Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder - On the Frontier Summary & Analysis

Caroline Fraser
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Summary

In this introductory chapter, Fraser speaks about the Big Woods, which begins Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. The Big Woods was a swath of dense forest in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Before settlers arrived, the Big Woods was the domain of the Dakota, who were several different bands of Native Americans who shared a language and customs. The Homestead Act of 1862, which provided 160 acres to settlers who claimed the land, caused the dispossession of the Dakota. Their traditional way of life, which involved hunting, fishing, gathering, and growing crops was interrupted starting with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In the following decades, the Dakota were subjected to a series of treaties that shrunk their land. They were supposed to give up their hunting patterns and become Christian farmers, but few chose to do so.

A western land rush followed in the Minnesota...

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This section contains 1,195 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Study Guide
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