american indians | WAMC

american indians

What was once an island is now a peninsula, due to siltation from local railroad and port projects. In recognition of its history, the property still retains the name "Papscanee Island."
Open Space Institute

An island nature preserve near downtown Albany is back in the hands of descendants of its original inhabitants.

Book cover for "Land" by Simon Winchester
Harper Collins

Simon Winchester - author of "The Professor and the Madman" and "The Perfectionists" - examines what we human beings are doing - and have done - with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet. His new book is "Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World."

Book cover for "This Land Is Their Land"
Bloomsbury Publishing / Bloomsbury Publishing

David J. Silverman is a professor at George Washington University, where he specializes in Native American, Colonial American, and American racial history. He is the author of "Thundersticks," "Red Brethren," "Ninigret," and "Faith and Boundaries."

His new book, "This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving," reveals why some modern Native people hold a Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving, a holiday which celebrates a myth of colonialism and white proprietorship of the United States.

Book Cover for "Voting in Native Country" - repeated thrice
University of Pennsylvania Press / University of Pennsylvania Press

Among the American public, there is a collective amnesia about the U.S. government's shameful policies toward the continent's original inhabitants and their descendants. Only rarely, such as during the Wounded Knee standoff in the 1970s and the recent Dakota Access Pipeline protests, do Native issues reach the public consciousness.

But even during those times, there is little understanding of historical context—of the history of promises made and broken over seven generations—that shape current events. Voting in Indian Country uses conflicts over voting rights as a lens for understanding the centuries-long fight for Native self-determination. Weaving together history, politics, and law, Jean Reith Schroedel provides a view of this often-ignored struggle for social justice from the ground up in her book "Voting In Indian Country: The View from the Trenches."

Tommy Orange and book cover for "There There"
Author Photo - Elena Seibert

Tommy Orange’s powerful and urgent Native American voice has exploded onto the landscape of contemporary fiction. His debut novel, “There There,” interweaves the experiences of twelve people who gather in Oakland for a pow wow. It is a multigenerational story about violence, recovery, hope, and loss.

The great achievements of North America’s first artists are celebrated in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute exhibition “American Indian Art from Fenimore Art Museum: The Thaw Collection.”

The exhibition, on view through December 30, demonstrates the long-standing excellence of the aesthetic traditions of North America’s native peoples. Spanning the continent from the first millennium to the 20th century, the exhibition of more than 35 exceptional objects showcases masterpieces in various media: sculpture, painting, drawing, basketry, textiles, ceramics, and the decorative arts.

Mary Murray is the Department Head for Curatorial and Exhibitions and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

  The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY hosts the 34th Annual Iroquois Indian Festival this weekend.

Storytelling, social dancing, and an all Iroquois Art Market are just a few of the activities featured at the festival. Guests can join Iroquois from throughout the Six Nations for a family friendly celebration of cultural pride and creativity.

Stephanie Shultes is the Executive Director of the Iroquois Indian Museum and she joins us now along with Amanda Kay Tarbell Kanatisake an Assistant Educator at the museum.

Frederick E. Hoxie, one of our most prominent and celebrated academic historians of Native American history, has written a book entitled, This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made, which creates a bold and sweeping counter-narrative to our conventional understanding of Native American history.

Louise Erdrich has been a published and highly regarded author for nearly 30 years but had never won a National Book Award until being cited in November 2012 for her novel, The Round House. It is the second book of a planned trilogy about an Ojibwe boy and his quest to avenge his mother's rape.