It is little known that the Revolutionary War and the writing of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights were strongly influenced by Native American traditions. European philosophers of the Enlightenment such as Jean Jacques Rousseau had begun pressing for democratic reforms in Europe on the basis of glowing reports by early settlers about the New World and its native inhabitants.
The founding fathers of the United States, in turn, were inspired to fight for independence and to create the great American documents of freedom through contact with Native American statesmen and exposure to American Indian societies based on individual freedom, representative government and the democratic union of tribes. Yet American Indians have never been acknowledged for their many contributions to the founding of the United States of America, and they have never been permitted to fully share the benefits of the freedoms they helped establish.
Exiled in the Land of the Free is a dramatic recounting of early American history and an eloquent call for reform that will not be ignored. Written by eight prominent Native American leaders and scholars, each a specialist in his area of expertise, Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U. S. Constitution is a landmark volume, sure to be read by generations to come.
An aspect of American history that has been ignored and denied for centuries is the extent to which we are indebted to Native Americans for the principles and practices on which our democratic institutions are based. This is the first work to recognize that legacy and trace our model of participatory democracy to its Native American roots. This book, which was written into the Congressional Record, has major implications for future relations between Indian tribes and the governments of the United States and other nations. It presents the strongest case ever made for Native American sovereignty. American history has finally been written--not from the European point of view--but from an Indian perspective. Exiled in the Land of the Free has been adopted for courses in twelve universities, to date.
The authors make a compelling case for the existence of an Indian civilization of participatory democracy rich in its respect for individual human dignity, yet steeped in values of community. . . . One thing is clear. The American conscience cannot rest easy when the plight of the Indians is not in our consciousness. --New York Times
These impressive essays by eight Native American leaders and scholars present persuasive evidence that the American colonists and U.S. founding fathers borrowed from the Iroquois Confederacy and other Indian political institutions in drafting the U.S. Constitution and in creating democratic traditions. In his majestic opening essay, Lyons, an Onondaga chief and professor of American studies at the State University of New York, recounts the European invasion through Native American eyes. Vine Deloria Jr. examines how the Constitution and various branches of the federal government systematically work to deprive Native Americans of their rights and land. Calling for Indian self-determination, Laurence Hauptman looks at current tribal problems in light of two centuries of congressional intrusion. A major theme of this timely, forceful book is the Native American demand for sovereign rights as a legal basis for fair and reasonable claims on certain public lands. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --Publishers Weekly
A major purpose of this collection of eight substantial essays is to help readers gain an understanding of American Indian contributions to the West's democratic traditions and to realize that ideas of American Indian origin . . . are part of the synthesis that led to the United States Constitution. That the Founding Fathers were philosophically and culturally influenced by the Indian nations is explained thoroughly--to any doubter's or disbeliever's satisfaction. One entire chapter is devoted to Iroquois political philosophy, revealing that the oldest continuously functioning democratic constitution is the Iroquois Confederacy. United States congressional intrusions and manipulations fill one entire chapter. Truly an important and great book, this should be acquired by all public and academic libraries and some special libraries. An effective antidote for the Columbus quincentenary hoopla.
- Katherine Dahl, Western Illinois Univ., Macomb
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --Library Journal
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