SURROUNDED, THE a novel by the Native American author D'Arcy McNickle, was first published in 1936 by Dodd, Mead of New York City and republished in 1978 by the University of New Mexico Press. The economically stressed nation of the 1930s may not have been as ready to consider the tragic losses of American Indian peoples as they would be in the 1970s, despite the reforms of John Collier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's commissioner of Indian affairs, who crafted the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, and the rave review of Oliver LaFarge, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist. The Surrounded depicts the many ways in which law constrained American Indians: laws that established the reservation system during the nineteenth century; the law of the Catholic Church missions that took as their task educating Salish and other traditional tribal people out of their "savagery," and laws that prohibited the practice of Native religions. In the novel, the limitations imposed on the Salish-Spanish protagonist, Archilde, and his people lead to his demise after he becomes a fugitive in an effort to protect his mother from being prosecuted for killing a game warden. In his many professional roles—Bureau of Indian Affairs official, scholar, anthropologist, writer, and founder of national organizations—McNickle devoted his life to drawing attention to the ways in which tribal peoples were "surrounded."
Parker, Dorothy R. Singing an Indian Song: A Biography of D'Arcy McNickle. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
Purdy, John Lloyd. Word Ways: The Novels of D'Arcy McNickle. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1990.
Kathryn W. Shanley