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Sources in American Indian Oral Literature

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Archaeology and Ethnohistory of the Omaha Indians: The Big Village Site

John Ludwickson, John M. O'Shea
Cloth: 1992, xviii, 374
CIP.LC 89-35986,0-8032-3556-9

Archaeology and Ethnohistory of the Omaha Indians book cover For seventy years, from about 1775 until 1845, Big Village was the principal settlement of the Omaha Indians. Situated on the Missouri River seventy-five miles above the present city of Omaha, it commanded a strategic location astride this major trade route to the northern plains. A host of traders and travelers, from Jean-Baptiste Truteau and James Mackay to Lewis and Clark and Father De Smet, left descriptions of the village. Although John Champe of the University of Nebraska carried out a comprehensive archaeological investigation of the site from 1939 to 1942 (the only intensive, systematic archaeological study of any Omaha site), the results of his work have heretofore remained unpublished. Now John M. O'Shea and John Ludwickson have combined Champe's findings with major historical accounts of the Omahas, providing significant new insights into the course of Omaha history in the preservation period.

The emphasis on material culture gives a unique view of the daily life of these people and illustrates clearly the integration of European trade items with traditional technologies. Here the fur trade is seen in a fresh perspective, that of the suppliers of furs and recipients of trade goods. An examination of Omaha demography rounds out this important new ethnohistorical sketch of the Omaha Indians.

John M. O'Shea is an associate professor of anthropology and associate curator of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and John Ludwickson in an archaeologist with the Nebraska State Historical Society. They have both published widely in professional journals and books.

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The Canadian Sioux

James H. Howard
Cloth: 1984, xvi, 207
CIP.LC 83-23506,0-8032-2327-7

The Canadian Sioux  book cover The Canadian Sioux are descendants of Santees, Yanktonais, and Tetons from the United States who sought refuge in Canada during the 1860s and 1870s. Living today on eight reserves in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they have been largely neglected by anthropologists and historians and are the least well known of all the Sioux groups. This study by a long-time student of Sioux and other Indian cultures fills that gap in the literature.

Based on fieldwork done in the 1970s supplemented by written sources, The Canadian Sioux presents a descriptive reconstruction of their traditional culture, many aspects of which are still practiced or remembered by Canadian Sioux today although long forgotten by their relatives in the United States. It is rich in detail and presents an abundance of new information on topics such as tribal divisions, documented history and traditional history, warfare, their economy, social life, philosophy and religion, and ceremonialism. Nearly half the book is devoted to Canadian Sioux religion and describes such ceremonies as the vision quest, medicine feast, medicine dance, sun dance, warrior society dances, and the Ghost Dance.

A welcome addition to American Indian ethnography, James H. Howard's study provides a valuable overview of Canadian Sioux culture and a fine introduction to these little-known groups.

The late James H. Howard was a professor of anthropology at Oklahoma State University at the time of his death in 1982. His many publications include The Warrior Who Killed Custer: The Personal Narrative of Chief Joseph White Bull (1968, also published by the University of Nebraska Press) and Shawnee: The Ceremonialism of a Native American Tribe and Its Cultural Background (1981).

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Ceremonies of the Pawnee

Douglas R. Parks, James R. Murie
Cloth: 1989, xiv, 497
CIP.LC 88-28290,0-8032-3138-5 Paper: 1989,,,CIP.LC ,0-8032-8162-5

Ceremonies of the Pawnee book cover"Here it is -Murie as it should have been, beautifully and expertly edited, embellished with forgotten pictures, and ready for use and study- a permanent gift to the world of anthropology, the Caddoans, and the Plains." -Alexander Lesser. "These detailed descriptions of the major Pawnee Indian ceremonies are unique in Plains Indian literature." -John C. Ewers. Of all the American Indian tribes of the Plains, the Pawnee and the closely related Arikara developed their religious philosophy and ceremonialism to its fullest; in fact, they may have developed it more highly than any other group north of Mexico. Ceremonies of the Pawnee is the first and only systematic, comprehensive description of that rich and complex religious life. Written under the direction of the anthropologist Clark Wissler between 1914 and 1920, it is the culmination of the ethnographic studies of James R. Murie, himself a Pawnee, who witnessed and participated in revivals of the ceremonialism just before it finally died out. Part I presents the annual ritualistic cycle of the Skiri band, giving detailed accounts of the major ceremonies and describing the role of priests, doctors, and bundles in Pawnee religion. Part II is devoted to three major doctors' ceremonies -the White Beaver Ceremony, the Bear Dance, and the Buffalo Dance- one of the three groups known collectively as the South Bands. The descriptions include, in both the original Pawnee and an English translation, several hundred songs as well as a number of ceremonial chants and speeches that are virtually unique in the literature on American Indian religion and provide invaluable material for linguistic study. Equally valuable is the collection of vision stories that underlie the songs. As a body they provide a new perspective on the vision and its cultural patterning, and allow for a deeper understanding of the cultural and psychological bases of Pawnee religion. Dr. Douglas R. Parks of the American Indian Studies Research Institute at Indiana University has provided an overview of Pawnee social organization and religion, along with explanatory notes and a biography of Murie.

