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Call for Change: The Medicine Way of American Indian History, Ethos, & Realityby Donald L. Fixico
Synopses & Reviews
When the U.S. government ended its relationship with dozens of Native American tribes and bands between 1953 and 1966, it was engaging in a massive social experiment. Congress enacted the program, known as termination, in the name of and#8220;freeingand#8221; the Indians from government restrictions and improving their quality of life. However, removing the federal status of more than nine dozen tribes across the country plunged many of their nearly 13,000 members into deeper levels of poverty and eroded the tribal peopleand#8217;s sense of Native identity. Beginning in 1973 and extending over a twenty-year period, the terminated tribes, one by one, persuaded Congress to restore their ties to the federal government. Nonetheless, so much damage had been done that even today the restored tribes struggle to overcome the problems created by those terminations a half century ago.
Roberta Ulrich provides a concise overview of all the terminations and restorations of Native American tribes from 1953 to 2006 and explores the enduring policy implications for Native peoples. This is the first book to consider all the terminations and restorations in the twentieth century as part of continuing policy while detailing some of the individual tribal differences. Drawing from Congressional records, interviews with tribal members, and other primary sources, Ulrich delves into the causes and effects of termination and restoration from both sides.
For too many years, the academic discipline of history has ignored American Indians or lacked the kind of open-minded thinking necessary to truly understand them. Most historians remain oriented toward the American experience at the expense of the Native experience. As a result, both the status and the quality of Native American history have suffered and remain marginalized within the discipline. In this impassioned work, noted historian Donald L. Fixico challenges academic historiansand#8212;and everyone elseand#8212;to change this way of thinking. Fixico argues that the current discipline and practice of American Indian history are insensitive to and inconsistent with Native peopleand#8217;s traditions, understandings, and ways of thinking about their own history. In Call for Change, Fixico suggests how the discipline of history can improve by reconsidering its approach to Native peoples.
He offers the and#8220;Medicine Wayand#8221; as a paradigm to see both history and the current world through a Native lens. This new approach paves the way for historians to better understand Native peoples and their communities through the eyes and experiences of Indians, thus reflecting an insightful indigenous historical ethos and reality.
About the Author
Donald L. Fixico is Distinguished Foundation Professor of History, Affiliate Faculty of American Indian studies, and Affiliate Faculty in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. He is the author of numerous books, including The American Indian Mind in a Linear World: American Indian Studies and Traditional Knowledge and The Invasion of Indian Country in the Twentieth Century: Tribal Natural Resources and American Capitalism.
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