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Robert STEWART <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 28 Mar 2023 17:45:39 +0000
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 My comments are based on my own life, and on having read, while correcting OCR, a few hundred thousand lines of type in California newspapers of 1859-1865. Twain had good reason to be afraid of Indians when he first came West. The California papers were regularly reporting killings and other "difficulties," in Oregon, Nevada Territory, California and Arizona-New Mexico. But in fairness, I also read of the indigenous folks providing firewood, hands to wring out washing, yardwork and menial tasks. Then Twain came East, where the public opinion was different. Consider what happened across the nation during the Civil War which was occurring during Twain's time in the West. Clemens himself made a shift, shown in his letters. He arrived in a territory that was heavily loaded with pro-Confederate refugees (especially lawyers) from California. (How they were treated after Gov. Nye and the Military showed up is a story in itself.) Shortly after fighting began back east a Sam Clemens letter refers to the Union army as "they." But Sam is among strongly pro-Union men, He hikes to Lake Tahoe with a former member of the Ohio "foot soldiers" who the next year became a captain in the Ohio Cavalry. Letters from Sam C. now refer to Union military as "we," "our." Now consider the post-war periods, not just of the Civil War, but most wars. Enemies are demonized and vilified during the conflict to motivate support. And then think of the change of attitude in the postwar periods. Twain was just another member of the populace.

    On Monday, March 27, 2023 at 10:23:37 AM PDT, Dave Davis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:  
 Having asked that, I perhaps should go read this recent book --

Reviewed by: Beverly Lyon Clark
*Mark Twain among the Indians and Other Indigenous People.*
By Kerry Driscoll. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018. ix + 420
pp. Figures, notes, bibliography, index. $95.00, cloth

On Mon, Mar 27, 2023 at 1:20 PM Dave Davis <[log in to unmask]>

> He clearly wrote and published some highly negative comments. Did he ever
> praise an Indigenous American, whether a fictional character or a real-life
> person?
> As we all know -- He was active and in the public eye in June, 1876
> (Battle of the Little Big Horn) and in December, 1890 (Wounded Knee
> Massacre). 'Wild West' shows were common before 1905. Certainly, once he
> returned to residency in the US (during 1901) and was consulted by
> reporters for his view on anything and everything. His anti-imperialist
> stance -- perhaps the connection could be drawn -- was public from 1898 on,
> I believe.
> On Mon, Mar 27, 2023 at 12:57 PM Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> I recently queried about a note I found in "Heretical Fictions" on his
>> apparent sympathy for "Indians" in his later decades.  I received a
>> reference to a  masters Thesis from 1984 that argues he never actually
>> hated Indians, he was only using them as a rhetorical device to
>> criticize Western Civilization.  My opinion is that the vehemence of his
>> comments belie this idea.  I posted a short essay on this on my personal
>> website for those interested.
>> --
>> /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/