The past history of colonialism, assimilationism, and the present policy of self-determination examine the Native American story. Sadly it is a story of racism, eugenics, social evolution, and expectations based on racial stereotyping and generalizations. The opportunity to go ahead and be Indian in all its variety and expressions of sovereignty should be guaranteed to every American Indian person. The re-creation of the tribal circle is taking place on most reservations today (Harris, LaDonna, 2011) through self-determination of government, educational curriculae, economic development, and cultural revitalization, including language rejuvenation, ceremony, and spiritual renewal. My dissertation is on the return to Plateau reservations of Native American Students who have gone away to college with the idea of returning to help this process happen. With this new paradigm of multicultural hybridity, old ideas about assimilation into white mainstream culture are fading into the past, replaced by the self-determination trope. Government policy needs to continue changing in this direction to make the guarantee of Indianness real. Congress controls Indian affairs, and congress is still full of racist assimilationists, terminationists and white men like Senator Grassley, who oppose Indian sovereignty. Washington state has made huge strides toward self-determination of Indian tribes within its borders since the defeat of Slade Gorton by Maria Cantwell. The recent signing of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by President Obama is another step forward for Indian sovereignty and the safety of Indian women. It finally makes it possible for tribal courts to prosecute white perpetrators of sexual violence against Native Women on reservations, something the FBI hardly ever did. Thousands of Native Women suffered such crimes at the hands of white men, including cops, over the years and watched their violators go free because the feds didn't think it was worth it to prosecute Indian Women's cases. After all, they are only Indians and only women. Most white american males are so blinded by their white male privileges as autonomous individuals they don't realize how racist their attitudes toward Indian women are. Hopefully VAWA will help change that attitude in America. Deloria's book handles such attitudes with dexterous aplomb. How much frontier tropes and early film had to do with incorporating Indian stereotyping into the consciousness of generations of white individual male privileged (WIMP's) is illustrated well by Deloria's treatment of the 1890-1920 period. That generation of racists influenced the war and depression generations of racists that influenced my generation. I thank God for the 1960's and the critical questioning that brought about the paradigm change of multiculturalism and the present self-determination policies. Native Americans would still be much worse off if it hadn't happened, along with African-Americans, Hispanics, and other people of color who have benefitted from the civil rights movement and lessening of racism. Still, so much work to do on that front. Hooray for Phillip Deloria's book. May it go viral in academic America. His theoretical basis in Foucault, Bhabha, Hall, Gramsci, Althusser, Said, Stoler, and others is academically above reproach, and his dedication to meticulous notation of his multiple sources outstanding. The indigenous people of the world are indebted to him for his accuracy in portraying how the American Indian has been involved in the creation of self-determination even though limited by colonialisms merciless applications. US history is more complete now, and American Indian history more real.
Questions: How does Deloria's book prompt one to feel about primitive stereotyping and racism today? Does it change perceptions of modernity, development, indigenousness, or