Conventional history tells us that relations between Americans of color and American whites at the opening of the twentieth century were adversarial, even cruel. Sports historians have long demonstrated that this racial antagonism extended onto American athletic turfs, where scores of black, Latino, Asian and American Indian athletes battled social derision to compete in sports. Yet underneath this racist pall, Dakota Indians from Minnesota’s Lower Sioux Indian Community and Euro-American residents of Morton, a small farming town adjacent the reservation, quietly played baseball together—even built their baseball communities together—for nearly twenty years. Indeed, interracial partnerships and fluid racial dynamics were hallmarks of turn-of-the-century baseball at Lower Sioux, trends diametrically opposed to the era’s bigoted national sporting scene. Yet in the midst of this inter-ethnic collaboration, Morton whites came to envision distinct advantages they might claim by manipulating Indian baseball to better serve their interests. Thus, besides exploring a remarkable instance of cross-cultural cooperation at one Minnesota Indian reservation, this essay also illuminates the inherent advantages whites held while pursuing interracial sport in the early twentieth century United States.
|Keywords:||History, Race, American Indians, Baseball, United States, Minnesota|
Adjunct Instructor of History, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA