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The "Squaw Drudge": A Prime Index of Savagism

David D. Smits
Ethnohistory
Vol. 29, No. 4 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 281-306
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2307/481102
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/481102
Page Count: 26
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Abstract

This article describes and analyzes white views of Indian women as overworked and exploited by indolent Indian men. This image of Indian squaw drudgery and carefree male idleness, present since initial contact and still prevalent in the nineteenth century, was grounded on misunderstanding, ethnocentrism as well as the determination to rationalize white hegemony in America. Nevertheless, this distortion was employed as proof of Indian savagism even though Indian women appeared to enjoy more power, prestige, and privilege than their contemporary white counterparts.

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