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North American Indian Prose Award

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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.

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Three Fires Unity

The Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands

Phil Bellfy

The Lake Huron area of the Upper Great Lakes region, an area spreading across vast parts of the United States and Canada, has been inhabited by the Anishnaabeg for millennia. Since their first contact with Europeans around 1600, the Anishnaabeg have interacted with—and struggled against—changing and shifting European empires and the emerging nation-states that have replaced them. Through their cultural strength, diplomatic acumen, and a remarkable knack for adapting to change, the Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands have reemerged as a strong and vital people, fully in charge of their destiny in the twenty-first century. Winner of the North American Indian Prose Award, this first comprehensive cross-border history of the Anishnaabeg provides an engaging account of four hundred years of their life in the Lake Huron area, showing how they have been affected by European contact and trade. Three Fires Unity examines how shifting European politics and, later, the imposition of the Canada–United States border running through their homeland, affected them and continues to do so today. In looking at the cultural, social, and political aspects of this borderland contact, Phil Bellfy sheds light on how the Anishnaabeg were able to survive and even thrive over the centuries in this intensely contested region.

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