Cover image for Native America today : a guide to community politics and culture
Native America today : a guide to community politics and culture
Pritzker, Barry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 453 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Describes the political structure of some of the Native American tribes of North America, as well as their social conditions and their relationship to the U.S. government.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E98.T77 P75 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Using an organizational scheme unique among reference works, Native America Today presents 13 "mini-chapters" on individual topics (e.g., "Crafts," "Media," "Representation"), each of which gives an overview of the subject and provides case studies that relate the topic to recent events in select tribal groups.

The second major section of the work is devoted to contemporary profiles of tribes and tribal groups, from Apache to Zuni, including a brief history of each, population and geographic data, form of government, and notable leaders.

A general index covers both major sections, making this guide supremely accessible. The text is further enhanced by black and white illustrations and an extensive documents section.

Author Notes

Barry Pritzker is a professional writer specializing in American history and college writing.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Offering depth rather than breadth, the avowed purpose of Native America Today is to provide "insight into some of the political, cultural, and economic issues of interest and concern to people living in contemporary, rural Native American communities." The first section, "Contemporary Issues," is composed of short (three-to five-page) essays that treat 13 issues through the lens of 39 tribes, three tribes per issue. Among the issues are "Arts and Crafts," "Gaming," "Health," and "Natural Resource Control." The following section, "Contemporary Profiles of the Tribes and Groups," has entries for the same tribes included in section one, arranged alphabetically from Anishinabe to Zuni. These entries, running from two to five pages, treat tribal history, current governmental structures, and tribal identity and give demographic information and brief vitae of notable tribe members and leaders. The final section contains documents such as the Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act and the Declaration of War against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality. Appendixes include a listing of federally recognized tribes and First Nations (Canada) and a listing of tribes that, though unrecognized as yet, have petitioned for recognition. The writing style is extremely dry. Frequent, well-placed black-and-white photographs help break up and enhance the text. For audiences requiring in-depth information or case studies on any of the issues that are addressed, this is an excellent source. It complements more broad-based titles such as Pritzker's Native America: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Peoples [RBB D 1 98]. Recommended for public, high-school, and academic libraries.

Library Journal Review

Taking into account the complexities of a range of issues facing Native Americans in North America, Pritzker (a contributing author to Dictionary of American Biography) performs a masterful service by attempting to make sense of the realities of Native life. The heart of the book is Pritzker's look at contemporary issues, including economic development, education, gaming, health, identity, land (re)acquisition, sacred sites, and sovereignty. After summarizing each issue, he offers an in-depth analysis using several tribal examples to underscore the issue. The pervading theme is the contrast between Native traditions and the harsh realities of modern-day life. Pritzker occasionally oversimplifies--his brief look at Navajo and Hopi relocation, for example, needs more balanced and nuanced treatment. Although he sometimes omits supporting evidence, on the whole, his work rings true. Recommended for public and academic libraries, particularly those with strong Native American collections.--William Kenz, Moorhead State Univ. Lib., MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.