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Indians Glimpse a Vision of the Future

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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New advances in technology, transportation and mass-production created new jobs and improved the quality of life for many people at the turn of the 20th century. At the same time, Americans struggled with the social and economic challenges that came with industrialization. These challenges included labor unrest, exploitation, competition from other regions due to an expanding railroad system, and waves of immigration. The outdoor historical pageants of Deerfield, Massachusetts, reveal how many Americans used the past to express their own hopes and fears for the future. This pageant scene from 1916 titled, The Indians Glimpse a Vision of the Future is particularly suggestive of the ways in which Americans selectively interpreted the past to explain their present. All is darkness and ignorance among the pseudo "Indians" who cower in confusion before the four white-clad women who represent the future of the Connecticut River Valley. Pictured center, the Spirit of Vision shows the Natives what will become of their land. The other women represent the promising future of various towns, as well as Agriculture, Industry and War. This pageant scene communicated the belief popular among white people that inevitable progress, not conquest, brought about the fall of Native Americans.


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