I have two confessions to make: 1) I am so distracted that I sometimes can’t find sources that I remember pretty well in general terms, and 2) I have become increasingly interested in and moved by the way earliest Latter-day Saints thought through their shared lives with the Native peoples they lived beside. Today, I can’t remember where in the early church organs William Phelps wrote a self-congratulatory semi-etymological essay about how the LDS knew the names of Indians and no one else did. Does anybody remember that piece?
In terms of making the post useful for everybody, there’s really been an outpouring of good work on Native pasts recently, some of it by practicing Mormons who are not pursuing apologetic or polemical aims. What are some of the books on Native history and culture that people are enjoying the most right now? I’m making my way through Pointer’s somewhat disappointing volume from U of Indiana, and I’ve been impressed by Jenny Pulsipher and am eager for Brett Rushforth’s book to come out in the next couple years. What are other people reading?
PS: my best read of the current scholarly standards is that Native peoples, Native groups, or indigenous peoples are the preferred designations if a specific tribal group cannot be used. Native Americans is out of vogue (because “America” didn’t exist until Europeans reconfigured land and culture), and there’s a chance that “Indian” will come back, though probably as a self-reference, the way some African Americans use the N-word. For now I use Indian occasionally when describing a society in which the term was somewhat normative but try to emphasize Native.