Synopses & Reviews
Despite significant strides over the past quarter century, Native peoples of North America face an uncertain future due to their unstable political, legal, and economic positions. Views of their predicament, however, continue to be dominated by non-Indian writers. In response, a dozen Native American writers here reclaim their rightful role as influential "voices" in the debates about Native communities at the dawn of a new millennium.
These scholars examine crucial issues of politics, law, and religion in the context of ongoing Native American resistance to the dominant culture. They particularly show how the writings of Vine Deloria, Jr., have shaped and challenged American Indian scholarship in these areas since the 1960s. Ranging across a wide array of relevant topics, they provide key insights into Deloria's thought, while introducing some of the critical issues still confronting Native nations today.
Collectively, these essays take up four important themes: indigenous societies as the embodiment of cultures of resistance, legal resistance to western oppression against indigenous nations, contemporary Native religious practices, and Native intellectual challenges to academia. Individual chapters address indigenous perspectives on topics usually treated (and often misunderstood) by non-Indians, such as the role of women in Indian society, the importance of sacred sites to American Indian religious identity, and the relationship of native language to indigenous autonomy. A closing essay by Deloria—in vintage form—brings the book full circle and reminds Native Americans of their responsibilities and obligations to one another—and to past and future generations.
Ranging from insights into Native American astronomy to critiques of federal Indian law, this book strongly argues for the renewed cultivation of a Native American Studies that is much more Indian-centered. Without the revival of that perspective, such curricula are doomed to languish as academic ephemera—missed opportunities for building a better and deeper understanding of Indian peoples and their most pressing concerns and aspirations.
Table of Contents
Part I. Cultures of Resistance
Introduction: The Psychology of Earth and Sky, Joy Harjo (Mvskoke)
1. Ethnoastronomy as the Key to Human Intellectual Development and Social Organization, Clara Sue Kidwell (Choctaw/Ojibwe)
2. The Power of Seneca Women and the Legacy of Handsome Lake, John Mohawk (Seneca)
3. The Power of Native Languages and the Performance of Indigenous Autonomy: The Case of Mexico, Ines Hernandez-Avila (Nez Perce/Chicana)
Part II. Resistance, Politics Colonization, and the Law
Introduction: The Metaphysics of Federal Indian Law and U.S. Colonialism of American Indians, M. A. Jaimes-Guerrero (Juaneno/Yaqui)
4. From Time Immemorial: The Origin and Import of the Reserved Rights Doctrine, David E. Wilkins (Lumbee)
5. Vine Deloria, Jr., and the Development of a Decolonizing Critique of Indigenous Peoples of International Relations, Glenn T. Morris (Shawnee)
6. International Law and U.S. Trust Responsibility toward Native Americans, S. James Anaya (Purepecha/Apache)
Part III. Native American Religious Traditions and Resistance Introduction: When God Became Red, Cecil Corbett (Nez Perce)
7. Earth Mother and Prayerful Children: Sacred Sites and Religious Freedom, Henrietta Mann (Cheyenne)
8. Religious Studies on the Margins: Decolonizing Our Minds, Michelene E. Pesantubbee (Choctaw)
9. American Indian Religious Traditions, Colonialism, Resistance, and Liberation, George E. Tinker (Osage/Cherokee)
Part IV. Indian Intellectual Culture and Resistance Introduction: There Is No Such Thing as a One-Way Land Bridge, Joy Harho (Mvskoke)
10. Contours of Enlightenment: Reflections on Science, Theology, Law, and the Alternative Vision of Vine Deloria, Jr., Ward Churchill (Keetowah Band of Cherokee)
11. Transforming American Conceptions about Native America: Vine Deloria, Jr., Critic and Coyote, Ines Talamantez (Apache/Chicana)
12. Yuchi Travels: Up and Down the Academic "Road to Desappearance", Richard A. Grounds (Yuchi/Seminole)
The Passage of Generations, Vine Deloria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux)
Appendix: United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (26 August 1994)
List of Contributors