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Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  21 reviews
"Well written, imagery-ridden...A tale of what was, what became, and what is today regarding the Indian relation to the European civilization that 'grafted' itself onto this ancient system.'"
Conventional American history holds that the white settlers of the New World re-created the societies they had known in England, France, and Spain. But as anthr
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 15th 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published 1991)
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Deborah Martin
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am interested in almost anything related to the First Peoples - as long as it's well-written. Native Roots captured my interest from almost the first paragraph.

Mr. Weatherford has done a great deal of research (as one would expect from a professor of anthropology). What could be a dry publication written for professionals in his field is presented in an easy-to-read manner.

Although most people know that many place names in the US are of Native origin, most people don't know that many words in
R.K. Cowles
3 1/2 stars
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in Political Science, Cultural Anthropology, and the founding of America.
Recommended to Wade by: My mom gave me a copy of Indian Givers for Xmas 1993 and I decid
Shelves: history
One mark of a good book is that you just keep thinking about it in between the times you are actually reading it, and then again after you've read it. This is one of those books.

The inside cover of the book sums it up extremely well: "...foreigners 'grafted European society, language, and culture, onto an ancient stem" which is now America.

The combination of first reading Indian Givers by Weatherford and then Native Roots provides such a rich, detailed, and fair backdrop to the events of Ameri
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Native Roots delves deeply into the cultures of the native tribes of the America, from the Inuits of the far north to the Incas of South America. Author Jack Weatherford examines aspects of their lives and civilizations from diet and housing, dress and transportation, with extensive sections devoted to the ways in which European settlers incorporated native elements into their new world - particularly when it came to their diet.

Weatherford also spends time education the reader on the ways in whi
Lucky Ringwood
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was required reading "back in the day" when I began my master's program at Fort Hays State University. I decided to read it again and I really enjoyed it. Could not put it down. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Native Americans for their protection of the planet and scientific breakthroughs. A must read! ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Enriching Read

This book is obviously well researched. It gives a very different view of native history than many students of the 1950's through 1970's were taught in school. Well worth the time to explore this information packed read! I learned a lot, understood some things better and left with a desire to delve deeper... Always the signs of a good book!!!
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A bit tedious but still interesting and important.
Maria Valderrama
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dry at times, but very informative. It opened my eyes to how much we owe to Native Americans and whetted my curiosity to find out more.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Hundreds of years ago, Europeans descended upon America, seeking wealth, resources, and freedom. Wow!, they said, look at all this empty land, naturally beautiful. It's got all these great trees and buffalo and horses. A few natives here and there, but they're basically just animals. They're ignorant, and not doing anything useful with the land.

This is still the history, as far as a lot of people are concerned. This book explains that the land wasn't lush and beautiful just because that's how it
Erin Moore
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
While the book is, as the cover says, thoroughly researched, it does leave one wanting a bit. Not sure exactly for what - possibly more of a human character to the narrative?

Also, I sometimes feel as if Mr. Weatherford was stretching a bit to make his argument. Yes, many place names and words are based on Native American languages, but isn't that the way of any conquering army? I mean, the Mongols didn't change all of the Middle East place names to Mongolian words. What I mean is that it is not
Really good overview of how there is so much in our modern society, in social structure, food, language, and more, that we owe to the people who lived on this continent before invaders/settlers decimated their populations through disease and war. Concepts of governing and democracy, so many words we use daily, and so much more originated with them. Really good author, professor at Macalester, author of Indian Giver, two books on Mongols, and other books, too.
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very good beginning of trying to untangle Truth from perception (I know perception is truth, so notice I spelled truth with a capital 'T') in the gifts given to our modern world by indigenous peoples. If you liked this book you should definitely read Craig Childs "House of Rain"...there is much more work that needs to be done in this area but Jack Weatherford has laid a good foundation. If you know only what you think you know from movies and TV, read this book. ...more
Jan 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: indigenous
Expanded my understanding of Native culture and gave me a greater appreciation of how Native people's truly shaped America. I especially enjoyed the chapters on language and place names. Wish I had been able to find more info on Weatherford. I'm a little suspect on how his research is viewed by Native peoples. Couldn't find any record of him on oyate, which is my go-to resource for best Native reading/reference. ...more
Dec 25, 2010 rated it liked it
How did the Indians enrich America? White America owes them place names such as Seattle, the help they gave to the explorers and early settlers, the labor done by Indian slaves (of whom there were quite a few in the 19th century and before, though not as many as of African slaves), the hunting and fishing techniques the white pioneers borrowed from them.
Oct 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
Interesting and well written. Gives evidence for the Native American influence on the landscape and on later inhabitants.
Jan 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting facts, a little too much description of places, and the book felt a little dated.
Aug 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this one a few years ago, as I remember it did offer some really good insight to my understanding of Native Americans, but I also remember thinking it was a rather dry read.
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mind blowing
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Jack Weatherford's books. It would be such a privelege to take one of his classes. ...more
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Jack McIver Weatherford is the former DeWitt Wallace Professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota. He is best known for his 2004 book, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. His other books include The History of Money; Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World; and The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescu ...more

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