March 16, 2009

Review of American Indian Contributions

American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Invention and InnovationAmerican Indians of North, Meso-, and South America were the first to cultivate seventy-five percent of the many varities of food grown in the world today. Many pharmaceuticals in current use were first discovered by Indian healers centuries before the Europeans came to the Americas.

Freeze-dried food, syringes, root beer, rubberized clothing, beef jerky, and many of the tenets of the United States Constitution are only a few of the independent inventions and original discoveries that American Indian people gave to the world.

The Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World is the first A to Z reference book that extensively details and documents the inventiveness of American Indians.

Read the Reviews

"This is a well-written book with fascinating information and wonderful pictures. It should be in every public, school, and academic library for its depth of research and amazing wealth of knowledge.…We've starred this title because it is eye-opening and thought-provoking, and there is nothing else quite like it."

Booklist Starred Review
"[A] treasure trove of information about the large range of technologies and productions of Indian peoples…this is indeed the most comprehensive compilation of American Indian inventions and contributions to date. It is most worthwhile and should be on the bookshelves of every library and home in America."

Indian Country Today
"This large, well-illustrated volume is an excellent reference…One of the important strengths of the encyclopedia is that the information provided is balanced and rooted in facts, not speculation…Highly recommended."

Multicultural Review
Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions Review

by Doug George-KanentiioNon-Native residents of the Americas have had a vested interest in denying the vast intellectual, governmental, technological and agricultural achievements of the aboriginal mind. In order to rationalize the subjugation of Native nations through wars, diseases and forced integration western culture deliberately created and sustained false histories and harmful stereotypes about this land’s first peoples. Western religions demanded nothing short of the total eradication of aboriginal spirituality while “educators” tainted generations of schoolchildren with outright lies about Native culture.

There is virtually no aboriginal person in the western hemisphere who has not suffered the indignities of having these myths thrown at them or used to justify their ongoing subjugation whether in school yards, before ignorant judges or in bad movies. Given the outright hostility governments, schools and churches have towards the preservation of a distinct aboriginal identity it is truly amazing Native people have survived to the present day.
And:Now add to the list the most impressive summation of Native contributions to this planet: The Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World. This text must become the new cornerstone upon which Native studies are taught. In its 384 pages are summaries of Native accomplishments arranged alphabetically from the abacus to zoos with each page revealing fact after startling fact.

This book ranks along “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” “Indian Giver” and “A People’s History of the United States” in its myth shattering potential. Can any teacher ignore the truth when it is now set so clearly before them?

I would strongly urge anyone with a kernel of intellectual curiosity: teacher, administrator, researcher, lawyer, politician, writer, to buy this book. I guarantee it will enlighten, stimulate and entertain.
Comment:  I've begun reading this reference book. It's as outstanding as the above reviews say.

It's written in the style of any popular encyclopedia--e.g., the World Book. It may get a little tiring if you read it straight through, but it goes down easily in small doses.

Every fan of my website and blog should read Lies My Teacher Told Me, Indian Giver, and A People’s History of the United States. As George-Kanentiio suggests, add American Indian Contributions to the list of must-read books.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

1 comment:

Melvin Martin said...

Much Needed, Then and Now...

I wish this book had been around when I was in grades 4 - 12 in Los Angeles in the Sixties as the entire educational system seemed thoroughly anti-Indian, from policies to teachers to my fellow students.

My oldest sisters and I spent every summer in South Dakota at either Rapid City or at our rez, Pine Ride Agency, and I always dreaded going back to L.A. every fall for school.

There was this old white Southerner who was a teacher at my high school in Carson, California, who jokingly stated that Indians "recycled the corn in their shit" as they 1) Grew a lot of corn and 2) Re-used everything they utilized, especially in terms of foodstuffs.

At that school, I was the butt of jokes the whole three years I was there. My nickname was Big Chief Corn Eater.