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Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nationsby Charles Wilkinson
Synopses & Reviews
The inspirational story of the extraordinary gains by Indian tribes over the past half-century.
For generations, Indian people suffered a grinding poverty and political and cultural suppression on the reservations. But tenacious and visionary tribal leaders refused to give in. They knew their rights and insisted that the treaties be honored. Against all odds, beginning shortly after World War II, they began to succeed. The modern tribal sovereignty movement deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as the civil rights, environmental, and women's movements.
Charles Wilkinson recounts in colorful terms tribal victories in major legal conflicts in contemporary America: the Indian land claims in Maine and other eastern states, the "salmon wars" of the Pacific Northwest, and the establishment of tribal casinos as a way of making inroads into poverty. Blood Struggle explores how Indian tribes took their hard-earned sovereignty — their right to self-determination — and put it to work for Indian peoples and the perpetuation of Indian culture.
Finally, this is the story of wrongs righted and noble ideals upheld. 20 illustrations, 16 maps.
"Reservations, long mired in poverty and oppression, have become rallying points for Native American society, according to this stirring history of the tribal sovereignty movement. Energized by the Civil Rights movement's gains and pressing their claims under long-dormant treaties, Indian tribes have taken control of reservation government from an autocratic Bureau of Indian Affairs, regained lost lands, asserted hunting and fishing rights, jump-started reservation economic development and revived Indian languages and culture. Wilkinson (American Indians, Time, and the Law; etc.), formerly an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund and now a law professor at the University of Colorado, ranges widely over the sovereignty movement, emphasizing the court cases — like the Pacific Northwest salmon controversies and the wrangles over reservation gambling — that have expanded tribal rights. His sympathetic treatment extols the movement's success in redressing historic injustices, but sometimes skates too easily over difficulties in squaring ethnically based sovereignty with principles of democracy and equal citizenship. (He cites one reservation on which 50 Indians controlled a tribal government claiming jurisdiction over 3,000 non-Indian residents.) And he sometimes defends Native American prerogatives by invoking a cultural uniqueness — Indians' spiritual connection to the land, for example, may entitle them to 'flexibility' in complying with environmental laws — that smacks of essentialism. But the story of the Native American renaissance is an inspiring one, and this book marks a deserving chapter. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] finely written overview, which pulls together an assortment of events and legal cases into a coherent, understandable history that will appeal to a general audience. Strongly recommended." Library Journal
"Wilkinson is a first rate scholar, lawyer, historian, and raconteur. Like Felix Cohen and Paul Prucha before him, Wilkinson brings enormous scholarly skill to the analysis of the complex web of law and policy and the people who have shaped the relations between the United States and Indian tribes....This book is essential reading for public officials and anyone else who wants to understand the history and nature of relationships between the United States and Indian tribes. The story revealed by Blood Struggle is a testament to the enduring vitality of the tribes and our democratic faith." Senator John McCain
Book News Annotation:
Wilkinson (law, U. of Colorado), a former attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, explores what Native American tribes have accomplished over the second half of the 20th century, where leaders have made progress and where fallen short, why tribes became so active after World War II after generations of being so ineffective in dealing with the majority society, how leaders rose from such humble origins to make significant changes in a modern industrialized society, and where the Indian sovereignty movement fits into American history.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Wilkinson recounts in colorful terms Native American tribal victories in major legal conflicts in contemporary America, such as the Indian land claims in Maine and other eastern states, the "salmon wars" of the Pacific Northwest, and the establishment of tribal casinos as a way of making inroads into poverty.
About the Author
Charles Wilkinson, author of twelve books and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Colorado, is a former attorney with the Native American Rights Fund. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
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