Society of American Indians

Society Of American Indians

Society of American Indians

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The Society of American Indians was a progressive group formed in Columbus, Ohio in 1911 by 50 Native Americans, most of them middle-class professional men and women. It was established to address the problems facing Native Americans, such as ways to improve health, education, civil rights, and local government.

The founding six members were Dr. Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai-Apache), Charles Eastman (Dakota), Thomas L. Sloan (Omaha), Charles E. Dagenett (Peoria), Laura Cornelius (Oneida), and Chief Henry Standing Bear (Oglala Lakota). Professor Fayette McKenzie of Ohio State University was a catalyst for the organization, believing in "native leadership ... based on race rather than on tribe."

Seneca anthropologist Arthur C. Parker was elected to be the first secretary of the SAI. He took minutes of the first conference of the SAI, held in Columbus, Ohio in 1911. Eighteen Indian activists met to create a platform for the improvement of rights and well-being of all Indians. The objectives of the group were "to encourage Indian leadership, promote self-help, and foster the assimilation of Indians while encouraging them to exhibit pride in their race."

John Oskison (Cherokee), an editor of Collier's magazine, and Angel De Cora (Winnebago), art instructor at Carlisle Indian School were commissioned to create the SAI emblem.Waggoner,...
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