Indian Country: Essays on Contemporary Native Culture

Article excerpt

Valaskakis, Gail Guthrie. Indian Country: Essays on Contemporary Native Culture. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2005. ix, 304 pp., references, index. ISBN 0-88920-479-9 Paper CDN $28.95.

Indian Country is a collection of eight essays which reflect on land and treaty rights, media warriors, Indian princesses and squaws, pow wow, museums and art, research into Indian culture, and Native nationhood and membership (p.6). Though each essay can stand on its own, together they highlight a diversity of voices present in collective memory, tribal and national events, and real and imagined representations (p.7). Valaskakis argues that part of understanding the complex experience of being Native in North America today is the discovery of interrelated realities, be they individual and collective, past and present, Indian and Other (ibid.).

Throughout these essays, Valaskakis consistently and convincingly illustrates that there are entangled, multiple linkages between past, present, and future; earthly and spiritual realities; representation and lived experience. These connections are not always easy. Indeed, the contingent, contradictory, and transformative nature of culture as lived experience is an integral part of being Native. …