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Comanche Political History An Ethnohistorical Perspective

Thomas W. Kavanagh
Cloth: 1996, xvi, 586
CIP.LC 96-391,0-8032-2730-2

Oral Literature Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians book coverThe Comanche Indians are one of the most widely known yet least understood groups on the Plains. Although much has been published on Comanche history and culture, this is the first in-depth historical study of Comanche social and political groups. Using the ethnohistorical method, Thomas W. Kavanagh traces the changes and continuities in Comanche politics from their earliest interactions with Europeans to their settlement on a reservation in present-day Oklahoma. Based on documentary material from historical and anthropological archives in Spain, Mexico, and the United States, the book examines the different ways the Comanche tribes -the Yamparikas, Jupes, Kotsotekas, Quahadas, Penatekas, Tenewas, and Nokonis- organized and reorganized themselves around the changing resource domains of hunting, warfare, trade, and diplomacy. The book presents detailed histories of each of the Comanche tribes and raises larger questions about political processes. What are the origins and fates of political organizations? Why do peoples come together? Why do they disperse? In classical political philosophy, tribes, nations, and ethnic groups have clear, unchanging boundaries; their origins are mythical and unknowable, and their collapse is pathological. In contrast, using the record of the Comanches, Kavanagh argues that political formation and re-formation is not only normal but frequently ignores existing political and ethnic boundaries. Thomas W. Kavanagh is curator of the William Hammond Mathers Museum, Indiana University. He has published articles in such journals as Visual Anthropology and Plains Anthropologist.

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Corbett Mack The Life of a Northern Paiute

Michael Hittman
Cloth: 1996,xvi,396
CIP.LC 96-28492,0-8032-2376-5 Paper: 1996,xvi,396,CIP.LC 96-28492,0-8032-7290-1

Corbett Mack The Life of a Northern Paiute book coverThis is the compelling yet disturbing story of Corbett Mack (1892-1974), an opiate addict who was a member of the Nuumuu (Numa), or Northern Paiute. The Northern Paiute are best known as the people who produced Wovoka, the Ghost Dance prophet whose revitalistic teachings swept the Indian world in the 1890s. Mack is from the generation following the collapse of the Ghost Dance religion, a generation of Nomogweta or "half-breeds" (also called "stolen children"). Paiute of mixed ancestry who were raised in an increasingly bicultural world and who fell into virtual peonage to white (often Italian) potato farmers. Around the turn of the century, the use of opium became widespread among the Paiute, adopted from equally victimized Chinese laborers with whom they worked closely in the fields. The story of Corbett Mack is an uncompromising account of a harsh and sometimes traumatic life that was typical of an entire generation of Paiute. It was a life born out of the turmoil and humiliation of an Indian boarding school, troubled by opiate addiction, bound to constant labor in the fields, yet nonetheless made meaningful through the perseverance of Paiute cultural traditions. Michael Hittman is chairman of the Anthropology and Sociology Department and a professor at Long Island University, Brooklyn. He is the author of Wovoka and the Ghost Dance: A Sourcebook and A Numa History: The Yerington Paiute Tribe.

