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The Earth Shall Weep:
Native Americans continue to hold a special place in the modern imagination. Images of the Native American as "noble savage," as grunting Hollywood brute, or even as nature lover reinforce what author James Wilson describes as "the principal role of Indians in US culture throughout the twentieth century: helping America imagine its own history." Wilson hopes to rescue them from this role and place Native Americans within their own context by attempting to view the Indian-European encounter through their eyes. The result is an engaging history of North America and its peoples--and a welcome addition to the already voluminous literature on the subject.
Wilson weaves Native American oral traditions and archeological, ethnographical, and historical evidence into a compelling narrative. Chapters on regional groups and their histories--from the Algonquians of the Northeast to the Zuņi of the Southwest--emphasize both their differences and their similarities. Wilson also traces the shifting relationships between Indians and non-Indians and investigates the reasons behind their misunderstandings. As Wilson points out, the image of the Native American as spiritual guide and Green Party spokesperson, while more romantic, is no more realistic than the image of the ignorant savage. Frequent excerpts from personal interviews allow Native Americans to speak for themselves and remind us that, far from ending at Wounded Knee, the Native American experience continues to evolve. Wilson's clear prose, command of the subject, and detailed suggestions for further reading make this book valuable to scholars and general readers alike. --C.B. Delaney [via]