"They Made Us Many Promises": The American Indian Experience, 1524 To the Present

"They Made Us Many Promises": The American Indian Experience, 1524 To the Present

"They Made Us Many Promises": The American Indian Experience, 1524 To the Present

"They Made Us Many Promises": The American Indian Experience, 1524 To the Present


A descendant of The American Indian Experience, this compelling anthology showcases the work of sixteen specialists. Those chapters retained from the original volume have been carefully revised to make them more accessible to the average undergraduate, while six entirely new and original essays consider important topics: American Indian women; Indian-Spanish relations in the Greater Southwest in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; Indian affairs during the Civil War; the ongoing issue of Native Sovereignty; U. S. Indian policy since the Nixon Administration; and the emotional fight over Repatriation.

Designed for use as a core text in one- or two-semester courses in American Indian History or as a supplement to any standard U. S. History survey, "They Made Us Many Promises" is certain to challenge readers' assumptions about the past and current roles of Indians in American society.


As Americans have become less ethnocentric and increasingly pluralistic, they have been more willing to accept and understand other cultures. The increase in scholarly investigation during the past few decades of racial, ethnic, and minority diversity within American society suggests a growing desire for a more inclusive, deeper, and, ones hopes, richer understanding of the national heritage.

A fundamental dimension of this heritage is that of the American Indians, whose story has been described as “among the most intriguing in history, [one that has] captivated scholars for centuries.” Once the indigenous peoples' world became enmeshed in the politics and economics of Europe and later the United States, it was often one of friction and conflict with Europeans and Americans, as well as between and within tribes. The post-Columbian American Indian experience, “from the point of view of the Indians themselves,” asserts one historian, “meant the harassing, the overwhelming, and the extinction of a set of ancient, multiform cultures by a monolithic invasion from far away.”

They Made Us Many Promises is an introductory work, presenting a profile of the relationship between American Indians and Europeans, and later Americans, from the early sixteenth century onward. Its intent is to provide college students and general readers a clear overview of significant aspects of the American Indian experience with those people who asserted their control over the continent. That story is generally told in this volume within the framework of white history—first because Indian policy was formulated from the white perspective rather than from that of the First Nations, and secondly because whites so influentially affected the American Indians—their lives, culture, and history.

They Made Us Many Promises is a descendent of, but not a “second edition with a new cover recapitulation” of, The American Indian Experience (Forum Press / Harlan Davidson, 1988). While retaining about half of that volume's chapters, which have been carefully reviewed and reworked by their respective authors, They Made Us Many Promises offers readers six new chapters on important

1 Arrell Morgan Gibson, The American Indians: Prehistory to the Present (Lexington, Mass.,
1980): 2.

2 William T. Hagan, American Indians (Chicago, 1979): ix.

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