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A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee

Jack B. Martin and Margaret McKane Mauldin
Cloth: 2000, xxxviii, 359
CIP.LC 00-027202 ISBN : 0-8032-3207-1

”Any tribe that is considering publishing a language dictionary would do well to browse this book as a possible model for the format….It would be an asset to all tribal collections.”—American Indian Libraries

The result of over ten years of research, A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee draws on the expertise of a linguist and a native Creek speaker to yield the first modern dictionary of the Creek language of the southeastern United States. The dictionary contains over seven thousand Creek-English entries, over four thousand English-Creek entries, and over four hundred Creek place-names in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma. The volume also includes illustrations, a map, antonyms, dialects, stylistic information, word histories, and other useful reference material. Entries are given in both the traditional Creek spelling and a modern phonemic transcription. A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee is the standard reference work for the Creek language.

Jack B. Martin is an associate professor of English at the College of William and Mary and a specialist in southeastern Native languages. Margaret McKane Mauldin is an adjunct instructor of Creek at the University of Oklahoma.

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The Four Hills of Life: Northern Arapaho Knowledge and Life Movement

Jeffrey D. Anderson
Cloth: 2003, xiv, 358
CIP.LC 2002071466 ISBN : 0-8032-1061-2

The Four Hills of Life book coverSherman Sage (ca. 1844–1943) was an unforgettable Arapaho man who witnessed profound change in his community and was one of the last to see the Plains black with buffalo. As a young warrior, Sage defended his band many times, raided enemy camps, saw the first houses go up in Denver, was present at Fort Laramie for the signing of the 1868 treaty, and witnessed Crazy Horse’s surrender. Later, he visited the Ghost Dance prophet Wovoka and became a link in the spread of the Ghost Dance religion to other Plains Indian tribes. As an elder, Old Man Sage was a respected, vigorous leader, walking miles to visit friends and family even in his nineties. One of the most interviewed Native Americans in the Old West, Sage was a wellspring of information for both Arapahos and outsiders about older tribal customs.

Anthropologist Jeffrey D. Anderson gathered information about Sage’s long life from archives, interviews, recollections, and published sources and has here woven it into a compelling biography. We see different sides of Sage—how he followed a traditional Arapaho life path; what he learned about the Rocky Mountains and Plains; what he saw and did as outsiders invaded the Arapahos’ homeland in the nineteenth century; how he adjusted, survived, and guided other Arapahos during the early reservation years; and how his legacy lives on today. The remembrances of Old Man Sage’s relatives and descendants of friends make apparent that his vision and guidance were not limited to his lifetime but remain vital today in the Northern Arapaho tribe.

Jeffrey D. Anderson is an associate professor of anthropology at Colby College. He is the author of The Four Hills of Life: Northern Arapaho Knowledge and Life Movement (Nebraska 2001).

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A Grammar of Comanche

Jean Ormsbee Charney
Cloth: 1994,x,273
CIP.LC 93-30300,0-8032-1461-8

A Grammar of Comanche book coverComanche belongs to the Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It is spoken by a handful of people (generally aged 70 and older), most of whom live in the vicinity of Lawton, Oklahoma. This study is based on the model of descriptive grammar developed by Mary Haas and her students at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1950's and 1960's. The phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language are described and exemplified in some detail. Comanche manifests the phonological final features of most Numic languages. Its morphology is fairly easy to identify, with little in the way of complex morphophonemics beyond the final feature system. There is a wealth of affixation in many areas of the language-for instance, the instrumental prefixes, the postpositions, and the verbal suffixes. The pronominal systems contain many different forms, and nominals and pronominals are inflected for subjective, objective, and possessive case. The most important element of the sentence is usually marked with one of two topic markers, and demonstratives are marked for the speaker's presumption of the hearer's knowledge of their referents. Sentences with subordinate clauses manifest the switch reference system that is characteristic of Numic languages.

JEAN ORMSBEE CHARNEY is a member of the Center for the Study of the Native Languages of the Plains and the Southwest at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. She received a Ph.D. in linguistics from that university. She is presently pursuing studies of Comanche and is also working as an editor and production manager for the oral history phases of the Nye County, Nevada, and Lincoln County, Nevada, town history projects. .

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Haida Syntax, 2-Volume Set

John Enrico
Cloth: 2003, xiii, 1387
CIP.LC 2002075095 ISBN : 0-8032-1822-2

Haida Syntax, 2-Volume Set book cover"Haida Syntax makes an enormous contribution to our understanding of the syntax and semantics of Haida. There is very little published material available on this language, and in this book John Enrico brings together a rich range of syntactic and semantic material on the language. . . . A book of this magnitude will make Haida one of the syntactically best described languages."-Keren Rice, author of Morpheme Order and Semantic Scope: Word Formation in the Athapaskan Verb.

