from citizens of Nebraska regarding the Decoration of the State Capitol, and remarked “These … will, no doubt, prove of considerable value but if I am going to be as Indian in my derivations as nearly every contributor seems to think, the building might as well be a teepee and have done with.”5 Mae Belle Smith wrote into the Nebraska State Journal to say “it is only thru art and literature that the memory of the Indian, the trapper, and the plainsman will remain in the hearts of our children’s children.”6 This sentiment echoed the popular idea of the time that the Native American was disappearing,7 and the government seized the opportunity to use the imagery of a culture so fresh and romanticized in the minds of the citizens to aggrandize Nebraska and to diminish the cruelty of the government towards the Native Americans. The policy of the American and Nebraskan governments towards Indians in the Late 1800’s and early 1900’s was to “Christianize, civilize and integrate”8 The government attempted to accomplish this in part through the Dawes Act, which divided up reservation land and gave it to individual Indian families in an attempt to break up the communal life of the Native Americans and “Americanize” them. They also put Native American children in schools that taught them European, Christian values in an attempt to rid Indian children of their old customs and religions. It is ironic that years later, the same government would then elevate this spiritual and communal life they tried to destroy.
Citizens also wanted a state capitol that would glorify Nebraska’s short past. Indians suited this purpose well. By appropriating Native American stories, images, symbols, and poems, the government and the people of Nebraska could project their past much farther back than the paltry 50 years of statehood. Nebraska was not alone in this desire- America itself was a young country. Sculptures were erected around the country mythologizing the American Indian. The Improved Order of Red Men, a fraternal society quite active in the 1920’s, erected statues that has the appearance of honoring the American Indians throughout the US. One statue, erected in Iowa, bears a plaque that reads “Presented to the city by the Muscatine Tribe #95, Improved Order of Red Men” and “dedicated to the Muscatine Indians in 1926.” 9 The Improved Order of Red Men, however, did not actually admit Native Americans, or, in fact, any non-white people, until 1974.10 The Red Men structured their organization around their perception of Indian culture, and gave their leaders Native sounding titles. Similarly, The Campfire Girls, which was an organization very active in Lincoln, Nebraska in the 1920’s, based titles and rituals according to a white perception of Native Culture.11 Wild West shows, which came through Nebraska often, reenacted famous battles and employed ‘real’ Indians.12 To the average white American, a ‘real’ Indian was one that still dressed in Native Dress and was not westernized. Buffalo Bill himself is prominently displayed in the Nebraska Hall of Fame- one of only 6 people to be so honored in the Vestibule of the Nebraska State Capitol. Even Hartley Burr Alexander, one of the main proponents on the capitol team for the use of Native American Imagery, capitalized on the popularity of the Native American image. He wrote plays and books based on his interactions with Native Americans, and his observations were published often in the paper.13
Other forces that contributed to the Romanization of the Native American were the proliferation of images of Indians, and the widespread trade in Indian artifacts. Just about every newspaper and magazine featured photographs of Natives, usually in full regalia. Advertisements also featured Native Americans prominently, and many of the well known representations of Native Americans on popular products such as “Land O’ Lakes Butter” and “Calumet baking soda” originate in the early 1900’s. 14 Images in the State Capitol and other public buildings often seem to be lifted from these advertisements; they share the same tendency to turn the Indian into an easily recognizable symbol in order to sell a product or an idea. Americans also had a love of Native American products, and trade in them was brisk. However, it is easy to draw the wrong ideas about a culture based solely on its artifacts, and in fact it is more likely to misinterpret meanings of artifacts than to derive a true sense of a race from them.15 Margaret Dubin noted that “Indian products have come to represent and even replace their makers in the American consciousness.”16 By collecting the objects of Native Americans, the white people could feel as though they were close what they imagined was a beautiful, peaceful race, without having to interact with real members of that race.
The many forces actively working to promote the Romanization of the American Indians had the effect of drawing attention away from real Native Americans living at the time. This made it easier to create images that had little to do with actual Indians. The decorators of the state Capitol capitalized on this Romanization to create artwork that appealed to a large group of people and depicted the spiritual without resorting to showing Christian images- an issue that was starting to bring contention in the 1920’s. Many people wrote letters to the editor railing against the teaching of the Bible in schools. The alternative was to create an iconic scheme that was not overtly Christian, but that had a spirituality and reference to God. In the imagery of the State Capitol, this meant replacing images of the Christian God with images of the Thunderbird, a life giving god in Native American tradition.17 Some of the insinuations were not as subtle. A “corn cross” figure prominently in the carved doors to the East Chambers: a thinly veiled reference to Christianity. (Fig. 2) Part of the drive to bring the government and Spirituality closer together might have been an effort to mend a perceived rift in society. Sweeping Social changes such as women’s suffrage and prohibition, the invention and proliferation of the automobile and the ending of the first world war and the constant threat of another international conflict added up to an unstable, uncertain society. The perception of Native American society was one of “unification of all its elements. Religion, art, social structure, industries- all coalesce in daily life.”18 Therefore it was an ideal source to draw from to depict a mature, stable government, one that could bring order and harmony to the land. But while the East Chamber and its door are decorated with Native Americans, the East Chamber “show[s] [the] the coming of the white man’s life, his battles with the Indians, and his conquering of them.” 19 Even thought he makers of the capitol used Native American imagery, it cannot be forgotten that the images were used by the very same culture that tried to destroy the Indian’s culture only decades before.
Some of the artwork in the state capitol, but today’s standards, looks terribly outdated and racist, while other images have a level of success in their depiction and appropriation of imagery. This variation came from the fact that the makers of the capitol used images from a culture that was not their own and mixed them with conventional European styles and modes of architecture, which did not always work. Most of the artworks depicting Native Americans are on the inside of the state capitol, which depicts the social growth of the state and the life of the land. The outside depicts the development of the law in western civilization, the U.S. and Nebraska. An incongruous image of a buffalo engraved with Native American sayings sits on the balustrade at the bottom of the stairs on the North side of the Sate Capitol. (Fig. 3) The buffaloes resemble an Arts and Crafts type artwork, with carefully carved stylized locks of fur that conform to a regular pattern. Many have noted the “integration of utility and beauty”20 in Native American culture, which is strikingly similar to the Arts and Crafts movement, which strove to place art in everyday homes. On the buffalo are carved tribes that have lived on the Great Plains, and four verses translated from Native American sayings. One such verse is “Born of the Earth / And touched by the deep blue sky / Out of the distant past I came unto you / Your mother corn.” One longtime tour guide for the Nebraska State Capitol described an instance when a Native American girl on a tour of the capitol sang a verse from one of the inscriptions.21 These images seem to work better than many others in the Capitol, perhaps because they use words rather than images to depict the Native American culture.
On the inside of the capitol, one is confronted with a number of images depicting Native Americans but one stands out among the others, if one actually sees it. The mosaic, by Hildreth Meiere, is in the vestibule, near the ceiling. The picture is a part of a series of images depicting the virtues of the states, and this particular image depicts voting. A guidebook describes the picture: “In the northwest panel is "law" represented by men of three races, the red man, the negro, and the white man, all casting their ballot equally before the law. (The state motto being ‘equality before the law’)”22 (Fig. 4) The image is different from the description, however. Three men cast a ballot in front of a Greek inspired building inscribed with the scales of justice. One man is white, and is dressed in a blue shirt, black tie, and gray slacks. Standing to the white man’s right is a Native American, looking oddly out of place in a full headdress and furs. Below these two men sits a black man, shirtless and kneeling, almost pleading to have his vote cast. The placement of the men is telling. James Loewen describes monuments in which the white man is higher or better dressed than natives in his book “Lies Across America.”23 In this image, however, the Native appears to be on an equal level with the white man. Upon further observation, however, one notices that while the white man is dressed in everyday clothing, the Native is dressed in full ceremonial regalia. In fact, the Indian in this image is strikingly similar to many Native Americans seen in various advertising. (Fig. 5 & 6) The white man is again associated with the icon of the Indian, who holds a great and spiritual past. Another image in the capitol depicts voting as well, but includes no other races. This image, in the governor’s reception room, shows men and women casting their vote in a classical style. It is interesting to note that one image shows no women, and the other images shows no other races. Both women and non whites had only recently acquired the right to vote in all states.
