Hollywood taught us how to spot an Indian — they wear feathers and run around saying "ugh." In the real world there is no more contentious question on the Reservation than just who is an Indian. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a look at the complexities of Native American Identity. Also, white people playing Indian, and storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Historian Philip Deloria talks with Steve Paulson about the long and complicated history of white people impersonating Native Americans, citing examples from Colonial times and the 19th century. He also speaks about his own racially mixed background and the American penchant for appropriating cultures to create one's own identity.SEGMENT 2:
Novelist Wayne Johnson tells Jim Fleming about becoming a mascot on the Chippewa reservation where he lived; says Native American identity involves both genealogy and a relationship to land; and explains that the hero os his novel ("Don't Think Twice") is based on someone he knows on the Reservation. Also, poet and professor Lewis Hyde tells Judith Strasser that Coyote is the Native American form of the Trickster figure who exists in many cultures. Hyde explains Trickster's social function, and tells some Trickster tales.SEGMENT 3:
Master Native American storyteller Joseph Bruchac talks with Steve Paulson, and tells several short stories. He talks about his own family which hid the fact that his grandfather was Abenaki, stresses the importance of listening, and explains how he finds stories in nature. Bruchac's books include "Bowman's Store" and "Lasting Echoes."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-08-08-C.
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