Announcing Fletcher Commentaries on “The New Trail of Tears”


Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be reviewing and commenting on a new book by Naomi Schaefer Riley, “The New Trail of Tears: How Washington is Destroying American Indians.” (link to Peter D’Errico’s review here). DO NOT READ THIS BOOK if you are a supporter of tribal interests and the future of Indian people, unless you’re interested in learning about a game plan to send 21st century Indian people on a new trail of tears. Because, to be blunt, that’s what this book is about.

There are five chapters, plus an introduction and a conclusion. I’ll have a short post on the introduction chapter later today, and will try to follow up on each chapter every other day or so.

This book focuses on a small number of Indian nations around the country — Crow Nation, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Seneca Nation of Indians, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Oglala Sioux Tribe, and Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The author has found a lot of extremely negative things to say about these tribes in particular, and implicitly is generalizing about all of Indian country when she does. If you’re a tribal member from these communities, or work with or for these communities, I’d love to hear your perspective (either on my commentaries or on the book itself). I know fairly little about these tribes (although I did work for the Seneca Nation appellate court from afar for a few years), and won’t have much to say about the details in the book. Feed me.

Additionally, I call upon anyone interviewed by Ms. Schaefer Riley to comment. I’m absolutely positive at least one of her interview subjects won’t be happy about how they are quoted or characterized. I know from personal experience how journalists can, even in good faith, misquote.