Killing The White Man's Indian: The Reinvention of Native Americans at the End of the 20th Century

Killing The White Man's Indian: The Reinvention of Native Americans at the End of the 20th Century

by Fergus M. Bordewich
     
 
In the face of a new lightly romanticized view of Native Americans, Killing the White Man's Indian bravely confronts the current myths and often contradictory realities of tribal life today. Following two centuries of broken treaties and virtual government extermination of the "savage redmen," Americans today have recast Native Americans into another, equally

Overview

In the face of a new lightly romanticized view of Native Americans, Killing the White Man's Indian bravely confronts the current myths and often contradictory realities of tribal life today. Following two centuries of broken treaties and virtual government extermination of the "savage redmen," Americans today have recast Native Americans into another, equally stereotyped role, that of eternal victims, politically powerless and weakened by poverty and alcoholism, yet whose spiritual ties with the natural world form our last, best hope of salvaging our natural environment and ennobling our souls.

The truth, however, is neither as grim , nor as blindly idealistic, as many would expect. The fact is that a virtual revolution is underway in Indian Country, an upheaval of epic proportions. For the first time in generations, Indians are shaping their own destinies, largely beyond the control of whites, reinventing Indian education and justice, exploiting the principle of tribal sovereignty in ways that empower tribal governments far beyond most American's imaginations. While new found power has enriched tribal life and prospects, and has made Native Americans fuller participants in the American dream, it has brought tribal governments into direct conflict with local economics and the federal government.

Based on three years of research on the Native American reservations, and written without a hidden conservative bias or politically correct agenda, Killing the White Man's Indian takes on Native American politics and policies today in all their contradictory--and controversial-guises."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A new generation of politically astute Native Americans is developing aggressive tribal governments bent on resuscitating once-moribund cultures and on managing federal programs without the paternalistic oversight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Bordewich, a roving editor for Reader's Digest, who spent three years visiting reservations, believes that today's tribal sovereignty movement represents the best hope in decades for restoring economically crippled communities. Yet the movement, in his opinion, is tinged with separatist ideology and an ``overwhelming, largely irrational fear of yet more loss and betrayal.'' Arguing that in some states, Native Americans' claims to water and fishing rights and their demand for sacred lands pose a threat to local economies, Bordewich maintains that the sovereignty movement runs the risk of creating a multitude of independent statelets, some economically unviable and ill governed. His vibrant, compelling, diversified portrait of contemporary Native Americans dispels whites' lingering stereotypes of Indians either as permanent victims or as morally superior beings living in primeval, unchanging communion with nature. (Feb.)
Ray Olson
There is great ferment in Indian country these days, one sign of which is all the tribally run gambling casinos that have blossomed like theme parks across the national landscape. They are merely the most obvious element in a burst of development that Bordewich surveys with the trenchancy of an investigative reporter and, frequently, the artfulness--especially in descriptions of particular places, persons, and moments--of a fine writer. In nine hefty, engrossing chapters, he takes up as many large topics--historic Indian-white relations, modern Indian identity, the revival of tribal authority, Indians and environmentalism, conflicts between reinvigorated Indian property rights and archaeological research, new Indian claims to lands said to be sacred, Indian alcoholism, the reservation-based system of Indian colleges, and the promise and perils of growing economic and political cooperation with the world beyond the reservation. For each topic, Bordewich tells both success and horror stories, brings forward credible Indian voices on both or several sides of the issues, and shatters myths about Indians that range from the noble savage to the chronic drunk. Most important, he presents Indians as every bit as complex as any other set of human beings, their issues as every bit as consequential as those of any other set of U.S. citizens.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385420358
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/01/1996
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 10.03(h) x 1.47(d)

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