August Nonfiction Reviews
August Nonfiction Book Reviews by Marjorie Thelen
(Find Marjorie Thelen's books in the catalog or on her website)
Being interested in history, I look for authors and scholars who examine history from a different perspective. There are three such volumes available at the Harney County Library that feature scholars interested in looking at history from an Indigenous perspective. I recommend all three.
Archaeologies of Indigenous Presence, 2022 edited by Tsim D. Schneider and Lee M. Panich.
This is a collection of articles by a wide representation of anthropologists and archaeologists, some Indigenous. Among other subjects, they discuss how to incorporate Indigenous knowledge or presence into archaeological practice and research. Diane Teeman, enrolled member of the Burns Paiute tribe, and her colleague, Sarah E. Cowie, write about “Navigating Entanglements and Mitigating Intergenerational Trauma in Two Collaborative Projects”. Teeman’s project is “Our Ancestors Walk of Sorrow” about the forced removal of the Burns Paiute Tribe from their ancestral homelands in the winter of 1879. Cowie’s project “Stewart Indian School Project in Carson City, Nevada” discusses the federal government’s forced assimilation of Native children from 1890 to 1980. Teeman is currently a doctoral candidate and faculty research assistant in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Cowie is a professor of anthropology at the same university. It is especially worth reading their articles, which start on page 265. They are thought-provoking and deserve careful reading as do the other articles in the book. As the editors, Schneider and Panich, point out “we will do well to reforge our institutional boilerplate to acknowledge that Native people have been here all along.” (See it in the catalog here.)
An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States, 2014 by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
This Indigenous scholar looks at the history of the U.S. from an Indigenous perspective. She identifies settler colonialism as one of the primary causes of the harm done to Indigenous peoples and culture. The U. S. westward expansion took land from Indigenous peoples, moving them to reservations where promises by the U.S. government weren’t kept. Native culture was destroyed, and whole tribes exterminated. Indigenous children were moved to government and church run boarding schools to “civilize” them. Native peoples resisted, and they point out that “We are still here.” All of us need to read this perspective of history. (See it in the catalog here.)
Origin – A Genetic History of the Americas, 2022 by Jennifer Raft.
This anthropologist and geneticist speculates on how First Peoples arrived in North and South America based on sequencing their complete genomes. The migration of First Peoples is surrounded by controversy. Raft is critical of some of the outlandish theories that surround certain First Peoples sites in the U.S like the mound builders. If you want to learn about the speculation on how First Peoples arrived and thrived in “the New World” for thousands of years, take a look at this book. It is a challenging read. (See it in the catalog here.)
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