Title Information

A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians

Edited by: Thomas Biolsi
eISBN: 9781405182881
Print publication date: 2008


Subject Anthropology

Place Northern America » United States of America

Key-Topics Native American

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405182881.2008.x

Book Cover
A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians

The status of American Indians has long been rooted in a view of Indians as members of indigenous polities with distinct cultures. Often, these cultures have been characterized by dominant colonial authorities as ‘savage’ or ‘primitive,’ and it is the discipline of anthropology that, willingly and wittingly, or not, helped to make the idea of ‘the primitive’ into a social reality. Consequently, the ‘tribal slot’ inhabited by American Indians - with both its benefits and its oppressions - is difficult to imagine without the discipline of anthropology.

A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians contains 27 original contributions by leading scholars who work actively as researchers in American Indian communities, or on the topic of American Indians. The collection summarizes the state of anthropological knowledge of Indian peoples, as well as the history that got us to this point.

Treated here is the full range of American Indian anthropology: from ecological and political-economic questions to topics concerning religion, language, and expressive culture. Each chapter provides definitive coverage of its topic while situating ethnographic and ethnohistorical data in a broader framework. This framework includes the linked histories of American Indians and anthropology, the role of continued native resistance in changing both the situation of Indian people and the content of anthropology, and the potential role of anthropology in an anti-colonial project that speaks to the pressing concerns of contemporary Indians.

Cite this title

Biolsi, Thomas (ed). A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians. Blackwell Publishing, 2008. Blackwell Reference Online. 18 December 2017 <http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/book.html?id=g9781405182881_9781405182881>



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