The Praeger Handbook on Contemporary Issues in Native America [Two volumes] [2 volumes]


Most Americans know very little about Native America. For many, most of their knowledge comes from an amalgam of three sources—a barely remembered required history class in elementary school, Hollywood movies, and debates in the news media over casinos or sports mascots. This two-volume set deals with these issues as well as with more important topics of concern to the future of Native Americans, including their health, their environment, their cultural heritage, their rights, ...

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Most Americans know very little about Native America. For many, most of their knowledge comes from an amalgam of three sources—a barely remembered required history class in elementary school, Hollywood movies, and debates in the news media over casinos or sports mascots. This two-volume set deals with these issues as well as with more important topics of concern to the future of Native Americans, including their health, their environment, their cultural heritage, their rights, and their economic sustainability.

This two-volume set is one of few guides to Native American revival in our time. It includes detailed descriptions of efforts throughout North America regarding recovery of languages, trust funds, economic base, legal infrastructure, and agricultural systems. The set also includes personal profiles of individuals who have sparked renewal, from Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a leader among the Inuit whose people deal with toxic chemicals and global warming, to Ernest Benedict and Ray Fadden, who brought pride to Mohawk children long before the idea was popular. Also included are descriptions of struggles over Indian mascots, establishment of multicultural urban centers, and ravages of uranium mining among the Navajo. The set ends with a detailed development of contemporary themes in Native humor as a coping mechanism. Delving occasionally into historical context, this set includes valuable background information on present-day controversies that are often neglected by the news media. For example, the current struggles to recover Native American trust funds and languages both emerged from a cradle-to-grave control system developed by the U.S. and Canadian governments.

These efforts are part of a much broader Native American effort to recover from pervasive poverty and reassert Native American economic independence. Is gambling an answer to poverty, the new buffalo, as some Native Americans have called it? The largest Native American casino to date has been the Pequots' Foxwoods, near Ledyard, Connecticut. In other places, such as the New York Oneidas' lands in Upstate New York, gambling has provided an enriched upper class the means to hire police to force anti-gambling traditionalists from their homes. Among the Mohawks at Akwesasne, people have died over the issue. This two-volume set brings together all of these struggles with the attention to detail they have always deserved and rarely received.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This well-written, extensively researched two-volume set is designed for the college/university level reader. Students will learn about the issues facing American Indians and gain new perspectives about the history of the Americas' first inhabitants. This two-volume guide provides detailed information about the resurgence of Native American issues throughout North America. The first volume deals with the legal, cultural, and environmental dimensions of this resurgence. The second volume focuses on the revival of Native American languages, ethnic identities, and economies….Each book has its own introduction and comprehensive index."


MultiCultural Review

"Johansen offers students, scholars, and interested general readers a collection of essays and stories exploring the contemporary Native American revival of Native American traditions. The first volume examines the revival of indigenous languages; efforts to recover from pervasive poverty and reassert economic independence; ethnic revival, and the problems related to determining identity strictly in a multiethnic world; and the controversy over Indian sports mascots and place-names. The second volume focuses on legal traditions, including banishment; the conviction of Leonard Peltier; cultural revival through educational organizations and community centers; the reclamation of traditional diets and age-old agricultural systems; struggles with environmental issues; and achieving sociocultural survival and criticism of the dominant culture through contemporary Native American political humor."


Reference & Research Book News

"There are precious few books written about this renewal of American Indian cultures. The author brings deep knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and commitment to this challenge. In addition, he has brought Indian voices to each page….Finally, there is a book that both acknowledges the complicated issues facing Indian cultures and provides vivid examples that provide strong evidence and hope for solutions and survival. It should be mandatory for school and academic libraries."


American Reference Books Annual

"Comprehensive and well-written books about contemporary Native issues are hard to find, and they tend to lose their contemporary relevancy very quickly in the bright light of rapid changes in Native affairs. Johansen's attempt to provide a solid book (actually, two books) in the face of such conditions is laudable. His essays range across a stunning variety of issues and details: economic revival, identity conflict, political and environmental justice, self-rule, revival of traditional food systems, federal fraud, and linguistic and cultural revitalization. The fact that the discussion does not stop at the arbitrary national borders of the US is a plus. It is also more than time that the discussion focuses on contemporary reality rather than histories of traditions. Johansen has written a guidebook to the contemporary revival process. By its very subject matter, the book, part of Nebraska's Native America: Yesterday and Today series, will demand updates as the revival process takes novel forms. This is a hopeful sign; all books about Native issues must adapt to the dynamics of the present and the future. Essential. All levels and libraries."



"Part of the publisher's Native America: Yesterday and Today series, this installment is a compactly sized two-volume set. Despite a title that suggests broad subject matter, these volumes focus specifically on current revitalization efforts within Native American life and culture."


Catholic Library World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275991388
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Series: Native America: Yesterday and Today Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

BRUCE E. JOHANSEN is Frederick W. Kayser Professor of Communication and Native American Studies, University of Nebraska. He is the author of dozens of books, including The Dirty Dozen: Toxic Chemicals and the Earth's Future, The Global Warming Desk Reference, and The Native Peoples of North America. He is series editor of Praeger's Native America: Yesterday and Today.

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Table of Contents

Volume 1: Linguistic, Ethnic, and Economic Revival



Dedication: On the Passing of Vine Deloria Jr.

Chapter 1: Back from the (Nearly) Dead: Reviving Indigenous Languages Across North America

Chapter 2: Where Has All the Money Gone?

Chapter 3: Economic Revival: Up from the Bottom on the Reservation

Chapter 4: High-Stakes Genealogy: When Is a Pequot Not a Pequot?

Chapter 5: Names and Games: The Controversy Regarding Indian Sports Mascots and Place Names

Volume 2: Legal, Cultural, and Environmental Revival


Chapter 1: Cast Among the Living Dead: Banishment Is Back

Chapter 2: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The Curious Conviction of Leonard Peltier

Chapter 3: Grandfathers of Akwesasne Mohawk Revitalization: Ray Fadden and Ernest Benedict

Chapter 4: Mestizo Nation: La Plaza de Seattle

Chapter 5: Back to Bushmeat and Berries

Chapter 6: The New Inuit

Chapter 7: The High Price of Uranium in Navajo and Dene Country

Chapter 8: Catharsis vis--vis Oppression: Contemporary Native American Political Humor

Selected Bibliography


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