Native American Heritage Month
November 18, 2020
November is Native American Heritage Month and we at the library wanted to share a small selection from our resources for learning more about the histories and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. Please use this “virtual book display” to check out some new items to read this month:
“In this wide-ranging and carefully curated anthology, Daniel M. Cobb presents the words of Indigenous people who have shaped Native American rights movements from the late nineteenth century through the present day. Presenting essays, letters, interviews, speeches, government documents, and other testimony, Cobb shows how tribal leaders, intellectuals, and activists deployed a variety of protest methods over more than a century to demand Indigenous sovereignty. As these documents show, Native peoples have adopted a wide range of strategies in this struggle, invoking ‘American’ and global democratic ideas about citizenship, freedom, justice, consent of the governed, representation, and personal and civil liberties while investing them with indigenized meanings.”– Provided by publisher.
“The founding idea of “America” has been based largely on the expected sweeping away of Native Americans to make room for EuroAmericans and their cultures. In this authoritative study, David L. Moore examines the works of five well-known Native American writers and their efforts, since the nation’s early days, to redefine an “America” and “American identity” that includes Native Americans. That Dream Shall Have a Name focuses on the writing of Pequot Methodist minister William Apess in the 1830s; on Northern Paiute activist Sarah Winnemucca in the 1880s; on Salish/Me;tis novelist, historian, and activist D’Arcy McNickle in the 1930s; on Laguna poet and novelist Leslie Marmon Silko; and on Spokane poet, novelist, humorist, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie in the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Moore studies these five writers’ stories about the conflicted topics of sovereignty, community, identity, and authenticity–always tinged with irony and often with humor. He shows how Native Americans have tried from the beginning to shape an American narrative closer to its own ideals, one that does not include the death and destruction of their peoples. This compelling work offers keen insights into the relationships between Native and American identity and politics in a way that is both accessible to newcomers and compelling to those already familiar with these fields.”– Provided by publisher.
“Smoke Signals is a historical milestone in Native American filmmaking. Released in 1998 and based on a short-story collection by Sherman Alexie, it was the first wide-release feature film written, directed, coproduced, and acted by Native Americans. The most popular Native American film of all time, Smoke Signals is also an innovative work of cinematic storytelling that demands sustained critical attention in its own right. Embedded in Smoke Signals’s universal story of familial loss and renewal are uniquely Indigenous perspectives about political sovereignty, Hollywood’s long history of misrepresentation, and the rise of Indigenous cinema across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Joanna Hearne’s work foregrounds the voices of the filmmakers and performers–in interviews with Alexie and director Chris Eyre, among others–to explore the film’s audiovisual and narrative strategies for speaking to multiple audiences. In particular, Hearne examines the filmmakers’ appropriation of mainstream American popular culture forms to tell a Native story. Focusing in turn on the production and reception of the film and issues of performance, authenticity, social justice, and environmental history within the film’s text and context, this in-depth introduction and analysis expands our understanding and deepens our enjoyment of a Native cinema landmark.”– Provided by publisher.
Museum exhibitions focusing on Native American history have long been curator controlled. However, a shift is occurring, giving Indigenous people a larger role in determining exhibition content. In Decolonizing Museums, Amy Lonetree examines the complexities of these new relationships with an eye toward exploring how museums can grapple with centuries of unresolved trauma as they tell the stories of Native peoples. She investigates how museums can honor an Indigenous worldview and way of knowing, challenge stereotypical representations, and speak the hard truths of colonization within exhibition spaces to address the persistent legacies of historical unresolved grief in Native communities..
Description: Since the 1800’s, many European Americans have relied on Native Americans as models for their own national, racial, and gender identities. Displays of this impulse include world’s fairs, fraternal organizations, and films such as Dances with Wolves. Shari M. Huhndorf uses cultural artifacts such as these to examine the phenomenon of “going native,” showing its complex relations to social crises in the broader American society–including those posed by the rise of industrial capitalism, the completion of the military conquest of Native America, and feminist and civil rights activism. Huhndorf looks at several modern cultural manifestations of the desire of European Americans to emulate Native Americans. Some are quite pervasive, as is clear from the continuing, if controversial, existence of fraternal organizations for young and old which rely upon “Indian” costumes and rituals. Another fascinating example is the process by which Arctic travelers “went Eskimo,” as Huhndorf describes in her readings of Robert Flaherty’s travel narrative, My Eskimo Friends, and his documentary film, Nanook of the North. Huhndorf asserts that European Americans’ appropriation of Native identities is not a thing of the past, and she takes a skeptical look at the “tribes” beloved of New Age devotees. Going Native shows how even seemingly harmless images of Native Americans can articulate and reinforce a range of power relations including slavery, patriarchy, and the continued oppression of Native Americans. Huhndorf reconsiders the cultural importance and political implications of the history of the impersonation of Indian identity in light of continuing debates over race, gender, and colonialism in American culture.
Growing up in the 1950s in suburban Minneapolis, Diane Wilson had a family like everybody else’s. Her Swedish American father was a salesman at Sears and her mother drove her brothers to baseball practice and went to parent-teacher conferences. But in her thirties, Diane began to wonder why her mother didn’t speak of her past. So she traveled to South Dakota and Nebraska, searching out records of her relatives through six generations, hungering to know their stories. She began to write a haunting account of the lives of her Dakota Indian family, based on research, to recreate their oral history that was lost, or repressed, or simply set aside as gritty issues of survival demanded attention. The result is an exquisite counterpoint of memoir and carefully researched fiction, a remarkable narrative that ties modern Minnesotans to the trauma of the Dakota War. Wilson found her family’s love and humor — and she discovered just how deeply our identities are shaped by the forces of history.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was really won.
This pioneering work, first published in 1986, documents the continuing vitality of the American Indian tradition and of women’s leadership within that tradition. In her new preface to this edition, Allen reflects on the remarkable resurgence of American Indian pride and culture in recent times.