Angie Debo: Pioneering Historian

Angie Debo: Pioneering Historian

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The daughter of Oklahoma sodbusters, a student of Edward Everett Dale, and a Protegee of Frederick Jackson Turner, Angie Debo was an unlikely forerunner of the New Western History.

Breaking with the followers of Turner, Debo viewed the westward movement of European Americans as conquest rather than settlement. Her studies on the Five tribes presented the Native American point of view and incorporated ethnological insights more than a decade before ethnology emerged as a separate field.

Shirley A. Leckie’s biography of Debo is the first to assess the significance of Oklahoma’s pioneering historian in the historiography of the American Indian, the writing of regional history, and the development of national law and court cases involving indigenous people.

Leckie sheds light on Debo’s family’s background, her personality, and the impact of gender discrimination on her career. Finally, Leckie clarifies why Debo became a scholarly pioneer and, later, a "warrior-scholar" activist working on behalf of Native Americans during a period of changing Indian policy.