The position of the African American in relation to the other two figures is, perhaps, even more telling. Kneeling as he is, and offering up his vote, he is almost pleading to be heard. The African American is also shirtless, and looks much like the recently freed slave in the Emancipation Monument in Washington DC. Here, too, we can see an image based not on an actual person, but on other depictions of black people. What is most telling, however, is that despite the oft quoted state motto of “Equality Before the Law” there was no such equality in Nebraska in the 1920’s. Even when all were agreed that equality was guaranteed by law, social pressure kept African Americans from enjoying full rights.24 When one considers the ‘voting’ image side by side with other images in the State Capitol, such as the tapestry previously discussed, one can see the disingenuousness of the makers of the Capitol. However, it would have been nearly impossible to depict such subject in an honest way, due to the political climate and the fact that citizens did not want to be reminded of a bloody past in the statehouse they were paying for. Furthermore, the people that worked in the state capitol really did believe they were doing their best to honor the Native Americans, as Elizabeth Bird notes: “white people believe … that Indians would approve of the very imagery they may actually find offensive.”25
While the builders of the Nebraska State Capitol may not have realized the racism of their imagery, much of it is plain to see today. The question is, can anything be done about it? Some believe that a monument like the Nebraska State Capitol “is for posterity. It is a heritage to be preserved for future generations. … There is no need for change, no need for alteration, no need for improving the design. A monument is by definition static.”26 While a monument is indeed static, the Nebraska State Capitol has encountered many alterations over the last 70 years. Murals have been added as funds permit, and these murals, like the 1930’s capitol, reflect the time in which they were added. The most recent of these murals have been added to the Memorial chamber at the top of the capital’s 400 foot tower. The memorial tower was a much anticipated feature of the capitol while it was being built. In a newspaper article after the laying of the cornerstone, “Members of the patriotic societies who attended the cornerstone laying … expressed a lively interest in the probably time of their occupancy of the memorial room at the top of the new capitol tower.”27 It was assumed that the room would contain war trophies, and the 8 murals, as originally intended, were to show depictions of eight conflicts that Nebraskans had been involved in, from early territorial disputes through World War 1. However the room remained without war trophies, and without murals until 1995. By the 1990’s, the very idea of the memorial room had changed- instead of depicting soldiers only, the memorial room is "dedicated to the forms of heroism called for in the public service and in devotion to humanity".28 Besides soldiers, the room honors nurses, doctors, firefighters, and others. Notably, one panel of the eight entitled "The Ideal of Freedom" depicts Ponca Chief Standing Bear, the major figure in a landmark 1879 case that decided that Indians are "persons within the meaning of the law."29 (Fig. 7) The inclusion of Standing Bear in a room originally intended for War heroes is great indicator of how far the state of Nebraska has come. The fact that this move had to wait until 1995 tells how long this change has taken.
There is one other Image of Chief Standing Bear in the Nebraska State Capitol. In the Nebraska Hall of Fame, off a side corridor, stand many busts of famous Nebraskans, including Standing Bear. Also included are busts of Chief Red Cloud and Susette LaFlesche Tibbles, who acted as an interpreter for Standing Bear during his trial. In the main vestibule stand the busts of the first six people to be so inducted into the hall of fame, and no Native American is among them. Now that the State has moved into the 21st century, perhaps some more thought could be put into what The State Capitol depicts, and whether it is still a true reflection of the people. Just because a monument is static does not mean that meanings can never change, that ideals can never be shifted, that images that, in retrospect, may be racist can’t still be used for “expression of the highest ideals of the people of the State.”30 Instead of sticking steadfastly to the meaning of the capitol when built, meanings can be shifted, and such images can be pointed to as an indicator of how far a culture has come. There is no rule that says a bust of “Buffalo Bill” can’t be replaced with a bust of Chief Standing Bear, to signify that the State of Nebraska does indeed value Indians as people today, rather than a symbolic icon or a form of entertainment.
Figure 1. [back]
Acriculture- Manuel Lisa
Figure 2. [back]
Keatz Lorenz after a design by Hildreth Meiere
Doors to East Chamber
Figure 3. [back]
Figure 4. [back]
Figures 5 and 6. [back]
Advertising memorabilia circa the 1920’s.
Figure 7. [back]
“The Ideal of Freedom”
I read two years worth of the Nebraska State Journal (Dec. 1921 to Jan. 1924) to try and gain an idea about the overall perceptions and ideals of the Nebraska people during the time when the decoration of the State Capitol was being decided. I picked the Nebraska State Journal because its editorial section was more active, and because the State Journal had a connection to Goodhue, and wrote about the Capitol often. A lot of my opinions have been formed not only as a result of specific articles, which are quoted in this paper and noted in the Bibliography, but also as a cumulative effect of reading about two years in the life of Nebraska.
I would also like to thank two of my teachers – Donna Akers, who teaches the class “History and Culture of the American Indian” and Wendy Katz, who teaches “American Art from 1893-1939” – for recommendations on many of my sources.
1. “Joseph Brandt, founder of the University of Oklahoma press and a leader with B.A. Botkin of the regionalist circle in Oklahoma, agreed that preservation efforts must move beyond mere museum building – they must dovetail with the larger project of cultural reconstruction. He himself envisioned an “American Institute of Indian Civilization” to be established in Oklahoma, “the logical center of Indian research in America.” Besides housing a museum and hosting conferences, the institute would, he hoped, “offer courses in the Indian languages, in Indian history, in Indian civilization, in Indian art.” Fundamentally, Brandt declared, its purpose would be to treat Indian civilization “as, for example, we treat Greek and Roman civilization.” Robert L. Dorman, Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993) 69.
The problem with this was that they were depicting a culture that was still living, not a dead culture from centuries before. By treating the Indian culture as a dead one, to be studies as an archeologist does, academians like Brandt helped along the myth that Indians were not present in current society. [back]
2. Robert L. Dorman discusses this civic spirituality, or a “regionalist civic religion” at length in his book Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945. (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993) 78.[back]
3. “Believing that in its Capitol the State of Nebraska should a
im to justify its proud claim to a place in the Union second to none of its sister states, the Capitol Commission recognizes as its objective the realization of the best building that is possible under existing conditions.” Eric Scott McCready, The Nebraska State Capitol: Its Design, Background, and Influence. (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, A XEROX Company, 1973) 122.
From the beginning, the makers built economy into every step of the judging progress, thanks largely to the foresight of the writer of the competition, Thomas Kimball.[back]
4. For examples of the anticipation of the Memorial Tower, see Virginia Pope, “Living Memorials to our Soldier Dead” (The New York Times 25 May, 1930 ) 84, “More or Less Personal” (Nebraska State Journal 13 Nov. 1922) 6, and “More or Less Personal” (Nebraska State Journal 7 May, 1922) 4.[back]
5. Eric Scott McCready. The Nebraska State Capitol: Its Design, Background, and Influence. (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, A XEROX Company, 1973) 70-71[back]
Ms. Smith also states that “the old type of painting was allegorical and beyond the conception of most people. There is an effort at present to have the walls of our public buildings painted with native scenes…” [back]
7. Brian Dippie discusses this idea at length in his book The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy. (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1982.)[back]
8. Nebraska Indian Commission. The History and Legal Status of Nebraska Indian Tribes. (Nebraska Indian Commission, 1984.) 14-16.[back]
9. “It turns out that the Improved Order of Red Men is indeed a white fraternal organization. … The Red Men venerated American Indians as exemplars of liberty who helped white Americans develop democracy. However, the Red Men didn’t let their admiration interfere with their racism. According to an exhibit at the Abbey Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in 1997, the Improved Order of Red Men ‘claims to be the nations’ oldest secret society of purely American origin. Although founded in part ‘to perpetuate the beautiful legends and traditions of a vanishing race and to keep alive its customs,’ Native Americans are barred from membership.
