The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Tribes
Barreiro, J. & Cornelius C. (eds), (1991). Knowledge of the elders: The Iroquois Condolence
Cane tradition. Ithica NY: Northeast Indian Quarterly, Cornell University.
A small booklet of thirty pages that provides a clear and concise overview and
perspective on Native values and governmental structures. This is a fine map with which to
start understanding the use and meaning of the Condolence Cane and Wampum Belts in the
reciting of the Great Law.
Borland, H. (1988). The history of wildlife in America. New York: Arch Cape.
This book is honest in its approach to the destruction of the fauna of North America by
the Caucasian races and by the Native peoples. Nothing will ever match the crimes inflicted
by the white men, but the book is clear that this did not start with the whites. The many
colour illustrations make this book useful for a broad market.
Curtis, E. S. (1986). Visions of a vanishing race. Boston MA: Houghton Mufflin.
The text by Florence Curtis Graybill (Curtis' daughter) and Victor Boesen does much
to shed light on this driven man, who exposed 40,000 photographic plates in his effort to
record the last original vestiges of the North American Native culture. He also wrote many
volumes of text and recorded many of the sacred rituals of the indigenous culture. Alas, this
was done at great cost to his family and may have lead to its break up. Not permanent damage
though, for one daughter and two sons are involved in this collection. The photos reproduced
here are some of the best of this painterly photographer.
Fleischer, J. (1979). Sitting Bull: Warrior of the Sioux. Mahwah, NJ: Troll.
My five year old daughter brought me this book from school. The sepia toned
illustrations by Bert Dodson highlight an excellent accounting of Sitting Bull's life from his
days as a child named Slow till his death at the hands of the Bluecoats. The book is written
with true honesty, in a straight forward manner that does not prove to be maudlin.
Glavin, T. (1991). A Death Feast in Dimlahamid. Vancouver BC: New Star Books.
A great book and a great read by a seasoned newspaper reporter. This book transcends
three worlds with surprising fluidity. Glavin manages to take us, within paragraphs, from the
Indian spirit world, to the court room, and then back to a road side blockade campfire. We get
a true feel for how long the Natives have been negotiating with the province of British
Columbia, who have only in late 1992 acknowledged the presence of the Natives themselves.
Hathaway, N. (1990). Native American portraits: 1862-1918. San Francisco CA: Chronicle.
There were more people than the "Chief," E. S. Curtis, taking photographs of Natives
before the demise of much of that culture. Nancy Hathaway, a seasoned journalist, notes that
many of the included anonymous artists may have been wives who managed the shop and
often filled in for their husbands while their men were otherwise preoccupied. The wide range
of motivations for photographing Natives gives a truer picture of the conquered race who were
photographed wearing wigs to appear more genuine.
Hunter, M. (1991). Abused boys: The neglected victims of sexual abuse. New York: Fawcett
Mic Hunter is a psychologist and expert on male sexual abuse victims. He has, with
the help of case studies, shown the range of this crime. There is one pattern that emerges and
runs like a thread through the book; it is of the strong lording it over the weak. Recovery as
well as treatment are covered and a strong resource section is included.
Hunter, R, & Calihoo, R. (1991). Occupied Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Steward.
Robert Calihoo was raised as a white child by a religious Catholic grandmother. When
she died he was shuffled from mother, to foster parents, to a Cree reserve and then straight to
prison for various crimes. He then found himself at twenty-one facing possible imprisonment
for habitual crime. At this time he decided to rediscover his Indian history. This is the book
from an Indian's perspective about how the Indians had been treated and treatied with.
Calihoo eventually regains his status as an Indian, recovers his stolen land and finds his
scattered people. In the process he finds that they are really a family of Iroquois who had
travelled west in the 1793 to find free range. Co-author, Robert Hunter, first president and
chairman of the board of the Greenpeace Foundation has done a fine collaboration that enables
Bob Calihoo's own voice and spirit to speak out in this great book.
Jeffers, S. (1991). Brother eagle, sister sky. New York: Dial.
The words attributed to Chief Seattle are used as a background for a book that is filled
with beautiful colour pencil drawings of nature, ghostlike indigenous people, and a modern
white family planting trees. This children's book has much to say to adults. Susan Jeffers has
proven herself again as an accomplished artist with a great depth of feeling for Native people.
Josephy, A. (Ed.). (1961). The American heritage book of Indians. New York: Simon &
Each tribe from Central America to the Arctic is viewed in detail with the help of
Josephy's editing skills. The introduction by John F. Kennedy sets the tone of the volume.
That tone is one of honesty and respect familiar in those days of the Camelot Republic. The
spiritual traditions are portrayed in a clear, unbiased fashion and with a surprising depth of
commitment. The photographs, maps and documented art work by both Natives and whites
are truly impressive on their own, and the text follows closely with the same attributes listed
Lipset, S. M. (1990). Continental divide: The values and institutions of the United States and
Canada. New York: Routledge.
