Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights

Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights

Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights

Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights

Synopsis

This encyclopedia, designed to meet the curriculum needs of high school and college students, provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of American Indian civil rights issues. More than 600 entries cover a variety of perspectives, issues, individuals, incidents, and court cases central to an understanding of the history of civil rights among American Indian peoples. Individual demands for equality and civil rights are central themes in U.S. history and American Indian people are no exception. They have had to deal with white racism and its expression in local and national political institutions while trying to define the rights of individual Indians vis-a-vis their own tribal governments. The struggle has made their civil rights movement unique.

Excerpt

In 1959, when I was 13 years old, I spent the summer living with my Navajo friend, Jerry Pete, on the reservation near Parker, Arizona. Placed in a white family's home by a church social service agency when he was 6 years old, Jerry spent the school year in Paramount, California, and then returned to his own family during summer vacation. In California, we were next-door neighbors and became fast friends, riding bicycles, hitting baseballs, and mowing lawns for extra change together. At school he was quiet and shy, but not here at home on the reservation. When we got off the Greyhound bus in Parker, Arizona, that summer of 1959, he peeled off his California identity like layers of crusty onion skin. Beneath the guarded exterior I had seen so often was a bright, animated Navajo-speaking boy who greeted his family with all the love I had for my own. The Navajo reservation was life for him and suburban Los Angeles only an artificial, temporary reality.

Over the centuries Indian civil rights law, like Jerry Pete's life, was caught between those two distinct worlds. Native Americans have often been caught between the confusing and sometimes inconsistent competing jurisdictions of local, state, federal, and tribal governments, as well as the demands of the U.S. Constitution. In the Encyclopedia of American Indian Civil Rights I have tried to provide brief descriptions of the major concepts, court decisions, congressional acts, and individuals involved in the history of Native American civil rights. I am grateful to my associate editors and each contributor to the encyclopedia, and to the librarians at Sam Houston State University who have made my research task easier.

Readers should note that I am aware of existing controversies over the use of "Indian," "American Indian," and "Native American." Each term . . .

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