In the first three decades of the twentieth century when the Red Men were actively putting up their statues, there was reason to believe that American Indians were a vanishing race. Native Americans had dropped in number from perhaps 14,000,000 in what is now the United States in 1491 to just 244,000 by 18920, a decline of 98 percent. Meanwhile Red Men had grown to 15,000 members by 1875 and to more than half a million by 1920.
What accounted for the popularity of the improved order of Red Men? Maybe white Americans wanted to inherit the aura of spiritual strength of the American Indian. Maybe whites wanted to feel a closer kinship with the land and with nature. Maybe they simply wanted justification for taking Indian land, which was still going on between 1875 and 1920.” James W. Loewen. Lies Across America; What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. (New York, New York: New Press, 1999) 144- 146[back]
10. “However despite California’s progressive leadership, the Red Men would remain closed to non-whites until 1974 when its 106th session of the Great Council eliminated the racial requirement making Native Americans eligible for membership for the first time in the IORM’s history.
The IROM’s stated aim is "to perpetuate the beautiful legends and traditions of a vanishing race and to keep alive its customs, ceremonies and philosophies." However, the Red Men’s rituals and ceremonies are based on white perceptions of some northeastern Native American tribes, especially those of the Algonquian linguistic group.”
Many newspaper articles in the era detailed the accomplishments and conferences of the campfire girls, which seemed to involve mostly high school and college aged girls. [back]
12. “Wild West shows, with their mock combats showing the defeat of Indian warriors, enacted a similar containment. [Reassuring viewers that 'Indians were under control'] Maintaining the illusion that American Indians dwelled in regions far removed from eastern urban centers, extravaganzas like "The Wild West: Buffalo Bill’s and Doc Carver’s Mountain and Prairie exhibition" constructed "the image of the Plains Sioux as the quintessential American Indian.” From the safety of their seats in the grandstand, viewers were exposed to "Indians as savages from a wild land…inimical to civilization"; in one scene, for example, "Buffalo Bill and his cowboys would ride to the rescue of [stagecoach] passengers before Indians could commit their final treachery." It is ironic that such racial myths came into conflict with the official policy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which attempted to "break up the reservations and accelerate the transformation of Indians into property owners and U.S. Citizens" after the passage of the Dawes act in 1887. But not surprisingly, the image of assimilated Indians with 160-acre farms was much less appealing to the popular imagination that Buffalo Bill’s horse-riding stagecoach-attacking warriors.” Elizabeth S. Bird. Dressing in Feathers, The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996) 46[back]
13. See “Scene From ‘The Scalp’ by Mr. H.B. Alexander” (Nebraska State Journal 18 Mar. 1923) 13B.[back]
14. “To this day, consumers recognize the stylized Indian chief on cans of Calumet baking powder and the kneeling Indian maiden on packages of Land O’ Lakes butter. The athletic fortunes of the braves, Indians, Chiefs, Redskins, and Black Hawks are followed by professional sports fans across the country. In the past, images of Indian warriors, chiefs, and maidens helped to market products as diverse as Bow-Spring dental rubber, Hiawatha canned corn, Cherokee coal, Red Warrior axes, and Savage rifles. From the late 19th century to the present, numerous manufacturers, promoters, and advertisers have chosen the image of an American Indian to symbolize their products. although some of these symbols and trademarks were designed as recently as the 1950′s, the majority date from the period 1870-1910–the era of warfare and legislation that effectively contained American Indian cultures on the margins of US society.” Elizabeth S. Bird. Dressing in Feathers, The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996) 45.[back]
15. “When existing works of the near or distant past are given a new meaning we should, strictly, talk of misinterpretation. Collective misinterpretation is of an importance hardly to be overrated. We owe it to the persistent interest in a great many images of the past, but also decisive stimuli for the creation of new symbols.
