Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Staff recommended reading: Indian Givers: how the Indians of the Americas transformed the world

Here the Western Hemisphere natives, usually treated as a footnote to world history, take center stage as anthropologist Jack Weatherford draws connections showing how nation-making and -breaking shifts in worldwide patterns of wealth, power, trade, population, health, and thought resulted from the gifts or theft of American indigenous knowledge, resources, and labor. Minerals; foods; medicines; technologies of agriculture, architecture, and transportation; templates of democracy and revolution – the fruits of contact, to non-Indians, were further-reaching than most people imagine, making the injustices of cultural and physical genocide perpetrated on the givers that much more heinous. Having done his spadework in the myriad relevant geographic and academic areas, Weatherford lays these effects out, from the obvious to the highly extrapolative, engaging our sympathy, gratitude, indignation, and awe with a network of revelatory anecdotes, facts, and causalities.

See if Mission Branch's copy of Indian Givers is available.


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