Books by Robert Allen Warrior

Released: Aug. 15, 1996

A well-documented, highly readable history of three turbulent years in the history of Native America. American Indian radical politics first drew international attention in the early winter of 1969, when an unknown number of activists, certainly fewer than a hundred, occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The American Indian Movement, an activist organization, grew to prominence through that action, bringing fame (or notoriety, depending on your viewpoint) to Richard Oakes, Russell Means, Dennis Banks, Browning Pipestem, and John Trudell; it also helped focus Indian activists on developing what movement strategist Clyde Warrior called ``true Indian philosophy geared to modern times.'' Native historians Chaat and Warrior (a former Kirkus contributor and Stanford historian; Tribal Secrets, 1994) chart AIM's fortunes through the three years culminating in both Nixon's reelection and the siege at Wounded Knee, S.D., where armed AIM sympathizers held off federal agents for eight weeks while becoming an international cause cÇläbre. The period between Alcatraz and Wounded Knee, the authors write, ``was for American Indians every bit as significant as the counterculture was for young whites, or the civil rights movement for blacks.'' They make their case with admirable balance, noting that the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, usually the heavy in books of this sort, was full of well-meaning and sympathetic individuals, and that AIM had its share of bad actors, including people who at Alcatraz busied themselves ``bootlegging liquor and thrashing residents who criticized the leadership or who asked too many questions about finances.'' Still, the authors argue, most of the activists who put themselves on the line at Alcatraz, Wounded Knee, and elsewhere gave powerful voice to the voiceless peoples hitherto tucked away on reservations, ``the most ignored population in the United States.'' This is essential reading for anyone interested in the course of contemporary American Indian politics. (25 b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

Warrior (English and Native American Studies/Stanford; and a Kirkus contributor) compares and contrasts two of the most important American Indian writers of the 20th century on the issues of Indian sovereignty and survival. Vine Deloria Jr., the best-known contemporary Indian intellectual, came to prominence in the late 1960s and early '70s with his commentaries (e.g., Custer Died For Your Sins and God Is Red) on a broad range of issues facing Native peoples. John Joseph Mathews, a member of Warrior's own Osage nation, was a noted novelist and writer in the 1930s and '40s who wrote one of the most highly regarded novels by a Native American, Sundown. Warrior situates these two figures in the context of American Indian intellectual traditions. He then examines their responses to the loss of Indian lands, religious freedom, and political sovereignty. Finally, he develops the concept of ``intellectual sovereignty'' as a means of describing their perspectives and as a tool for envisioning the role Indian writers can play in their peoples' struggles for self-determination. The work shows that there is much more to Native literary output than transcriptions of myths from the oral tradition. Read full book review >