The Historical Atlas of Native Americans
By Dr. Ian Barnes
Chartwell Books | 400 pp | $11.24
Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Entertainment. Join the Discussion of this Book »
Since European contact, American Indian tribes have evolved with time in order to survive under the most adverse set of circumstances. Sadly, not all tribes survived.
While it is difficult to capture several centuries of history in 400 pages, Dr. Ian Barnes has assembled a book full of photographs, illustrations and 150 maps that cover the tribes throughout the Americas in a book entitled "The Historical Atlas of Native Americans."
Readers of "The Historical Atlas of Native Americans" will catch a cursory glimpse of the evolution over several centuries of the tribes by locale. The accompanying maps are provided for a nice tie-ins to the historical narratives.
The book creates an easy view of American Indian history.
"The Historical Atlas of Native Americans" is well organized so that students needing information about American Indians can easily access material covering a variety of topics, from theories of migration in and through the Americas; the introduction of horses on the Great Plains; the Trail of Tears; the boarding schools era to present day American Indians adjustments to modern American society.
Barnes' chapter about the contributions American Indians made during World War II will provide the American Indian reader a great sense of pride. The contributions of the Navajo and Comanche code talkers are mentioned, as are numbers of men and women from various tribes. Nearly all able-bodied Ojibwa men from the Grand Portage Reservation enlisted.
One chapter dealing with the "Urbanization of Native Americans" provides an excellent view into the lives of adaptation from reservation life to survival in urban settings, in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Albuquerque.
Another chapter worth mentioning is "Survival and Renaissance, 1900 - 2002" is balanced by a powerful quote by Suzan Harjo, Cheyenne, that she made to the US Civil Rights Commission in 1988:
"Many tribes are willing to adopt foreign influences and to allow themselves to make accommodations to the kinds of models of governance that other peoples have. Sometimes they do if only to be able to survive, some of us do not wish to do that, and I think you will see that many of us will not oftentimes in the future."
The chapter deals with the challenges several American Indian tribes have on their lands protecting it from ill effects, such as pollution and contamination, from mining of uranium and coal that are seen far too often on tribal lands.
American history is not pretty when it comes to American Indians. However, "The Historical Atlas of Native Americans" affords the reader to feel the resiliency of American Indians through their efforts to maintain their familial customs, traditional practices, land bases and cultures.
"The Historical Atlas of Native Americans" is worth the read.
posted January 14, 2011 9:50 am est
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