The Inconsistencies Of “Oscillating Pendulum”: A Study Of Federal Indian Policies Through Gendered Lens

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Anjitha Gopi, Dr Beena S Nair


Native historian Donald Fixico has referred to federal Indian policy as an “oscillating pendulum”, constantly moving between policies of assimilation and sovereignty. This paper is an ethno-historical study of political and cultural change among Native American communities and explains why this metaphor helps us understand Native American history from the 1890s to the 1940s and provide specific examples that demonstrate how these periods differ from one another. The paper in the latter part also analyses federal Indian policies through a gendered lens and argues how Fixico’s oscillating pendulum swings differently for Native American men and women, as they experience these policies differently. It focusses on how settler colonial modalities have impacted traditional gender roles.

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