Social Work Native Americans
by
Hilary N. Weaver
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 March 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0098

Introduction

Native Americans are the descendants of the original inhabitants of what has become the United States. As indigenous peoples who retain vestiges of sovereignty, they are not the equivalent of other ethnic or cultural groups; thus, some laws and social policies apply only and specifically to this population. Readers should be aware that the definition of “Native American” used by one source may not be applicable to another. Each Native American nation (or tribe) has the ability to determine criteria for membership in that nation. Some native nations are not recognized by the federal government; thus, their members may not be acknowledged as meeting the definition of Native American for purposes of programs such as the Indian Child Welfare Act. In some cases, states have extended recognition to native nations within their boundaries that do not have federal recognition and have extended state laws and policies to cover these groups. There are approximately 5.2 million Native Americans in the United States, representing 1.7 percent of the population. Slightly more than half these people list their race as only American Indian or Alaska Native, while the remainder report being another race in addition to being American Indian or Alaska Native. There are currently more than 560 federally recognized tribes within the United States. The largest Native American nations are the Cherokee (819,105) and the Navajo (332,129) (See Norris, et al. 2012, cited in Introductory Works).

Introductory Works

While not all these references are specific to the field of social work, these publications provide a good overview of Native Americans and issues of interest to social workers. Mann 2006 sets the stage by drawing on modern scholarship from various disciplines to describe what is known about indigenous societies in the Americas prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Dunbar-Ortiz 2014 and Woolford, et al. 2014 provide historical accounts focusing on colonial times onward. This background information is important for social workers to understand because it influences modern realities of Native Americans. Alvarez 2016 and Samson and Gigoux 2017 expand on this foundation, with an emphasis on human rights and social justice, concepts that provide the foundation of the social work profession. Norris, et al. 2012 presents census data in a narrative format. The hard data are available through US Census Bureau.

  • Alvarez, Alex. 2016. Native America and the question of genocide. Studies in Genocide. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    This book uses specific historical examples to examine how these incidents compare to various definitions of genocide. Further, the impact of warfare, disease, and education on various Native American tribes is explored through a lens of genocide.

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  • Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. 2014. An indigenous peoples’ history of the United States. Boston: Beacon.

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    This book provides an indigenous view of the colonial history of the United States. Dunbar-Ortiz combines the perspectives of historian and activist in her analysis of events and policies that have shaped interactions between Native Americans and the United States.

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  • Mann, Charles C. 2006. 1491: New revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Vintage.

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    This engaging book incorporates then-recent scholarship from a variety of disciplines to draw a picture of what America may have looked like prior to the arrival of Columbus. This book thoughtfully explores and challenges ideas about the numbers of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the types of knowledge they developed, and the types of civilizations they lived in. This book portrays various indigenous societies as actively shaping and influencing their surroundings rather than passively existing with little impact.

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  • Norris, Tina, Paula L. Vines, and Elizabeth M. Hoeffel. 2012. The American Indian and Alaska Native population: 2010. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau.

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    This brief narrative provides an accessible overview of census data on Native Americans. The material includes information on residential patterns and other demographic information. The sizes of various native populations and changing demographic patterns are identified.

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  • Samson, Colin, and Carlos Gigoux. 2017. Indigenous peoples and colonialism: Global perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    This book brings a global and comparative perspective to colonialism as a modern phenomenon. The authors examine issues of identity, colonization, land, environment, rights, and culture of early-21st-century indigenous peoples.

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  • Woolford, Andrew, Jeff Benvenuto, and Alexander Hinton, eds. 2014. Colonial genocide in indigenous North America. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Chapter authors use the lens of genocide to examine the impact of European settlement on North America. In addition to physical violence and dispossession, the chapters examine how residential schools, child removal, and other social policies amounted to cultural genocide.

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Textbooks

Several social work texts that focus on cultural diversity include a chapter on Native Americans, and some texts from allied disciplines focus on Native Americans. However, few texts focus primarily on Native Americans and social work. Sinclair, et al. 2009, based in the Canadian context, is the exception to this rule, along with Gray, et al. 2008 and Gray, et al. 2013, which incorporate a global perspective. Some texts from allied disciplines and some social work texts include overviews of social work with Native Americans. Fong and Furuto 2001, a text on cultural competence, is distinct in that it takes specific steps to include macrolevel as well as microlevel content. In order to cover detailed issues of assessment and intervention at different levels, it presents seven chapters on topics related to Native Americans. Readers of Duran 2006 may find it thought provoking or alienating, depending on their own perspectives. It is likely to be more accessible to clinically oriented social workers (the author’s background as a psychologist rather than a social worker is clear) and those who embrace crossing the boundary from “helping” to “healing” through incorporating spiritual dimensions in their work. Duran and Duran 1995 uses Native American cosmology and metaphor as lenses for understanding issues such as alcoholism, suicide, and family and community problems.

  • Duran, Eduardo. 2006. Healing the soul wound: Counseling with American Indians and other native peoples. New York: Teachers College Press.

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    This clinically oriented book written by a Native American psychologist presents a narrative of healing emerging from a critical examination of colonization and an attempt to bridge Western and traditional indigenous perspectives. The concepts of historical trauma and internalized oppression are central to this work.

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  • Duran, Eduardo, and Bonnie Duran. 1995. Native American postcolonial psychology. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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    This book emphasizes the importance of understanding intergenerational trauma and internalized oppression in order to understand the issues facing Native Americans near the end of the 20th century. While this book is somewhat older, its content is frequently cited and it serves as the foundation for subsequent scholarship.

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  • Fong, Rowena, and Sharlene B. C. L. Furuto, eds. 2001. Culturally competent practice: Skills, interventions, and evaluations. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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    This edited collection includes microlevel content such as understanding cultural values and clinical assessment skills. Information is also presented on assessment, interventions, and evaluation at organizational and community levels.

