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Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask Paperback – May 1, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Borealis Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873518616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873518611
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-This collection of approximately 120 questions and answers, mainly gathered during the author's many public lectures on Native culture, can be used on many levels. Divided into chapters such as "Terminology"; "History"; "Religion, Culture, Identity"; "Powwow"; "Tribal Languages"; "Politics"; "Economics"; "Education"; and "Perspectives," questions range from general (What is a powwow? What were federal residential boarding schools?) to specific (How do tribal languages encapsulate a different world view?). Treuer, a Princeton scholar and member of the Ojibwe tribe, often uses personal examples in clear concise language, stating upfront that the views he expresses are his own. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations, both historical and modern, accompany the text where appropriate. Overall, this is a thoughtful and thought-provoking overview that serves to alleviate misconceptions and bridge knowledge gaps among cultures. A useful tool for students, an excellent resource for teachers, or simply an informative read for those interested in the topic, this book is for general purchase.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

More About the Author

Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University and author of 13 books. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. Dr. Treuer has sat on many organizational boards and has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships, including ones from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His published works include Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Ojibwe in Minnesota ("Minnesota's Best Read for 2010" by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), The Assassination of Hole in the Day (Award of Merit Winner from the American Association for State and Local History), Atlas of Indian Nations, Mino-doodaading: Dibaajimowinan Ji-mino-ayaang, Naadamaading: Dibaajimowinan Ji-nisidotaading, Wiijikiiwending, Ezhichigeyang: Ojibwe Word List, Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo'amaageng ("Minnesota's Best Read for 2011" by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories, Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe Vocabulary Project, Indian Nations of North America, and Omaa Akiing.

Customer Reviews

I still think the book is informative and an interesting read.
R. Taylor
I have recently gotten very interested in the history of Native Americans, and this book really helped fill in the blanks on recent history and culture.
George Tucker
Clever, well written book with just the right amount of levity and useful information.
Sandra J. Stanfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Indian? Native? Indigenous? First People? For non-natives, the entire subject of the original occupants of the land we now call the United States can overwhelm to a neuron popping degree. Not to mention the vast number of tribes, 300 or so, that once roamed this then unindustrialized continent. And each one had a unique culture, language and history. Not only that, these cultures have evolved and largely survived the United States government's forced and often brutal assimilation programs. Many also experience native people only in movies, books or tourist sites romanticizing the "Indian of old." American culture seems to have frozen its cultural predecessors in time something akin to a 19th century western. Things have improved, but most white people still likely know more about the "Indians" baseball team (and its rather grotesque caricature logo) than they know of the people the team is supposedly named after. But many non-natives grow up in a cultural vacuum that rarely, if ever, includes perspectives outside of the staus quo. This disconnected environment provides plenty of fuel for misunderstandings and resentment.

Anton Treuer, Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, has received numerous questions throughout his career, many that relate to or stem from the cultural disconnectedness mentioned above. Though admitting that he does not speak for all native populations, he hoped to collect a sort of frequently asked questions into book form as a reference for the curious. The resulting book uses the extremely familiar "Everything You Wanted to Know about [insert subject here] but were Afraid to Ask" title format. For the subject he chose "Indians.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Tom A. Kanthak on April 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a white teacher who is trying to impart to my (primarily white) students what I have learned from my Indian brothers and good Niijii's, Dr. Treuer's version of a cultural "Dear Abby" will be a valuable text for my American Indian Aesthetics class. The PC Police has made it difficult for the young adults I work with to honestly and innocently ask questions about the first people of MN. Many of my students come from all over the State of MN and have never had "First Contact" with a Real Indian and it's a huge paradigm shift for them to actually engage in a meaningful relationship with other students their age who are Indian. For the less culturally experienced, "Everything You Wanted To Know . . . " is a much needed how-to book for the Indigenously Challenged.

Dr. Treuer has found a voice that speaks from a gentle heart and an experienced, knowledgable mind. Homosexuality, drug and alcohol abuse, casinos, taxes, blood quantum, corrupt tribal governments, and more topics are aboriginal rocks that are unturned in this book. He's not afraid to "rassle" with difficult issues that will, no doubt, cause him a lot of trouble. We should all admire his selfless courage and willingness to expose and be honest about many issues that many of the Native people don't want exposed. He made it clear from the beginning of the book that his ideas and opinions about issues are his as an American Anishinaabe man and not those of the entire Indian population.

One strong message that is missing in this book that was the strongest message I ever got from Dr. Treuer is, "The Indian knows what's best for the Indian." In other words, don't come charging in to the closest reservation trying to tell the Indian how you can help them make things better. Historically, they've had enough of that.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BobDC on October 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is easy to read in short sessions, but you'll find yourself drawn into reading to the end of his stories. Prof. Treuer knows this subject from the "inside" from being an active member of his tribe, from careful study of available research, and from his own travels around the world. Before buying and reading this book, I knew some about Indians in North America from my own reading and from living and working on a reservation when I was younger. But, in every section of this excellent book, I learned much more. This is a superb book. I hope he writes some more!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Janemb35 VINE VOICE on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the cutesy title, this is a very serious book. It is presented under the aegis of the Minnesota Historical Society. At the outset we see the titles of the major divisions in the text as well as the subdivisions. We discover the real history of North America. Also we learn that Columbus was not the good guy we believe him to be but a nasty, murdering, thug. And, Thanksgiving wasn't quite the way it is said to be.
These are but a few of the topics presented here in question and answer format.
There are topics that will surprise you, and most will be useful for a middle or high school teachers, as well as for general readers. Having sorted through the paradoxes and incongruities of Indian life, the author poses the following: "Conclusions: Finding Ways to Make a Difference: (sub-title addressed to the reader) "How Can I Help?"
I found this most interesting and incredibly heart-breaking. Finally, I guess it is all too easy to condemn others who lived at a different tine and place and committed acts that most of us consider unacceptable. By the same token, it is hypocritical, when some present day Americans have treated their prisoners in less than respectful ways.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about our history and the history of those whom the Canadians refer to as "The First Peoples" and here in America we refer to as "Native Peoples.
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