Chunkey Player Effigy Pipe (with chunkey stone in right hand and chunkey sticks in left), Oklahoma, Muskogee County, A.D.1100–1200

 Indians of North America

Anthropology E-320

Larry J. Zimmerman, PhD, RPA
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis




Book Review

You will choose one of the four books listed below. These books are especially current and discuss issues we’ll talk about in class. All should make for interesting reading. You will write a 4-5 page report of the books, summarizing the key elements of the book, but you will also try to connect the book critically to other materials you’ve gotten in class and assess how well you think the book met its stated goals. This review is worth 75 points (approximately 20 for the summary, 25 for linking books to in-class materials, 25 points for your assessment of the book, and 5 points for writing, organization, grammar, and the like).

Choose only one of the following:

The Rez Road Follies: Canoes, Casinos, Computers, and Birch Bark Baskets The Rez Road Follies book cover

Author: Jim Northrup  ISBN: 0816634955

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press


"The Rez Road Follies captures storyteller, poet, and performer Jim Northrup at his shrewdest and funniest. He tells of the key events of his own life: his childhood in a government boarding school, combat in Vietnam, confronting family tragedies, and becoming a grandfather—or, as he says, "almost an elder." Northrup writes with equal candor about the reservation's poverty and racism on one hand, and its kinship and traditions on the other. The Rez Road Follies, filled with keen observations and feisty opinions, is an entertaining feast with a core of hard-earned wisdom." This summary above is from the University of Minnesota web site where you can also read the table of contents.

"Jim Northrop is an Anishinaabe who lives on the Fond du Lac Reservation in Northern Minnesota, and in this book he writes about reservation life, about Native American political issues, and about his own travels and experiences. One of the great strengths of this book is his honesty as a memoirist. While sticking largely to a humorous matter-of-fact tone, he does not shy away from his grief at his son's suicide attempt or his difficulties returning from war in Vietnam. Another strength is the conversational quality of the writing itself. At first it bugged me, short sentences put together into these meandering run-on paragraphs, but after some reading I began to think more of Italian vocal technique, where the tone continues, rising and falling, with words just dotted on the surface. Eventually it felt like I was just hanging out with the guy, listening to his interesting stories. There are times when the writing falls down, for example during an extended series of sports metaphors during a discussion of racism, or in the rather forced series of kangaroo references when describing a tribal "kangaroo court". But despite these problems I found the writing compelling and accessible. I'm not qualified to analyze the political arguments he sometimes makes, but his perspective on treaty rights, sports mascots, and gambling will certainly stay with me, informing and broadening my thinking when I next encounter these issues in daily life."  The material above is from a review  by "spectacledbear" on

They Treated Us Just Like Indians: The Worlds of Bennett County, South Dakota

Cover of Wagoner's They Treated Us Just Like IndiansAuthor: Paula L. Wagoner  ISBN: 0803298307

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press


A nuanced anthropological study. . . . A valuable contribution to the literature on Indian-white relations and identities."--Sterling Fluharty,H-Net Reviews

“Wagoner’s volume is exquisite ethnology, providing insight into issues of racial interaction in a contemporary social setting that usually is contextualized only in socioeconomic terms by those with social and political agendas. There is real understanding here.”--Larry J. Zimmerman, Great Plains Quarterly

"On a typical day in Bennett County, South Dakota, farmers and ranchers work their fields and tend animals, merchants order inventory and stock shelves, teachers plan and teach classes, health workers aid the infirm in the county hospital or clinic, and women make quilts and heirlooms for their families or the county fair. Life is usually unhurried, with time for chatting with neighbors and catching up on gossip. But Bennett County is far from typical.

Nearly a century ago the county was carved out of Pine Ridge Reservation and opened to white settlers. Today Bennett County sits awkwardly between the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Sioux Reservations, with nearly one-third of its land classified as "Indian Country" and the rest considered by many Pine Ridge Lakotas to still belong to the reservation. The county is home to a dynamic population, divided by the residents into three groups—"whites," "fullbloods," and "mixedbloods." Tensions between the three groups lurk amid the quiet harmony of Bennett County's everyday rural life and emerge in moments of community crisis.

In a moving account, anthropologist Paula L. Wagoner tells the story of Bennett County, using snapshots of community events and crises, past and present, to reveal the complexity of race relations and identities there. A homecoming weekend at Bennett County High School becomes a flashpoint for controversy because of the differences of meaning ascribed by the county's three identity groups to the school's team name—the Warriors. At another time, the shooting of a Lakota man by a local non-Indian rancher and the volatile wake that follows demonstrate the impulse to racialize disputes that lies just beneath the surface of everyday life.

Yet such very real problems of identity have not completely overwhelmed Bennett County. Wagoner also shows that despite their differences, residents have managed to find common ground as a region of "diverse insiders" who share an economic dependency on federal funds, distrust outsiders, and, above all, deeply love their land."

The summary above is from the University of Nebraska Press web site where you can also read an excerpt and table of contents.

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Indiens  what u thought   From "Indiens in Formation"

Indiens is three artists: Arohed, Jeremie Frank, and K.O.; they are Native American and Haitian. Out of Denver, Colorado.