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  • Gray, Mel, John Coates, and Michael Yellow Bird, eds. 2008. Indigenous social work around the world: Towards culturally relevant education and practice. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

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    This international publication examines the concepts of indigenization and indigenous social work, including controversies about how these terms are used. One of the editors of the book, Yellow Bird, is of Sahnish and Hidatsa heritage.

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  • Gray, Mel, John Coates, Michael Yellow Bird, and Tiani Hetherington, eds. 2013. Decolonizing social work. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

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    This text challenges the profession to take a new path that is both creative and revolutionary. The authors help readers understand what decolonizing social work involves, including the profession’s complicity in colonization, both past and present. They encourage readers to reflect on unexamined assumptions, take a critical stance, and become comfortable with uncertainty without setting up an oppositional stance. This text offers differing definitions and perspectives. It provides insight into debates and dynamic dialogues rather than presenting a single doctrine.

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  • Sinclair, Raven, Michael Anthony Hart, and Gord Bruyere, eds. 2009. Wíchitowin: Aboriginal social work in Canada. Black Point, NS: Fernwood.

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    This text, compiled by indigenous social work educators, is grounded in theory and examines social work practice as well as traditional indigenous knowledge applicable to helping First Nations people. While this particular text examines issues within a Canadian context, the issues discussed have relevance to native populations in the United States as well.

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Reference Works

Several key reference works are available to provide social workers with a broad background in indigenous issues, both in the United States and internationally. Venables 2004 provides historical context, while Horse Capture, et al. 2007; King 2016; Warrior 2015; Mizrahi and Davis 2010; and Hansen, et al. 2017 provide information on early-21st-century issues. Newton 2012 provides a comprehensive examination of legal issues related to Native Americans, and United Nations 2008 provides the international framework for indigenous human rights.

  • Hansen, Katrine Broch, Kathe Jepsen, and Pamela Leiva Jacquelin, eds. 2017. The indigenous world 2017. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.

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    Data on indigenous populations are presented by region and by country. Up-to-date information is presented on economic status, legal cases, and pressing issues of the previous year. This international publication is updated and reissued regularly both as a book and a CD.

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  • Horse Capture, George, Duane Champagne, and Chandler C. Jackson, eds. 2007. American Indian nations: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Contemporary Native American Communities. Lanham, MD: AltaMira.

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    This collection of essays came out of a symposium of Native American scholars and leaders commenting on issues such as Native American references in sports, tribal recognition, repatriation, education, language, politics, law, the environment, and land issues.

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  • King, J. C. H. 2016. Blood and land: The story of native North America. London: Allen Lane.

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    This work provides early-21st-century perspectives on resilience, survival, and recovery of North American indigenous populations. Specific attention is paid to land, spirituality, language, and art. The author uses geographic regions to examine similarities and differences across indigenous populations.

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  • Mizrahi, Terry, and Larry E. Davis, eds. 2010. Encyclopedia of social work. 4 vols. 20th ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This encyclopedia addresses a wide variety of topics of interest to social workers, including the entries “Alaska Natives,” “Native Americans: Overview,” and “Native Americans: Practice Interventions.”

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  • Newton, Nell Jessup, ed. 2012. Cohen’s handbook of federal Indian law. New York: LexisNexis.

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    This updated, comprehensive examination of federal Indian law helps readers to understand policies and legal decisions affecting Native Americans. Content areas include issues of particular interest to social workers such as economic development and government programs as well as more general issues such as tribal governments, gaming, taxation, and rights to water, hunting, fishing, and gathering.

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  • United Nations. 2008. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. New York: United Nations.

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    This monumental human rights document, passed by member states of the UN after more than thirty years of indigenous participation, provides key guidance on the rights of indigenous peoples around the world.

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  • Venables, Robert W. 2004. American Indian history: Five centuries of conflict and coexistence. 2 vols. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light.

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    This two-volume set was written by one of the preeminent scholars of Native American history. Volume 1, Conquest of a Continent, covers the years 1492–1783. Volume 2, Confrontation, Adaptation, and Assimilation, covers 1783 to 2004.

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  • Warrior, Robert, ed. 2015. The world of indigenous North America. Routledge Worlds. New York: Routledge.

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    This work, edited by an Osage scholar, covers a wide range of modern issues across disciplines including law, sciences, literature, sociology, linguistics, and gender studies. Chapter contributors include well-known scholars.

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Bibliographies

Both White 2001 and Gray 1996 cover a wide range of topics of interest to social workers. While valuable, readers will find that these resources were published some time ago and therefore do not include more-recent scholarship. Likewise, White 2004 does not incorporate post-2004 scholarship but is included here for its breadth. Davies and Clow 2009 provides access to resources on sovereignty, a pivotal principle in working with Native Americans.

  • Davies, Wade, and Richmond L. Clow. 2009. American Indian sovereignty and law: An annotated bibliography. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow.

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    This bibliography is intended as a general resource for scholars as well as a resource for tribal, state, and federal leaders, judges, and lawmakers seeking information related to current legal and sovereignty issues. Many issues covered are of interest to social workers, such as poverty; women’s issues; alcohol, drug, and tobacco regulation; and self-determination.

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  • Gray, Sharon A. 1996. Health of native people of North America: A bibliography and guide to resources. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow.

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    Although dated, this work provides a comprehensive overview of resources related to Native Americans and health, including health-care systems, bibliographies, electronic resources, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and audiovisuals.

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  • White, Joyce Z. 2001. Social work with the First Nations: A comprehensive bibliography with annotations. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

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    This bibliography compiled by a Blackfeet social worker includes over five hundred entries on topics of interest to social workers, such as domestic violence, aging, families, and health. Over one hundred of the entries are annotated.

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  • White, Phillip M. 2004. Bibliography of Native American bibliographies. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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    While this bibliography is a bit dated, it may be useful for its breadth. Bibliographies are included related to specific tribes as well as specific geographic areas and topics such as land tenure and claims, mental health, and social work.

