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Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations (Facts on File Library of American History)

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0816040520
ISBN-10: 0816040524
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

More than 450 inventions and innovations that can be traced to indigenous peoples of North, Middle, and South America are described in this wonderful encyclopedia. Criteria for selection are that the item or concept must have originated in the Americas, it must have been used by the indigenous people, and it must have been adopted in some way by other cultures. Some of the innovations may have been independently developed in other parts of the world (geometry, for example, was developed in ancient China, Greece, and the Middle East as well as in the Americas) but still fit all three criteria. The period of time covered is 25,000 B.C. to the twentieth century. Among the entries are Adobe, Agriculture, Appaloosa horse breed, Chocolate, Cigars, Diabetes medication, Freeze-drying, Hydraulics, Trousers, Urban planning, and Zoned biodiversity. Readers will find much of the content revealing. The authors note that the Moche "invented the electrochemical production of electricity" although they used it only for electroplating, a process they developed "more than a thousand years" before the Europeans, who generally get the credit. The Aztec medical system was far more comprehensive than anything available in Europe at the time of contact.

The entries are in alphabetical order. Most are anywhere from one paragraph to a column in length, though some (Stonemasonry techniques, Pharmacology, Road systems ) cover a page or more. Each entry includes the date and area of origination and has a short bibliography of secondary resources at the end. The cross-references appear in capital letters within an entry or as see also references at the end. The introduction has cross-references in it as well. Some of the entries include black-and-white illustrations or photographs. The only critical item missing from most entries is a pronunciation guide.

The end matter includes two appendixes: "Tribes Organized by Culture Area" and a selection of maps. These are followed by a glossary (of mostly medical terms used in many entries but again with no pronunciation guides), a chronology, and a bibliography (with a few Internet sites). There are several indexes: "Entries by Tribe, Group, or Linguistic Group"; "Entries by Geographical Culture Area"; a subject index; and a general index.

This is a well-written book with fascinating information and wonderful pictures. It should be in every public, school, and academic library for its depth of research and amazing wealth of knowledge. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Facts on File Library of American History
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Facts on File (December 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816040524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816040520
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,232,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Published reliable information on Native Americans and their culutral contributions is hard to find. One of these authors is Lakota (Sioux) and has achieved his goal of collecting information to be used by all peoples about the First Americans. This book was first recommended to me by a friend who is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and an acquaintance of Mr. Keoke. I develop and present presentations to both University and Elementary students and often have a dozen or more books piled up to pull together exact references for my presentations. This book accomplishes that same reference task for me plus more. The information and maps in the appendix are much better than many other sources.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very well researched and comprehensive book. It is quite monumental in its scope. To give you an example, I opened the book at random to page 139. One of the listings on this page is Ipecac. Many households know about this medication. It is
usually used to induce vomiting. Children often swallow things they should not. The books goes into some detail about where the plant was first found, how it is refined, and how it came to be used by Europeans. It then lists some sources for further reading.
It also has a great Appendix section. It shows which tribes lived where, including many good maps. The Chronology section lists when different things were discovered or invented by the indigenous people. It also has an appendix which lists the book's
entries by area, by subject and by which tribal group is associated with that item.
I know how long it took me to do the research associated with my book. I can only guess that the authors spent a very long time putting together the material in this book.
EAICW has a plethora of listings and information. EAICW is 384 pages long and measures (in inches): 1.19 x 11.20 x 8.44. It is a BIG book. It would make an excellent addition to any well stocked library.
I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This should be in everyone's library - giving rightful credit and voice to indigenous peoples of the world.

This can only be added to, but its a great resource, and long needed - a bolster to all Native peoples and youth, and some surprising entries.

This should be used in classrooms across the globe!
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Format: Hardcover
The collaborative effort of Emory Dean Keoke (multicultural relations and communications consultant and enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) and Kay Marie Porterfield (journalist for the "Indian Country Today, the largest Native American owned weekly newspaper in America), Encyclopedia Of American Indian Contributions To The World: 15,000 Years Of Inventions And Innovations is an exciting resource covering the rich and varied histories of Native American tribes and their precontact discoveries and postcontact influences. From the anatomical knowledge of the Mesoamerican cultures at AD 1100; to Native American contributions to agriculture, medicine and pharmacology; to hammocks of forest cultures; to the American Indian influence on Tabasco sauce, and so much more, the Encyclopedia Of American Indian Contributions To The World is an absorbing, 384-page reference offering information and insights into the complexities of Native American cultural history, interaction and social evolution. A highly recommended resource for students of Native American history and culture, the Encyclopedia Of American Indian Contributions To The World is an essential and core addition to academic and community library Native American Studies collections.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot of this book in jail over a weekend, they let me out and I didn't have enough time to finish it. It's an awesome book, getting it as a coffee table book, but I do plan on reading it front to back. You'll be surprised at how much of what we use and consume daily was invented or domesticated by the Indians of the Americas. Very impressive book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the most ill-titled book I have seen. It is in encyclopedia format, but has entries such as "chokecherry" or "turnips"- as much as I love all things Native American, we all know that the Indians did NOT invent chokecherries, or turnips. Very very disappointed in this. It took me several flips of pages until I found an actual entry that SOMEWHAT fit in with the scope of the title. Finding and eating a chokecherry is not a contribution to the world. Taking tree sap and other materials and making a material akin to asphalt (the word 'asphalt' actually comes from an Indian word, since this concept, they did indeed invent) is. Unfortunately, there are few legitimate entries such as this in this book. Sad, really, because the Natives did have many contributions to the world- the author just didn't run across any of them in his research.
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