State of Affairs: Native Americans in the 21st Century Book Reviews

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School Library Journal, November 2013

On Life on the Reservations, Native American Industry in Contemporary America, Preserving Their Heritage, and Native Americans and the US Government

This set examines the diverse aspects of Native American life with a focus on business and industry, life on reservations, heritage preservation, and relations with the U.S. government. The densely worded pages are difficult to mine due to the omission of headings. However, the authors do a solid job of avoiding generalizations, opting instead to illuminate the themes according to the perspectives of a variety of tribes. For instance, in Heritage, vignettes from the lives of members of the Saponi, Abenaki, and Comanche tribes add interest as well as a sense of how greatly the cultures vary. Photographs of uneven quality and reproductions illustrate each title.

Booklist, October 2013

On Life on the Reservations

Born from the one of the darkest periods in American history, reservation living is complex on emotional, political, and cultural levels. As this entry in the State of Affairs: Native Americans in the 21st Century series illustrates, young people on such reservations sometimes struggle to leave and attend college, and those that do often fight an internal battle to either hold onto heritage or adapt to mainstream culture. Though modern American trimmings, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and even McDonald's can be found on various reservations, many still live there in poverty, unable to earn a livable wage. Gagne's text remains balanced throughout, showcasing Native American information most won't hear about elsewhere—for instance, Cherokee rapper Litefoot, or Diné College, which serves the Navajo people. This volume, stocked with relevant photos, is certainly illuminating.