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As American Indian communities face the new century, they look to the future armed with confidence in the indigenous perspectives that have kept them together thus far. Now five premier scholars in American Indian history, along with a tribal leader who has placed an indelible mark on the history of her people, show how understanding the past is the key to solving problems facing Indians today.
Edited by Albert L. Hurtado and introduced by Wilma Mankiller, this book includes the insights of Colin G. Calloway, R. David Edmunds, Laurence M. Hauptman, Peter Iverson, and Brenda J. Child—scholars who have helped shape the way an entire generation thinks about American Indian history. Writing broadly about twentieth-century Native history, they focus on themes that drive this field of study: Indian identity, tribal acknowledgment, sovereignty, oral tradition, and cultural adaptation.
Drawn from the Wilma Mankiller Symposium on American History, these thoughtful essays show how history continues to influence contemporary Native life. The authors carve a broad geographic swath—from the Oneidas’ interpretation of the past, to the perseverance of the jingle dress tradition among the Ojibwes, to community persistence in the Southwest. Wilma Mankiller’s essay on contemporary tribal government adds a personal perspective to understanding the situation of Indian people today.