This is an amazing
book! I thought that I was fairly conversant with the details of American History (being a Mayflower Descendant on 2 lines and all), but this was a HUGE eye-opener. I mean, I knew that the Indians had been screwed
by the Government, but I never suspected how across-the-board the bad faith dealings had been, and how intentional
it all seems to have been. As "my people" have been over here for the better part of the past 400 years, I'm looking at all sorts of ugly Karma outlined in this book ... being of "northern" stock, I've always felt like I could take a pass on "slavery guilt", but it's hard to duck what was done to the Eastern Tribes.
Frankly, I feel that Judith Nies' Native American History: A Chronology of a Culture's Vast Achievements and Their Links to World Events
should be featured in every high school's History curriculum. When people act surprised about our government doing "ugly things" they're usually basing that surprise on the sugar-coated cartoon version of our history that we get fed in school ... I was amazed
at the prevalence of pure evil
(usually dressed up as Christianity "saving" those Heathen Savages) that was the RULE rather than the exception during our entire time on this continent. Even figures like Thomas Jefferson (himself no great fan of Christianity) is shown in this book as deliberately
double-crossing various tribes in the interest of land acquisitions for the fledgling USA. ... very disturbing stuff.
The book is set up in an unusual format, with a column of "World History" on one half of each page and a column of "Native American History" on the other, with chapters going from 28,000bc to 1bc, 1ad to 1400ad, and a chapter each for the centuries following. The text walks the reader through the years, and it's interesting to see how events in Europe and elsewhere intertwined with things happening here. There are also "mini-chapters" on key figures and happening inserted at various points in the book, and a number of maps. Some of these maps are quite damning, where they show the wide distribution of native tribes on areas that our "official history" paints as "virgin land". Of course, in the early decades following European contact, the diseases brought across the Atlantic did most of the damage, with many cultures losing as much as 90% of their populations, leaving the weakened survivors easy prey for the encroaching White Man (uh, that would be my folks).
Needless to say, I highly
recommend that you pick up a copy of Native American History
... I think it's something that every
American should read to place the perversity of the Federal Government in its proper context! Amazon has this at a very reasonable $9.75 new
(although there is one used copy available for as little as $2.25), marked down from its $15.00 cover price. However, I think this one is important enough for people to check out, that paying cover at a bookstore is well worth it!