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Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask
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Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  333 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
“I had a profoundly well-educated Princetonian ask me, ‘Where is your tomahawk?’ I had a beautiful woman approach me in the college gymnasium and exclaim, ‘You have the most beautiful red skin.’ I took a friend to see Dances with Wolves and was told, ‘Your people have a beautiful culture.’ . . . I made many lifelong friends at college, and they supported but also challenge ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Borealis Books
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Jul 24, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it
Shelves: rereads
This book should have a subtitle: Things I Hadn't Thought of to Ask About Indians, But Now That You Mention It, Thank You For Explaining That.

Very informative, wonderful book, but be sure to read the introduction as well if you choose to delve into this book. He explains a lot about why the book cannot possibly answer every question about Indians and how some of it has to be his point of view or opinion, because the many Native people all have different opinions on different subjects. It makes i
Ana Rînceanu
The book is short and to the point. It covers a vast array of topics, but what really stuck with me were the questions about sovereignty. While it does give more examples from the Ojibwe culture (which is understandable since the author is most familiar with his own community), there are a lot of mentions about tribes from both South and North America.
Nov 29, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I have no idea how the author managed to restrain himself from answering most of the questions with "it's complicated." Indians are such a diverse group with a complex array of histories and experiences that I was a bit surprised anybody would even tackle a project like this.

The "Everything " part of the equation covered a huge range of topics and the answers were short and snappy (I'd say short and painless except reading about genocide is anything but painless for me). The answers cam
Aug 09, 2015 Mom rated it it was ok
For the most part, I found this book very informative, and it served the purpose of why I wanted to read it. Much of it was repetitious, and while I persevered, it was daunting at times.
Dec 04, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
As the title suggests, this book contains answers to common questions non-Native people have about Native Americans--everything from "What are coming of age ceremonies?" and "Should Leonard Peltier be freed?" to questions that seem downright rude, like "Why do Indians have so many kids?" The questions are answered by the author in a personal tone. He is careful to say that he is answering from his own perspective and that if you ask a different person the same questions, you are likely to get so ...more
Jun 22, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
I love books like this--neatly divided into chapters using a question and answer format throughout, it invites you to read randomly--thumbing through to questions that pique your interest. There's compelling historical information--the Aztec capital city was three times bigger than any city in Western Europe at the time. There's humor--fry bread tacos should not be called "traditional"! There's sensitive delineation and explanation of terms--Treuer clearly explains Ojibwe and Anishinaabe, Sioux ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: native, non-fiction
This is a book, coming from an Ojibwe man in Minnesota, who poses and answers questions that I hear so often, like "Why are native people so upset by mascots?" and "Is it offensive if I say my great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess?" and so on. I really like his simple, smart answers about tricky subjects like treaties and boarding schools and complicated U.S./tribal relations. So much common sense in one book. This should be a series with other misunderstood groups in the U.S., like the Amis ...more
Everything You Wanted to Knox About Indians . . . is funny, measured, and occasionally defiant - a great mix for a primer on historical and contemporary issues in Indian country. The book is frank, concise, and covers a multitude of topics, and comes with a great set of suggested books and documentaries for anyone interested in reading further. A book I'll definitely assign.
3.5 I read this book in anticipation of going to the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota. The author happened to be from that area and so I thought it would be a perfect resource. There is no doubt that I learned a lot from this book about so many aspects of Indian culture, and specifically about the Ojibwe. I particularly enjoyed learning about many of the economic, political and educational aspects of Indian society. The one thing that bothered me about the book was the repeating of a lot of inf ...more
Nov 16, 2015 NK rated it it was amazing
Read it, read it, just read it. This book is truly fantastic. I was amazed at how enlightening this book is. The things that have happened over the years really open your eyes to how the gov't has done so little to help Native Americans along w/ how they keep restricting what is rightfully theirs. Some of these questions may sound silly but I imagine it's because they have actually been asked. Learning the struggles that they have gone through w/out any help even still as of today is really unfa ...more
Quinton Baran
Jul 08, 2015 Quinton Baran rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book set up in a question and answer format, with major chapter headings of topics. I found the voice of Treuer to be persuasive and generally non-combative, although the Indians as a whole have quite a bit to complain and be angry about. I believe that Treuer's vision is one of mutual understanding, respect, and growth. There were some topics that Treuer persuaded me on, such as the retention of cultural customs, especially tribal language. I also was persuaded about ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Paul rated it it was amazing
An informative and handy look at the politics, history and concerns of modern Native Americans. By no means is it intended to be comprehensive, yet Treuer touches on a wide variety of topics (from explaining the differences between tribes and bands to the use of Indian mascots in sports, and from treaty rights to policy failures such as reform schools and forced assimilation). Treuer includes a copious notes section as well as recommended readings to aid readers who want a more in-depth examinat ...more
Vince Tuss
Jul 02, 2016 Vince Tuss rated it really liked it
If only we could open our minds to more respectful dialogue, we would learn more about our world while opening our minds to new things. That's what I walked away with from this book. There is definitely view to many answers, but they come with the notion that there is no one answer. How refreshing.
Chuck Bradley
Oct 25, 2012 Chuck Bradley rated it really liked it
Interesting read. I've read much about Indian (or native American, if you prefer it) history but mostly in works written by other white folks. It was nice to have the perspective, opinion and prejudices of someone who has walked the walk. I learned a good deal from this book.
Oct 21, 2016 Susanne rated it really liked it
I was looking this over to use as a su0plemental text for my undergraduates, and it asks all of the dumb questions most uninformed people ask. And, it was written by an Ojibwe author. I think i will use it unless I find something better.
Jan 02, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
It is practically impossible to answer the questions Treuer is trying to answer for every tribe in North America and have it be accurate. He takes a pretty good stab at it though, and this book is a pretty decent representation of questions I have and have ask of me as part of a Native family.
Linda Ethier
Sep 04, 2012 Linda Ethier rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and informative, Treuer's book addresses the questions that non-natives have about historical and contemporary Indian issues. Highly recommended.
Carolyn Wilhelm
Dec 02, 2016 Carolyn Wilhelm rated it it was amazing
I saw Dr. Treuer speak in Grand Marais, MN. I wanted to read this book after meeting him.
He is an excellent speaker and writer.
A quote from the book:
"Many tribal languages were never written. Why do they write them now? At one point in time, white people never used cars, so why do they use them now?"
He says we need to confront our collective past, historical trauma, and inequities.
The format of giving answers to commonly stated questions makes the reading clear and meaningful. Very informativ
Laura Kressin
Dec 12, 2016 Laura Kressin rated it really liked it
Definitely great perspectives and information; a lot of things they don't, but should teach you in history class. It gives me a lot for context for the Native experience of those in my community.
I do agree with some other reviewers that there was some repetition of stories and facts. If that had been cut down, definitely would have given 5 stars.
Feb 14, 2017 Sara rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read. Insight into the native american expereince. Was interested in learning about the Navajo people as well. But as the author says repeatedly, each NA has a different experience and opinions vary, as they do within white america. Navajo are quite unique in the whole of the US. Good general work!
Many non-Native people have ideas about what it means to be Indian. They may or may not ask the questions that bounce around in their heads. They may not even know which questions they would ask if given a chance. In this book, Anton Treuer shares his answers to many questions and "offers a critical first step to comfortably dispel erroneous imaginings and develop deeper understandings."

