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Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact

Artist - Author: 
Vine Deloria Jr.
Deloria's battle against ignorance about American Indians has frequently taken the form of paradigm-challenging books, such as the best-selling Custer Died for Your Sins (1969) and this bold critique of scientific theories in general and their application to American Indian history in particular. Deloria, invigoratingly outspoken, identifies the many ways science has been used against American Indians, from the technology of violence to a justification of racism. He goes on to expose erroneous assumptions behind the Bering Strait theory of the peopling of the Western Hemisphere and the "overkill" theory of the extinction of the mammoth and other "megafauna." Why, he asks, has the centuries-old oral tradition of American Indians been dismissed as mere stories, whereas the raw speculations of scientists have been enshrined as truths? Curiously enough, scientists are now "discovering" facts preserved in the oral tradition, such as information about ancient geologic events and how sick animals use plants to heal themselves. By disputing long-held scientific shibboleths, Deloria, as thorough as he is vehement, encourages recognition of the invaluable knowledge possessed by tribal peoples, knowledge all of us would benefit from. Donna Seaman (From Booklist)
history / politics
Native American