Indigenous Peoples of North America: A Concise Anthropological Overview

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9781442603561: Indigenous Peoples of North America: A Concise Anthropological Overview
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Most books dealing with North American Indigenous peoples are exhaustive in coverage. They provide in-depth discussion of various culture areas which, while valuable, sometimes means that the big picture context is lost. This book offers a corrective to that trend by providing a concise, thematic overview of the key issues facing Indigenous peoples in North America, from prehistory to the present. It integrates a culture area analysis within a thematic approach, covering archaeology, traditional lifeways, the colonial era, and contemporary Indigenous culture. Muckle also explores the history of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and anthropologists with rigor and honesty. The result is a remarkably comprehensive book that provides a strong grounding for understanding Indigenous cultures in North America.

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About the Author:

Robert J. Muckle is Professor of Anthropology at Capilano University.

Review:

Muckle's volume serves as a basic, primer-like introduction to the Indigenous peoples of North America, the academic study of these people, and some of the issues that contemporary Indigenous populations face. As such, it is a good starting point for educating the general public about the people who were here prior to colonization. Used in conjunction with ethnographies, case studies, or a reader dealing with specific Indigenous cultures, it is a useful tool for instructors and students in a variety of disciplines. (Joe Watkins, Director, Native American Studies Program, University of Oklahoma)

Indigenous Peoples of North America is robust and thorough. It overturns stereotypes by contextualizing Indigenous cultures both in the history of North America and in the tradition of anthropological investigation, leaving readers with a strong awareness of the diversity of cultures. The supplementary material, including texts of historical documents, excerpts of legislation pertaining to research with Indigenous peoples, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, augments a text which is much denser than implied by its brevity. (Thomas McIlwraith, Douglas College)

I am delighted with the text and look forward to assigning it to my students. I appreciate the non-controversial approach Muckle takes towards some of the key issues in contemporary Aboriginal/Native American and dominant culture relations. As a First Nations scholar, I have the luxury of being more assertive about my positions and this text will be important in establishing a baseline position from which to engage students in debating opposing positions. There are many other things to recommend this book: the anthropological perspective, the concise approach, the primary documents included in the Appendix, but what I most appreciate is the resistance to using the culture area approach as the main organizing feature. I have been using a similar thematic approach, and this text is a welcome supplement to the more critical texts I use in my classes. Indigenous Peoples of North America will be a handy reference for undergraduates seeking to understand key concepts in anthropology and First Nations/Native American Studies. It will also serve as a good starting point for undertaking additional research in this critical area of study. (Bernard Perley, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

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