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In many respects, Vine Deloria Jr (1933-2005) has become a historical figure, alongside such luminaries as Charles Eastman, D’Arcy McNickle, Jack Forbes, and Beatrice Medicine, whose writings have been canonized in American Indian/Native American studies, but which have acquired the patina of bygone eras. Consequently, it’s easy to overlook the influence that their ideas and opinions are having on the current discussion regarding Indian affairs. Deloria, in particular, stands out among his peers for having almost singlehandedly defined the discourse on federal Indian law and policy, tribal self-determination, and decolonization. "Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria Jr and the Birth of the Red Power Movement" (2019) is an intellectual history of Deloria’s critical role in the debate over Indian rights, which was instigated by the clash of federal termination policy, treaty rights, and the shattering of white American hegemony during the struggle for Civil Rights and the Vietnam War. Out of this social upheaval emerged a resilient notion of Indigenous nationhood that is still serving as the backbone to contemporary Indigenous sovereignty.
David Martínez (Akimel O’odham/Hia Ced O’odham/Mexican) is an associate professor of American Indian Studies and the author of "Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought" (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009), editor of "The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972" (Cornell University Press, 2011), and author of "Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria Jr and the Birth of the Red Power Movement" (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). He has also published articles in the American Indian Quarterly, the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and Journal of the Southwest.
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