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Area and Ethnic Studies > Native American and Indigenous Studies

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Burst of Breath Cover

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Burst of Breath

Indigenous Ritual Wind Instruments in Lowland South America

Jonathan David Hill

The first in-depth, comparative, and interdisciplinary study of indigenous Amazonian musical cultures, Burst of Breath showcases new research on the dynamic range of ritual power and social significance of various wind instruments—including flutes, trumpets, clarinets, and whistles—played in sacred rituals and ceremonies in Lowland South America.

The editors provide a detailed overview of the historical significance, scientific classification, shamanic and cosmological associations, and changing social meanings of ritual wind instruments within Amazonian cultures. These essays present a wide perspective that goes beyond better-documented areas such as the Upper Xingu and northwest Amazon. Some of the authors explore the ways ritual wind instruments are used to introduce natural sounds into social contexts and to cross boundaries between verbal and nonverbal communication. Others look at how ritual wind instruments and their music enter into local definitions and negotiations of relations between men, women, kin, insiders, and outsiders.

Closely considering these instruments in their many roles and contexts—in curing and purification, negotiating relations, connecting mythic ancestors and humans today—this volume reveals the power and complexity of the music at the heart of collective rituals across lowland South America.

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Call for Change

The Medicine Way of American Indian History, Ethos, and Reality

Donald L. Fixico

For too many years, the academic discipline of history has ignored American Indians or lacked the kind of open-minded thinking necessary to truly understand them. Most historians remain oriented toward the American experience at the expense of the Native experience. As a result, both the status and the quality of Native American history have suffered and remain marginalized within the discipline. In this impassioned work, noted historian Donald L. Fixico challenges academic historians—and everyone else—to change this way of thinking. Fixico argues that the current discipline and practice of American Indian history are insensitive to and inconsistent with Native people’s traditions, understandings, and ways of thinking about their own history. In Call for Change, Fixico suggests how the discipline of history can improve by reconsidering its approach to Native peoples.

He offers the “Medicine Way” as a paradigm to see both history and the current world through a Native lens. This new approach paves the way for historians to better understand Native peoples and their communities through the eyes and experiences of Indians, thus reflecting an insightful indigenous historical ethos and reality.

Captive Histories Cover

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Captive Histories

English, French, and Native Narratives of the 1704 Deerfield Raid

edited by Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney

This volume draws together an unusually rich body of original sources that tell the story of the 1704 French and Indian attack on Deerfield, Massachusetts, from different vantage points. Texts range from one of the most famous early American captivity narratives, John Williams’s The Redeemed Captive, to the records of French soldiers and clerics, to little-known Abenaki and Mohawk stories of the raid that emerged out of their communities’ oral traditions. Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney provide a general introduction, extensive annotations, and headnotes to each text. Although the oft-reprinted Redeemed Captive stands at the core of this collection, it is juxtaposed to less familiar accounts of captivity composed by other Deerfield residents: Quentin Stockwell, Daniel Belding, Joseph Petty, Joseph Kellogg, and the teenaged Stephen Williams. Presented in their original form, before clerical editors revised and embellished their content to highlight religious themes, these stories challenge long-standing assumptions about classic Puritan captivity narratives. The inclusion of three Abenaki and Mohawk narratives of the Deerfield raid is equally noteworthy, offering a rare opportunity not only to compare captors’ and captives’ accounts of the same experiences, but to do so with reference to different Native oral traditions. Similarly, the memoirs of French military officers and an excerpt from the Jesuit Relations illuminate the motivations behind the attack and offer fresh insights into the complexities of French-Indian alliances. Taken together, the stories collected in this volume, framed by the editors’ introduction and the assessments of two Native scholars, Taiaiake Alfred and Marge Bruchac, allow readers to reconstruct the history of the Deerfield raid from multiple points of view and, in so doing, to explore the interplay of culture and memory that shapes our understanding of the past.

Captured in the Middle Cover

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Captured in the Middle

Tradition and Experience in Contemporary Native American Writing

by Sidner Larson

Centering Anishinaabeg Studies Cover

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Centering Anishinaabeg Studies

Understanding the World through Stories

Jill Doerfler

For the Anishinaabeg people, who span a vast geographic region from the Great Lakes to the Plains and beyond, stories are vessels of knowledge. They are bagijiganan, offerings of the possibilities within Anishinaabeg life. Existing along a broad narrative spectrum, from aadizookaanag (traditional or sacred narratives) to dibaajimowinan (histories and news)—as well as everything in between—storytelling is one of the central practices and methods of individual and community existence. Stories create and understand, survive and endure, revitalize and persist. They honor the past, recognize the present, and provide visions of the future. In remembering, (re)making, and (re)writing stories, Anishinaabeg storytellers have forged a well-traveled path of agency, resistance, and resurgence. Respecting this tradition, this groundbreaking anthology features twenty-four contributors who utilize creative and critical approaches to propose that this people’s stories carry dynamic answers to questions posed within Anishinaabeg communities, nations, and the world at large. Examining a range of stories and storytellers across time and space, each contributor explores how narratives form a cultural, political, and historical foundation for Anishinaabeg Studies. Written by Anishinaabeg and non-Anishinaabeg scholars, storytellers, and activists, these essays draw upon the power of cultural expression to illustrate active and ongoing senses of Anishinaabeg life. They are new and dynamic bagijiganan, revealing a viable and sustainable center for Anishinaabeg Studies, what it has been, what it is, what it can be.

