Montana 1911: A Professor and His Wife Among the Blackfeet

Aug 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-1: The Winding Road to Student Success, Media Reviews

Edited by Mary Eggermont-Molenaar
University of Calgary Press (2004) (Hardcover), 367 pages
University of Nebraska Press (2005) (Softcover), 417 pages
ISBN 1-55238-114-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-80321-828-1 (Softcover)
Hardcover $89.95
Softcover $35.00

Review by Michael W. Simpson

Professor Uhlenbeck, a Dutch linguist, spent two summers on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana in 1910 and 1911. He studied the languages of Native peoples of North America, primitive “wilde jagervolken (wild hunting people),” in order to gather evidence of atypical features of the origins of the Indo-European languages. His wife accompanied him during the second summer.

The book provides the translated diary of Wilhelmina Maria Uhlenbeck in addition to selected works of Professor Uhlenbeck, which allows for an interesting comparison. Mrs. Uhlenbeck’s entries reflect common stereotypes about American Indians

Some American Indian voices were recorded, including those of students in mission schools. The book gives valuable insights into the development of a scholarly work, and photographs enhance the text. This book would be a valuable addition to a library and of interest to many disciplines and areas of studies.

Michael W. Simpson, J.D., M.Ed., is a lawyer, educator, mediator, and social activist currently studying education policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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