Edwin H. Allison autobiography  ca. 1882
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Edwin H. Allison autobiography was prepared for publication after he had settled in Dayton, Ohio, in the late 1880s, and is accompanied by several other brief, unpolished essays written at approximately the same time. The autobiography is probably a working draft, and the present manuscript lacks pages 7-23. Further, there are a number of additional, somewhat rougher pages of writing, with some duplicate pagination. Though Allison was not a professional writer, his narrative is an unusually engrossing one, filled with action and insights into his own thoughts in the best tradition of the dime novel. That Allison was a scout in the west and participated in the capture of the Gall and Sitting Bull, of course, makes the material of considerable significance for understanding the nature of "diplomatic" and military relations between the Hunkpapa and whites, but it also provides documentation of variations in white perceptions of the Hunkpapa during the days in which white military supremacy was firmly exerted.

Among the associated essays are ones describing the Great Buffalo slaughter of 1880; one considering the question whether "the Indian" is really lazy; a discussion of the Indian way of life that includes commentary on their religion, dancing, recreation, and hunting; and a piece on Indian sign language and spoken language that includes a brief discussion of Sitting Bull's name.

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