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Indigenous Peoples of the United States

This guide will serve as a introduction for any student interested in the history and culture of the native peoples in the United States.

Introduction

The Goddard Library has an abundance of  materials including books, e-books, print and online journals and other media that will be useful to students researching topics and issues concerning Native Americans.  If you can't find what you are looking for, you can request an item through Inter-Library Loan. You can also use this form to request that we purchase anything we might have missed!  

 

Summary: This account of the Lakota Indians traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty-first century. Pekka Hamalainen explores the Lakotas' roots as marginal hunter-gatherers and reveals how they reinvented themselves twice: first as a river people who dominated the Missouri Valley, America's great commercial artery, and then -- in what was America's first sweeping westward expansion -- as a horse people who ruled supreme on the vast high plains. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull are iconic figures in the American imagination, but in this book they emerge as something different: the architects of Lakota America, an expansive and enduring Indigenous regime that commanded human fates in the North American interior for generations.

Lakota America by Pekka Hamalainen     

  Summary: This account of the Lakota Indians traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty-first century. Pekka Hamalainen explores the Lakotas' roots as marginal hunter-gatherers and reveals how they reinvented  themselves twice: first as a river people who dominated the Missouri Valley, America's great commercial artery, and then -- in what was America's first sweeping westward expansion -- as a horse people who ruled supreme on the vast high plains. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull are iconic figures in the American imagination, but in this book they emerge as something different: the architects of Lakota America, an expansive and enduring Indigenous regime that commanded human fates in the North American interior for generations.

 

 

 


Surviving Genocide by Jeffery Ostler

Summary: In the first part of this sweeping two-volume history, Ostler investigates how American democracy relied on Indian  dispossession and the federally sanctioned use of force to remove or slaughter Indians in the way of U.S. expansion. He charts the losses that Indians suffered from relentless violence and upheaval and the attendant effects of disease, deprivation, and exposure. This volume centers on the eastern United States from the 1750s to the start of the Civil War. Ostler deepens our understanding of the seizure of indigenous lands, including the use of treaties to create the appearance of Native consent to dispossession. He also carefully documents the resilience of Native people, showing how they survived genocide by creating alliances, defending their towns, and rebuilding their communities. --Adapted from publisher description.

 

 


     The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

Summary: Books like Dee Brown's 1970 mega-bestselling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee promote the idea that American Indian history ended with the 1890 massacre when 150 Sioux died at the hands of the U.S. Cavalry-- as well as Native civilization. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. They did not disappear-- and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence. The story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention. Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the U.S. military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

         The Black Shoals by Tiffany Lethabo King

Summary: The author uses the shoal--an offshore geologic formation that is neither land nor sea--as metaphor, mode of critique, and methodology to theorize the encounter between Black studies and Native studies. The author conceptualizes the shoal as a space where Black and Native literary traditions, politics, theory, critique, and art meet in productive, shifting, and contentious ways. These interactions, which often foreground Black and Native discourses of conquest and critiques of humanism, offer alternative insights into understanding how slavery, anti-Blackness, and Indigenous genocide structure white supremacy. Among texts and topics, the author examines eighteenth-century British mappings of humanness, Nativeness, and Blackness; Black feminist depictions of Black and Native erotics; Black fungibility as a critique of discourses of labor exploitation; and Black art that rewrites conceptions of the human. In outlining the convergences and disjunctions between Black and Native thought and aesthetics, The author identifies the potential to create new epistemologies, lines of critical inquiry, and creative practices.
 
 

Interesting E-Books

Life Among the Piutes
Summary: this autobiographical work was written by one of the country's most well-known Native American women, Sarah  Winnemucca. She was a Paiute princess and a major figure in the history of Nevada; her tribe still resides primarily in the state. Life Among the Piutes deals with Winnemucca's life and the plight of the Paiute Indians. Life Among the Piutes is Winnemucca's powerful legacy to both white and Paiute cultures. Following the oral tradition of Native American people, she reaches out to readers with a deeply personal appeal for understanding. She also records historical events from a unique perspective. She managed to record the Native American viewpoint of whites settling the West, told in a language that was not her own and by a woman during the time when even white women were not allowed to vote. Sarah Winnemucca dedicated her life to improving the living and social conditions for her people. She gave more than 400 speeches across the United States and Europe to gain support for the Paiutes. She died of tuberculosis in 1891. Life Among the Piutes was originally published in 1883. - provider's description.

Our Beloved Kin
Summary: "With rigorous original scholarship and creative narration, Lisa Brooks recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance during the "First Indian War" (later named King Philip's War) by relaying the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Through both a narrow focus on Weetamoo, Printer, and their network of relations, and a far broader scope that includes vast Indigenous geographies, Brooks leads us to a new understanding of the history of colonial New England and of American origins. In reading seventeenth-century sources alongside an analysis of the landscape and interpretations informed by tribal history, Brooks's pathbreaking scholarship is grounded not just in extensive archival research but also in the land and communities of Native New England."-- Jacket Flap

Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Voices
 
 
Summary: " Dawnland Voices calls attention to the little known but extraordinarily rich literary traditions of New England's Native Americans. This pathbreaking anthology includes both classic and contemporary literary works from ten New England indigenous nations: the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi'kmaq, Mohegan, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Schaghticoke, and Wampanoag. Through literary collaboration and recovery, Siobhan Senier and Native tribal historians and scholars have crafted a unique volume covering a variety of genres and historical periods. From the earliest petroglyphs and petitions to contemporary stories and hip-hop poetry, this volume highlights the diversity and strength of New England Native literary traditions. Dawnland Voices introduces readers to the compelling and unique literary heritage in New England, banishing the misconception that "real" Indians and their traditions vanished from that region centuries ago."-- Provided by publisher.