2012 UNC Press American Indian Heritage Month Reading List

November is American Indian Heritage Month, and in honor of the occasion we’d like to highlight some of the wonderful new work being done in indigenous studies. Here are some of UNC Press’ recent books on American Indian culture, traditions, history, and modern society, with lots of links to extra content to help you learn more.

Oh, and, surprise! It’s our holiday sale time, so you can save 30% on all of these books (and others) when you purchase from the UNC Press website and use code 01HOLIDAY at checkout!


Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' ClubCherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club by Christopher B. Teuton
Collaborating with Hastings Shade, Sammy Still, Sequoyah Guess, and Woody Hansen, Cherokee scholar Christopher B. Teuton has assembled the first collection of traditional and contemporary Western Cherokee stories published in over forty years. Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club paints a vivid portrait of a community deeply grounded in tradition and dynamically engaged in the present. A collection of forty interwoven stories, conversations, and teachings about Western Cherokee life, beliefs, and the art of storytelling, this book orchestrates a multilayered conversation between a group of honored Cherokee elders, storytellers, and knowledge-keepers and the communities their stories touch.

Read an interview with Christopher Teuton here on our blog.


Decolonizing Museums, by Amy LonetreeDecolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums by Amy Lonetree
Museum exhibitions focusing on Native American history have long been curator controlled. However, a shift is occurring, giving Indigenous people a larger role in determining exhibition content. In Decolonizing Museums, Amy Lonetree examines the complexities of these new relationships with an eye toward exploring how museums can grapple with centuries of unresolved trauma as they tell the stories of Native peoples. She investigates how museums can honor an Indigenous worldview and way of knowing, challenge stereotypical representations, and speak the hard truths of colonization within exhibition spaces to address the persistent legacies of historical unresolved grief in Native communities.

Read an excerpt from Decolonizing Museums here on the blog.


Colonial Entanglement, by Jean Dennison

Colonial Entanglement: Constituting a Twenty-First-Century Osage Nation by Jean Dennison
From 2004 to 2006 the Osage Nation conducted a contentious governmental reform process in which sharply differing visions arose over the new government’s goals, the Nation’s own history, and what it means to be Osage. In Colonial Entanglement, Osage anthropologist Jean Dennison documents the reform process in order to reveal the lasting effects of colonialism and to illuminate the possibilities for indigenous sovereignty. In doing so, she brings to light the many complexities of defining indigenous citizenship and governance in the twenty-first century.

Read Jean Dennison’s guest blog post, “Osage Nation Reform: From Colonial Entanglement to Citizen Engagement.”


Crooked Paths to Allotment: The Fight over Federal Indian Policy after the Civil War, by C. Joseph Genetin-PilawaCrooked Paths to Allotment: The Fight over Federal Indian Policy after the Civil War by C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa
Standard narratives of Native American history view the nineteenth century in terms of steadily declining Indigenous sovereignty, from removal of southeastern tribes to the 1887 General Allotment Act. In Crooked Paths to Allotment, C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa focuses on political moments when viable alternatives to federal assimilation policies arose. In these moments, reformers and their allies challenged coercive practices and offered visions for policies that might have allowed Indigenous nations to adapt at their own pace and on their own terms.

Read an interview with Joseph Genetin-Pilawa and check out his guest blog post, “‘Documented Rights’ & Representations of Indigenous History in the Archive.”


Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, by Brett RushforthBonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France by Brett Rushforth
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, French colonists and their Native allies participated in a slave trade that spanned half of North America, carrying thousands of Native Americans into bondage in the Great Lakes, Canada, and the Caribbean. In Bonds of Alliance, Brett Rushforth reveals the dynamics of this system from its origins to the end of French colonial rule. Balancing a vast geographic and chronological scope with careful attention to the lives of enslaved individuals, this book gives voice to those who lived through the ordeal of slavery and, along the way, shaped French and Native societies.

Read an excerpt from Bonds of Alliance or watch a video of Brett Rushforth talking about his research for the book.


Reimagining Indian Country: Native American Migration and Identity in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles, by Nicolas G. RosenthalReimagining Indian Country: Native American Migration and Identity in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles by Nicolas G. Rosenthal
For decades, most American Indians have lived in cities, not on reservations or in rural areas. Still, scholars, policymakers, and popular culture often regard Indians first as reservation peoples, living apart from non-Native Americans. In Reimagining Indian Country, Nicolas Rosenthal reorients our understanding of the experience of American Indians by tracing their migration to cities, exploring the formation of urban Indian communities, and delving into the shifting relationships between reservations and urban areas from the early twentieth century to the present.

Read Rosenthal’s guest blog post, “Reimagining American Indian Culture in Hollywood and Beyond.”


The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story, by Tiya MilesThe House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story by Tiya Miles new in paperback
At the turn of the nineteenth century, James Vann, a Cherokee chief and entrepreneur, established Diamond Hill, the most famous plantation in the southeastern Cherokee Nation. In this first full-length study to reconstruct the history of the plantation, Tiya Miles tells the story of Diamond Hill’s founding, its flourishing, its takeover by white land-lottery winners on the eve of the Cherokee Removal, its decay, and its renovation in the 1950s. Vividly written and extensively researched, this history illuminates gender, class, and cross-racial relationships on the southern frontier.

Miles was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2011. Read an excerpt from The House on Diamond Hill or read Miles’s guest blog post, “‘We Are Standing on Beautiful History.'”


We Were All Like Migrant Workers Here: Work, Community, and Memory on California's Round Valley Reservation, 1850-1941, by William J. Bauer Jr.We Were All Like Migrant Workers Here: Work, Community, and Memory on California’s Round Valley Reservation, 1850-1941 by William J. Bauer Jr. new in paperback
The federally recognized Round Valley Indian Tribes are a small, confederated people whose members today come from six Indigenous California tribes. In the 1850s and 1860s, people from these tribes were relocated to a reservation farm in northern Mendocino County. Fusing Native American history and labor history, Bauer chronicles the evolution of work, community, and tribal identity among the Round Valley Indians in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that enabled their survival and resistance to assimilation.

Read Bauer’s guest blog post, “In a Family Way: Writing American Indian History from Home,” at the First Peoples blog.