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American Indian Politics and the American Political System (Spectrum Series: Race and Ethnicity in National and Global Politics) Paperback – October 16, 2010

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1442203884 ISBN-10: 1442203889 Edition: Third Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book is a lively and accessible account of the remarkably complex legal and political situation of American Indian tribes and tribal citizens (who are also U.S. citizens). Wilkins and Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark have provided the “go to” source for a clear, yet detailed and sophisticated, introduction to tribal sovereignty and federal Indian policy. It is a valuable resource both for readers unfamiliar with the subject matter, and for readers in Native American Studies and related fields, who will appreciate the insightful and original scholarly analysis of the authors. (Thomas Biolsi, University of California at Berkeley)

American Indian Politics is simply an indispensable compendium of fact and reason on the historical and modern landscape of American Indian law and policy. No teacher or student of American Indian studies, no policymaker in American Indian policy, and no observer of American Indian history and law should do without this book. There is nothing in the field remotely as comprehensive, usable, and balanced as Wilkins and Stark's work. (Matthew L.M. Fletcher, associate professor of law; Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law)

Praise for previous editions? 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)

Praise for previous editions―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)

The first two editions of American Indian Politics and the American Political System were perhaps the best works available on the topic. They offered comprehensive coverage of topics ranging from the history of federal policy and tribal political economy to the various political actors and use of the media, were written in a manner that made sense of a difficult topic, and were extremely accessible. The third edition promises even better coverage and perspective with the addition of coauthor Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark….[T]here are relatively few changes from the first two editions, but they are important. The most notable change is merely the updating of information. American Indian politics/policy operates in a rapidly evolving and changing environment, making an update necessary. The book also differs in that the coauthor is able to introduce a different perspective, primarily in issues pertaining to Native women. Overall, the structure and topics covered remain essentially the same, which is good. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, and graduate students. (CHOICE)

About the Author

David E. Wilkins is McKnight Presidential Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark is assistant professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.
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Product Details

  • Series: Spectrum Series: Race and Ethnicity in National and Global Politics
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Third Edition edition (October 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442203889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442203884
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Professor David E. Wilkins holds the McKnight Presidential Professorship in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. He has adjunct appointments in political science, law, and American studies. He received his doctorate in political science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1990. Wilkins's research and teaching interests include indigenous politics and governance, federal Indian policy and law, comparative politics, and diplomacy and constitutional development.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Digbee VINE VOICE on November 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an essential text on role of Indians in US political system, designed to be used by undergraduates. The chapters cover just about every issue, including history, demographics, activism, tribal political systems, federal and state policies toward Indians, and the images of Native Americans in national media. The emphasis is on Native Americans within the US political system as a whole, and not on politics within tribes or on reservations.

Though the factual material is presented in a balanced way, Wilkins has a clear political position that is evident in every chapter of the text. Among other consequences, this means that he does not take a critical stance toward the tribal governments, political movements, or individual Native Americans that he discusses. In the classroom, this would provide a good foundation for discussion, while the non-classroom reader will simply have to read the book critically.

While the bias is a "feature," not a "flaw," the book also has some minor flaws. For examples, uncertain organization mars the chapter on "actors in Indian politics." Rather than focusing narrowly on these actors, Wilkins intersperses his treatment of actors and the history of particular policies. Some of this confusion is inevitable, since the role of the BIA as an actor obviously reflects the legislative history of the agency, but Wilkins does not try to keep these issues analytically distinct.

Oddly for a book on politics, Wilkins doesn't discuss tribal political systems all that much. For much better treatment of this issue, albeit one limited to the Montana reservations, see Lopach et al., Tribal Government Today.

Despite these weaknesses, this really is the best overall book on American Indian politics that I have been able to find. It would be useful both for the general reader interested in the topic and for undergraduate classroom use.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tech, Books, Coffee on November 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the few studies of Native American politics out there today. I teach courses in racial and ethnic politics, and this book is incredibly helpful, not only for the arguments that Wilkins makes, but perhaps even more so because of its comprehensive scope--both historically, and with respect to political behavior *and* institutions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a descendant of the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina, David Wilkins is the perfect person to write this very informative book. If you are interested in the history of the native American peoples, I recommend that this book is in your reading list.
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