The art of the Renaissance became what it was because of the misinterpretation of the monuments of antiquity. Elements of Muslim, Chinese, Hindu, Egyptian, Japanese and Negro art reached the West in con
secutive waves. Lifted out of their symbolic context, they were misinterpreted, but gave rise to new symbols.” Wittkower, Rudolf. Allegory and the Migration of Symbols. (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1977) 185.
The main problem with American collecting of Indian artifacts was that Americans collected objects that had spiritual and cultural significance and used them as decoration, or, at most, conversation pieces. Even today, many American homes are full of Indian objects bought by Americans at Indian reservations, with little knowledge of the significance behind the images. [back]
Dubin continues: “Objects replace people, just as the material culture removed from reservations replaced its creators. Museums are full of objects created by eighteenth- and nineteenth- century Indians who have long since passed away. Likewise, art galleries and museum shops are full of objects created by living Indians who remain hidden, on view only occasionally as performers of culture, containers of race”[back]
17. “The Thunderbird was perhaps the greatest symbol of worship by the Plains’ Indians. He was believed to have been a huge bird that could carry an immense lake of water on his back. As he flapped his wings, he caused thunder; as he rolled his eyes, he caused a fury of lightning; as he flew around in the heavens, he would lose his equilibrium and spill water, rain, on the land. The Plains’ Indians depended much upon natural vegetation and meat for their living so it is understandable why they would worship such a great god as the Thunderbird.” Elinor L.Brown. Architectural Wonder of the World: Nebraska’s State Capitol Building. (Ceresco, Nebraska: Midwest Publishing Company, 1978) 34.[back]
18 Edger L Hewett quote from The Revolt of the Provinces: “The most extraordinary characteristic of Indian culture is to be seen in the unification of all its elements. Religion, art, social structure, industries- all coalesce in daily life.” Robert L. Dorman, Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993) 64.[back]
19. Leonard R. Nelson. Nebraska’s Memorial Capitol. (Lincoln, Nebraska: Woodruff Printing Company, 1931) 51.[back]
20. Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993) 75.[back]
21. Roxanne Smith. Personal Interview. Fall 2004.[back]
22. Leonard R. Nelson. Nebraska’s Memorial Capitol. (Lincoln, Nebraska: Woodruff Printing Company, 1931) 41.[back]
23. “All across America monuments depict whites in dominant positions over Native Americans. In front of the Ysleta Mission in El Paso,Texas, in a monument put up by the Knights of Columbus that features an obsequious Native American kneeling at the feet of a conquistador. On the grounds of the Illinois state capitol stands Father Menard, again with an Indian subservient to him. Farther east, in Plattsburg, New York, Samuel de Champlain stands on a pedestal, towering above a kneeling native. This monument exemplifies European cultural imperialism in two additional ways: the sculpture did not bother to depict an Abenaki or Mohawk– Indians who lived and live yet on the shores of Lake Champlain. Instead a sculpted Plains Indian, complete with full feathered headdress! … Also, Champlain is fully clothed with a cloak and cape while the Indian is almost naked. Depending on the weather on that spring day in 1609 when Native American showed Champlain the lake he "discovered," either the Indian was freezing of Champlain was perspiring. James W. Loewen. Lies Across America; What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. (New York, New York: New Press, 1999) 46[back]
24. “Leading colored people in Lincoln have expressed satisfaction over the attitude of the city council on the problem connected with the use of the municipal swimming pool. The city officers have agreed to the justice of the request that all classes of taxpayers be allowed to use the pool, considered from a purely legal standpoint. The colored folks thereupon agreed not to push a demand for the use of the pool because they do not want to disturb the very cordial relations that exist between the races in Lincoln. No feeling of hostility has ever existed. The employment of colored labor is common and both sides seem satisfied with the arrangement. So long as the colored people take the sensible attitude they have shown in this pool matter there is no danger of any economic discrimination against them.” “More or Less Personal” (Nebraska State Journal, May 20, 1922) 6.