"One of the most valuable features of Haida Syntax is the semantic detail that is given regarding verbs, constructions, etc. This will be immensely useful to linguists of all theoretical persuasions, as they try their hand at analyzing this fascinating language within their own theoretical framework. Also, the extensive discussion of focus and its role within the grammar is very valuable."-Robert D. Van Valin, author of An Introduction to Syntax. The Haida people make their home on the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia and on Prince of Wales Island off the coast of southern Alaska. Their language, distinct from their Northwest Coast neighbors, is spoken today by a few elders and is in danger of becoming extinct, despite efforts by the community to save it. Intimately familiar with the Haida language, John Enrico bases this comprehensive description of the syntax of two Haida dialects on his twenty-five years of fieldwork in the Haida community and on the materials collected by the anthropologist John Swanton in the early twentieth century. This synthesis of the syntax of the Haida language provides an exemplary reference work of the language for the Haida community and for scholars.

John Enrico, an independent scholar, is the author of The Lexical Phonology of Masset Haida, editor and translator of Skidegate Haida Myths and Histories, and coauthor (with Wendy Bross Stuart) of Northern Haida Songs (Nebraska 1996). He is currently working on a dictionary of the three extant Haida dialects..

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The Heiltsuks Dialogues of Culture and History on the Northwest Coast

Michael E. Harkin
Cloth: 1997, xiv, 195
CIP.LC 95-46842,0-8032-2379-X

The Heiltsuks Dialogues of Culture and History on the Northwest Coas book cover"Outstanding . . . What Marshall Sahlins has done for the Hawaiians, Michael Harkin has done for the Heiltsuks." -Sergei Kan, Dartmouth College. In an incisive and wide-ranging critique of ethnohistory and historical anthropology, Michael Harkin develops an innovative approach to understanding the profound cultural changes experienced during the past century by the Heiltsuks (Bella Bella), a Northwest Coast Indian group. Between 1880 and 1920, the Heiltsuks changed from one of the most traditional and aggressive groups on the Northwest Coast to paragons of Victorian virtues. Why and how did this dramatic transformation occur? These questions, Harkin contends, can best be answered by tracing the changing views the Heiltsuks had of themselves and of their past as they encountered colonial powers. Rejecting many of the common methods and assumptions of ethnohistorians as unwittingly Eurocentric or simplistic, Harkin argues that the multiple perspectives, motives, and events constituting the Heiltsuks' world and history can be productively conceived of as dialogues, ongoing series of culturally embedded communicative acts that presuppose previous acts and constrain future ones. Historical transformations in three of these dialogues, centering on the body, material goods, and concepts of the soul, are examined in detail. A valuable history of a little-known Indian group and a highly original investigation into the dynamics of colonial encounters, the nature of cultural memory, and the processes of cultural stability and change, this provocative study sets the agenda for a new type of ethnohistory. Michael E. Harkin is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming. This is his first book.

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Koasati Dictionary

Geoffrey D. Kimball
Cloth: 1994, xxxv, 407
CIP.LC 94-16427,0-8032-2726-4

Koasati Dictionary book coverKoasati Dictionary is one of the first modern dictionaries ever published of a language of the Muskogean language family, whose speakers formerly occupied most of the southeastern United States. When first met by Europeans in the sixteenth century, the Koasati people were living in eastern Tennessee. Early in the eighteenth century they moved to southcentral Alabama and eventually migrated to present-day Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Today their language survives in southwestern Louisiana, where it is still spoken by the majority of tribal members living there.

Published three years after Kimball's richly detailed Koasati Grammar, this dictionary is the second of three monographs to result from his fifteen-year study of the language. In this work, Kimball provides the user with a substantial introduction outlining Koasati grammar and then organizes dictionary entries into two parts, the first arranged from Koasati to English and the second from English to Koasati. In addition to English translations, entries in the Koasati-English section include sample sentences that illustrate word usage as well as illuminate traditional Koasati culture. Most of these sentences are taken from narrative texts.

The dictionary, like Kimball's grammar of Koasati, is an indispensable reference work for linguists, anthropologists, and historians—indeed, for anyone interested in the native culture history of the southeastern United States.

Geoffrey D. Kimball is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology, Tulane University.

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