14-3 “Your Heroes Are Not Our Heroes” Resource Guide

Feb 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 14-3: Your Heroes Are Not Our Heroes, Resource Guides
By Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox, Ph.D. (Comanche); Sheilah E. Nicholas (Hopi); and Claudia E. Nelson

The complete history of this country includes the American Indians, yet they have largely been neglected and/or misrepresented to students. Providing an American Indian perspective is essential. Instructors of American history should supplement textbooks with sources that present the more complete picture.

The resources listed below provide only a sample of the information about the “other side” of the story. Many are compilations of primary sources – historical documents that include memoirs and eyewitness accounts edited by non-Native scholars, some of which may be most appropriate for graduate students. Biographies and autobiographies are listed in a separate category; they offer rare and personal insights of tribal people at various periods in America’s history. Dates in many cases indicate reprints and not original publication. Finally, websites and newspapers are cited as tools for the instructor.

As Chief Standing Bear states, “It is my [our] desire that all people know the truth about the first Americans and their relations with the United States government.” (Luther Standing Bear, My people, the Sioux)

(Editor’s note: we invite readers to submit their own suggestions for resources that provide an American Indian perspective on historic events in the United States. Send your suggestions to <editor@tribalcollegejournal.org>, and we may add them to the resource guide for this issue on our website <www.tribalcollegejournal.org>.)


Berkhofer, Robert, Jr. (1978). The white man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the present. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Presents the development of the “white man’s Indian,” evolving from white America’s fluctuating interest and fascination in Indians as unique “others” across historic periods of time. By understanding the white image of the Indian, readers can better understand white societies and the intellectual premises within the contexts of particular history and space.

Calloway, Colin G. (1994). The world turned upside down: Indian voices from early America. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press.

One of a series of books utilizing primary sources, such as historical documents, letters, memoirs, interviews, pictures, movies, novels, and poems. Readers have an opportunity to study the past as historians and other researchers do.

Debo, Angie. (1973). And still the waters run: The betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Debo presents the tragic story of the liquidation of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole republics in Indian Territory when Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

Debo, Angie. (1970). A history of the Indians of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

One of the first historical surveys of the Indians of the United States, including the Eskimos and Aleuts of Alaska. Debo emphasizes the diversity among American Indian and Alaska Natives and their cultural ways, languages, and experiences.

DeJong, David H. (1993). Promises of the past: A history of Indian education in the United States. Golden, CO: North American Press.

The history of Indian education is documented through government papers, court decisions, letters, and eyewitness accounts tracing the non-Indians’ efforts to educate and assimilate American Indians into dominant society.

Deloria, Vine, Jr. (1988, Reprint with new preface). Custer died for your sins: An Indian manifesto. New York: Macmillan.

Published at the height of America’s movement for social change, Deloria (Standing Rock Sioux) tells non-Indian America that Indians do not want to be mainstreamed into American culture, giving the American history student an essential background for further study in this area. Primary areas of discussion include history, government policy and laws, corporate structure, the family unit, and education.

Fixico, Donald L. (ed.) (1997). Rethinking American Indian history. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Editor Donald L. Fixico (Shawnee, Sauk & Fox, Creek, and Seminole) is best known for his expertise in federal Indian policy and national issues affecting Indian people. In this edition, seven authors discuss from an Indian point of view the theories and methodologies of how the field of American history developed.

Francis, Lee. (1996). Native time: A historical time line of Native America. New York: St. Martins Press.

Provides a chronologically organized perspective of Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their respective sovereign nations and tribes, specifically from the contexts of history, literature, art, heroes, legends, wisdom, and philosophy.

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