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Indians in Unexpected Places (Culture America) Hardcover – October 18, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0700613441 ISBN-10: 0700613447 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture America
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700613447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700613441
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Historian Deloria argues that the concept of the Native American remains frozen in stereotype: a monolithic group that is violent and warlike, unable to grasp technology or feel at ease in contemporary society. Focusing on the popular culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in a series of essays, he shows that even as American Indians participated in technology, images of their supposed "primitive" state began to solidify. One cogent essay examines why native people would decide to join revues like Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show as historical reenactors. A lovely composition about Deloria's grandfather leads the author into a longer meditation on Indian athleticism. Other chapters examine the juxtaposition of Indians and technology, and the use of native melodies in film and opera. The combination of Deloria's readable style and his impressive collection of data makes this title a must for those interested in the politics of representation. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Deloria is as good a cultural historian as there is writing today. Here he takes what in lesser hands would be the ephemera of American Indian life and uses it to illuminate a whole world not apart from American society but locked in the heart of it." - Richard White, author of It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A History of the American West "A provocative, intriguing, and fascinating book that demonstrates a new sophistication in cultural studies about identity and power, continuity and change, and authenticity and artifice." - George Lipsitz, author of American Studies in a Moment of Danger "Deloria's endpoint is to quiz stereotypes for their impact on ideological discourse, which he accomplishes with humor, grace, and depth. Highly recommended." - Choice "Subtle and complex, this fascinating, well-researched book will no doubt find its way into unexpected places of honor in American cultural studies." - Santa Fe New Mexican "An excellent book that reveals a secret history of Indian modernity too often obscured by our powerful wish to associate Indians with the traditional, the primitive, and 'the blanket.'" - Werner Sollors, author of Neither Black Nor White Yet Both"

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D. Pawl VINE VOICE on October 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am familiar with the works of the late American Indian author of twenty books (including Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto), theologian, historian, and activist, Vine Deloria, Jr. I was less familiar with his son, Phillip J. Deloria, a history professor and director of the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan. The title of this piece and eye-catching mural-esque book cover (of four native people in a Model T, in full regalia, looking outward at the cow-spotted plains) immediately caught my attention.

What are these "unexpected" places that Phillip Deloria was referring to? They include early cinema, athletics, technology and music. What's more, he gives us new insight into the background of the Battle of Wounded Knee and other tragic chapters in Native history that are either glossed over in historical texts or are decidedly one-ended. Deloria has a very clear writer's voice, and freely intersperses the personal anecdotes of his family's rich history (Deloria is of Sioux heritage) with archived photographs and amazing stories that encompass more than 100 years of Native accomplishment in cinema (with reference to pioneers in the industry who worked to challenge and break the stereotypical depiction of the animalistic Noble Savage and other typical roles often brought to screen, often with White people in wigs and "exotic" make-up, playing these characters), sports (baseball, football and track, just to name a few sports), technology (many photos of native families and Geronimo, himself, cruising around in some of the most popular automobiles from the early 20th century), and music (notable native composers, opera singers and ensembles).

I can't begin to tell you how much I learned after reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonathon York on April 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
is convincing the world we still exist. As someone whose family has lived on this side of the world for the last 10,000 years or more, I find this book a welcome treatment. Philip Deloria is balanced, scholarly, and insightful; he can treat Native issues well without bashing his point over the reader's (especially the non-Native's) head. I would recommend Philip Deloria's work to anyone who has ever asked what it is like to be a Native American.
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By AKM on November 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Indians in Unexpected Places is series of essays about Native people doing “unexpected” things. Such "unexpected" things might be an image of Geronimo riding in a car. These images of Native people immersed (and comfortable) in modernity (autos, sports, film, music) cause a disconnect to some viewers. There are cultural expectations of how Native people should be (e.g., primitive, rural, stoic, bartering) versus actual Indian experiences (e.g., Native college football players). The book reveals these “secret histories” of Indian life in the late 1800s to early 1900s through many Native players (Red Shirt, Luther Standing Bear, Red Eagle, Standing Horse, Geronimo, James Young Deer and Princess Red Wing, Vine Deloria Sr.; Charles Bender, Tsianina Redfeather).

Deloria shows that Native people have been "shapers of images" and have "act[ed] with intent and intelligence in unexpected places."
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Format: Paperback
I found the title to be rather a strange title, but the book was quite good. With a lot of his own background and heritage the author brings forth a lot of Indian history from different perspectives than is usually written in the history books. He particularly looked at athletics, movies, automobiles and music. The last section on Music was a little difficult/boring for me since I haven't a clue about music. A friend of mine says his first book was better. I might give that a look later. to see what new knowledge is brought forth
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