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Mythic FrontiersRemembering, Forgetting, and Profiting with Cultural Heritage Tourism$
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Daniel R. Maher

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062532

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062532.001.0001

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The Peacekeeper’s Violence

The Peacekeeper’s Violence

Chapter:
(p.43) 3 The Peacekeeper’s Violence
Source:
Mythic Frontiers
Author(s):

Daniel R. Maher

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813062532.003.0003

The 1817 military outpost of Fort Smith is promoted in the frontier complex as the “Peacekeeper of Indian Territory.” This chapter systematically dismantles and contextualizes this narrative within the history of American westward migration. This principal frontier tourist trope emanates from the Fort Smith National Historic Site where exhibits and orientation video shown to visitors reinforce essentialized dichotomies of savage and civilization. Though Fort Smith was just one of many ad hoc forts in a line advancing westward on a north–south axis, the narrative of the fort is disconnected from this larger context. Though many Cherokee and Choctaw were settled in present-day Arkansas as early as 1810, little mention is made of that. The Osage and Cherokee are depicted as fierce rivals between whom the military was present to keep peace. But as Kathleen DuVal has shown, this is not the case. Fort Smith facilitated Indian removal from the Southeast in order to accommodate white settlement there. Fort Smith closed in 1824 to be replaced by Fort Gibson 90 miles farther west. The large number of white settlers flowing west in the wake of these forts made Arkansas statehood a foregone conclusion in 1836.

Keywords:   Indian removal, westward migration, frontier, military, fort, Fort Gibson, Cherokee, Choctaw, Osage, Kathleen DuVal, national historic site

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