Native Voices

American Indian Identity and Resistance

Edited by Richard A. Grounds, George E. Tinker, and David E. Wilkins

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Despite significant strides over the past quarter century, Native peoples of North America face an uncertain future due to their unstable political, legal, and economic positions. Views of their predicament, however, continue to be dominated by non-Indian writers. In response, a dozen Native American writers here reclaim their rightful role as influential "voices" in the debates about Native communities at the dawn of a new millennium.

“Re-centers, re-values, and re-claims knowledge about Indigenous peoples from writers who fail to comprehend that Natives long have had sophisticated intellectual disciplines rooted in the oral traditions and stories of our peoples and in the wisdom of our elders and ancestors. Native Voices also offers important critical reflections on federal Indian law, non-Native desires for self-discovery and fulfillment, and academic prowess.

—Journal of American Ethnic History

“An important anthology. . . . Both Native and non-Native scholars will learn from this book . . . It is a valuable source of Native perspectives for use in college courses.

—Journal of American History
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These scholars examine crucial issues of politics, law, and religion in the context of ongoing Native American resistance to the dominant culture. They particularly show how the writings of Vine Deloria, Jr., have shaped and challenged American Indian scholarship in these areas since the 1960s. Ranging across a wide array of relevant topics, they provide key insights into Deloria's thought, while introducing some of the critical issues still confronting Native nations today.

Collectively, these essays take up four important themes: indigenous societies as the embodiment of cultures of resistance, legal resistance to western oppression against indigenous nations, contemporary Native religious practices, and Native intellectual challenges to academia. Individual chapters address indigenous perspectives on topics usually treated (and often misunderstood) by non-Indians, such as the role of women in Indian society, the importance of sacred sites to American Indian religious identity, and the relationship of native language to indigenous autonomy. A closing essay by Deloria—in vintage form—brings the book full circle and reminds Native Americans of their responsibilities and obligations to one another—and to past and future generations.

Ranging from insights into Native American astronomy to critiques of federal Indian law, this book strongly argues for the renewed cultivation of a Native American Studies that is much more Indian-centered. Without the revival of that perspective, such curricula are doomed to languish as academic ephemera—missed opportunities for building a better and deeper understanding of Indian peoples and their most pressing concerns and aspirations.

About the Author

David E. Wilkins, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, is associate professor of American Indian studies, political science, and law at the University of Minnesota and coauthor, with Vine Deloria, Jr., of Tribes, Treaties, and Constitutional Tribulations. Richard A. Grounds, Yuchi/Seminole, is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Tulsa. George E. "Tink" Tinker, Osage/Cherokee, is professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions at Iliff School of Theology and author of Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide.