Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research 19.1 (Spring 2009): 136-137. © 2009 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


If ever a text should be required for a foundational American Indian Studies course, The State of the Native Nations is such a book. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development has produced a remarkably comprehensive yet eminently accessible description of Indian Country in the 21st century. This book stands in stark contrast to much of the scholarship in American Indian Studies, which seems intellectually paralyzed by a sense of victimhood. While the authors fully acknowledge the centuries of mistreatment, cultural suppression, disenfranchisement, and deleterious federal policies that left many tribes dependent on a paternalistic federal government, the main thrust of the book is a discussion of what tribes have been able to accomplish in spite of that history.