What have you always wanted to know about Indians? Do you think you should already know the answers -- or suspect that your questions may be offensive? In matter-of-fact responses to over 120 questions, both thoughtful and outrageous, modern and historical, Ojibwe scholar and cultural preservationist Anton Treuer gives a frank, funny, and sometimes personal tour of what's up with Indians, anyway.
Introduction: Ambassador -- Terminology: -- What terms are most appropriate for talking about North America's first people? -- What terms are not appropriate for talking about North American's first people? -- What terms are most appropriate for talking about each tribe? -- How do I know how to spell all these complicated terms? -- What term is most appropriate-nation, band, tribe, or reservation? -- What does the word powwow mean? -- How can I find out the meaning of the place names around me that come from indigenous languages? -- History: -- How many Indians were in North and South America before contact? -- When did Indians really get to North America? -- Why does it matter when Indians got here? -- What do Indians say about their origins? -- Who else made it here before Columbus? -- Did Native Americans scalp? -- Did Indians practice polygamy?-do they now? -- What are native views about homosexuality? -- How was gender configured in native communities? -- Do indigenous people in Canada get treated more fairly by their government than those in the United States? -- What is the real story of Columbus? -- Why does getting the Columbus story right matter? -- What is the real story of Thanksgiving? -- What is the real story of Pocahontas? -- When did the US government stop making treaties with Indians and why? -- Why do some people use the word genocide in discussing the treatment of Indians? -- Religion, Culture & Identity: -- Why do Indians have long hair? -- Do Indians live in teepees? -- What is fasting and why do Indians do it? -- What are clans and do all Indians have them? -- Where are the real Indians? -- What does traditional mean? -- Aren't all Indians traditional? -- Why is it called a "traditional Indian fry bread taco"? -- What is Indian time? -- What are Indian cars? -- I thought that Indians have a strong sense of ecological stewardship, so why do I also see a lot of trash in some yards? -- Do Indians have a stronger sense of community than non-Indians? -- What is Indian religion? -- Why do Indians use tobacco for ceremonies? -- It seems like Indians have a deeper spiritual connection than in many religious traditions. Is that true? -- What are some of the customs around pregnancy and childbirth? -- What are naming ceremonies? -- Can a nonnative person get an Indian name? -- What are coming-of-age ceremonies? -- How come everyone's laughing at a traditional Indian funeral? -- Do they charge for participation in native ceremonies? -- What is a sweat lodge? -- Do Indians still get persecuted for their religious beliefs? -- Powwow: -- What is a powwow? -- What do the different styles of dance mean? -- Why are "49" songs sung in English? -- How come they have a prize purse at powwows? -- Can white people dance at powwows? -- Do women sing at powwows? -- What is the protocol for gifts at powwows? -- Tribal Languages: -- How many tribal languages are spoken in North America? -- Which ones have a chance to be here a hundred years from now? -- Why are fluency rates higher in Canada? -- It seems like tribal languages won't give native people a leg up in the modern world-why are tribal languages important to Indians? -- Why should tribal languages be important to everyone else? -- What are the challenges to successfully revitalizing tribal languages? -- When were tribal languages first written down? -- Many tribal languages were never written-why do they write them now? -- Why is it funnier in Indian? -- How do tribal languages encapsulate a different world view?
Politics: -- What is sovereignty? -- Why do Indians have reservations? -- Why isn't being American enough?-why do Indians need reservations today? -- Why do Indians have treaty rights?-what other rights do they have that differ from most people? -- What is allotment? -- Why does my land have clouded title? -- Is something being done about clouded title? -- If tribes had hereditary chiefs, how come there is a democratic process in place for selecting tribal leaders in most places today? -- What's the Indian Reorganization Act? -- What are the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council? -- Why do so many Indians live in urban areas today?-what is relocation? -- What is termination? -- Why do Indians have their own police and courts in some places? -- Why does the FBI investigate murders on some reservations? -- Why do state law enforcement agencies investigate murders on some other reservations?-what is public law 280? -- Don't tribes ever investigate murders on Indian land themselves? -- Do Indians face racial profiling from law enforcement? -- Should Leonard Peltier be freed? -- Is AIM good or bad? -- What is the Indian Child Welfare Act? -- What is blood quantum, what is tribal enrollment, and how are they related? -- How has tribal enrollment affected you personally? -- How come some tribes ban the use and sale of alcohol? -- Is there a solution to substance abuse in Indian country? -- Do all Indians have drinking problems? -- Why is there so much concern about mascots? -- Why don't tribes do more to support language and culture? -- Why are Indian politics often such a viper's pit? -- Are tribes getting better? -- Why do Indians have so many kids? -- I heard that a lot of Indians serve in the US military-how do they reconcile their service with the fact that the US Army killed so many of their people? -- How do Indians feel about the use of Geronimo as the code name for Osama Bin Laden? -- Economics: -- Do Indians get a break on taxes, and if so, why? -- Do Indians get a break on license plates? -- Why should Indians be eligible for welfare if they are not taxed the same way as everyone else? -- Are all Indians living in extreme poverty? -- Are all Indians rich from casinos? -- How has casino gambling affected Indian communities? -- How have per capita payments affected Indian communities? -- What is the future of Indian gaming? -- What should tribes be doing to improve the economic condition of their citizens? -- Education: -- What were federal residential boarding schools? -- How come 50 percent of Indians are flunking their state-mandated tests in English and math? -- Is there anything that works in the effort to bridge the achievement gap? -- How does No Child Left Behind affect Indian country? -- Do all Indians have a free ride to college? -- Perspectives: Coming To Terms And Future Directions: -- Why are Indians so often imagined rather than understood? -- As a white person, I don't feel privileged-so what do Indians mean by that term? -- Why don't tribes solve their own problems? -- All these problems are not my fault-why should I be asked to atone for the sins of my ancestors? -- Is there anything wrong with saying that some of my best friends are Indians? -- Is there something wrong with saying that my great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess? -- I might have some Indian ancestry-how do I find out? -- Why is that picture End of the Trail so popular in Indian country? -- Regarding casinos and treaty rights, I'm not racist, but it doesn't seem fair to me-what's wrong with that line of thinking? -- I'm not racist, but it all happened in the past-why can't Indians just move on? -- Why do Indian people often seem angry? -- Do Indians ever work together? -- What are some good books to read about Indians? -- Are there any good Indian movies? -- Have you ever been the object of direct racial discrimination? -- You're testament to your race-how did you turn out so good? -- How can I learn more? -- Conclusion: Finding Ways To Make A Difference: -- How can I help? -- Acknowledgments -- Recommended reading -- Notes -- Index -- Illustration credits
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