Bobby and Nancy Blue, Bibliographic Essay

Clearly, the most important source on the lives of Bobby and Nancy Blue stem from the five hours of audio interviews that I undertook with Nancy Blue in the spring of 2016.  Digital copies of these interviews are housed at LaBudde Special Collections within the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Nancy Blue provided me with an overwhelming number of primary source materials that she has collected over the several decades of the Blues’ activities.  Nancy has kept brochures, pamphlets, organization notes, newspaper articles, and every sort of memorabilia within four large scrapbooks, which she kindly allowed me to use in this research.  These were so voluminous that I did not need to undertake further archival research at other institutions.  Needless to say, the content in these scrapbooks proved invaluable.

Though not included in this research, the Missouri Valley Special Collections of the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library main branch has several files related to the HAIC and the Council Fire of Greater Kansas City. This collection also contains a few works published by the HAIC that were not included in this project.

Studies on Native Americans in Kansas City do not exist, so this essay relied on the growing scholarship that has emerged in the last few decades on the broader topic of Native Americans in the twentieth century for historical context.  Long overshadowed by scholarship dedicated to Anglo-Native interactions between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, modern scholars tended to prolong the false stereotype that Native Americans had somehow “disappeared” after the end of the Indian Wars by the turn of the twentieth century.   Since the birth of the activist Red Power movement and its political wing, the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1960s, recent scholarship aimed to tell the history of Native Americans – who had certainly not disappeared – in the modern era.  Several of these works provide a useful narrative of the times and experiences of Native Americans who continued their struggle for survival in the United States during the twentieth century.

Kenneth Philip’s Termination Revisited: American Indians on the Trail to Self-Determination, 1933-1952 examines the early years of the federal government’s attempt to break up (i.e., terminate) the federally-recognized tribal system and encourage Native migration to urban cores for cultural and economic assimilation into mainstream America.  The author examines the creation of pan-Indian social movements in the early years of termination.  These movements, in turn, demanded greater Native self-rule and greater bargaining power with the federal government.  Far from painting a picture of Native “disappearance” from the nation or passive Native acquiescence to the federal government, Philip’s revisionist history suggests a greater role for Native agency in the devolution of federal control over Native American tribes.

For an examination of the years before the birth of Red Power of the 1960s, Daniel Cobb’s Native Activism in Cold War America: the Struggle for Sovereignty focuses on the birth of Native community organizations that sought to address the problems inherent with Native poverty and disenfranchisement during the termination era.  Cobb paints an unlikely portrait of vocal Native community meetings and grant-writing projects that sought redress from state and federal governments for increasing levels of Native poverty during the Cold War era.

Lastly, for an overview of the heightened Red Power/AIM activities of the 1960s and early 1970s, and the expanding restoration of federal government ties to Native American tribes since the Nixon administration, Roberta Ulrich’s American Indian Nations from Termination to Restoration, 1953-2006 provides a thorough and broad narrative that discusses the greatest years of Native social activism and political change in the modern era.  In a matter of a few decades, Ulrich argues, federal termination policies essentially forced 13,000 Native Americans off the reservation to impoverished urban centers in the United States.  Though this had dire consequences on the viability and sustainability of Native American tribes by the late 1960s, this also encouraged Native social and political activism that eventually forced the federal government to reinstate its official support of Native tribes and reservation lands.