This is week 2 of our November Did You Know postings.
As mentioned last week, November is Native American Heritage month; last week our suggested reading titles were all works of fiction. This week our focus is on non-fiction titles.
And without further ado – here they are:
#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women Edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale:
Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.
The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities by Colin G. Calloway:
This study presents the first broad coverage of Indian experiences in the American Revolution rather than Indian participation as allies or enemies of contending parties. Colin Calloway focuses on eight Indian communities as he explores how the Revolution often translated into war among Indians and their own struggles for independence. Drawing on British, American, Canadian and Spanish records, Calloway shows how Native Americans pursued different strategies, endured a variety of experiences, but were bequeathed a common legacy as a result of the Revolution.
Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi by Timothy R. Pauketat:
Almost a thousand years ago, a Native American city flourished along the banks of the Mississippi River near what is now St. Louis. Filled with as many as 20,000 residents at its height, Cahokia seemingly grew out of nowhere around the year 1050, featuring scores of packed-earth mounds and a sprawling plaza the size of thirty-five football fields.
Yet by 1400 it had been abandoned.
In Cahokia, anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat reveals the story of the city and its people as uncovered by archaeologists. What emerges is an absorbing portrait of a society capable of producing both complex celestial timepieces and disturbing acts of large-scale human sacrificean edifying narrative of prehistoric America that brings us back in touch with our deepest past.
Encyclopedia of Native American Religions by Arlene B. Hirschfelder & Paulette Molin:
Long regarded as quaint curiosities or exotic pagan rites, the religious practices of Native Americans make up a rich, enduring legacy deserving of a place among the great spiritual traditions. The volume features a foreword written by Walter R. Echo-Hawk, a senior staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, whose legal experience includes cases involving religious freedom and reburial rights. This volume is available in paperback for the first time.
Featuring more than 1,200 cross-referenced entries, this encyclopedia is a fascinating guide to the spiritual traditions of Native Americans in the United States and Canada, including coverage of beliefs about the afterlife, symbolism, creation myths, and vision quests; important ceremonies and dances; prominent American Indian religious figures; and events, legislation, and tribal court cases that have shaped the development of Native American religions.
Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes by Carl Waldman:
Encyclopedia of Native American Indians is a comprehensive, accessible guide to more than 150 North American Indian nations. Organized alphabetically by tribe or group, the book summarizes the historical record—such as locations, migrations, contacts with non-Indians, wars—and includes present-day tribal status. Readers will get a brief look at traditional Indian lifeways, including language, families, clothing, houses, boats, tools, arts, legends, and rituals. This revised edition features:
Important developments in Indian political issues and cultural affairs
Increased coverage of prehistoric Indians as well as Mesoamerican civilizations
Emerging casinos in the 1990s, such as Foxwoods in the Pequot reservation in Connecticut
Recent activism, such as demonstrations at Plymouth, Massachusetts and the blockade at the Oka and Kahnawake reserves near Montreal
The use of native names again by certain tribes, such as the Inuit, rather than those applied by non-Indians.
History of Native American Land Rights in Upstate New York by Cindy Amrhein:
A complex and troubled history defines the borders of upstate New York beyond the physical boundaries of its rivers and lakes. The United States and the state were often deceptive in their territory negotiations with the Iroquois Six Nations. Amidst the growing quest for more land among settlers and then fledgling Americans, the Indian nations attempted to maintain their autonomy. Yet state land continued to encroach the Six Nations. Local historian Cindy Amrhein takes a close and critical view of these transactions. Evidence of dubious deals, bribes, faulty surveys and coerced signatures may help explain why many of the Nations now feel they were cheated out of their territory.
