Native Americans & Tribal History

Richard Spear (Pathcpis@AOL.COM)
Fri, 25 Aug 1995 00:45:49 -0400

Robert Johnson writes:

The best sources for Native American history are Native Americans.

Vine Deloria and Ward Churchill are excellant beginnings.

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Natchat at

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This is not always true. The best sources on Native Americans are not always
Native Americans themselves. As a case in point, look at the Ottawa Tribe of
Oklahoma. By 1980 most of the key tribal members who knew anything about
their culture and history had died. The 600 or so registered members for all
practical purposes have lost their history and culture. Chief Charles Dawes
and Larry Angelo, Chairman of the Ottawa Tribal Historical Commission, are
trying to get a cultural resource center established for historical and
genealogical research by its members. They are visiting the northern Odawas
in Michigan and Canada on Manitoulin Island to try to understand the
language, customs and lifeways that have survived the ravages of white
contact. They are visiting Kansas to retrieve documents and visit their
previous Kansas reservation of 1840-1870. While these and other initiatives
are valiant efforts, a great deal of information by tribal members who passed
on their language and traditions has been lost and will never be recovered.