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Indian Givers: How Native Americans Transformed the Worldby Jack Weatherford
Synopses & Reviews
Modern Blackfeet sheds light on the politics, economics, society, and especially the acculturation of the Blackfeet Indians of Montana. The Blackfeet Reservation has an established government and an active and diverse population that has long supported itself through ranching, industry, and oil and natural gas exploration. Malcolm McFee shows why, as a result, policies and programs based on simplistic assumptions of assimilation are doomed to failure.
The results of McFeeand#8217;s long-term research among the Blackfeet in the 1950s and 1960s make it clear that acculturation is not simply a linear process of assimilation or a one-way cultural adaptation to the impact of Euro-American culture. He reviews the changing policies of the U.S. government, which were directed initially at the destruction of all native customs and values, then at the promotion of Blackfeet self-government, and eventually at the threatened termination of their status. Finally and most important, McFee notes that racial identity on the reservation today is explained more by values and behavior than by biology and thus divides the community into a white-oriented majority and a smaller, Indian-oriented group dedicated to preserving the tribeand#8217;s traditional lifeways.
In a fascinating new look at the Indians of North and South America, "Indian Givers" proves these people were instrumental in shaping world culture--from the monetary system to our diets to political organizations and our beliefs.
"As entertaining as it is thoughtful....Few contemporary writers have Weatherford's talent for making the deep sweep of history seem vital and immediate."
THE WASHINGTON POST
After 500 years, the world's huge debt to the wisdom of the Indians of the Americas has finally been explored in all its vivid drama by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. He traces the crucial contributions made by the Indians to our federal system of government, our democratic institutions, modern medicine, agriculture, architecture, and ecology, and in this astonishing, ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward recovering a true American history.
About the Author
JACK WEATHERFORD holds the DeWitt Wallace Chair of Anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota and an honorary position at Chinggis Khaan University in Mongolia. In 2007 he received the Order of the Polar Star, the highest award for service to the Mongol Nation of Genghis Khan.
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