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|Named Person:||Udo J Keppler|
|Material Type:||Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript|
|Document Type:||Book, Archival Material|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
Mary C Aimonovitch
|Credits:||Advisor: Wendell Tripp.|
|Description:||iii, 63 leaves ; 29 cm|
|Responsibility:||Mary C. Aimonovitch.|
Keppler's personal aims for the relationship derived heavily from the social evolutionist theory that swept much of the world in the second half of the nineteenth century. He thus hoped and worked unrelentingly to guide the Seneca Nation from savagery to civilization through assimilation. As part of his paternalism, he zealously collected Seneca cultural objects for white ownership and preservation, believing that whites had better reason for, or claim to, ownership of Seneca objects than did the Seneca people.
At the turn of the century, Seneca individuals faced poverty, unemployment, and discrimination, and sought to access resources (money, basic living necessities, influence, and information) that Keppler could provide as a wealthy, white benefactor. But the Seneca were uninterested in charity or pity, and thus labored to keep their self-respect and autonomy when requesting Keppler's assistance by recounting emergency circumstances, proposing loan or trade arrangements, or selling treasured possessions.
My research centers heavily on the Joseph Keppler Jr. Iroquois Papers held at the Cornell University Library. Using decades of correspondence between the Seneca people and Joseph Keppler, I seek to understand how each party developed and chose their priorities and the consequences of their decisions. Ultimately, Keppler and the Seneca were left to negotiate among the shifting pressures and tensions of their affection, their personal objectives, and the goals each party advanced. The outcome speaks volumes to the limitations of social interactions between whites and American Indians in the early twentieth century.