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Area and Ethnic Studies > Native American and Indigenous Studies

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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.

Cherokee Sister Cover

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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.

Chevato Cover

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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.
 

Chocolate and Corn Flour Cover

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Chocolate and Corn Flour

History, Race, and Place in the Making of "Black" Mexico

Laura A. Lewis

Located on Mexico's Pacific coast in a historically black part of the Costa Chica region, the town of San Nicolás has been identified as a center of Afromexican culture by Mexican cultural authorities, journalists, activists, and foreign anthropologists. The majority of the town's residents, however, call themselves morenos (black Indians). In Chocolate and Corn Flour, Laura A. Lewis explores the history and contemporary culture of San Nicolás, focusing on the ways that local inhabitants experience and understand race, blackness, and indigeneity, as well as on the cultural values that outsiders place on the community and its residents. Drawing on more than a decade of fieldwork, Lewis offers a richly detailed and subtle ethnography of the lives and stories of the people of San Nicolás, including community residents who have migrated to the United States. San Nicoladenses, she finds, have complex attitudes toward blackness—as a way of identifying themselves and as a racial and cultural category. They neither consider themselves part of an African diaspora nor deny their heritage. Rather, they acknowledge their hybridity and choose to identify most deeply with their community.

Choctaw Nation Cover

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Choctaw Nation

A Story of American Indian Resurgence

Valerie Lambert

Choctaw Nation is a story of tribal nation building in the modern era. Valerie Lambert treats nation-building projects as nothing new to the Choctaws of southeastern Oklahoma, who have responded to a number of hard-hitting assaults on Choctaw sovereignty and nationhood by rebuilding their tribal nation. Drawing on field research, oral histories, and archival sources, Lambert explores the struggles and triumphs of a tribe building a new government and launching an ambitious program of economic development in the late twentieth century, achieving a partial restoration of the tribe’s former glory as a significant political and economic presence in what is now the United States.
 
An enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation who was reared in Oklahoma, Lambert describes in vivid detail what this nation building has meant for the Choctaw people and for non-Indians. Choctaw nation building has strengthened the tribe’s ongoing efforts to defend their sovereignty and protect their rights to land, water, and other natural resources. It has also helped produce new ways of imagining, constructing, and expressing Choctaw identity. Yet, as Choctaw Nation also shows, Choctaw sovereignty—the bedrock of Choctaw empowerment—remains under threat, as tribal sovereignty is not only a bundle of inherent rights but also an ongoing, complex consequence of Native initiatives and negotiations on local, state, and national levels.
 
In addition to wrestling with the topics of sovereignty, identity, tribal nationalism, and contemporary tribal governance, this book gives considerable ethnographic attention to tribal elections, non-Indians, urban Indians, economic development, and tribal water rights.

Choctaw Prophecy Cover

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Choctaw Prophecy

A Legacy for the Future

Written by Tom Mould

This intriguing study explores the power and artistry of prophecy among the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who use predictions about the future to interpret the world around them.

This book challenges the common assumption that American Indian prophecy was an anomaly of the 18th and 19th centuries that resulted from tribes across the continent reacting to the European invasion. Tom Mould's study of the contemporary prophetic traditions of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians reveals a much larger system of prophecy that continues today as a vibrant part of the oral tradition.

Mould shows that Choctaw prophecy is more than a prediction of the future; it is a way to unite the past, present, and future in a moral dialogue about how one should live. Choctaw prophecy, he argues, is stable and continuous; it is shared in verbal discourse, inviting negotiation on the individual level; and, because it is a tradition of all the people, it manifests itself through myriad visions with many themes. In homes, casinos, restaurants, laundromats, day care centers, and grocery stores, as well as in ceremonial and political situations, people discuss current events and put them into context with traditional stories that govern the culture. In short, recitation is widely used in everyday life as a way to interpret, validate, challenge, and create the world of the Choctaw speaker.

Choctaw Prophecy stands as a sound model for further study into the prophetic traditions of not only other American Indian tribes but also communities throughout the world. Weaving folklore and oral tradition with ethnography, this book will be useful to academic and public libraries as well as to scholars and students of southern Indians and the modern South.


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