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Indigenizing the Academy

Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities

Devon Abbott Mihesuah

Publication Year: 2004

Continuing the thought-provoking dialogue launched in the acclaimed anthology Natives and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians, leading Native scholars from diverse disciplines and communities offer uncompromising assessments of current scholarship on and by Indigenous peoples and the opportunities awaiting them in the Ivory Tower.

The issues covered are vital and extensive, including how activism shapes the careers of Native academics; the response of academe and Native scholars to current issues and needs in Indian Country; and the problems of racism, territoriality, and ethnic fraud in academic hiring. The contributors offer innovative approaches to incorporating Indigenous values and perspectives into the research methodologies and interpretive theories of scholarly disciplines such as psychology, political science, archaeology, and history and suggest ways to educate and train Indigenous students. They provide examples of misunderstanding and sometimes hostility from both non-Natives and Natives that threaten or circumscribe the careers of Native scholars in higher education. They also propose ways to effect meaningful change through building networks of support inside and outside the Native academic community. Designed for classroom use, Indigenizing the Academy features a series of probing questions designed to spark student discussion and essay-writing.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Contemporary Indigenous Issues

Title Page

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pp. iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

The reasons that spurred me to pursue a sequel to Natives and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians are simple. The book remains popular; over four thousand copies have been sold, and I continue to receive letters from faculty, staff, and nonacademics telling me they want more of the ...

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pp. 1-15

The 1996 special issue of the American Indian Quarterly, “Writing About (Writing About) American Indians,” was the first textualized anthology by Indigenous scholars to express some of our concerns within a variety of fields in American Indian/Native American studies. That special issue came about because Devon had been aware of many of those problems for years, and after speaking with colleagues it became clear to her that she was not the only one who sought a way to...

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1. Marginal and Submarginal

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pp. 16-30

The first generation of Indian scholars has nearly passed from the scene now. Scott Momaday continues to teach but most of the rest are retired. They occasionally teach a visiting semester somewhere at the request of friends. No question that there were a considerable...

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2. Academic Gatekeepers

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pp. 31-47

The colonization of Native America1 has been documented extensively, and we like to think that most scholars are aware that the experience has been—and still is—crushing and brutal for many Indigenes.2 Many scholars continue to document atrocities of the past, and a growing number discuss...

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3. Corrupt State University: The Organizational Psychology of Native Experience in Higher Education

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pp. 48-68

A particular university department with one Native faculty member had a faculty position to fill. A search committee was duly formed, applications solicited, and a short list of candidates selected for interview. After the last of the interviews had been conducted, a meeting was called to discuss perceptions of the candidates and decide...

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4. Reclaiming Our Humanity: Decolonization and the Recovery of Indigenous Knowledge

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pp. 69-87

As Indigenous1 scholars long exposed to intellectual imperialism, we often search for rational justifications to defend our cherished worldviews against attack by those who consistently wish to denigrate them. In the academy, this is a common occurrence. We realize that it is not just our individual...

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5. Warrior Scholarship: Seeing the University as a Ground of Contention

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pp. 88-99

What is “Indigenizing the academy?” To me, it means that we are working to change universities so that they become places where the values, principles, and modes of organization and behavior of our people are respected in, and hopefully even integrated into, the larger system of structures...

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6. Seeing (and Reading) Red: Indian Outlaws in the Ivory Tower

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pp. 100-123

Tsiyu Gansini was one of the Real People’s greatest warriors, and one who was greatly feared by yoneg land-stealers.1 He didn’t die in battle; instead, he died in his sleep at his birthplace of Running Water, Tennessee, following a victory dance.2 He died as he had lived: in defiance of Invasion’s devastation. And even...

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7. Keeping Culture in Mind: Transforming Academic Training in Professional Psychology for Indian Country

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pp. 124-142

Some years ago during a visit home to the Fort Belknap Indian reservation in Montana, I was approached in an uncharacteristically serious manner by a close family member who confided with evident desperation that he needed to talk with me at once. We found a quiet space near the woodstove and...

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8. Should American Indian History Remain a Field of Study?

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pp. 143-159

Why do we write American Indian history? What is the point of attempting to reconstruct the past? Historians usually say they study and write Native history because they are curious about long-ago happenings. Something—a specific event, a person, a chain of happenings— has caught their interest. Perhaps they are interested in their ancestors, human...

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9. Teaching Indigenous Cultural Resource Management

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pp. 160-173

Throughout the last century, American archaeology witnessed many changes in its professional mandate, and it has continued to expand in the methods practiced, technology used, and theories applied. For the most part, the discipline has been grounded in the paradigms of Western science in an effort to explain and understand humans’ past. Recently, Native Americans...

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10. In the Trenches: A Critical Look at the Isolation of American Indian Political Practices in the Nonempirical Social Science of Political Science

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pp. 174-190

The field of political science invokes in most an understanding of the study of political systems, institutions, theories, and persons. As a nonempirical discipline it exclusively investigated Western European practices during much of the last century. Political science examines how to study liberal democracy and the modern state, but more recently it has been...

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11. Graduating Indigenous Students by Confronting the Academic Environment

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pp. 191-199

I composed this essay aloud as I drove my family through Oklahoma to visit relatives. As we entered the Quanah Parker Trailway west of Lawton, I recalled my father’s words, which reflect both his continued concern about his lack of formal education and his deep desire to learn more about Comanche history, culture...

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12. So You Think you Hired an "Indian" Faculty Member? " The Ethnic Fraud Paradox in Higher Education

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pp. 200-217

Marketing the images of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas is an ongoing legacy.1 Cultural exploitation and appropriation also continue, whether at powwows, mountain man retreats, pioneer and frontier days reenactments, art shows, music festivals, arts and crafts gatherings, sport mascots, Boy Scout summer camps, television commercials and sitcoms, Hollywood movies...

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13. Not the End of the Stories, Not the End of the Songs: Visualizing, Signifying, Counter-colonizing

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pp. 218-232

Responding to an overabundance of negative news stories featuring “Indians,” Grand Forks Herald columnist Dorreen Yellow Bird recently challenged individuals she named “big-city reporters” to consider the possibility that “there is another story to be told about the people on reservations.” Referring to the examples offered by her Sahnish grandmother and an aunt, Yellow Bird...

Appendix. Questions for Reflection

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pp. 233-234


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pp. 235-237


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pp. 239-245

E-ISBN-13: 9780803204164
E-ISBN-10: 0803204167

Page Count: 246
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Contemporary Indigenous Issues