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Journals

While some notable journals have focused on Native American content for decades, it is a relatively new phenomenon that journals have focused primarily on social work and Native Americans. First Peoples Child & Family Review and Indigenous Social Work Journal are two examples of emerging venues focusing on Native Americans and social work. Journal of Indigenous Social Development is a journal that arose out of an international conference on indigenous social work held in Hawaii in 2007. It has a broad focus on indigenous peoples and is not restricted to Native Americans.

Journals in Allied Disciplines

Some journals in allied disciplines, such as American Indian Quarterly and Wicazo Sa Review, include content on Native Americans and indigenous issues of interest to social workers. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research covers the behavioral, social, and health sciences, and American Indian Culture and Research Journal covers a wide range of social science disciplines as well as the humanities. Both the Journal of American Indian Education and Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education focus on education, including topics related to students and identity that are of interest to social workers. The Journal of Indigenous Research and AlterNative provide interdisciplinary forums for a variety of articles.

History

While Native Americans had long and complex histories prior to contact with Europeans, it is particularly important for social workers to understand the history since the inception of colonization. The extensive negative history involving Native Americans and others has led to significant mistrust of helping professionals. The pivotal works in this section greatly changed perspectives on the history of Native Americans. These resources can help social workers understand the historical context underlying the early-21st-century realities of native people. For example, Fear-Segal and Rose 2016 and Miller 2017 examine the boarding-school era of forced assimilation. Hauptman 2015 looks at more-recent history since World War II, and Fixico 2013 describes how Native Americans have adapted to historical changes. Brown 2007 and Miller and Riding In 2011 examine historical events through an indigenous lens.

  • Brown, Dee Alexander. 2007. Bury my heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian history of the American West. New York: Holt.

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    This landmark book based largely on primary-source materials presents indigenous perspectives on historical events, such as the Long Walk of the Navajos in 1860, the 1890 massacre of Lakota people at Wounded Knee in South Dakota, forced removals from traditional territories, and broken treaties.

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  • Fear-Segal, Jacqueline, and Susan D. Rose, eds. 2016. Carlisle Indian Industrial School: Indigenous histories, memories, and reclamations. Indigenous Education. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    This edited collection compiles the work of notable native and non-native scholars to examine the history and impact of the most infamous boarding school in the history of the United States.

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  • Fixico, Donald L. 2013. Indian resilience and rebuilding: Indigenous nations in the modern American West. Modern American West. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press.

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    This ethnohistorical analysis by a Native American scholar examines how Native American nations have adapted to change in the previous one hundred years. Topics include reservations, boarding schools, tribal governments, urban relocation, activism, natural resources, gaming, and sacred lands.

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  • Hauptman, Laurence M. 2015. The Iroquois struggle for survival: World War II to Red Power. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press.

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    This book, written by a well-respected scholar of Iroquois issues, describes interactions between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the US government from the 1940s through the 1980s.

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  • Miller, J. R. 2017. Residential schools and reconciliation: Canada confronts its history. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This book describes how the Canadian federal government and various churches have grappled with policies that disrupted indigenous families and promoted assimilation by taking children away for education in residential schools. Content includes descriptions of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

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  • Miller, Susan A., and James Riding In, eds. 2011. Native historians write back: Decolonizing American Indian history. Lubbock: Texas Tech Univ. Press.

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    This anthology presents indigenous perspectives on historical events. Scholars from a variety of tribes provide information both on well-known and little-noticed events in history, offering a counterpoint to narratives written by mainstream historians.

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Culture and Identity

There is extensive cultural variation among Native American groups. Likewise, members of the same native group may experience their cultural identity in different ways. While some native people highly value and continue to practice their cultural traditions, others know little of their traditions and function comfortably within the dominant society context. In the early 21st century the majority of Native Americans live in urban areas rather than on reservations. This often leads to the creation of intertribal and multiracial families, thus adding additional complexities to issues of cultural identity. The resources in this section provide varied perspectives on culture and identity. These works share perspectives on politics, law, gender, philosophy, indigenous ways of living, and spirituality in the context of ongoing Native American resistance to the dominant culture. Mankiller 2004, an anthology, presents profound words from strong women working hard to perpetuate their cultures. Nelson 2008 and Shenandoah and Wall 2001 use traditional teachings as a lens to look at culture, while Barreiro 2010 uses John Mohawk’s examples to bring this foundation into a modern context. Kroskrity and Field 2009 examines language, and Larsen and Johnson 2017 explores relationships with the natural world as anchors for identity. Ratteree and Hill 2017 describes how blood quantum as an imposed proxy for identity may ultimately lead to statistical genocide.

  • Barreiro, Jose. 2010. Thinking in Indian: A John Mohawk reader. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

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    This posthumous collection covers thirty years of essays written by Mohawk, one of the greatest indigenous thinkers of his generation. Essays address a wide range of topics including spirituality, indigenous economies, governance, native rights, and political philosophy. These essays depict how traditional ways of thinking, being, and doing translate into modern contexts.

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  • Kroskrity, Paul V., and Margaret C. Field, eds. 2009. Native American language ideologies: Beliefs, practices, and struggles in Indian country. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press.

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    Language is integrally connected to culture and identity. This collection of essays provides perspectives from a variety of indigenous communities from Canada to Guatemala. Beliefs and feelings about indigenous languages as well as efforts to revitalize indigenous languages are discussed.

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  • Larsen, Soren C., and Jay T. Johnson. 2017. Being together in place: Indigenous coexistence in a more than human world. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    This book helps readers understand how the environment continues to shape indigenous identity. Chapters explore indigenous connections to the environment and how these are threatened when other societies have radically different perspectives on the natural world.

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  • Mankiller, Wilma. 2004. Every day is a good day: Reflections by contemporary indigenous women. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

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    Noted social worker, author, activist, and former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Mankiller presents the reflections of nineteen Native American women on questions such as the meaning of spirituality, the importance of sovereignty, and what it means to be an indigenous woman today. Contributors to this volume include a physician, an attorney, ranchers, professors of American Indian studies, an urban planner, a cultural anthropologist, artists, poets, musicians, and an Onondaga clan mother.

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  • Nelson, Melissa K., ed. 2008. Original instructions: Indigenous teachings for a sustainable future. Rochester, VT: Bear.

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    This edited volume provides insight into the worldview, values, and cultures of indigenous peoples. The book is organized in sections that examine ecospiritual concepts, indigenous democracies, kinship, women, traditional foods, decolonization, and revitalization. This volume calls for readers to learn from traditional values as a way to avoid the human-caused global environmental crisis. Most chapters are drawn from presentations at the annual Bioneers Conferences, 1990–2006.

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  • Ratteree, Kathleen, and Norbert Hill, eds. 2017. The great vanishing act: Blood quantum and the future of native nations. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

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    This edited collection offers critical reflections on how Native American identity is defined, with particular attention to blood quantum as a measure imposed by the federal government in tandem with policies of assimilation. Noted contributors explore complex issues around identity and propose decolonized approaches to identity that reflect early-21st-century Native American values and nations.

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  • Shenandoah, Leon, and Steve Wall, comp. 2001. To become a human being: The message of Tadodaho chief Leon Shenandoah. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads.

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    Traditional Haudenosaunee teachings are described, including original instructions and teachings of the Peacemaker as well as prophecies for the future. The book is based on thirteen years of taped conversations with the Tadodaho chief Leon Shenandoah, spiritual leader and high chief of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy).

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Health and Mental Health

Native Americans have some of the worst health indicators of any population in the United States. Native Americans are the most obese population in the United States and suffer disproportionately from diseases such as diabetes. Indeed, the Pima of the Southwest have the highest rates of diabetes in the world. These resources can help social workers develop an understanding of health and mental health issues for Native Americans, both historically and in the early 21st century. Helping professionals can use this information to become better informed about the social environment of many native people, then go beyond these statistics to apply a strengths perspective in their work. White Bison 2012 provides personal stories of indigenous people and their encounters with alcohol while examining how sobriety and wellness can be merged with indigenous value systems to foster stability for Native American individuals and communities. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian / Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence 2014 and McCarthy 2016 examine how violence is a prominent factor in the lives of many native people. Nebelkopf and Phillips 2004 goes beyond health to examine issues of wellness and culturally grounded healing, while the Weaver and Yuen 2017 examines disabilities. Gurr 2014 provides an in-depth look at reproductive health issues for Native American women in western South Dakota, while Hart 2003 outlines how helping professionals can incorporate aboriginal approaches into the helping professions. Weaver 2014, an edited collection, is written primarily by Native American helping professionals and examines some of the most pressing modern social issues.

  • Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian / Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. 2014. Ending violence so children can thrive. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.

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    Native American children are exposed to an extraordinary amount of violence and experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the same rate as US veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This comprehensive report describes the nature and extent of violence in the lives of Native American children and makes recommendations for change.

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  • Gurr, Barbara. 2014. Reproductive justice: The politics of health care for Native American women. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

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    This book examines how settler colonialism intersects with the federal responsibility for providing health care through the Indian Health Service to influence how reproductive health care is provided to Native American women living on or near Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Institutional provision of health care is examined through the lived experiences of these women.

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  • Hart, Michael Anthony. 2003. Seeking mino-pimatisiwin: An aboriginal approach to helping. Black Point, NS: Fernwood.

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    Hart reviews how social work and other helping professions have applied Eurocentric approaches to helping that have disregarded and undermined indigenous ways and values. This book is written by a Cree social worker.

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  • McCarthy, Katherine. 2016. Invisible victims: Missing and murdered indigenous women. Crimes Canada. Toronto: R. J. Parker.

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    This book describes the root causes of violence against indigenous women and how this extreme vulnerability has led to the disappearance and murder of many Native American women and girls.

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  • Nebelkopf, Ethan, and Mary Phillips, eds. 2004. Healing and mental health for Native Americans: Speaking in red. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

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    This collection of essays examines health disparities and the need to increase access of Native Americans to critical substance abuse and mental health services.

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  • Weaver, Hilary N., ed. 2014. Social issues in contemporary Native America: Reflections from Turtle Island. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

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    This edited book begins with an examination of the social policy contexts in the United States and Canada, followed by explorations of how the social work profession has interacted with Native Americans and a model for decolonizing the profession. Issues across the lifecycle are reviewed, and there are in-depth explorations of the Indian Child Welfare Act, health, violence, asset building, and advocacy. Chapters are written primarily by native authors with attention both to US and Canadian contexts.

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  • Weaver, Hilary N., and Francis K. Yuen, eds. 2017. All my relations: Understanding the experiences of Native Americans with disabilities. New York: Routledge.

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    This edited collection examines Native American perspectives on and experiences with disabilities within different contexts, from remote rural and reservation settings to college campuses.

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  • White Bison. 2012. The red road to wellbriety: In the Native American way. Colorado Springs, CO: White Bison.

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    This book uses a “12 step” approach combined with indigenous perspectives and teachings to foster sobriety within a context of wellness (“wellbriety”). The book includes teachings about staying sober and well in addition to personal recovery stories.

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Spirituality

Spirituality is intimately linked with indigenous identity. In turn, indigenous spirituality is tied to the land and recognizes the sanctity of all beings. While many Native Americans have adopted Christianity, many traditional basic spiritual values remain. Deloria 2003 and Smith and Cousineau 2006 present the voices of some of the most noted scholars on Native American spirituality. Maroukis 2012 explores issues associated with peyote use in the Native American Church, and Tinker 2008 examines Native American expressions of Christianity. Sarmiento and Hitchner 2017 explores how indigenous spirituality is intertwined with sacred sites that are subject to external threats.

  • Deloria, Vine, Jr. 2003. God is red: A native view of religion. 3d ed. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

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    This classic work by the eminent scholar on Native American spirituality, Vine Deloria Jr., is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the enduring land-based nature of indigenous spirituality, its relevance for Native American activism, and implications for early-21st-century indigenous issues.

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  • Maroukis, Thomas C. 2012. The peyote road: Religious freedom and the Native American Church. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.

