Removal and the Making of the National Parks
Mark David Spence
about wilderness are no more constant than the environments they describe.
Yet most Americans view the landscapes preserved in national parks as
timeless representations of primordial nature. While such ideas inspired
the establishment of the first wilderness preserves, they continue to
obscure past valuations of park environments. More particularly, the
appreciation of pristine landscapes has tended to deny the rich native
histories of these places. This, in turn, has only further concealed
the fact that early management of America's preeminent national parks
necessarily involved native dispossession.
this groundbreaking work, Mark David Spence examines the complex origins
of the national parks and the troubling consequences of the American
wilderness ideal. He explores the idealization of uninhabited wilderness
in the late nineteenth century and the policies of Indian removal developed
at Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Glacier national parks between the 1870s
and the 1930s. Concerned with the historical and cultural importance
of national park areas to the people who previously inhabited them,
Spence also analyzes the efforts of various American Indian tribes to
maintain a connection to these places after their dispossession. The
first study to place national park history within the context of the
early reservation era, this book details the ways in which national
parks have developed into one of the most important arenas of contention
between native peoples and non-Indians in the twentieth century.
for the constructedness of nature, Spence presents powerful evidence
that ideas actually shape the landscapes people call wilderness. This
theoretical stance makes a vital contribution to a growing body of scholarship
on the history of wilderness. Spence's rich study will interest scholars
and students of environmental history, Western history, American studies,
and American Indian studies, as well as native scholars, environmentalists,
and members of the National Park Service.
the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks
by Mark David Spence is published by the Oxford University Press (ISBN
0195118820) for $35.00 in hardcover.
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