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A Guide to Learning about Native Americans  

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Native Americans are a people that are too often overlooked by the majority of American society. If they are noticed, they are mostly stereotyped or culturally appropriated without knowledge of the culture or some of the serious issues the community faces today. Many of the issues can be traced back through history, and taking a critical look at the history surrounding Native Americans can be essential to finding possible solutions for the present and the futre. For example, unfortunately, due to interactions with Europeans and early American settlers over the course of history, “of the American Indian languages still spoken, many have only a bare handful of speakers.” ("American Indian languages," Encyclopaedia Britannica) Most native languages are dying out. There is a loss of culture that can also be attributed to early boarding schools Native children were often forced to attend, during which instructors would "kill the Indian, [and] save the Man."  These are just a few of the issues that face Natives of all ages, which are rooted in history. Sometimes Natives are solely thought about in a historical context, which can also be problematic. Many images in mainstream America porttray Natives as they were, and not enough portray them as they are.

Times have changed, issues are being addressed, but there is still more work to be done. The purpose of this pathfinder is to ease the historical and present day research of Native Americans and their culture with the ultimate goal of positively expanding the image and role of a people in American society today. Included are suggestions for novels, reference books, photographs, and more as well as people of interest and recommendations for works and videos not in the Edith Hamilton, to help further exploration.

Please enjoy the video below, an ad created by the National Congress of American Indians entiltled "Proud to Be." Though it may be lobbying for a very specific and controversial change, it doubles as a good representation of Native Americans and seeks to diversify and correct the image of this people in our society.

Edith Hamilton

For more books, videos, and resources, go to the Edith Hamilton Library Catalogue. A link is included below. Thank you!!


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