July 26, 2007

Review of American Indians and National Parks

American Indians and National ParksOne of the best overall views of this subject yet seen. . . . A well-researched and fascinating history detailing the often-tense relationship between American Indian tribal communities and the massive bureaucracy of the National Park Service.

—The Public Historian

Former National Parks Director Russell Dickinson once said that he didn't know of 'a single major national park or monument . . . in the western part of the United States that doesn't have some sort of Indian sacred area.' . . . This study by two scholars of Indian cultures argues against 'the stereotypes of Indian-as-ecologist/Indian-as-victim.'

—Washington Post Book World

Almost every chapter was a surprise and an education. . . . This book causes us to reexamine present-day stereotypes, but it is not so much about Indian stereotypes as it is about the National Park Service and environmental stereotypes. We have long held certain values about wildlands in high esteem, sometimes to the exclusion of the rights of native peoples. Fortunately, this is a trend that is reversing, and American Indians & National Parks also seeks to encourage the progress that is being made. . . . It is the accurate appreciation of these histories and optimism for future successes that make this book a must for any professional working on wilderness preservation issues.

—Environmental Practice
Comment:  These comments sum up American Indians & National Parks well. The book has a decidedly pro-Indian viewpoint. It notes that Indians were present at most of the Western national parks, yet no one has written about the links between Indians and national parks (until now). If the book has a flaw, it occasionally spends too much time on the details and not enough on the big picture.

Rob's rating:  7.5 of 10.

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