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Exiled in the Land of the Free


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A major purpose of this collection of eight substantial essays is to help readers ``gain an understanding of American Indian contributions to the West's democratic traditions'' and to realize that ``ideas of American Indian origin . . . are part of the synthesis that led to the United States Constitution.'' That the Founding Fathers were philosophically and culturally influenced by the Indian nations is explained thoroughly--to any doubter's or disbeliever's satisfaction. One entire chapter is devoted to Iroquois political philosophy, revealing that ``the oldest continuously functioning democratic constitution is the Iroquois Confederacy.'' United States ``congressional intrusions and manipulations'' fill one entire chapter. Truly an important and great book, this should be acquired by all public and academic libraries and some special libraries. An effective antidote for the Columbus quincentenary hoopla.-- Katherine Dahl, Western Illinois Univ., Macomb

These impressive essays by eight Native American leaders and scholars present persuasive evidence that the American colonists and U.S. founding fathers borrowed from the Iroquois Confederacy and other Indian political institutions in drafting the U.S. Constitution and in creating democratic traditions. In his majestic opening essay, Lyons, an Onondaga chief and professor of American studies at the State University of New York, recounts the European invasion through Native American eyes. Vine Deloria Jr. examines how the Constitution and various branches of the federal government systematically work to deprive Native Americans of their rights and land. Calling for Indian self-determination, Laurence Hauptman looks at current tribal problems in light of two centuries of congressional intrusion. A major theme of this timely, forceful book is the Native American demand for sovereign rights as a legal basis for fair and reasonable claims on certain public lands. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)

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