Unsettling Domesticity: Native Women Challenging U.S. Indian Policy in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1911-1931
This paper examines the ways Native women domestic workers negotiated and challenged – in subtle and overt ways – the Bay Area Outing Program. First, I examine federal Indian policy that paved the way for “outing” and illuminate the connections between outing, Allotment and Indian boarding schools. To this end, I historicize both the national and local forms of outing while revealing the gendered, settler colonial effects of this imposing domestic institution. To provide a point of comparison, I consider other forms of domestic service performed at the time, including those found in Americanization programs of the early twentieth century. Second, I elucidate the contours of the Bay Area Outing Program, describing its official operation and process while highlighting the policing and surveillance of Native women in the program. I then analyze Native women’s resistance in fighting for commensurate wages and fighting Indian child removal. My final section, informed by early 20th- century Bay Area newspapers, examines a series of articles on outing runaways. Here I consider runaways in early iterations of the program, while examining how localized rhetoric sought to justify the control of Native women. I thus examine how local social discourse shapes material conditions for Native women.