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The Power of Promises: Rethinking Indian Treaties in the Pacific Northwestby Alexandra Harmon
Synopses & Reviews
Treaties with Native American groups in the Pacific Northwest have had profound and long-lasting implications for land ownership, resource access, and political rights in both the United States and Canada. In The Power of Promises, a distinguished group of scholars, representing many disciplines, discuss the treaties' legacies.
In North America, where treaties have been employed hundreds of times to define relations between indigenous and colonial societies, many such pacts have continuing legal force, and many have been the focus of recent, high-stakes legal contests. The Power of Promises shows that Indian treaties have implications for important aspects of human history and contemporary existence, including struggles for political and cultural power, law's effect on people's self-conceptions, the functions of stories about the past, and the process of defining national and ethnic identities.
Alexandra Harmon is associate professor of American Indian studies at the University of Washington and author of Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities around Puget Sound. Other contributors are Robert Anderson, Russel Lawrence Barsh, Ravi de Costa, Andrew H. Fisher, Hamar Foster, Chris Friday, Alan Grove, Douglas C. Harris, Kent McNeil, Paige Raigmon, Arthur Ray, and Bruce Rigsby.
"This is a timely and important volume of essays all linked to the idea of treaties. It takes the unusual step of including historians, legal historians, and anthropologists from both sides of the Canada - U.S. border, bringing new insights and approaches to scholars in both directions. Treaties, usually studied as texts in isolation, benefit from being gathered as a corpus and considered alongside the oral treaties that accompanied the written words." - John Sutton Lutz, University of Victoria
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