American Indian Politics and the American Political System (Spectrum Series: Race and Ethnicity in National and Global Politics)

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9780847693061: American Indian Politics and the American Political System (Spectrum Series: Race and Ethnicity in National and Global Politics)
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Since American Indians and Alaskan Natives are the indigenous peoples of North America, why do we fail to acknowledge them as having the first forms of national government? Indian nations are sovereign—they have their own tribal governments, their own separate territories, and they are able to negotiate treaties, exercise taxing authority over persons and businesses in their nations, and operate gambling casinos, among other things. At the same time, the individuals who constitute Native nations have also been declared U.S. citizens subject to congressional legislation, presidential decrees, and rulings by the Supreme Court. The conflict between these two political states of being—and the struggle of Indian nations and tribes to control their own political destiny—form the focal points of this book. American Indian Politics and the American Political System brings together in one source a comprehensive introduction to the history, structure, and function of tribal governments, their relationship to contemporary American politics, and the rights of individual Indians who are often caught in between these frequently contentious sovereigns. As David E. Wilkins expertly demonstrates, American Indian politics today is an elaborate braid of tribal government, American citizenship, indigenous activism, economic development, media attention, and cultural identity. Here, the many strands of American Indian politics come together in a beautiful and authoritative large format book, reader-friendly in every way. Photos, maps, and highlighted case studies add to the highly visual presentation overall.

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About the Author:

David E. Wilkins is associate professor of American Indian politics and adjunct professor of political science and law at the University of Minnesota.

Review:

Wilkins has covered all the bases in his study of tribal governments and even informed us of topics we never suspected were important. This study is a thoroughly comprehensive look at a very complex subject and deserves wide distribution and readership. It is a treasure house of information that is essential for any library on Indian legal and political affairs. (Vine Deloria, Jr., professor emeritus)

Anyone wanting to learn more about the historical context in which contemporary tribal governments exist will find this book enormously useful. It covers a vast amount of material ranging from culture and spirituality to the complex relationship between tribal governments and the U.S. The book is an important addition to any library. I highly recommend it. (Wilma Mankiller)

Wilkins' comprehensive book executes a paradigm shift by elevating Indian governments to their proper status as full, sovereign partners in the federal system and, thus, also as important subjects for students of political science and intergovernmental relations. Wilkins treats tribal governments and their intergovernmental relations seriously rather than devaluing them as mere reservations, federal dependents, another species of local government, or adjuncts to an ethnic rights movement. Although rendered stateless during the years of conquest, trusteeship, assimilation, and termination, they remianed nations because they remain 'peoples.' But are they to remain peoples without states? Wilkins' book is a step toward reconstruction. (John Kincaid, director/editor)

Wilkins' contribution to the study of American Indian politics is a major one. American Indian Politics and the American Political System is well-written and organized. The book is written from a cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary perspective. (David E. Camacho)

Wilkins has written the first general study of contemporary Indians in the U.S. from the disciplinary standpoint of political science. His inclusion of legal matters results in sophisticated treatment of many contemporary issues involving Native American governments and the government of the U.S., and gives readers a good background for understanding other questions. The writing is clear--not a minor matter in such a complex subject--and short case histories are presented, plus links (including websites) to many sources of information. Intended for undergraduates, but also valuable for graduate students, researchers, and the serious general public. (Choice)

An enormous undertaking in which David Wilkins has succeeded brilliantly. Nowhere else does the depth of political analysis and contextualization of the present circumstances of indigenous tribes and nations appear. . . . Comprehensive, unquestionably original, and long overdue. (Franke Wilmer)

Fills a very important need for informative, unsentimental scholarship on American Indian politics. (McKeen, Gayle)

The worlds of scholarship and action have been waiting for a book like this. Wilkins has mastered a hugely complicated range of topics with insight, care, and sheer diligence. This is the perfect textbook for any course on contemporary native policy. (Joe Kalt)

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