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The Roots of Dependency: Subsistance, Environment, and Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos
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The Roots of Dependency: Subsistance, Environment, and Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Offers a study of the collapse into 'dependency' of three Native American subsistence economies that represents the best kind of interdisciplinary effort.
Paperback, 433 pages
Published August 1st 1988 by University of Nebraska Press (first published 1983)
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Richard Reese
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In the 1970s, there was a trendy movement in academia to romanticize Native Americans into pure, innocent, saint-like beings. Richard White wrote The Roots of Dependency to butt heads with the romantics, while at the same time presenting the European invaders in a manner that was anything but flattering. He sought to pursue an approach to history having greater balance and accuracy. White examined the history of three tribes, the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos. He described how their traditional ...more
Kristen
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Richard White’s The Roots of Dependency: Subsistence, Environment, and Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos is a set of three case studies in which the author examines “why and how human societies have influenced the environment, and what the social consequences of human-induced environmental change have been” through the lens of social, political, and cultural characteristics for each tribe. The conventional ideas of disease as the main reason for the decline of many native tr ...more
Billy Marino
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Richard White’s Roots follows closely in the footsteps of Worster’s Dust Bowl by applying a similar strategy of analyzing the relationship between economic-based culture and the environment. In this densely-written monograph, White brings together the histories of three Native American nations, the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajo, and in thirteen mostly chronological chapters analyzes each of their transitions’ from “subsistence systems to integration in the world market.” He thoroughly shows that ...more
David Bates
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In The Roots of Dependency Richard White examined the shift from independent subsistence to subjugated economic dependence undergone by three tribes; the eighteenth century Choctaws in present day Mississippi, the nineteenth century Pawnees in Nebraska and the Navajos in the twentieth century Southwest. Despite their temporal, geographic and cultural diversity, their strategies for getting a living from their lands were broadly similar, involving a mix of horticulture, hunting, gathering and her ...more
Jay Callahan
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great, thoughtful, well-written book with application far beyond the study of American Indian societies.

Using a sophisticated nuanced version of dependency theory, it examines in detail the processes by which three Indian societies--Choctaw (Mississippi), Pawnee and Navaho--were incorporated as dependent minorities within the expanding American state. Neither the Choctaw nor Pawnee were ever defeated militarily, yet the decisions they made in relation to trade with American society, an
...more
Rachael Lind
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though it is not the kind of book that drew me in and made it unable to put down, that was not its purpose. It was informative, packed full of information, and it allowed me to learn a great deal about the three case study tribes from their culture, their interactions with whites, and how they became dependent. A very well thought out argument, though dry at times as this kind of information often it. A well written and thought out book, definitely a recommended read for any interested in Americ ...more
Joshua
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
The cover says "I'm boring," but the book is pretty good.
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Richard White holds the Margaret Byrne Professorship in American History at Stanford University, California and is widely regarded as one of the nation's leading scholars in three related fields: the American West, Native American history and environmental history. Professor White is the author of five books. The first edition of The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lake ...more

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