Tribal-State Relations Training

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We recommend these resources to learn about the history of Native Americans from the start of European exploration and colonization through today.

The Night Watchman

Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. "Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman (2020)." (Native contributor)

The Assassination of Hole In The Day

Anton Treuer, MN Ojibwe. "On June 27, 1868, Hole in the Day (Bagonegiizhig) the Younger left Crow Wing, Minnesota, for Washington, DC, to fight the planned removal of the Mississippi Ojibwe to a reservation at White Earth. Several miles from his home, the self-styled leader of all the Ojibwe was stopped by at least twelve Ojibwe men and fatally shot. Hole in the Day’s death was national news, and rumors of its cause were many: personal jealousy, retribution for his claiming to be head chief of the Ojibwe, retaliation for the attacks he fomented in 1862, or retribution for his attempts to keep mixed-blood Ojibwe off the White Earth Reservation. Still later, investigators found evidence of a more disturbing plot involving some of his closest colleagues: the business elite at Crow Wing (2011)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940

Brenda J. Child, Red Lake Nation. "Boarding School Seasons offers a revealing look at the strong emotional history of Indian boarding school experiences in the first half of the twentieth century. At the heart of this book are the hundreds of letters written by parents, children, and school officials at Haskell Institute in Kansas and the Flandreau School in South Dakota. These revealing letters show how profoundly entire families were affected by their experiences (2000)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

Dee Brown. "First published in 1970, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee generated shockwaves with its frank and heartbreaking depiction of the systematic annihilation of American Indian tribes across the western frontier (1970)."

From the Deep Woods to Civilization

Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), Santee Dakota. "Eastman's captivating autobiographical work after Indian boyhood, telling the story of his years during school and into his life as a doctor. One of the highest educated Indians of his time, through his social work and his writings he was one of the best-known Indians of the early 20th century (1916)." (Native contributor)

Gichi Bitobig, Grand Marais

Timothy Cochrane. "The journals of two clerks of the American Fur Company recall a lost moment in the history of the fur trade and the Anishinaabeg along Lake Superior's North Shore (2015)." (Minnesotan)

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbooks Got Wrong

Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. "Beginning with pre-Columbian history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, the My Lai massacre, 9/11, and the Iraq War, Loewen offers an eye-opening critique of existing textbooks, and a wonderful retelling of American history as it should--and could--be taught to American students (2015)." (Native contributor)

Living in Two Worlds

Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), Santee Dakota. "An exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family. Riveting and suspenseful (2013)." (Native contributor)

Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota

Gwen Westerman, Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate/Cherokee Nation and Bruce White. "Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile (2012)." (Native contributor)

The Murder of Joe White

Erik Redix, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe. "In 1894 Wisconsin game wardens Horace Martin and Josiah Hicks were dispatched to arrest Joe White, an Ojibwe "ogimaa "(chief), for hunting deer out of season and off-reservation. Martin and Hicks found White and made an effort to arrest him. When White showed reluctance to go with the wardens, they started beating him; he attempted to flee, and the wardens shot him in the back, fatally wounding him. Both Martin and Hicks were charged with manslaughter in local county court, and they were tried by an all-white jury. A gripping historical study, The Murder of Joe White contextualizes this event within decades of struggle of White s community at Rice Lake to resist removal to the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation, created in 1854 at the Treaty of La Pointe (2014)." (Native contributor)

My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation

Brenda J. Child, Red Lake Nation. "When Ojibwe historian Brenda Child uncovered the Bureau of Indian Affairs file on her grandparents, it was an eye-opening experience. The correspondence, full of incendiary comments on their morals and character, demonstrated the breathtakingly intrusive power of federal agents in the early twentieth century. While telling her own family’s stories from the Red Lake Reservation, as well as stories of Ojibwe people around the Great Lakes, Child examines the disruptions and the continuities in daily work, family life, and culture faced by Ojibwe people of Child’s grandparents’ generation—a generation raised with traditional lifeways in that remote area. The challenges were great: there were few opportunities for work. Government employees and programs controlled reservation economies and opposed traditional practices. Nevertheless, Ojibwe men and women—fully modern workers who carried with them rich traditions of culture and work—patched together sources of income and took on new roles as labor demands changed through World War I and the Depression (2014)." (Native contributor)

Nation to Nation

Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee. "Nation to Nation explores the promises, diplomacy, and betrayals involved in treaties and treaty making between the United States government and Native Nations. One side sought to own the riches of North America and the other struggled to hold on to traditional homelands and ways of life. The book reveals how the ideas of honor, fair dealings, good faith, rule of law, and peaceful relations between nations have been tested and challenged in historical and modern times. The book consistently demonstrates how and why centuries-old treaties remain living, relevant documents for both Natives and non-Natives in the 21st century." (Native contributor)

Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian - White Relations From Prophecy to the Present, 1492-2000

Peter Nabokov and Foreward by Vine DeLoria Jr., Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Drawing from a wide range of sources - traditional narratives, Indian autobiographies, government transcripts, firsthand interviews, and more - Nabokov has assembled a remarkably rich and vivid collection, representing nothing less than an alternative history of North America. (Native contributor)

Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862

Edited by Gary Clayton Anderson and Alan R. Woolworth. "This collection of thirty-six narratives presents the Dakota Indians' experiences during a conflict previously known chiefly from the viewpoints of non-Indians (1988)." (Native contributor)

Ojibwe in Minnesota

Anton Treuer,MN Ojibwe. "With insight and candor, noted Ojibwe scholar Anton Treuer traces thousands of years of the complicated history of the Ojibwe people—their economy, culture, and clan system and how these have changed throughout time, perhaps most dramatically with the arrival of Europeans into Minnesota territory (2010)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Our History Is The Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance

Nick Estes, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. "This book traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Our History Is the Future is at once a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of resistance (2016)." (Native contributor)

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

Vine DeLoria Jr., Standing Rock Sioux. "In this latest work by the prominent historian, Deloria turns his audacious intellect and fiery indignation to an examination of modern science as it relates to Native American oral history and exposes the myth of scientific fact, defending Indian mythology as the more truthful account of the history of the earth (1995)." (Native contributor)

Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

John Ehle. "The heroism and nobility of the Cherokee shine through this intricate story of American politics, ambition, and greed (1988)."

Walking the Old Road: A People's History of Chippewa City and Grand Marais Anishinaabe

Staci Lola Drouillard, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. "Blending memoir, oral history, and narrative, Walking the Old Road reaches back to a time when Chippewa City, then called Nishkwakwansing (at the edge of the forest), was home to generations of Ojibwe ancestors. Drouillard, whose own family once lived in Chippewa City, draws on memories, family history, historical analysis, and testimony passed from one generation to the next to conduct us through the ages of early European contact, government land allotment, family relocation, and assimilation (2019)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe

Anton Treuer,MN Ojibwe." Organized around the stories of seven significant leaders, Warrior Nation covers four centuries of the Red Lake Nation's forceful and assertive tenure on its land, offering not only a chronicle of the band but also a compelling perspective on a difficult piece of U.S. history (2015)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

HBO. Historical Drama. "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West is a 1970 book by American writer Dee Brown that covers the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century (2007)."

A Good Day to Die

Kino Lorber Films. "American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Dennis Banks looks back at his early life and the rise of the American Indian Movement (2010)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Native America

PBS. "Explore the world created by America’s First Peoples. The four part series reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned to the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents (2010).

Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian

Vision Maker Media. "A deeply personal family film that follows Kate Beane, an urban, Dakota scholar, and her family as they trace the remarkable life of their celebrated relative, Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman), an important author, activist, lecturer and one of the first Native American doctors (2018)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Reel Injun

PBS. Documentary. "Reel Injun traces the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the silent film era to today, with clips from hundreds of classic and recent Hollywood movies, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native film celebrities, activists, film critics, and historians (2009)."

We Shall Remain

PBS. "A provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history (2009)."

Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo

CBC. "Taken by child welfare workers in the 1970’s and adopted in the U.S., the young Cree girl’s family believes she was raped and murdered while hitchhiking back home to Saskatchewan. CBC news investigative reporter Connie Walker joins the search to find out what really happened to Cleo." (Native contributor)

This Land

Crooked Media, hosted by Rebecca Nagle, Cherokee Nation. "An 1839 assassination of a Cherokee leader and a 1999 murder case – two crimes nearly two centuries apart provide the backbone to a 2020 Supreme Court decision that determined the fate of five tribes and nearly half the land in Oklahoma. Patrick Murphy was convicted of murder by the state of Oklahoma in 2000." (Native contributor)

The US-Dakota War of 1862

Minnesota Historical Society. It has been over 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a disastrous time in Minnesota history. The war had a profound impact in shaping Minnesota as we know it today. This site is a resource for learning about the war, its causes, and its far-reaching consequences. (Minnesotan)

The Story of Minnesota's Indian Gaming Compacts

Minnesota Indian Gaming Association. "Native American tribes in Minnesota were the first in the nation to ratify gaming compacts with state government and claim greater control of their own destinies. This is their story, as told by individuals closely involved in negotiations between the tribes and the state from 1989-1991." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)

Those Who Belong: Identity, Family, Blood, and Citizenship Among the White Earth Anishinaabeg

Jill Doerfler, White Earth Nation. "Despite the central role blood quantum played in political formations of American Indian identity in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there are few studies that explore how tribal nations have contended with this transformation of tribal citizenship. Those Who Belong explores how White Earth Anishinaabeg understood identity and blood quantum in the early twentieth century, how it was employed and manipulated by the U.S. government, how it came to be the sole requirement for tribal citizenship in 1961, and how a contemporary effort for constitutional reform sought a return to citizenship criteria rooted in Anishinaabe kinship, replacing the blood quantum criteria with lineal descent. Those Who Belong illustrates the ways in which Anishinaabeg of White Earth negotiated multifaceted identities, both before and after the introduction of blood quantum as a marker of identity and as the sole requirement for tribal citizenship. Doerfler's research reveals that Anishinaabe leaders resisted blood quantum as a tribal citizenship requirement for decades before acquiescing to federal pressure. Constitutional reform efforts in the twenty-first century brought new life to this longstanding debate and led to the adoption of a new constitution, which requires lineal descent for citizenship (2015)." (Native contributor and Minnesotan)