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ERIC Number: EJ823332
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
American Indian Studies: Intellectual Navel Gazing or Academic Discipline?
Kidwell, Clara Sue
American Indian Quarterly, v33 n1 p1-17 Win 2009
The academic field of Native American/American Indian studies (NAS/AIS) has been and largely remains a product of political forces at the national level and now at the tribal level. The very recognition of American Indians as a unique group by the U.S. government is a political statement of survival. In this article, the author revisits the political dimensions of NAS/AIS. The underlying theoretical question in Native American studies is, What constitutes truly indigenous knowledge? Its corollaries are, What constitutes Native American identity in contemporary society? Who is an Indian? These questions are both political and epistemological ones. If American Indians constitute populations with distinctive cultures and values and epistemologies that can be studied, what are those distinguishing characteristics? Indians as cultural groups have interacted with foreign cultures since the sixteenth century. They have been subject to policies of the U.S. government designed to assimilate them into American society. What is their basis for distinctiveness in contemporary society? In the case of Native American studies, scholars have challenged the basic premises of other disciplines such as history and anthropology, but the most significant theoretical questions remain. What characterizes the distinctiveness of Native American identity? Why study Indians? (Contains 45 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A