Debating Democracy: Native American Legacy of Freedom

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More About This Textbook


American founding fathers would readily acknowledge our debt to the Iroquois Confederacy for many democratic ideas and governing principles contained in our constitution. For some Americans, however, this notion represents a perverse-even wicked-attack on our national identity and denial of our European racial, cultural, and intellectual heritage. For years academic gatekeepers used their power to suppress publication of works supporting the "influence theory." When this effort failed, nearly two decades of furious debate followed. Ignoring historical records, outraged academic critics and media gurus resorted to misrepresentations and personal attacks on scholars like Bruce Johansen and Donald Grinde to discredit the Iroquois influence theory, and pronounced it "a new barbarism," "a fantasy," "a fraud," and "a horror story of political correctness." Historian Bruce Johansen traces the issues and conflicts, exposing the machinations of the academic establishment, the struggles over public school curriculum, and the power of the Eurocentric intellectual elite to influence public opinion. Right-wing media gurus who picked up the story have linked Iroquois and other multicultural "influences" to every ill besetting contemporary American society from the rise in teenage pregnancies to the fall in Scholastic Aptitutde Test scores. Historian Donald Grinde describes his experience as a Native American scholar daring to confront the white academic establishment on its own ground and discusses issues surrounding the controversy that have troubled the Indian community. Barbara Mann's epilogue examines Eurocentric assumptions of racial, cultural, and intellectual superiority that continue to govern education and scholarship, affecting the ability of non-Europeans to participate fully in our society.

About the Author:

Bruce E. Johansen is professor of communication and Native American studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Among his books is <"Forgotten Founders: Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois and the Rationale for the American Revolution." He is co-author with Donald A. Grinde, Jr. of "Exemplar of Liberty: Native Americans and the Evolution of Democracy"; "Ecocide of Native America"; and other books. Donald A. Grinde, Jr., a Yamassee Indian, is a professor of history and chair of the Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Vermont. His published works include "The Iroquois and the Founding of the American Nation," and books co-authored with Bruce E. Johansen. Barbara A. Mann, Ph.D., specializes in American studies, particularly Native American and African American culture, history, and literature.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780940666795
  • Publisher: Clear Light Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 221
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.57 (d)

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