Indian Country by Gail Guthrie Valaskakis
Essays on Contemporary Native Culture (Indigenous Studies)

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Since first contact, Natives and newcomers have been involved in an increasingly complex struggle over power and identity. Modern “Indian wars” are fought over land and treaty rights, artistic appropriation, and academic analysis, while Native communities struggle among themselves over membership, money, and cultural meaning. In cultural and political arenas across North America, Natives enact and newcomers protest issues of traditionalism, sovereignty, and self-determination. In these struggles over domination and resistance, over different ideologies and Indian identities, neither Natives nor other North Americans recognize the significance of being rooted together in history and culture, or how representations of “Indianness” set them in opposition to each other.

In Indian Country: Essays on Contemporary Native Culture, Gail Guthrie Valaskakis uses a cultural studies approach to offer a unique perspective on Native political struggle and cultural conflict in both Canada and the United States. She reflects on treaty rights and traditionalism, media warriors, Indian princesses, powwow, museums, art, and nationhood. According to Valaskakis, Native and non-Native people construct both who they are and their relations with each other in narratives that circulate through art, anthropological method, cultural appropriation, and Native reappropriation. For Native peoples and Others, untangling the past—personal, political, and cultural—can help to make sense of current struggles over power and identity that define the Native experience today.

Grounded in theory and threaded with Native voices and evocative descriptions of “Indian” experience (including the author’s), the essays interweave historical and political process, personal narrative, and cultural critique. This book is an important contribution to Native studies that will appeal to anyone interested in First Nations’ experience and popular culture.


About Gail Guthrie Valaskakis

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Gail Guthrie Valaskakis was Distinguished Professor Emerita of Concordia University in Montreal and the director of research at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in Ottawa. She was a founding member of the boards of Waseskun Healing Lodge, the Montreal Native Friendship Centre, the Native North American Studies Institute, and Manitou Community College and served on numerous boards dealing with issues involving women, First Nations, race, and culture. Her background is Chippewa and she was raised on the Lac du Flambeau reservation in Wisconsin. In 2002, she received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her contributions to Aboriginal media and communications. Her writing on the development and impact of northern and Native communications and on issues of Aboriginal cultural studies is widely published.
Published August 3, 2009 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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