Dispelling myths, answering questions, and stimulating thoughtful avenues for further inquiry, this highly readable reference provides a wealth of specific information about all known North American Indians. Readers will delight in the stirring narratives about everything from notable leaders and relations with non-natives; to customs, dress, dwellings, and weapons; to government and religion. Addressing over 200 groups of Native American groups in Canada and the United States, A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and People is at once exhaustive yet readable, covering myriad aspects of a people spread across ten geographical regions.
Listed alphabetically for easy access, each Native American group is presented in careful detail, starting with the tribal name, translation, origin, and definition. Each entry then includes significant facts about the group's location and population, as well as impressive details about the history and culture of the group. Bringing each entry up-to-date, Editor Barry Pritzker also addresses with ease current information on each group's government, economy, legal status, and reservations. Engaging and precise, Pritzker's prose makes this extensive work an enjoyable read. Whether he is giving the court interpretation of the term "tribe" (Many traditional Native American groups were not tribes at all but more like extended families) or describing how a Shoshone woman served as a guide on the Louis and Clarke expedition, the material is always presented in a clear and lively manner.
In light of past and ongoing injustices and the momentum of Indian and Intuit self-determination movements, an understanding of these native cultures as well as their contributions to contemporary society becomes increasingly important. This book provides all the essential information necessary to fully grasp the history, culture, and current feelings surrounding North American Indians. It is not only a compelling resource for students and researchers of Native American studies, anthropology, and history, but an indispensable guide for anyone concerned with the past and present situation of the numerous Native American groups.
Barry Pritzker is a former teacher of American History and the author of books on Ansel Adams, Matthew Brady, and Edward Curtis. He is also a contributing author for the Dictionary of American Biography and the Atlas of Native American History, both published by Cambridge University Press.