To do some good among the Indians: Henry Roe Cloud and twentieth century Native American advocacy

Jason M Tetzloff, Purdue University


A study of Henry Roe Cloud, a full-blood Winnebago Indian from Nebraska, offers an extraordinary vehicle to add to the field of Indian biography. Born on the Winnebago reservation in Nebraska in the 1880s, Cloud attended government and mission schools for his primary and secondary education. In 1901 he left Nebraska to study at Mount Hermon Preparatory School, an elite institution that served as a conduit for entry into Yale University. Cloud attended Yale, receiving his AB degree in 1910 and his AM degree in 1912, purportedly the first full-blood Indian to do so. Cloud also attended seminary and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. Cloud's education, elite by any standard, allowed him throughout his public life to assume a variety of important roles. In his more than forty years of public life, Cloud acted as a reformer, an educator, and Indian Service official. As arguably the most prominent Indian figure of the 1920s and 1930s, Cloud's life demonstrates how and to what extent Indians were able to influence federal Indian policy. His life also provides a window into the close ties between progressive ideas and the evangelical Protestant Christianity that prompted and guided many of the reform efforts in the first decades of the twentieth century. Cloud's work also shows him to be capable of moving beyond this Progressive Era paradigm of assimilation and embracing new currents of reform such as the push for cultural pluralism. This dissertation provides a picture of this important Indian leader's life and places his life in historical perspective. It ties the key events in his life to the major currents in twentieth-century American Indian policy and clearly identifies the role that Cloud played in the formation and the implementation of this policy. It also analyzes how and why Cloud's role changed over time. ^




Major Professor: Donald L. Parman, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Biography|History, United States|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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