I guess I knew more about Indians than I thought. Not many surprises here for me. But it's a very factual book and I'm sure it helps lots of people answer questions they have. Growing up in St Paul Minnesota with quite a few native people living in our neighborhood, working at a large county hospital in Minneapolis, and reading books on the tragedies of native peoples' history helped me gain a good understanding and empathy for their various situations. Anything that can be done to improve relationships with all our neighbors starts with a good understanding of people's past experiences and frame of reference.
A very down to earth and honest evaluation of a topic many avoid. Yet as part Native American there is a lifelong yearning to set history straight. Yes to forgive the unforgivable. To reconcile but also to get involved, be political, and persuade fellow Americans to reconcile also.
The book is, as the title indicates, written in question-and-answer format, the questions (some of them interesting, some of them embarrassingly dumb) being ones the author has actually been asked by whites over the years. But the tone is serious, and there is a great deal of informative material, and a good sense of a Native's insider perspective, conveyed in the answers.
Somewhat randomly organized, the book touches on Native American history, culture and language, tribal organization and relations with the US government, land theft and its continuing legacy of poverty, the history of oppression and the destruction of Indian culture, cultural practices such as powwows and ceremonies, ongoing challenges such as alcoholism, crime, and unemployment, and a grab-bag of stuff oblivious outsiders don't get, like casinos, the significance of eagle feathers and Indian names, whether Natives have a "mystical relationship with the land," and the appropriateness of the word "Indian".
The author is careful to point out that Native American culture is widely various, so that he can speak only from his own perspective as a member of a particular tribe, and the book does rely somewhat heavily on Ojibwe history and traditions. But he is knowledgeable about, and respectful of, the many other tribes and bands that make up "Indian Country". All together, the book gives a very informative, helpful, and intriguing introduction to the many issues faced by contemporary Native Americans, and their history, and it includes extensive references to further resources for those seeking a more complete grounding. For the truly ignorant, such as myself, it was a great help to have these questions answered, and in a respectful and welcoming way.
This book is a testimony to the author's desire to bridge cultures, and to benefit his own culture by doing so. It is an excellent contribution to that project, and a fascinating and informative read for non-Natives who also want to approach that issue respectfully and knowledgeably.
I am a parish pastor of a mainline church denomination that exists in a town within the boundaries of an Ojibwe reservation. This book was a helpful introduction to the issues, truths and misconceptions regarding the relationship between sovereign indigenous nations and the non natives. I want to learn more.
This informative and entertaining book brings to mind the Elvis Costello song "What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love, and Understanding". The author's purpose is to help people move past the anger, myths, and misery that permeate Indian and White history. He has chosen to write a book that will encourage honest discourse and mutual understanding, thereby, making the world a better place. A laudable idea. The book is full of commonly asked questions and "insider" information about such topics as mascots, sovereignty, language, and much more. I highly recommend the book to all who would like to learn more about the American Indian perspective.
I've used this book for a few years now when reviewing children's books featuring American Indians for our public school. Finally I needed a copy of my own instead of always borrowing the library's copy.
I felt the author wrote in a clear and concise way about Native American life today. Many people in the U.S. may not meet a Native American in person. In addition, tribes have different customs and ways of doing things. I found the question and answer format to be a positive way of answering questions that NON-NATIVE people may have about Indians. I believe the author did a very good job in answering those questions and clearing up misconceptions. I would recommend this book to readers who have an interest in American Indian history and life as it is lived now.
This book is easy to read in short sessions, but you'll find yourself drawn into reading to the end of his stories. Prof. Treuer knows this subject from the "inside" from being an active member of his tribe, from careful study of available research, and from his own travels around the world. Before buying and reading this book, I knew some about Indians in North America from my own reading and from living and working on a reservation when I was younger. But, in every section of this excellent book, I learned much more. This is a superb book. I hope he writes some more!