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    This book describes the use of peyote as a sacrament in Mesoamerica for thousands of years, followed by founding of the Native American Church and spread to other regions. Subsequent federal legislation banning its use is described as an attack on Native American cultures and religious freedom. The book chronicles activist efforts to gain protection for sacramental use of peyote.

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  • Sarmiento, Fausto, and Sarah Hitchner, eds. 2017. Indigeneity and the sacred: Indigenous revival and the conservation of the sacred natural sites in the Americas. Studies in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology. New York: Berghahn.

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    This multidisciplinary edited volume examines conservation of native sacred sites and the tensions among preservation, development, and appropriation of indigenous spirituality.

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  • Smith, Huston, and Phil Cousineau, eds. 2006. A seat at the table: Huston Smith in conversation with Native Americans on religious freedom. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Interviews were conducted with the eminent Native American leaders Oren Lyons and Vine Deloria Jr. by the non-native Huston Smith. The book’s content is echoed in the companion film, A Seat at the Table: Struggling for American Indian Religious Freedom, which debuted at the Amnesty International Film Festival in 2004.

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  • Tinker, George. 2008. American Indian liberation: A theology of sovereignty. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

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    This collection of essays weaves reflections on spirituality through a historical recounting of indigenous-settler relations and contemporaneous calls for decolonization. Struggles for decolonization have often named Christian churches as complicit in colonization and ongoing oppression of indigenous peoples. In light of this, Tinker reflects on theological interpretations of Christian scriptures and how these interact with indigenous traditions, values, and modern realities. Tinker reflects on how indigenous interpretations of Christianity might differ from or be similar to those of members of settler societies.

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Sovereignty and Governance Issues

In spite of centuries of colonization, Native American tribes retain vestiges of sovereignty and continue to exercise the right to self-governance. While most tribes now have elected forms of government, some retain traditional systems, such as chiefs and clan mothers. According to the Constitution of the United States, treaties are the supreme law of the land and continue to hold weight in the early 21st century. While the federal government has assumed oversight of some legal matters, generally tribes are not subject to state jurisdiction except as specifically allowed by law in states that have passed Public Law 280. The resources in this section explore the complexities of differing definitions of sovereignty grounded in Western and indigenous histories, value systems, and ways of knowing, and shed light on the many complex issues of sovereignty and governance of native nations. Barker 2005 is an anthology of essays by indigenous peoples of the Americas and the Pacific exploring varying conceptualizations and implications of sovereignty, including legal and social rights to political, economic, and cultural self-determination; efforts to reclaim territories; resources; cultural practices; and rights to self-definition. Goldberg, et al. 2010 is a comprehensive legal casebook that explains the unique legal status of Native Americans, while Harjo 2014 examines the importance of treaties. These are complemented by Casselman 2016, an examination of how complex jurisdictional issues jeopardize the safety of Native American women. Jorgensen 2007 provides examples of how native nations have actualized self-determination, while Wilkins and Stark 2011 explores issues of Indigenous governance. Echo-Hawk 2013, an insightful review of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is an important manifesto that mirrors the social work profession’s emphasis on human rights and self-determination.

  • Barker, Joanne, ed. 2005. Sovereignty matters: Locations of contestation and possibility in indigenous struggles for self-determination. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    This compilation emphasizes the relatedness of indigenous peoples’ experiences of genocide, dispossession, and assimilation, as well as the multiplicity of indigenous political and cultural agendas and perspectives regarding sovereignty.

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  • Casselman, Amy L. 2016. Injustice in Indian country: Jurisdiction, American law, and sexual violence against native women. Critical Indigenous and American Indian Studies 1. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.

    DOI: 10.3726/978-1-4539-1601-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book by a former tribal caseworker provides an in-depth, critical examination of complex jurisdictional issues for Native American women who experience sexual violence. Casselman examines the historical context that informs early-21st-century tensions between sovereignty and external jurisdiction, and she describes application of the Violence against Women Act in tribal territories and how indigenous women may face a trade-off between safety and sovereignty.

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  • Echo-Hawk, Walter R. 2013. In the light of justice: The rise of human rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.

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    This volume offers an in-depth look at the UN Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples and explores how this groundbreaking document can inform federal Indian law in ways that support the human rights of Native Americans.

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  • Goldberg, Carole E., Rebecca Tsosie, Kevin K. Washburn, and Elizabeth Rodke Washburn. 2010. American Indian law: Native nations and the federal system. 6th ed. New Providence, NJ: LexisNexis Matthew Bender.

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    This casebook examines the tribal-federal relationship through the study of federal Indian law. This volume serves both as a research sourcebook and teaching tool. Goldberg and colleagues discuss the history of and themes in federal Indian law while examining issues such as sovereignty and legitimacy of political power.

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  • Harjo, Suzan Shown, ed. 2014. Nation to nation: Treaties between the United States and American Indian nations. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.

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    Treaties are legally binding, bilateral agreements with modern relevance. This compilation of essays by historians, activists, and legal scholars documents transitions from nation-to-nation diplomacy to forced assimilation and dismantling of tribes as political institutions. The authors invoke America’s growing commitment to social justice to restore broken treaties while calling for a renewed assertion of treaty rights and self-determination. This volume provides an important foundation for social workers.

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  • Jorgensen, Miriam, ed. 2007. Rebuilding native nations: Strategies for governance and development. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press.

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    This volume describes strategies for governance and community and economic development used by tribal governments in the United States and Canada. Guidelines are provided for creating new governance structures, rewriting constitutions, building justice systems, launching nation-owned enterprises, encouraging citizen entrepreneurs, developing new relationships with non-native governments, and confronting the oppressive legacies of colonialism.

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  • Wilkins, David E., and Heidi K. Stark. 2011. American Indian politics and the American political system. 3d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    This book provides an overview of indigenous nationhood and describes indigenous governance from historical to modern times. The authors discuss political issues and provide an overview of federal Indian policy. Tribal governments are examined from a political-science perspective.