I would be hard pressed to find a better quote than this one to express the back handed way that white people in Nebraska tried to live up to their motto “Equality before the Law” without actually granting equality. [back]
25. Elizabeth S. Bird. Dressing in Feathers, The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996) 11.[back]
26. Thomas S. Laging. Nebraska Capitol and Environs Plan. (Lincoln: The College of Architecture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1975) 5.[back]
27. “More or Less Personal” Nebraska State Journal (13 Nov. 1922) 6.[back]
30. "The Nebraska Capitol is an expression of the highest ideals of the people of the State. Just as the piece of work of an individual is an expression of what he has done and is capable of doing, is the Nebraska State Capitol building the expression of what its citizens have done, are doing, and are capable of doing. It is the people of the state who have permitted to be built such a building as this Capitol, the art of which pictures their ideals and life of the past, present and future.” Leonard R. Nelson. Nebraska’s Memorial Capitol. (Lincoln, Nebraska: Woodruff Printing Company, 1931) 12.[back]
Bird, S. Elizabeth. Dressing in Feathers, The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996.
Bogart, Michele H. Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City, 1890-1930. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1989.
The Brooklyn Museum. The American Renaissance 1876-1917. Brooklyn, New York: The Brooklyn Museum, Division of Publications and Marketing Services, 1979.
Brown, Elinor L. Architectural Wonder of the World: Nebraska’s State Capitol Building. Ceresco, Nebraska: Midwest Publishing Company, 1978.
“Buffalo Bill Ad” Nebraska State Journal 10 Sep. 1922: 8B.
“Buffalo Bill Ad” Nebraska State Journal 17 Sep, 1922: 9B.
“Campfire Girls Wins Many Honors” Nebraska State Journal 10 Dec. 1922: 9B.
“Capitol Commission Clears Mr. Goodhue” Nebraska State Journal 24 Mar. 1923: 1.
Cunningham, Harry F. The Capitol: Lincoln, Nebraska. Lincoln, The Ca
pitol Commission, 1931.
“Dig Up Indian Skeletons” Nebraska State Journal 22 July, 1922: 3.
Dippie, Brian W. The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1982.
Dorman, Robert L. Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
Dubin, Margaret. Native America Collected; The Culture of an Art World. University of Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 2001.
Huhndorf, Shari M., Going Native; Indians in the American Cultural Imagination. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2001.
The Improved Order of Red Men. http://www.redmen.org
Laging, Thomas S. Nebraska Capitol and Environs Plan. Lincoln: The College of Architecture, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1975.
Loewen, James W. Lies Across America; What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. New York, New York: New Press, 1999.
Luebke, Frederick C. The Nebraska State Capitol: A Harmony of the Arts. Lincoln and London: The University of Nebraska Press, 1990.
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“Richest Indian is Happy” Nebraska State Journal 12 Feb. 1923: 8.
“Scene From ‘The Scalp’ by Mr. H.B. Alexander” Nebraska State Journal 18 Mar. 1923: 13B.
“Shave Sought for Sculpture” The Los Angeles Times 29 Jul. 1932: 5.
Smith, Mae Belle “The Public Mind: Murals for the Capitol” Nebraska State Journal 16 Dec. 1922: 6.
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“’Your Last Opportunity to Secure Indian Lands’ Ad” Nebraska State Journal 06 Jun. 1923: 10.