The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890 by Robert M. Utley:
First published in 1984, Robert Utley’s The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890, is considered a classic for both students and scholars. For this revision, Utley includes scholarship and research that has become available in recent years.;
What they said about the first edition:
“(The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890) provides an excellent synthesis of Indian-white relations in the trans-Mississippi West during the last half-century of the frontier period.” – Journal of American History
“The Indian Frontier of the American West combines good writing, solid research, and penetrating interpretations. The result is a fresh and welcome study that departs from the soldier-chases-Indian approach that is all too typical of other books on the topic.” – Minnesota History
“(Robert M. Utley) has carefully eschewed sensationalism and glib oversimplification in favor of critical appraisal, and his firm command of some of the best published research of others provides a solid foundation for his basic argument that Indian hostility in the half century following the Mexican War was directed less at the white man per se than at the hated reservation system itself.” – Pacific Historical Review
A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples by Barry M. Pritzker:
Dispelling myths, answering questions, and stimulating thoughtful avenues for further inquiry, this highly absorbing reference provides a wealth of specific information about over 200 North American Indian groups in Canada and the United States. Readers will easily access important historical and contemporary facts about everything from notable leaders and relations with non-natives to customs, dress, dwellings, weapons, government, and religion.
This book is at once exhaustive and captivating, covering myriad aspects of a people spread across a continent.
Divided into ten geographic areas for easy reference, this work illustrates each Native American group in careful detail. Listed alphabetically, starting with the tribal name, translation, origin, and definition, each entry includes significant facts about the group’s location and population, as well as impressive accounts of the group’s history and culture. Bringing entries up-to-date, Barry Pritzker also presents current information on each group’s government, economy, legal status, and land holdings. Whether interpreting the term “tribe” (many traditional Native American groups were not tribes at all but more like extended families) or describing how a Shoshone woman served as a guide on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Pritzker always presents the material in a clear and lively manner.
In light of past and ongoing injustices and the momentum of Indian and Inuit self-determination movements, an understanding of Native American cultures as well as their contributions to contemporary society becomes increasingly important. A magnificent resource, this book liberally provides the essential information necessary to better grasp the history and cultures of North American Indians.
The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians by Naomi Schaefer Riley:
If you want to know why American Indians have the highest rates of poverty of any racial group, why suicide is the leading cause of death among Indian men, why native women are two and a half times more likely to be raped than the national average and why gang violence affects American Indian youth more than any other group, do not look to history. There is no doubt that white settlers devastated Indian communities in the 19th, and early 20th centuries. But it is our policies today—denying Indians ownership of their land, refusing them access to the free market and failing to provide the police and legal protections due to them as American citizens—that have turned reservations into small third-world countries in the middle of the richest and freest nation on earth.
The tragedy of our Indian policies demands reexamination immediately—not only because they make the lives of millions of American citizens harder and more dangerous—but also because they represent a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with modern liberalism. They are the result of decades of politicians and bureaucrats showering a victimized people with money and cultural sensitivity instead of what they truly need—the education, the legal protections and the autonomy to improve their own situation.
If we are really ready to have a conversation about American Indians, it is time to stop bickering about the names of football teams and institute real reforms that will bring to an end this ongoing national shame.
A Proud Heritage: Native American Services in New York State:
A general description of this short book taken from the book itself:
“Dear Readers, New York State is committed to helping improve and promote the well-being and safety of our children, families and communities. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is one of three state agencies entrusted with specific obligations to serve New York’s Native American population. OCFS’ responsibilities are broad and address various needs of the Indian Nations. This booklet, A Proud Heritage, offers a historical overview of New York State’s Native Americans, details current state services and provides valuable references. I am proud to introduce the 2001 version of this publication, which I’m sure will be a useful resource to those interested in Native American affairs in New York State. Sincerely, John A. Johnson”
This 82 page title is also available for free online via the following New York State publications link:
Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, a People, a Nation by Sally Jenkins:
Sally Jenkins, bestselling co-author of It’s Not About the Bike, revives a forgotten piece of history in The Real All Americans. In doing so, she has crafted a truly inspirational story about a Native American football team that is as much about football as Lance Armstrong’s book was about a bike.