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Economic and Community Development

Native Americans are generally a poor population, with approximately one in four Native Americans living in poverty, compared to one in ten of their non-native peers. Native people on reservations are typically poorer than their urban counterparts. In addition to pursuing tourism as a form of economic development, because of their retention of some sovereignty, native tribes have the ability to participate in forms of economic development, such as accepting toxic waste and developing casinos, that are generally not acceptable within most states. This type of economic development can be controversial, and native people are not of one mind about the costs and benefits of such endeavors. The resources in this section examine some of the ways native nations have pursued economic development. Hosmer and O’Neill 2004 and Guedel 2013 examine various economic development strategies and ventures pursued by native nations, while Braun 2013 provides an in-depth look at raising buffalo and Gercken and Pelletier 2018 examines gaming as development strategies. Manuel and Derrickson 2017 explores the reconciliation process in Canada, and Silver 2006 describes the process of urbanization of indigenous people, with an emphasis on Winnipeg, home to Canada’s largest urban indigenous population.

  • Braun, Sebastian. 2013. Buffalo Inc.: American Indians and economic development. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.

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    This book describes the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s experiences with developing and operating a tribally owned business raising buffalo. The author examines economic development, sustainability, ecology, and health within the context of this tribe’s history and experiences. In particular, he reflects on buffalo, animals imbued with considerable cultural and historical significance. Buffalo continue to resonate as central elements of Plains cultures that offer life-sustaining and community-strengthening opportunities for Native American people. The author makes links among business, culture, spirituality, and economic development while examining sustainability as a goal in all these areas.

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  • Gercken, Becca, and Julie Pelletier, eds. 2018. Gambling on authenticity: Gaming, the noble savage, and the not-so-new Indian. American Indian Studies. East Lansing: Michigan State Univ. Press.

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    This interdisciplinary edited work examines Native American gaming in the United States and Canada. Gaming is explored both as a mechanism of economic development and as a phenomenon that shapes how Native Americans are perceived.

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  • Guedel, W. Gregory. 2013. Strategies and methods for tribal economic development: Building sustainable prosperity in Native American communities. Eagan, MN: Thomas Reuters Aspatore.

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    This book provides background information on tribal economic development within the context of indigenous sovereignty and cultural values that shape development goals. Specific development-related issues such as energy exploration, housing, marketing indigenous arts and crafts, and per capita programs are reviewed.

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  • Hosmer, Brian, and Colleen O’Neill, eds. 2004. Native pathways: American Indian culture and economic development in the twentieth century. Boulder: Univ. Press of Colorado.

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    These authors examine how Native Americans have simultaneously adopted capitalist strategies and altered them to suit their own distinct cultural beliefs and practices. This book provides some interesting historical perspectives, using specific examples. Chapters also examine how work activities tie into cultural identity.

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  • Manuel, Arthur, and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson. 2017. The reconciliation manifesto: Recovering the land, rebuilding the economy. Toronto: James Lorimer.

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    This book examines how true reconciliation between indigenous peoples and Canadian settler society is hindered by continuing colonial structures. The authors explore land claims, racism, indigenous-rights movements, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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  • Silver, Jim, ed. 2006. In their own voices: Building urban aboriginal communities. Black Point, NS: Fernwood.

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    Silver uses research findings to illuminate inner-city concerns and the innovative, community-based solutions developed and implemented by aboriginal people. These community development approaches are rooted in traditional indigenous values.

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Activism

Activism is a common and appropriate response to social injustices encountered by Native Americans, both historically and in the early 21st century. Cobb and Fowler 2007 gives a broad picture of Native American activism over more than a century, including discussions of the development of early Native American activist networks and organizations in the 1800s and descriptions of how resistance efforts connect to international decolonization efforts. Shreve 2011 complements this overview by grounding activism of the second half of the 20th century within the work of the National Indian Youth Council. Alfred 2005 describes a philosophy of social change rooted in the philosophies of others around the world who have sought to free themselves from colonial oppression, including such diverse figures as Che Guevara, Mohandas Karamchand Mahatma Gandhi, Frantz Fanon, and the Dalai Lama. The books in this section contain the voices of some of the most notable Native American activists and scholars of recent generations. Simpson 2017 gives the reader a glimpse into how indigenous culture shapes activism and radical resurgence. Wilson and Yellow Bird 2005 and Waziyatawin and Yellow Bird 2012 are handbooks that provide activities as well as narratives intended to promote beginning discussions on decolonization. All the authors are indigenous (including an author and editor who is also a social worker) and identify themselves as practitioner activists who take political positions to challenge colonialism in their own daily lives, jobs, children’s schools, communities, and the broader society. Akwesasne Notes 2005 is a collection of three position papers delivered at the UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, by representatives of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy at the 1977 UN Conference on Discrimination against the Indigenous Populations of the Americas.

  • Akwesasne Notes, ed. 2005. Basic call to consciousness. Rev. ed. Summertown, TN: Native Voices.

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    These papers call for fundamental changes in the policies of developed nations and an end to the destruction of the natural world. This new edition reviews the events prior to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy representatives’ 1977 trip to the UN, examines the struggle for self-determination before and after those meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, and looks to a new era of possibility for native nations.

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  • Alfred, Taiaiake. 2005. Wasa’se: Indigenous pathways of action and freedom. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview.

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    This Mohawk author calls for a spiritually grounded revolution and a culturally grounded social movement to transform society. He envisions a process that moves from injustice to struggle, to mutual respect, to peace. The book includes interview segments with indigenous peoples of diverse ages and from varying walks of life. This discussion on indigenous activism is helpful for social workers interested in social movements, social justice, and social change.

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  • Cobb, Daniel M., and Loretta Fowler, eds. 2007. Beyond Red Power: American Indian politics and activism since 1900. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.

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    Authors in this anthology describe pivotal events and policy initiatives and the political activism surrounding them. This book reviews activist efforts to redress treaty violations, assert self-determination, and strive for control over resources. Additional topics include language revitalization, governance issues, and indigenous struggles for recognition of existence.

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  • Shreve, Bradley G. 2011. Red Power rising: The National Indian Youth Council and the origins of Native American activism. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.

