Notes from a Miner's Canary: Essays on the State of Native America

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The title of this lively collection of Jace Weaver's essays comes from Felix Cohen, the great authority on American Indian law: "The Indian plays much the same role in our American society that the Jews played in Germany. Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh air to poisonous gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, marks the rise and fall of our democratic faith." But the book goes far beyond the subject of law. The wide range of cultural references shows why the author is considered a leader in the field of Native American Studies. Beginning with a survey of the state of Native American Studies and ending with an assessment of literary theory, he also tackles environmentalism and environmental justice, NAGPRA, war tribunals, pilgrimage and migration, ethnography, food, architecture, ghost stories, identity, theory, and a few other lively subjects, including a splendid tribute to the towering significance of N. Scott Momaday.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826348746
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 8/16/2010
  • Pages: 480

Meet the Author

Jace Weaver is Franklin Professor of Native American Studies and director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. He is also the author of That the People Might Live: Native American Literatures and Native American Community.
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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 More Light than Heat

The Current State of Native American Studies 1

Chapter 2 Notes from a Miner's Canary

Natives and Environmental Justice 23

Chapter 3 Hope Is a Thing with Feathers

Indian as icon 53

Chapter 4 The American Indian Land Case

Choctaw Nation v Cherolwe Nation 69

Chapter 5 NAGPRA and the Return of the Repressed 77

Chapter 6 Turtle Goes to War

Of Military Commissions, the Constitution, and American Indian Memory 95

Chapter 7 Pilgrimage Trails and Migration Traditions

Foregrounds and Backgrounds to the Mapa de Cuauhtinchcm No. 2 217

Chapter 8 Of Trembling Gods and Moon-Eyed People

Ruminations on the Limits of Ethnography 247

Chapter 9 Telectroscopy

Searching for the Ancestral Puebloans 275

Chapter 10 When the Demons Come

(Retro)Spectacle among the Savages 297

Chapter 11 A Lantern to See By

Survivance and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Oklahoma 313

Chapter 12 The Adamant of Time

Native American Land, Architecture, and Ethics 333

Chapter 13 ...But I'll Give You My Chili Recipe 353

Chapter 14 Blackface, Redface, and the Yellow Peril 359

Chapter 15 The Mystery of Language

N. Scott Momaday, an Appreciation 375

Chapter 16 Empires, No Matter How Gained

Unmasking the Barbarism with a Human Face 385

Chapter 17 Not Bereft

A Story of Cherokee Survivance 393

Notes 407

Index 439

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