This is a great book that answers a big question. The difference between Canadian and
American cultures and their pressures are explored in the greatest of details by this ardent
researcher. This book is a must read book for anyone interested in Canadian and American
studies, especially in these times of Free Trade.
McFadden, S. (1991). Profiles in wisdom: Native elders speak about the earth. Santa Fe NM:
Bear & Company.
The Native leaders are beginning to speak out more clearly and many of those leaders
wish to spread the words of their traditions to their white bothers. The prophecies are different
from tribe to tribe, but they all have a common theme. The Mother Earth is in trouble and
hurting and if she is not valued and honoured she will strike back. These Native leaders,
traditional and modern, view themselves as the caretakers of the planet and through this
powerful book they are going to be heard now or in retrospect. McFadden with his
background in astrology and farming has a balance of sky energy and the grounded sense of a
gardener, which led these elders to trust him.
Newhouse, S. (1897). The constitution of the Confederacy (Rev. Ed. Chief Jacob Thomas
1989). Wilsonville ON: Sandpiper.
This is the definitive written representation of the constitution of the Iroquois people. It
represents the Native effort to describe in written language that which has only been handed
down by oral traditions through the mnemonic device of the eighty sacred Wampum Belts.
Pollock, Jack. The Art of Norval Morrisseau. New York: Methuen, 1979.
This book describes the career of the artist, Norval Morrisseau, up until 1979. It not
only shows his work, but also his friends, his religion and his troubled soul. This man is one
of the greatest artists that I have ever met. I am proud to say that I have met him, through my
friendship with Jack Pollock but with this book I can say that I know him. I was disappointed
that Jack choose not to include a portrait that Norval did in oil of Dorothy Poste, who was still
performing as a singer in the early eighties. The portrait is large and looks totally different
than the work he is famous for, but I feel that it is a masterpiece that should be documented.
Sams, J. & Nitsch. T. (1991). Other council fires were here before ours. San Francisco CA:
A Native American creation tale told by a stone. The Seneca elder Twylah Nitsch and
her granddaughter Jamie Sands have joined forces to create a cute and lovable world of wee
people and talking stones. Just as you are being lulled into a fantasy land the conversation of
the book snaps you into the world of speculative physics. This is a finely crafted teaching for
Sapp, A. (1977). A Cree life: The art of Allen Sapp. Vancouver BC: J. J. Douglas.
This is a great book about a great artist. Allen Sapp is a Cree Indian who grew up on
the reservation without his original name Saposkum. It had been shortened to fit into the
whiteman's world better. That tendency almost lost us a fine artist as Sapp tried to produce
good white art for people. The book is also the story of his grandmother Maggie who played a
strong part in Sapp's life. The art speaks for itself as it describes the simple motions of a Cree
life. The introduction is written by people who love Allen Sapp: John Anson Warner and
Stirling, M. (Ed.) (1955). Indians of the Americas: A colour-illustrated record. Washington
DC: National Geographic.
This is another great compendium of knowledge about the Natives of the Americas. It
is detailed, unbiased and fair for its day. The highlight of the work for me is the beautiful
paintings of W. Langdon Kihn. There were many documented insights into Native cultures
with many photos and collected engravings from the past, but each time I was drawn back to
the numerous works by Kihn. He seems to have truly thrown himself into the world of the
Native to portray it. I can sense a growth in his style due to his involvement.
Tree of Peace Society. (1989). The Great Law of Peace and the constitution of the United
States of America. Harrisburg PA: Viola White Water Foundation.
This pamphlet documents the similarities between the constitution of the United States
and the Iroquois. It is full of references that could lead one into greater depths of study.
Wall, S. and Arden, H. (1990). Wisdomkeepers. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words.
This book is a visual work of art, at the very least, but it is also a work of great love.
These two white journalists, went to great lengths to track down Native leaders and gain their
confidence to record accurately their thoughts. The photographs by Steve Wall are frank,
simple and underline the messages' honesty. The layout of the book adds to the personal
charm of the documentation.
Wilson, E. (1992). Apologies to the Iroquois. Syracuse NY: Syracuse U.
This book is a powerful insight into the inner world of the Iroquois. Each tribe of the
confederacy was studied personally and in depth by Edmund Wilson, one of Americas finest
essayists and critics but he also had an excellent scholarly guide, Dr. William N. Fenton. The
everyday life is detailed as well as the spiritual and political realms. Ritual ceremonies are
recorded too for this is the realm that the Natives regard as the most important. There are
many religious and political pressures placed on the Iroquois: the Quèbecquois; the
Anglophones; the United States government, state and federal; the hereditary chiefs; the
elected chiefs; the grandmothers; the traditional religion; the great law; the many invasive
Caucasian religions; and the confederacy. All are presented clearly.
Yenne, B. (1988). The encyclopedia of North American Indian tribes. London England:
This is a fine reference book with details and illustrations about every tribe in North
America. The photography ranges from the ancient grainy treasures of the past to the modern
Copyright © Creative Reflections