With energy, range, and a clear detailed vision of Native cultures, issues, and history, Portrait of the Peoples captures the epic story of Native America from a unique and intimate perspective. The powerful discussion is enhanced with nearly 200 photographs and illustrations, many of them from Native sources. "I am grateful that Native people have been contributors to this project," writes Dennis Banks in the foreword. "No longer will we have to sift though non-Indian writings looking for shreds of the truth." Edited by Duane Champagne, director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center and of Chippewa descent, Native America thoughtfully articulates the values, struggles, triumphs, and spirit of Native communities and features hundreds of biographies of prominent historical figures and current leaders. Seventeen chapters written by experts with a diversity of viewpoints cover current and historical issues surrounding Native history and culture, protest movements, language, religion, health practices, art, literature, and media. Extensive information on Canadian Natives is also provided. Portrait of the Peoples should serve as a standard reference for anyone interested in Native cultures and issues.
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The comprehensive Native North American Almanac (Gale, 1994), edited by Champagne, the director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center, treats U.S. and Canadian people with an emphasis on recent history. Visible Ink, a Gale imprint aimed at the trade market, has severely abridged this major reference, resulting in a narrative of considerably narrower scope. Chapters on chronology, demography, and education have been eliminated, and the "Activism" chapter, which appears seventh in Native North American Almanac, sets the tone. Retained articles emphasize current topics and Native voices, and there is a new foreword by Dennis Banks, cofounder of the American Indian Movement (AIM). In republishing text from the larger work, Native America reproduces-on smaller, more sparsely printed pages-signed articles by recognized scholars with the consultation of a stellar advisory board, including John Aubrey, the Newberry Library's "expert's expert" of Native American research. The elimination of subject-specific and general bibliographies renders these articles less useful. Native America is commended for its insights and writing, but the Native North American Almanac is greatly preferred for academic readers and reference collections. For a concise reference work, another recent publication, Arlene Hirschfelder and Martha De Montano's The Native American Almanac: A Portrait of Native America Today (LJ 11/1/93), is suggested.
Margaret W. Norton, Montay Coll. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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