New on the Turtle Talk Bookshelf: Mary Geniusz’ “Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do is Ask”

Here, from the University of Minnesota Press’ website:

The first complete resource for the practical use of plants in the Anishinaabe culture and the stories that surround them

In Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask Mary Siisip Geniusz makes Anishinaabe botanical information available to native and nonnative healers and educators and emphasizes the Anishinaabe culture that developed the knowledge and practice. Teaching the way she was taught—through stories—Geniusz brings the plants to life with narratives that explain their uses, meaning, and history.

New in the Turtle Talk Mailbox: Aileen Moreton-Robinson’s “The White Possessive”

White Possessive

University of Minnesota Press website here. Here is the blurb:

The White Possessive explores the links between race, sovereignty, and possession through themes of property: owning property, being property, and becoming propertyless. Focusing on the Australian Aboriginal context, Aileen Moreton-Robinson questions current race theory in the first world and its preoccupation with foregrounding slavery and migration. The nation, she argues, is socially and culturally constructed as a white possession.

Moreton-Robinson reveals how the core values of Australian national identity continue to have their roots in Britishness and colonization, built on the disavowal of Indigenous sovereignty. Whiteness studies literature is central to Moreton-Robinson’s reasoning, and she shows how blackness works as a white epistemological tool that bolsters the social production of whiteness—displacing Indigenous sovereignties and rendering them invisible in a civil rights discourse, thereby sidestepping thorny issues of settler colonialism.

Throughout this critical examination Moreton-Robinson proposes a bold new agenda for critical Indigenous studies, one that involves deeper analysis of how the prerogatives of white possession function within the role of disciplines.

Highly Recommended New Book: “North Country: The Making of Minnesota”

From Indianz:

“Mary Lethert Wingerd’s “North Country: The Making of Minnesota” is a history of the Indian experience in Minnesota, from the first encounters with Europeans to the removal of tribes in the aftermath of the Sioux Uprising. This era is unfurled with exacting detail and personal attention to the feelings and actions of the principal characters. It is a well-done and fascinating tale.

While it is, indeed, a history of the making of Minnesota and a good tale, “North Country” is a select tale. Perhaps expectations could be served with a change in title: “The Native Minnesotans: Politics and Culture Leading to the Sioux Uprising.” For that is what it covers, and there it ends. This book does not tell much about any group except as they relate to the Indians.

We get all the familiar names: Du Luth, Le Sueur, Sibley and Rice (the Henrys), and Alexander Ramsey. And others, not so famous: Joe Brown, Hastings and Prescott. There is no mention, though, of luminaries such as James J. Hill or John Ireland until the very last pages. This is not their story.

The evolution of the intricate and delicate relationship between the Indians and the traders is expressly laid out. We learn of the métis, part Native and part French, who declare themselves gens libre, free people. They all — Indians, traders, French and métis — were inhabitants of a northern multicultural borderland society, which, due to its location in an inaccessible interior wilderness, was largely left alone until the advent of the steamship.”

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Book Announcement: Raymond Austin’s “Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law”

Former Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justice Raymond D. Austin just published his incredible work, “Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law: A Tradition of Tribal Self-Governance” with the University of Minnesota Press.

Here is the blurb from the Press’s website:

The only book on the world’s largest tribal court system and Navajo common law

The Navajo Nation court system is the largest and most established tribal legal system in the world. Since the landmark 1959 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Williams v. Lee that affirmed tribal court authority over reservation-based claims, the Navajo Nation has been at the vanguard of a far-reaching, transformative jurisprudential movement among Indian tribes in North America and indigenous peoples around the world to retrieve and use traditional values to address contemporary legal issues.

A justice on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court for sixteen years, Justice Raymond D. Austin has been deeply involved in the movement to develop tribal courts and tribal law as effective means of modern self-government. He has written foundational opinions that have established Navajo common law and, throughout his legal career, has recognized the benefit of tribal customs and traditions as tools of restorative justice.

In Navajo Courts and Navajo Common Law, Justice Austin considers the history and implications of how the Navajo Nation courts apply foundational Navajo doctrines to modern legal issues. He explains key Navajo foundational concepts like Hózhó (harmony), K’é (peacefulness and solidarity), and K’éí (kinship) both within the Navajo cultural context and, using the case method of legal analysis, as they are adapted and applied by Navajo judges in virtually every important area of legal life in the tribe.

In addition to detailed case studies, Justice Austin provides a broad view of tribal law, documenting the development of tribal courts as important institutions of indigenous self-governance and outlining how other indigenous peoples, both in North America and elsewhere around the world, can draw on traditional precepts to achieve self-determination and self-government, solve community problems, and control their own futures.

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