Synopses & Reviews
Challenging received American history and forging a new path for Native American studies
Addressing Native American Studies' past, present, and future, the essays in New Indians, Old Wars tackle the discipline head-on, presenting a radical revision of the popular view of the American West in the process. Instead of luxuriating in its past glories or accepting the widespread historians' view of the West as a shared place, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn argues that it should be fundamentally understood as stolen.
Firmly grounded in the reality of a painful past, Cook-Lynn understands the story of the American West as teaching the political language of land theft and tyranny. She argues that to remedy this situation, Native American studies must be considered and pursued as its own discipline, rather than as a subset of history or anthropology. She makes an impassioned claim that such a shift, not merely an institutional or theoretical change, could allow Native American studies to play an important role in defending the sovereignty of indigenous nations today.
"New Indians, Old Wars is an important addition to the growing works committed to Indigenousness and tribal sovereignties, many of them authored by Native scholars, which Native students - in fact, all students - must read."--Wicazo Sa Review
Cook-Lynn (Native American studies, emerita, Eastern Washington Univ.; Anti-Indianism in Modern America), a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, has produced a series of interrelated essays that call for a complete reframing of both the discipline of Native American studies and the way that native peoples are portrayed in U.S. history. She argues that in their zeal to get the Native American experience into the history books, native scholars have settled for the inclusion of only those Native Americans who helped Europeans and their descendents commit genocide on native peoples. These “accommodationists” were also complicit in the theft of all the land in the Americas. She pins the blame for the misrepresentation of the Native American experience on the field of Native American studies, which she argues has had to conform to the dictates of academia. To present the history of Native America accurately and to help native peoples chart their own future, Cook-Lynn urges her fellow scholars to create their own pedagogy and methodology. This passionately argued polemic should be read alongside Peter Nabokov’s A Forest of Time: American Indian Ways of History. Both works are recommended for academic libraries supporting programs in Native American studies or U.S. history.—John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY