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Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Factby Vine Deloria
Synopses & Reviews
Vine Deloria, Jr., leading Native American scholar and author of the best-selling God Is Red, addresses the conflict between mainstream scientific theory about our world and the ancestral worldview of Native Americans. Claiming that science has created a largely fictional scenario for American Indians in prehistoric North America, Deloria offers an alternative view of the continent's history as seen through the eyes and memories of Native Americans. Further, he warns future generations of scientists not to repeat the ethnocentric omissions and fallacies of the past by dismissing Native oral tradition as mere legends.
In this latest work by the prominent historian, Deloria turns his audacious intellect and fiery indignation to an examination of modern science as it relates to Native American oral history and exposes the myth of scientific fact, defending Indian mythology as the more truthful account of the history of the earth. Deloria grew up in South Dakota, in a small border town on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There he was in a position to absorb the culture and traditions of Western Europeans, as well as of the native Sioux people. Much of the formal education he received about science, including how the earth and its people had formed and developed over time, came from the white, Western world; he and his fellow students accepted it as gospel, even though this information often contradicted the ancient teachings of the Native American peoples. As an adult, though, Deloria saw how some of these scientific "facts", once readily accepted as the truth, now began to run against common sense as well as the teachings of his people. For example, the question of why certain peoples had lighter or darker skins posed an especially thorny problem - one that mainstream journals and books failed to answer in a way that was satisfactory to this budding skeptic. When he began to reexamine other previously irrefutable theories - of the earth's creation, of the evolution of people, of the acceptance of the notion that the Indians themselves had been responsible for slaughtering and wiping out certain large animals from their habitat over time - he also began to reconsider the value of myth and religion in an explanation of the world's history and, in the process, to document and record traditionalknowledge of Indian tribes as offered by the tribal elders.
Addresses the conflict between scientific theory about the world and the ancestral worldview of Native Americans.
Claiming that science has created a largely fictional scenario for American Indians in prehistoric North America, Deloria offers an alternative view of the continent's history.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -256) and index.
About the Author
Vine Deloria Jr., was a leading Native American scholar, whose research, writings, and teaching have encompassed history, law, religious studies, and political science. He is the former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians.
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History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies