Howard Fast's The Last Frontier looks at a reservation tribe that revolts because of mistreatment by reservation agents who shortchange them on rations and who ignore them as human. The novel, written in the 1940s, is wholly sympathetic to the small band of Indians who elect to flee horrifying conditions to return north to their original homeland or, if pressed, go into Canada where they believe they might be free from bondage. During the course of their flight, some 10,000 federal troops take up the hunt for them.
The audience for this novel is a European-oriented one. Fast attempts to portray the Indians as the heroes, the downtrodden, the oppressed. Still, readers see through the eyes of a white culture rather than a red one. First, as an avenue for discussion, and, later, as a writing project, students can examine the motive(s) behind Fast's writing of this story (beyond its literary and artistic merits). Some discussion and pre-writing questions for them to raise initially:
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