Amy E. Canfield

Private versus Public, Traditional versus Assimilated: Shoshone-Bannock Women and Assimilation Efforts

In the late 19th century, American Indians were the targets of assimilationist policies. Policy makers and social reformers believed that the goal of “civilizing” Indians was paramount to solving the “Indian problem”, but assimilation took different forms for women and men. Each gender faced different challenges during assimilation, specifically when considering the public versus the private spheres. Gendered language and the nature of assimilation impacted women on an intimate level and daily basis. The women’s experiences within the Shoshone-Bannock tribe provide specific examples of the gendered nuances of assimilation, as well as how the women responded to these “civilizing” procedures.