This is a good beginning place for learning about Indians. It isn't meant to be exhaustive, but attempts to pr
Nov 20, 2016 Bookworm rated it really liked it
The title sums it up! I had read Treuer's brother (David Treuer's 'Rez Life') and had my eye on this one. Book Riot mentioned it a few months ago and so it seemed like a good chance of pace book for my reading.
As the title says, it's a book that answers questions one may have about Native Americans (Treuer calls them "Indians" throughout the book and explains why he uses that term in the beginning). Ranging from topics you have probably at least heard of (reservations, casinos, blood quantum) t
Emily Onufer
Oct 20, 2014 Emily Onufer rated it it was amazing
This book is arranged in a question and answer format, with frequently asked questions posed to the reader, followed by extensive answers by Treuer. Sections include: terminology, history, religion, culture, identity, powwow, tribal languages, politics, economics, education, and perspectives. I find this book to be a fantastic overview for those interested in Native culture. It covers a huge range of topics in a reader-friendly way, and scales a large issue down to a manageable size. It is a gre ...more
Stuart Whitmore
Dec 29, 2015 Stuart Whitmore rated it liked it
No single individual can fully speak for a large and diverse group, but a first-hand account can go a long way toward increased understanding of that group, especially when such accounts seem few and rarely noticed, and even more so when uninformed mythology about the group from outsiders is prevalent. This book offers that valuable internal insight into the experience of American Indians, and it presents the information and the author's views in a format that is generally very easy to read and ...more
Dec 05, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a simple read. Easy to digest because it was a series of questions and answers. At the same time it was difficult to read because i kept feeling the pain and the reality that racial tensions in our world cause. These issues are super complex. There aren't easy answers, but not doing anything isn't an option. It was particularly interesting to me that it is written by an author from Bemidji, a city I have lived in and I knew some of the people mentioned in the book.
One last word. My dau
Laurel Bradshaw
Straightforward and easily readable. This is a no-nonsense overview of Native American history, culture, politics, and religion. Includes a bibliography for further reading.

What have you always wanted to know about Indians? Do you think you should already know the answers—or suspect that your questions may be offensive? In matter-of-fact responses to over 120 questions, both thoughtful and outrageous, modern and historical, Ojibwe scholar and cultural preservationist Anton Treuer gi
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Ojibwe scholar Treuer has set up this book as a series of question which answer many of the things non-Native Americans want to know about, but may be afraid to ask for fear of being offensive. In matter-of-fact answers touched with humor, he responds thoughtfully to 120 questions such as: What is appropriate terminology for speaking about Native people; when did Indians get to North America; do Indians live in teepees; what is a powwow; and more. In the process he talks about re
Sue Jackson
Mar 31, 2015 Sue Jackson rated it liked it
I will admit that I was apprehensive about reading this book based on the title. It seemed cheesy but I thought that learning anything about the Indian culture would be good. In that regard, I was pleasantly surprised.

Anton Treuer did a good job of laying out the questions in a clear cut manor. He answered them in an intelligent way and gave a history on some. Some of the questions were excellent and I could imagine a non-indian being confused and wanting to understand. Some of the question jus
Mar 06, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed pretty much everything about this, my only complaint is that the author doesn't use a lot of statistics to verify what he was extrapolating. I don't think he really needed to but some studies or references to studies would have been beneficial. This is a really great piece of information for those who have little exposure to Native American peoples and cultures, especially their differing legal rights within the United States. It does a great job of how ordinary people can help ...more
Sep 21, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I needed a good review of issues in Indian Country. This fit the bill. There are so many misunderstandings and sometimes it's hard to articulate. I would've loved to have seen some more information on original intent, Doctrine of Discovery, and how that intent has been written into law and history, but sometimes the concept muddles the present day issues. Anton Treuer handled every issue brilliantly. As someone of Ho-Chunk/Winnebago heritage, it was refreshing to see my tribe mentioned. It is ra ...more
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Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University. He has a B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and author of 9 books.

Dr. Treuer has sat on many organ
More about Anton Treuer...

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