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Scott A. Sandage
Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890)
Half-Breed Creek: A Tall Tale of Race on the Frontier, 1804-1941

A cultural history of mixed-race identity, centered in southeast Nebraska's forgotten “Half-Breed” reservation. Before the Civil War, red, white, and black (categories of land and people) collided where Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa met. This crossroads produced a French-Omaha folk hero named Antoine Barada or “Mu-shu-num-pa-she,” whose racial shapeshifting inspired tall tales and legal trials about cultural versus biological definitions of race. Famous anthropologist Alice Fletcher vetted (and nixed) allotment claims by Barada’s heirs, whose 20-year legal fight ended at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1904. Ruled not “real Indians,” they stayed on the reservation as sharecroppers, until World War II gave the 5th generation a way out.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2007 – 8/31/2008