The inconvenient Indian A curious account of native people in North America

Thomas King, 1943-

Book - 2013

In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian-White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada-U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a ...Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

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Subjects
Published
Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press 2013.
Language
English
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
xvi, 287 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780816689767
0816689768
Main Author
Thomas King, 1943- (-)
  • Prologue: Warm toast and porcupines
  • Forget Columbus
  • The end of the trail
  • Too heavy to lift
  • One name to rule them all
  • We are sorry
  • Like cowboys and Indians
  • Forget about it
  • What Indians want
  • As long as the grass is green
  • Happy ever after.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

King (The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative) is a multitalented author of Cherokee descent whose accomplishments include writing children's books, novels, short story collections, and historical works. Here he offers his views on people and events that have impacted Native people in North America from the time of Columbus to the present day. Although this type of monograph has become somewhat overrepresented, King's title manages to rise above other works in the genre. Simply put, his conversational authorial voice makes the book both witty and thought-provoking. His inclusion of Canada's First Nations also offers an essential dimension not seen often enough in such works. While he touches on the usual suspects, such as Columbus and Pocahontas, King also addresses topics such as the activities of Native Americans who perpetuate stereotypes of their own people. One example he offers is U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's speech at the opening of an American Indian museum in 2004; to appear "authentic," the senator wore buckskins and a feathered headdress instead of a suit, which is what he would have typically worn as a politician. VERDICT This is an entertaining read that will most appeal to academic readers interested in anthropology or North American history.—John R. Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY [Page 110]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A Native novelist and vocal advocate for First Nation rights, King (The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative) delivers an intelligent and eye-opening overview of Native peoples in post-Columbus North America in this new volume, a book that "has been a work-in-progress for most of adult life." The effort shows. Fastidiously working his way from convenient and comforting myths (like that of Pocahontas rescuing Capt. John Smith) to the real-life atrocities on the Trail of Tears, at Wounded Knee, and countless other incidents, and on to the 20th century's conscious, legislated marginalization of Natives—King demonstrates with sharp and swift strokes how the U.S. and Canada have repeatedly treated Natives as an inconvenience, an obstacle to be rid of, moved, or carefully rounded up, then reimagined altogether. It's also a book that charts how such injustices are often replaced by kinder, more audience-friendly historical narratives; as King quips, "fictions are less unruly than histories." Reminiscent of the subversive revisionism of Howard Zinn, King's deeply personal and knowledgeable account of North American Natives scathes, chides, and often pokes fun, but suffers from a unilaterally sardonic tone that seethes with understandable indignation but leaves too little space for hope or progress. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists (Canada). (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian'White relations in North America since initial contact. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada–U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

Suffused with wit, anger, perception, and wisdom, The Inconvenient Indian is at once an engaging chronicle and a devastating subversion of history, insightfully distilling what it means to be “Indian” in North America. It is a critical and personal meditation that sees Native American history not as a straight line but rather as a circle in which the same absurd, tragic dynamics are played out over and over again. At the heart of the dysfunctional relationship between Indians and Whites, King writes, is land: “The issue has always been land.” With that insight, the history inflicted on the indigenous peoples of North America—broken treaties, forced removals, genocidal violence, and racist stereotypes—sharpens into focus. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian'White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada'U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.Suffused with wit, anger, perception, and wisdom, The Inconvenient Indian is at once an engaging chronicle and a devastating subversion of history, insightfully distilling what it means to be 'Indian' in North America. It is a critical and personal meditation that sees Native American history not as a straight line but rather as a circle in which the same absurd, tragic dynamics are played out over and over again. At the heart of the dysfunctional relationship between Indians and Whites, King writes, is land: 'the issue has always been land.' With that insight, the history inflicted on the indigenous peoples of North America'broken treaties, forced removals, genocidal violence, and racist stereotypes'sharpens into focus. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike.