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Author

Alexis Hills

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Samantha Seeley

Abstract

In 1826, a white, Christian, New England woman named Harriet Gold incited controversy within her New England community by marrying a Cherokee man named Elias Boudinot. Of particular concern were the ways in which this coupling disrupted the dual gender and racial hierarchies of patriarchy and whiteness. Following their marriage, Harriet relocated with Elias from New England to the capital of the Cherokee Nation, New Echota. There, she contributed to the politics of Indian acculturation through her role as a missionary and civilizing agent, working to transplant an Anglo-American gendered division of labor. This thesis analyzes Harriet’s changing relationship to antebellum gender and racial norms depending on her movement across cultural contexts. It explores how Harriet disrupted and promoted dominant social hierarchies of patriarchy and whiteness within different cultural spaces, as well as the ways in which her own identity as a white woman was simultaneously oppressed and empowered.

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