Combining historical background with discussion of contemporary Native nations and their living cultures, this comprehensive text introduces students to some of the many indigenous peoples in North America. The book is organized into parts corresponding to regional divisions within which similar, though not identical, cultural practices developed. Each part opens with an overview of the topography, climate, and natural resources in the area, and describes the range of cultural practices and beliefs grounded in the area. Subsequent chapters are devoted to specific tribal groups, their history, and the conditions of contemporary Native communities.
Nancy Bonvillain provides context for the regional and tribe-specific chapters through a brief overview of Native American history beginning around 1500 and covering the early period of European exploration and colonization. She details both U.S. and Canadian policies affecting the lives, cultures, and survival of more than five hundred Native nations on this continent. Finally, she offers up-to-date demographics and addresses significant social, economic, and political issues concerning Native communities.
The second edition features new material throughout, including a new two-chapter section on the Native nations of the Plateau, expanded introductory material addressing topics such as climate change and recent Supreme Court decisions, up-to-date demographic and economic data, and more.