American Indian Tribes is part of the effort to educate non-Indians about Indian peoples. By focusing on culture regions and individual tribes and cultural traditions, these volumes serve to point up the startling diversity of Indian cultures.
American Indian tribes have captured the imagination of Europeans, their American descendants, and other immigrant peoples since contact between the Old and New Worlds began in the late fifteenth century. Nevertheless, few peoples have been the subject of as many cultural misconceptions and stereotypes as American Indians.
The first Europeans to arrive in North American mistakenly believed they had reached Asia, which they called the "Indies"-and immediately mislabeled the people they encountered as "Indians". Although the inaccuracy of that name was realized after it was discovered that the Americans were not connected to Asia, ethnocentrism continued to blind Europeans to the reality that the people they were meeting in the New World belonged to thousand of distant cultures (which Europeans dubbed "tribes") speaking hundreds of different languages. Far from being relatively undifferentiated bands of primitive "savages", the Native peoples of the New World actually made up one of the most diverse and rich culture regions of the world.
This fully illustrated, comprehensive two-volume survey of Native American history from the 15th through the 20th centuries covers wars and battles, government, legal decisions, and Native American contributions to American history as a whole.
Organization & Format
The set contains 224 articles, ranging from 1 to 8 pages and are grouped under two broad headings: Culture Areas and Tribes and Traditions.
The coverage beings with overview essays on the ten major cultural/geographical areas:
- Great Basin
- Northwest Coast
Each article begins with clearly marked lines of ready-reference information. For example, articles on tribes identify the culture areas and language groups to which they belong, along with their primary geographical regions. Articles longer than 1,000 words conclude with updated bibliographies. Bibliographies of articles 2,000 words or longer include annotations.
These are followed by more than 300 alphabetically arranged entries on individual tribes. The set concludes with ten appendixes:
- Educational Institutions and Programs
- Festivals and Pow-wows
- Museums, Archives, and Libraries
- Organizations, Agencies, and Societies
- Populations of U.S. Reservations
- Reservations: US; Reserves and Bands
- Canada; Time Line; Mediagraphy
- Subject Index