Seven Myths of Native American History

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"Misconceptions continue to shape public perceptions of American Indians. Deeply ingrained cultural fictions, what Jentz (history, North Hennepin Community College) refers to as myths, have had a lasting hold on popular understanding of Native Americans. In this readable and engaging overview, Jentz provides an important corrective, one that not only catalogs key stories and stereotypes but also lays a foundation for challenging them. As the title indicates, Jentz seeks to demystify seven fundamental ideas about American Indians through critical histories. Following a helpful introductory discussion, he devotes a chapter to each myth. Specifically, he unpacks (1) the noble savage, (2) the ignoble savage, (3) wilderness and wildness, (4) the vanishing native, (5) the authentic Indian, (6) the ecological Indian, and (7) the mystical native. Throughout, Jentz employs clear language and tangible examples to clarify each myth and its significance. [T]his work will greatly benefit nonspecialists, including high school teachers and students. The volume will be useful as either a textbook in introductory courses in Native American studies or as secondary reading. Summing Up: Highly recommended."
—C. R. King, Washington State University, in Choice

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