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John Wesley Powell and His Work With the Bureau of Ethnology Thesis

… Classification of Native American Tribes Into Cultural Families

Native American Considerations

Contrary to some citizens of the West who considered the Indians to be savages, John Wesley Powell saw the Native Americans as people. Powell perceived these people as part of a culture that had experienced a long human history, a culture of people who had to struggle to survive.

Powell subscribed to the message in the words by William Dwight Whitney, the leading American academic linguist of the 1800s; noted at this paper's start. Whitney asserted that rather than stigmatizing the Indians, those who considered themselves civilized should learn everything they could from the Indians. Whitney's words "foreshadowed the theoretical perspective that Powell would pursue later by means of the method of testing mutual…. [read more]

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