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    This book examines the origins of the intertribal activism movement that came to be known as Red Power from its inception within the National Indian Youth Council. The author discusses the key roles women played in the organization’s work. Shreve describes how these students were grounded in principles of sovereignty, treaty rights, self-determination, and cultural preservation while remaining anchored in their respect for traditions and elders. This book documents how National Indian Youth Council activities provided the foundation for later, well-known activism such as the takeover of Alcatraz, siege at Wounded Knee, and American Indian Movement (AIM) occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, DC.

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  • Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. 2017. As we have always done: Indigenous freedom through radical resistance. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

    DOI: 10.5749/j.ctt1pwt77cSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This noted indigenous author describes activism grounded in indigenous ways of thinking that include radical resurgence, disruption, resistance, and refusal. Chapters explore topics such as sovereignty over our bodies, anticapitalism, and queer normativity.

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  • Waziyatawin, and Michael Yellow Bird, eds. 2012. For indigenous minds only: A decolonization handbook. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.

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    This volume is a sequel to the book For Indigenous Eyes Only (Wilson and Yellow Bird 2005). The editors bring together a new group of indigenous scholars to examine issues of colonization and decolonization. This book emphasizes that decolonization must begin with the mind and conscious consideration of how colonization has had an impact on psychological and spiritual as well as physical aspects of being. Some of these essays emphasize the unsustainable nature of modern societies and advocate that indigenous peoples be prepared to reclaim sustainable, land-based ways of life.

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  • Wilson, Waziyatawin Angela, and Michael Yellow Bird, eds. 2005. For indigenous eyes only: A decolonization handbook. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press.

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    This thought-provoking and accessible book challenges readers to think about the meanings of colonization and decolonization along with developing concrete strategies to challenge oppression. This material could be applied in a classroom or could guide the thought processes of an individual reader.

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Policies

Because Native Americans are indigenous rather than simply another ethnic group, there are some policies and laws that apply specifically to them. Under the federal trust responsibility, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is charged with oversight of Native Americans. Likewise, because of the legal responsibility that the federal government has assumed, there is a particular agency, the Indian Health Service, charged with providing health services for this population. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is probably the most significant federal law that affects the work of many social workers who work with native people. Native American Rights Fund 2011 is a useful guide to the ICWA, while González-Santin and Perry 2003 provides context for this act. Passed to remediate the situation of large numbers of native children placed in non-native care, this act governs jurisdictional issues for any native child at risk of foster care or adoptive placement. The relationship between federal entities and native people has often been contentious, both historically and in the early 21st century. The resources in this section introduce readers to the complex domain of Native American policy issues. Iverson and Davies 2015 provides information on social policies and programs of relevance to social workers. In Hensen, et al. 2008, scholars and native leaders provide a comprehensive, cohesive, interdisciplinary examination of current conditions and trends in Indian country, including tribal governance, land and natural resources, economic and social development, arts and culture, the large off-reservation native population, and federal Indian policy. Ellinghaus 2017 explores the policy implications of blood quantum measures of identity, while Wilkins and Wilkins 2017 explores the parallel policy issue of native nations disenrolling their members.

  • Ellinghaus, Katherine. 2017. Blood will tell: Native Americans and assimilation policy. New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt1qv5ptwSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ellinghaus examines the roll of blood quantum in US policies, particularly allotment. She explores how blood quantum relates to ideas about competence, assimilation, identity, and ultimately who qualifies as a Native American.

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  • González-Santin, Edwin, and Timothy Perry, eds. 2003. Understanding the cultural context: Working with American Indian children and families. Phoenix, AZ: ArtCraft.

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    This work, written primarily by Native American social workers, covers areas such as family preservation, family-centered social work practice, the interplay between the ICWA and the Adoption and Safe Families Act, community-based family and children’s services, clinical practice, court-related child welfare, and permanency planning.

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  • Hensen, Eric C., Jonathan B. Taylor, Catherine E. A. Curtis, et al. 2008. The state of the native nations: Conditions under US policies of self-determination. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This book emphasizes native self-determination and nation building, places early-21st-century issues in historical and policy contexts, and uses case studies to highlight successful examples of the practice of native nation self-determination.

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  • Iverson, Peter, and Wade Davies. 2015. We are still here: American Indians since 1890. 2d ed. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley.

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    This historical text examines changing policies and life circumstances for Native Americans after the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre. The chapters cover different historical eras and include discussions of major policy shifts, social programs, and assertions of sovereignty and self-determination. Modern issues such as the rise of casinos, economic development, federal recognition, and revitalization are also covered.

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  • Native American Rights Fund. 2011. A practical guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Boulder, CO: Native American Rights Fund.

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    This comprehensive guide answers frequently asked questions about the ICWA. Practical information is provided on jurisdiction, who is covered under the act, the role of tribal courts, foster care, and adoption. Available online.

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  • Wilkins, David E., and Shelly Hulse Wilkins. 2017. Dismembered: Native disenrollment and the battle for human rights. Indigenous Confluences. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press.

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    This book examines internal policies implemented by native nations that allow banishing, denying, and disenrolling indigenous citizens. The authors explore how these policies ultimately promote assimilation and dwindling tribal populations.

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Research

Often, research has silenced and distorted perspectives of people on the margins of society. In particular, research on Native Americans has frequently been done in oppressive ways and produced results of questionable value. The works included in this section review methodological and ethical problems with research on Native Americans and describe research that is expressly concerned with addressing oppression and is committed to social justice. Brown and Strega 2005, authored by social workers, brings together the theory and practice of anti-oppressive approaches to social science research. Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project 2007 explores community-based participatory research. Chilisa 2011, Walter and Andersen 2016, and Smith 2012 bring international perspectives to indigenous research, while Lambert 2014 provides guidance on grounding research within indigenous value systems.

  • Brown, Leslie, and Susan Strega, eds. 2005. Research as resistance: Critical, indigenous, and anti-oppressive approaches. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

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    This collection reviews ontological and epistemological considerations in research, including theorizing the self of the researcher. Research is framed as part of an emancipatory commitment aligned with resistance to oppression.

