When John Hope Franklin and A. S. Eisenstadt asked me to contribute to this series, I wondered whether I should accept their flattering invitation. It surely constituted an impossible assignment. How could I, how could any person, tell in one concise volume a story that involved so many communities and so many people over so long a period of time? After I agreed to give this project a try, I had second and even third thoughts. I have been able to write this book because of all the help I have received. The long list below gives some idea of my indebtedness. Although I completed this book in 1997, in some ways I began it in 1969, when I was privileged to join the faculty of the first tribal college. At that time, most American Indian histories focused almost exclusively upon loss and victimization. Those accounts were and are important, but I have chosen here to tell a different story, one consistent with my previous writings. I do not deny difficulty nor do I ignore racism, but I emphasize the determination and the ability of Native peoples to adapt, to create, and, above all, to continue.
Five years ago, during the quincentenary observance of the Columbus landing, Native peoples emphasized the related subjects of survival and continuation. A major exhibit of Native art in New York City in 1992 was entitled “We're Still Here.” After I had finished what I hoped would be the final version of this manuscript, I started to read the new anthology edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria