Fort Riley's Interaction With Native Americans: 1853 Through 1911 and 1911 Through WWII
Final rept. 22 Sep 95-31 Dec 98
KANSAS STATE UNIV MANHATTAN
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After 1900 the interrelationships between Fort Riley and Indian peoples involved assimilation into mainstream American society, yet the fort also unexpectantly served to strengthen tribal cultures. This was especially the case during World Wars I II. During World I, the Army attempted to integrate Indian soldiers fully into its various units. Draft policies discouraged sending too many Indian draftees from the same reservation to train at the fort. Army policies were to break down tribal affiliations and to promote American citizenship. The interrelationships of Indian peoples and Fort Riley shed light on how the Army translated its policies into action and how they were received by Indian peoples. By World War II, the Army treated American Indian-draftees nearly the same as any other group aside from African Americans, who still served in segregated units. Paradoxically two aspects to American Indian peoples service in the U.S. Army posts like Fort Riley are readily apparent. First, certain stereotypes of Indian peoples persisted despite the variety of Indian soldiers experiences and actions. Second, service in the Army strengthened tribal associations and culture despite the Armys attempt to integrate Indian people into mainstream American society.
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