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  • Chilisa, Bagele. 2011. Indigenous research methodologies. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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    This book incorporates a global perspective on research that is relevant to Native American as well as other indigenous contexts. The stated goals of the book include critiquing dominant paradigms while recovering and valuing postcolonial indigenous epistemologies and methodologies. Indigenous values of interconnectedness and explicit awareness of power dynamics are highlighted as central to the framework of international, postcolonial methodologies. Each chapter includes activities, summaries of key points, and suggested additional readings.

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  • Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project. 2007. Code of research ethics. Kahnawake, QC: Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project.

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    This thoughtful and comprehensive document presents a model for how native communities can be involved in community-based participatory research. This outstanding document should be read by all researchers involved with Native American communities and should be introduced to social work students in basic research courses.

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  • Lambert, Lori. 2014. Research for indigenous survival: Indigenous research methodologies in the behavioral sciences. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    Written by a Mi’kmaq/Abenaki author, this book examines how research methodologies can be adapted to be congruent with values in tribal communities. Guidance is provided to non-native researchers interested in working in indigenous settings.

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  • Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2012. Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. 2d ed. Dunedin, New Zealand: Univ. of Otago Press.

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    This classic book prized by indigenous scholars around the world, now in a second edition, is an outstanding guide for anti-oppressive indigenous research. Smith, a Maori researcher, critically examines the historical and philosophical base of Western research and calls on indigenous researchers to carry out their own studies. Planning and implementing indigenous research is presented as part of reclaiming control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.

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  • Walter, Maggie, and Chris Andersen. 2016. Indigenous statistics: A quantitative research methodology. New York: Routledge.

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    This book offers approaches to quantitative research anchored in indigenous perspectives. The authors are grounded in indigenous studies in Canada and Australia and critique how the presumed objectivity of statistics has framed indigenous peoples.

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Education

Historically, education has been used as a tool of cultural destruction imposed on Native Americans. This has resulted in a legacy of distrust of educational institutions and often-poor academic performance. The works included in this section describe how modern Native Americans have experienced their educational journeys. These works document efforts to change educational institutions to make them more receptive to Native Americans and the need to carve a space in the academy where indigenous knowledge and values are respected. Minthorn and Chavez 2016, an exploration of issues in higher education, is complemented by Huffman 2010, a blend of theory and research on outcomes for Native American college students. Styres 2017 explores how indigenous thought can inform teaching, Gregory 2011 provides perspectives of Native American educators on best ways to educate Native American students, and Mihesuah and Wilson 2004 critiques education methodologies. White 2016 provides an in-depth case example of tribally run education on Akwesasne Mohawk territory, Jacob, et al. 2015 offers a global look at indigenous issues in education, while Vakalahi, et al. 2007 presents perspectives from female social work educators.

  • Gregory, Sheila T., ed. 2011. Voices of Native American educators: Integrating history, culture, and language to improve learning outcomes for Native American students. Lanham, MD: Lexington.

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    This edited collection is well grounded both in theory and research. The book is organized into four sections: the status of Native American educators and students, culturally relevant pedagogy, teaching models, and educational strategies. These holistic essays touch on many issues of interest to social workers and other professionals, such as resilience, self-determination, and cultural competence.

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  • Huffman, Terry. 2010. Theoretical perspectives on American Indian education: Taking a new look at academic success and the achievement gap. Lanham, MD: AltaMira.

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    This book is well grounded in theory and incorporates data on Native American college students in South Dakota to examine the connections between cultural identity and how Native American students navigate various learning environments. Native American students face significant challenges in higher education; yet, contrary to what many people expect, some of the most culturally traditional students fair better academically than their more assimilated peers.

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  • Jacob, W. James, Sheng Yao Cheng, and Maureen K. Porter, eds. 2015. Indigenous education: Language, culture and identity. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9355-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This collection of essays from around the world examines how language, culture, and identity intersect with education for indigenous peoples. While some of the chapters focus on issues in specific indigenous groups (including three essays on Native Americans), the majority of chapters focus on issues common across many different indigenous populations related to language, culture, and identity.

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  • Mihesuah, Devon Abbott, and Angela Cavender Wilson, eds. 2004. Indigenizing the academy: Transforming scholarship and empowering communities. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    This interdisciplinary anthology by indigenous academics critiques methodologies used to write and teach about indigenous histories and cultures. The authors examine what gets taught and written and by whom in concert with a critical examination of the academy’s role in the ongoing colonization of native peoples. Of particular interest is the chapter by the Gros Ventre psychologist Joseph Gone.

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  • Minthorn, Robin Starr, and Alicia Fedelina Chavez, eds. 2016. Indigenous leadership in higher education. Routledge Research in Educational Leadership. New York: Routledge.

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    This edited volume draws on the expertise of leading scholars in indigenous higher education to provide a comprehensive examination of the importance of leadership in higher education for Native Americans.

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  • Styres, Sandra D. 2017. Pathways for remembering and recognizing indigenous thought in education: Philosophies of Iethi’nihsténha Ohwentsia’kékha (land). Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    This book examines how indigenous thought and philosophies can inform and transform teaching practices. Chapters explore modern applications of traditional teachings and how these interface with Western paradigms.

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  • Vakalahi, Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue, Saundra Hardin Starks, and Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, eds. 2007. Women of color as social work educators: Strengths and survival. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

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    This collection presents firsthand accounts of the experiences of women of color in social work academia. It includes chapters on three native women, including Ada Deer, a Menominee social worker who served as president of her tribe and was the first native woman to be appointed as assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior, head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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  • White, Louellyn. 2016. Free to be Mohawk: Indigenous education and the Akwesasne Freedom School. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.

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    Informed by interviews, archival research, and participant observation, White provides an in-depth case example of how one Mohawk community asserted sovereignty and developed their own school. This grassroots, community-based approach to tribally controlled education provides a welcome alternative to Western-based public education in native communities.

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