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Indian Country Hardcover – 1 May 1984

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Viking Pr; 1st Edition edition (May 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670397873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670397877
  • Product Dimensions: 50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,592,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic read.
A series of articles on the exploitation and pollution of various lands still owned by or near Native American people, with outsiders doing mining, uranium extracting or water removing and so on, giving a meagre payment for usage and with no thought of a cleanup.
The environmental campaign was just getting started when this was written and not many of us knew about all that was happening. The author has brought such indignities to our attention for years and the book includes a few follow-ups such as whether an endangered fish that stopped a dam construction had recovered in numbers.
Anyone interested in environmental health and safety, any nature lovers or anyone concerned about industrial exploitation, should read this book.
Then keep it and read it again.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book years ago and wept at all the atrocities that are being committed against the Native Americans. If you feel for these indigenous peoples then read it and read it again. Then wipe your tears and see what can be done about it. It is a powerful book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Postscript to �Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee� 24 Jun. 2002
By Philip Carl - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Matthiessen's Indian Country serves as the postscript to Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The threats to Native American societies detailed in this book are less bloody and horrific, but just as real as those perpetrated by the U.S. military. Yes, manifest destiny lives on in the halls of the U.S. government in the early 21st century, but with agencies like the BIA and the Department of Interior doing the nasty work.
Along with all the hard-hitting research that Matthiessen brings to his writing, he's also at home with the natural history of Indian lands. He is subtle in the way he takes you with him on a walk through a working village or a ride to Black Mesa to get a truckload of household coal. Matthiessen spends time among the people living on the reservations, observing the slow encroachment of capitalism into their traditional ways of farming and trade, and ultimately seeing tribes divided into progressive and traditional factions.
Matthiessen is guided by the self-described, "half-baked detribalized Mohawk...," Craig Carpenter. Carpenter serves in many instances as the ambassador between Matthiessen and the locals on the reservations. And because of Carpenter's national reputation many doors that are generally closed to white writers are opened for Matthiessen.
Indian Country covers some dozen or so reservations in the United States. The sad revelation when you read through this book is every one of those reservations is confronted with a serious threat to the land they call home and a way of life they have know since being put on this earth.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chronicle of continuing encroachments on Indian country 9 Jun. 2000
By J. Hale - Published on
Format: Paperback
Matthiessen is a methodical, although not disinterested, reporter of how the destruction of Native American culture was and continues to be attended by encroachments by and desecrations of their land (what little they've been left) by a society gone mad with greed.
And how could anyone, journalist or not, remain disinterested in the face of such things? More journalists and writers should have Matthiessen's courage and conviction.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good treatment of modern land grabs, but with a hidden agenda that's not the one you think it is 2 Dec. 2006
By Arthur Digbee - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are all familiar - - or should be - - with the white man's thefts of Indian land in the past. In this book, Peter Matthiessen demonstrates that such land grabs continue today, in a variety of more subtle forms. He focuses in particular on economic development of sacred sites of various sorts. In some of his chapters he also shows how legal disputes always somehow manage to go against Indian rights.

The stories are depressing, but they can't all be taken at face value. Matthiessen consistently seeks out disgruntled people in each tribe, and treats them as if they alone were the true representatives of the tribe's rights. Sometimes that's true, since the elites and other "progressives" get bought out in various ways. But it isn't *always* true - - and sometimes disgruntled people are just generally annoyed for whatever set of personal reasons. Matthiessen's biases lead him to side with these people uncritically in every case.

This selection of informants means that Matthiessen treats the leadership of the Eastern Cherokee favorably because they fought development, but treats the leadership of the Miccosukee poorly because they didn't. Similarly, Hopi who choose to have running water and electricity get short-shrifted in Matthiessen's worldview compared with those who choose not to have those things. I think it's clear what Matthiessen's ultimate agenda here and, despite what he wants us to think, it isn't necessarily solidarity with the tribes.

As always, he writes very well. Matthiessen has also covered a very nice range of the challenges facing Indian Country, from Florida and North Carolina to the Pacific Northwest. The book represents a good follow-up to Dee Brown's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," but the author's selective choice of informants should give the reader pause.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into Mathiessen's Psyche 3 Nov. 2009
By Betty Clark - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mathiessen writes so beautiflly about Indians, birds, and peaceful natural settings. It was intriguing to read "Indian Country" after reading Mathiessen's "Shadow Country". "Indian Country" reveals Mathiessen's faith in those that revere nature and his detestation of those that plunder the land for the sake of foolish development. In reading "Shadow Country," I was struck with Mathiessen's creation of a Greek chorus (i.e., a democratic commentary by fellow residents on the drama being played out by the central tragic character). This profound democratic spirit is manifested in "Indian Country" as well. I appreciated Mathiessen's deft observation and portrayal of the facial expressions, manners, and gestures of the individual Indians with whom he met while researching "Indian Country."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed work in a classic tradition 29 Jun. 2014
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book has a lot in common with William Bartrams's Travels, published in 1792. Both are sympathetic and highly observant accounts of Native American life at a crucial time. Bartram's descriptions of the Florida Creeks and Carolina Cherokees show how vibrant and humane their societies were just before American invasion destroyed them. Matthiessen's describes the rebirth of Native American values in response to the continuing destructiveness of "civilization." The part that is most like Bartram's travels is the "High Country" chapter, about attempts of the Klamath Mountain peoples to protect and reclaim their spiritual heartland. Matthiessen's adventures in the Siskiyou backcountry sound a lot like Bartram's in the southern Appalachians. The Klamaths and Appalachians are alike in having the most diverse temperate forests in North America, except that the Appalachians are a World Heritage site, whereas the Klamaths aren't but ought to be.
Matthiessen's book is flawed in that, unlike Bartram, who mostly wrote about what he saw himself, Matthiessen often writes about what he's told, and he doesn't think for himself as much as he should. Liberal guilt seems to have impaired his critical faculties. So much of the book is dogma that may or may not be true. Another flaw from the literary viewpoint is the book's journalistic origins-- the environmental problems he describes in often exhausting detail were important then, and most are important now, but some aren't. The political stuff also tends to eclipse Matthiessen's personal relationships with the people he's writing about, the most consistently interesting part of the book. Craig Carpenter, Matthiessen's guide to traditional culture, is a fascinating figure and there should be more about him. Too bad Matthiessen didn't do a revised edition before he died instead of writing long, derivative novels.
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