The Other Side of the Frontier: Economic Explorations into Native American History

The Other Side of the Frontier: Economic Explorations into Native American History

The Other Side of the Frontier: Economic Explorations into Native American History

The Other Side of the Frontier: Economic Explorations into Native American History

Synopsis

A collection of essays by renowned scholars of Native American economic history, The Other Side of the Frontier presents one of the first indepth studies of the complex interaction between the history of Native American economic development & the economic development of the United States at large. Although recent trends in the field of economics have encouraged the study of minority groups such as Asian & African American, little work has been done in Native American economic history. This text fills an existing gap in the economic history literature & will help students come to a richer understanding of the effects that U.S. economic policy has had on the culture & development of its indigenous peoples.

Excerpt

Over the last decade or so, there has been increasing interest in producing a "diversity-friendly" economics curriculum. In 1992 a panel at the annual meetings of the American Economics Association (AEA) titled Alternative Pedagogies and Economic Education produced three papers discussing the need for greater inclusiveness in the general economics curriculum (Bartlett and Feiner 1992; Conrad 1992; Shakelford 1992). Three years later, a guidebook titled Economics 190 R&G: Introductory Economics from a Race and Gender Perspective (Bartlett 1995) was distributed at a pre-AEA conference workshop detailing a more inclusive introductory economics course. Both the workshop and guidebook generated much interest. Bartlett provides an excellent summary of methods to add diversity into the introductory economics course in her 1996 article, and recently published book on the subject (1997). And beginning in 1996, three additional faculty development conferences, coordinated by Susan Feiner and sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation, will focus on techniques for teaching female economics students.

The field of economic history has included itself in this movement to diversify the economics curriculum. Textbooks now routinely include research on the economic history of slavery, the reconstruction experience for African Americans, and women's labor force participation. Further, research on Asian American economic history is increasingly making its way onto course syllabi. Examples of such work are Patricia Cloud and David W. Galenson's "Chinese Immigration and Contract Labor in the Late Nineteenth Century" (1987) and Masco Susuki's "Success Story? Japanese Immigrant Economic Achievement and Return Migration, 1920-1930" (1995). Akira Motomura and Pamela Nickless (1994) find greater treatment of gender, race, and ethnicity issues in the most popular economic history texts than in economics textbooks in general. Yet despite these trends, Native American economic history is still quite underrepresented in the standard economic history curriculum. And, as Ronald Trosper (1975) argues for African Americans and Native Americans, lessons drawn from the discrimination history of one group are not necessarily applicable to another.

More than lip service to indigenous peoples is needed. Including the Native American experience in the economic history curriculum must involve more than an apologetic note on land confiscation and the loss of indigenous life and heritage. Although these losses were tremendous and tragic, such statements are not sufficient. A detailed and accurate account of the economic his-

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