God Is Red: A Native View of Religion | Critical Review by Thomas Burnell Colbert

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of God Is Red: A Native View of Religion.
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Critical Review by Thomas Burnell Colbert

SOURCE: A review of American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century, in The Historian, Vol. XLIX, No. 2, February, 1987, pp. 287-88.

In the following review, Colbert asserts that the essays in Deloria's American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century are educational and informative.

Native American studies programs at colleges and universities have increased in number and size over the last twenty years. Likewise, the amount of scholarly activity focusing on Indian life and history has proliferated. However, much of the endeavor, especially within the discipline of history, has centered on Indian-white relations in the years before the twentieth century. Consequently, even a specialist on Native American history might, for example, be uncomfortable and uniformed when discussing Nixon's self-determination policy. And that circumstance, as well as other considerations, enhances the benefits to be derived from this collection of eleven essays[, American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century]—edited by Vine Deloria, Jr., a noted Native American spokesmen, writer and teacher—which is intended to add some perspective on present-day Indian policies of the federal government. The approach is topical, not chronological, with a wide range of subjects: human rights, Indian voting, tribal governments, water rights and the influence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs—to list a few.

Within this mixed bag of articles, a common thread in almost all is the importance of federal law and legal decisions. Indeed, Joyotpaul Chaudhuri in the lead essay, "American Indian Policy: An Overview," tends to set the tone for the others by asserting that "the law reflects, more intensely than is the case for other minorities, the shifts in attitudes and American politics" affecting Indians. The next nine contributions, in turn, deal with specific areas of concern in contemporary Indian affairs. The final essay in the book, "The Evolution of Federal Indian Policy Making" by Deloria, not only complements the preceding pieces but also offers insightful commentary on the meandering course of Indian Policy from the early days of the United States to today. In particular, Deloria states that an "easily defined federal policy designed specifically for American Indians" has not "existed since Congress adopted termination as a reachable goal in 1954." He furthermore concludes that the longtime problems involving the legal status of Indians as members of tribes within the political domain of the United States has been replaced by concerns associated with their roles as members of a minority group and that differences between Indians and whites "seems finally to have evolved into a social problem area and may finally be resolved as other such problems have been resolved."

In all, the authors contributing to this collection have handled effectively their respective topics and thus produced very informative, clearly written and well-documented essays. At the same time, the diversity of research interests represented exemplifies the variety of pertinent issues of Indian policy meriting examination. And for the historian either with general curiosity or with expertise in Indian policy, American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century offers useful, thought-provoking reading.

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This section contains 497 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Rosemary Radford Ruether