?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

"anthropologists and other friends"

Deloria, Jr. Vine. Custer Died for Your Sins: an Indian Manifesto. 2nd Edtion. University of Oklahoma Press, 1988. Excerpt: “Anthropologists and Other Friends, Chapter 4, pg 78 – 79
 
"Into each life, it is said, some rain must fall. Some people have bad horoscopes, others take tips on the stock market. McNamara created TFX and the Edsel. Churches possess the real world. But Indians have been cursed above all other people in history. Indians have anthropologists.
 
"Every summer when school is out a veritable stream of immigrants heads into Indian country. Indeed the Oregon Trail was never so heavily populated as are Route 66 and Highway 18 in the summertime. From every rock and cranny in the East they emerge, as if responding to some primeval fertility rite, and flock to the reservations.
 
"‘They’ are the anthropologists. Social anthropologists, historical anthropologists, political anthropologists, economic anthropologists, all brands of the species, embark on the great summer adventure. For purposes of this discussion we shall refer only to the generic name, anthropologists. They are the most prominent members of the scholarly community that infests the land of the free and, in the summertime, the homes of the braves.
 
"The origin of the anthropologist is a mystery hidden in the historical mists. Indians are certain that all societies of the Near East had anthropologists at one time because all those societies are now defunct.
 
"Indians are equally certain that Columbus brought anthropologists on his ships when he came to the New World. How else could he have made so many wrong deductions about where he was?
 
"While the historical precedent is uncertain, apologists can readily be identified on the reservations. Go into any crowd of people. Pick out a tall gaunt white man wearing Bermuda shorts, a World War II Army Air Force flying jacket, an Australian bush hat, tennis shoes, and packing a large knapsack incorrectly strapped on his back. He will invariably have a thin sexy wife with stringy hair, an IQ of 191, and a vocabulary in which even the prepositions have eleven syllables.
 
"He usually has a camera, tape recorder, telescope, hoola hoop, and lifejacket all hanging from his elongated frame. He rarely has a pen, pencil, chisel, stylus, stick, paintbrush, or instrument to record his observations.
 
"This creature is an anthropologist..."
 
Thats all for now, but it only gets better! Check out the book! The above is excerpted from Chapter 4 of Vine Deloria, Jr.'s collection of essays Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. Originally published in 1969 by Macmillan press in New York, the 1988 edition (University of Oklahoma press) includes a new preface by the author and an extremely hip cover design.
 
As you might guess from reading the excerpt above, Deloria writes with engaging wit. What's more impressive is that he pulls off this entertaining tone without sacrificing depth or accuracy in his information and research.
 
Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933-2005) held degrees in theology and law and held professorships at both the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado Boulder, but he was first and foremost an activist, writer, and public figure. He served on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian, but is most famous as an author and for his work as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.
 
The main body of the book has not been updated since 1969. Although most of the information is still relevant and all of it is definitely useful, I would direct you to the National Congress of American Indians for the latest information about current policies, politics and campaigns in Indian affairs. In particular, I direct your attention to their extremely cool Embassy Capital Campaign. How hot would it be if US First Nations folks had an embassy? Wicked hot.
 
Cheers,
P

P.S. No offense to current anthropologists, most of anthropology has changed dramatically since this book was published, and modern anthros often do a great deal of good.

Comments