19th Century Nitty-Gritty: Out of Savagery into Civilization

By Melissa Rayner

Native American rights have been in the news quite a bit lately, especially as they relate to the Redskins controversy. That got me thinking:  How were things back in our favorite century?

And what I found broke my heart, much in the same way reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison breaks my heart every single time (yes, normally, these blog posts are kind of hilarious, and I promise to return to hilarity next week).

My search turned up an autobiography by Joseph K. Griffis (formerly Tahan), Out of Savagery into Civilization, in which he recounts–and even dumbs down–his many adventures as a wild man of the plains and how he eventually found his place among learned, civilized society. Here, the introduction lays out his many experiences:

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