If you’d guess that Yale or Harvard ruled the college gridiron in 1911 and 1912, you’d be wrong. The most popular team belonged to an institution called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Its story begins with Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt, a fierce abolitionist who believed that Native Americans deserved a place in American society. In 1879,
Pratt made a treacherous journey to the Dakota Territory to recruit Carlisle’s first students.
Years later, three students approached Pratt with the notion of forming a football team. Pratt liked the idea, and in less than twenty years the Carlisle football team was defeating their Ivy League opponents and in the process changing the way the game was played.
Sally Jenkins gives this story of unlikely champions a breathtaking immediacy. We see the legendary Jim Thorpe kicking a winning field goal, watch an injured Dwight D. Eisenhower limping off the field, and follow the glorious rise of Coach Glenn “Pop” Warner as well as his unexpected fall from grace.
The Real All Americans is about the end of a culture and the birth of a game that has thrilled Americans for generations. It is an inspiring reminder of the extraordinary things that can be achieved when we set aside our differences and embrace a common purpose.
The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman & Beth Dooley:
2018 James Beard Award Winner: Best American Cookbook
Named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2017 by NPR, The Village Voice, Smithsonian Magazine, UPROXX, New York Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Mpls. St. PaulMagazine and others
Here is real food—our indigenous American fruits and vegetables, the wild and foraged ingredients, game and fish. Locally sourced, seasonal, “clean” ingredients and nose-to-tail cooking are nothing new to Sean Sherman, the Oglala Lakota chef and founder of The Sioux Chef. In his breakout book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, Sherman shares his approach to creating boldly seasoned foods that are vibrant, healthful, at once elegant and easy.
Sherman dispels outdated notions of Native American fare—no fry bread or Indian tacos here—and no European staples such as wheat flour, dairy products, sugar, and domestic pork and beef. The Sioux Chef’s healthful plates embrace venison and rabbit, river and lake trout, duck and quail, wild turkey, blueberries, sage, sumac, timpsula or wild turnip, plums, purslane, and abundant wildflowers. Contemporary and authentic, his dishes feature cedar braised bison, griddled wild rice cakes, amaranth crackers with smoked white bean paste, three sisters salad, deviled duck eggs, smoked turkey soup, dried meats, roasted corn sorbet, and hazelnut-maple bites.
The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen is a rich education and a delectable introduction to modern indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories, with a vision and approach to food that travels well beyond those borders.
Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers by Deanne Durrett:
On February 23, 1945, U.S. Marines claimed victory in the battle of Iwo Jima, one of the most important battles in the Pacific islands during World War II. Instrumental to this defeat of Japanese forces was a group of specialized Marines involved in a secret program. Throughout the war, Japanese intelligence agencies were able to intercept and break nearly every battlefield code the United States created. The Navajo Code Talkers, however, devised a complex code based on their native language and perfected it so that messages could be coded, transmitted, and decoded in minutes. The Navajo Code was the only battlefield code that Japan never deciphered. Unsung Heroes of World War II details the history of the men who created this secret code and used it on the battlefield to help the United States win World War II in the Pacific.
A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor by Joe Starita:
The poignant and moving biography of Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American doctor in U.S. history.
On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche Picotte received her medical degree—becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country.
By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Native woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 1,350 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick—tuberculosis, small pox, measles, influenza—families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs.
This is the story of an Indian woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe, the story of a woman who crashed through thick walls of ethnic, racial and gender prejudice, then spent the rest of her life using a unique bicultural identity to improve the lot of her people—physically, emotionally, politically, and spiritually.
Joe Starita’s A Warrior of the People is the moving biography of Susan La Flesche Picotte’s inspirational life and dedication to public health, and it will finally shine a light on her numerous accomplishments.
The author is donating all royalties from this book to a college scholarship fund he has established for Native American high school graduates.
Have a great weekend,