Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

December 14, 1995
Book Review

September 1995 Vol. 33 No. 1
History, Geography & Area Studies—North America

Wub-e-ke-niew.  We have the right to exist: a translation of aboriginal indigenous thought: the first book ever published from an Ah­nish­i­nah­bæót­jib­way  perspective.  Black Thistle, 1995. 366 p. ISBN 0-9628181-4-3 pbk, $16.00 

Like Vine Deloria’s Custer Died for Your Sins (CH, Mar ‘70),  this book offers an uncompromising critique of Euroamerican colonization of “New World” natives.  Steeped in the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæót­jib­way tradition, Wub-e-ke-niew writes poignantly about his imprisonment in Catholic boarding schools, his confrontation with Indian colleagues in the American Indian Movement, and conflicts with agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

His interpretation of what motivates institutions to disparage and destroy his people’s aboriginal culture is predicated on a passionate but well-documented defense of his people’s sovereignty.

Substantial archival research supports his claim that neither fraudulent treaties signed by “mix-bloods” (Métis) nor the tribal government established under the Indian Reorganization Act by Chippewa Indians at Red Lake, Minnesota, have never extinguished his people’s stewardship of the land they have cherished for a millennium.

Wub-e-ke-niew argues cogently that neither the US government nor its chosen “Indians” have any right to interfere with the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæót­jib­way people.

This superb combination  of expose and autobiography deserves careful reading by all Americans curious about how their government’s Indian policy endangers the aboriginal way of life so eloquently evoked by Wub-e-ke-niew.  All levels.

J.C. Fikes, Institute for Investigation of Inter-cultural Issues.

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