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Cherokee Sister

The Collected Writings of Catharine Brown, 1818-1823

Theresa Strouth Gaul

Catharine Brown (1800–1823) became Brainerd Mission School’s first Cherokee convert to Christianity, a missionary teacher, and the first Native American woman whose own writings saw extensive publication in her lifetime. After her death from tuberculosis at age twenty-three, the missionary organization that had educated and later employed Brown commissioned a posthumous biography, Memoir of Catharine Brown, which  enjoyed widespread contemporary popularity and praise.

In the following decade, her writings, along with those of other educated Cherokees, became highly politicized and were used in debates about the removal of the Cherokees and other tribes to Indian Territory. Although she was once viewed by literary critics as a docile and dominated victim of missionaries who represented the tragic fate of Indians who abandoned their identities, Brown is now being reconsidered as a figure of enduring Cherokee revitalization, survival, adaptability, and leadership.
In Cherokee Sister Theresa Strouth Gaul collects all of Brown’s writings, consisting of letters and a diary, some appearing in print for the first time, as well as Brown’s biography and a drama and poems about her. This edition of Brown’s collected works and related materials firmly establishes her place in early nineteenth-century culture and her influence on American perceptions of Native Americans.

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Chevato

The Story of the Apache Warrior Who Captured Herman Lehmann

William Chebahtah

Here is the oral history of the Apache warrior Chevato, who captured eleven-year-old Herman Lehmann from his Texas homestead in May 1870. Lehmann called him “Bill Chiwat” and referred to him as both his captor and his friend. Chevato provides a Native American point of view on both the Apache and Comanche capture of children and specifics regarding the captivity of Lehmann known only to the Apache participants. Yet the capture of Lehmann was only one episode in Chevato’s life.
 
Born in Mexico, Chevato was a Lipan Apache whose parents had been killed in a massacre by Mexican troops. He and his siblings fled across the Rio Grande and were taken in by the Mescalero Apaches of New Mexico. Chevato became a shaman and was responsible for introducing the Lipan form of the peyote ritual to both the Mescalero Apaches and later to the Comanches and the Kiowas. He went on to become one of the founders of the Native American Church in Oklahoma.
 
The story of Chevato reveals important details regarding Lipan Apache shamanism and the origin and spread of the type of peyote rituals practiced today in the Native American community. This book also provides a rare glimpse into Lipan and Mescalero Apache life in the late nineteenth century, when the Lipans faced annihilation and the Mescaleros faced the reservation.

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Chippewa Customs

Frances Densmore

Frances Densmore, born in 1867, was one of the first ethnologists to specialize in the study of American Indian music and culture. Her book, first published in 1929, remains an authoritative source for the tribal history, customs, legends, traditions, art, music, economy, and leisure activities of the Chippewa (Ojibway) Indians of the United States and Canada.

Chiricahua and Janos Cover

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Chiricahua and Janos

Communities of Violence in the Southwestern Borderlands, 1680-1880

Lance R. Blyth

Chiricahua Apache Enduring Power Cover

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Chiricahua Apache Enduring Power

Naiche's Puberty Ceremony Paintings

Written by Trudy Griffin-Pierce, with foreword by J. Jefferson Reid and Stephani

A gripping story of the cultural resilience of the descendants of Geronimo and Cochise.
 
This book reveals the conflicting meanings of power held by the federal government and the Chiricahua Apaches throughout their history of
interaction. When Geronimo and Naiche, son of Cochise, surrendered in 1886, their wartime exploits came to an end, but their real battle for survival was only beginning. Throughout their captivity in Florida, Alabama, and Oklahoma, Naiche kept alive Chiricahua spiritual power by embodying it in his beautiful hide paintings of the Girl's Puberty Ceremony—a ritual at the very heart of tribal cultural life and spiritual strength.
 
This narrative is a tribute to the Chiricahua people, who survive today, despite military efforts to annihilate them, government efforts to subjugate them, and social efforts to destroy their language and culture. Although federal policy makers brought to bear all the power at their command, they failed to eradicate Chiricahua spirit and identity nor to convince them that their lower status was just part of the natural social order. Naiche, along with many other Chiricahuas, believed in another kind of power. Although not known to have Power of his own in the Apache sense, Naiche's paintings show that he believed in a vital source of spiritual strength. In a very real sense, his paintings were visual prayers for the continuation of the Chiricahua people. Accessible to individuals for many purposes, Power helped the Chiricahuas survive throughout their
history. 
 
In this book, Griffin-Pierce explores Naiche’s artwork through the lens of current anthropological theory on power, hegemony, resistance, and subordination. As she retraces the Chiricahua odyssey during 27 years of incarceration and exile by visiting their internment sites, she reveals how the Power was with them throughout their dark period. As it was when the Chiricahua warriors and their families struggled to stay alive, Power remains the centering focus for contemporary Chiricahua Apaches. Although never allowed to return to their beloved homeland, not only are the Chiricahua Apaches surviving today, they are keeping their traditions alive and their culture strong and vital.
 

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