Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: An Annotated Bibliography

Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: An Annotated Bibliography

Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: An Annotated Bibliography

Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: An Annotated Bibliography

Synopsis

For more than a decade scholars have debated the question of whether American Indian confederacies, primarily the Iroquois, helped influence the formation of U.S. basic law. The idea has sparked lively debate in the public arena as well, with Canadian diplomat Durling Voyce-Jones contending it shows a paradigm shift in our thinking, Patrick Buchanan calling it "idiocy," and George Will saying it's "fiction." For the first time, this bibliography brings together some 450 citations on the debate. The work describes the debate in the words of one of its major participants, Bruce E. Johansen, author of three other books on the subject.

Excerpt

Since 1992, I have kept a bibliography of commentary on assertions that the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and other Native American confederacies helped shape ideas of democracy in the early United States. By 1995, the bibliography had reached roughly 455 items from more than 120 books, as well as newspaper articles and book reviews numbering in the hundreds, academic journals, films, speeches, documentaries, and other sources. the bibliography was assembled with the help of friends, as well as searches of libraries and book stores, and personal involvement in various skirmishes of the debate. the number of references exploded during 1995 because I began to search several electronic databases.

Before I explored these databases, I had been acquainted with the spread of the idea on a more personal level, especially through debates in academia that have been chronicled with Donald A. Grinde, Jr. in Akwe:kon Journal (now Native Americas) and the American Indian Culture & Research Journal (1993.014, 1990.002). Now, I was watching the idea take on an animus of its own, detached from its scholarly moorings. As the debate expanded in popular consciousness, a grand cacophony of diverse voices debated the type of history with which we will enter a new millennium on the Christian calendar.

I watched as the idea became part of the written record in several academic fields, as well as in many journals of popular discourse. Everyone -- from Tom Hayden (1994.012) to Patrick Buchanan (1992.037, 1992.056) and Rush Limbaugh (1992.019) -- seemed to have taken a stand on what had become a very hotly contested issue. These ideas became a horror story of political correctness to many conservative commentators, while they also played a role in Canadian . . .

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