Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Book on the Delaware is "Highly Recommended"

Before you go out and purchase Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation, I should point out that its intended audience is not the general public. If you're a history professor or working towards being one, then this book is highly recommended for you. For the rest of us, it may be enough to read this review from Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries (October, 2010 issue, page 364).

In this intriguing, precisely told tale of how the Lenni Lenape (aka "Delaware") became citizens of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, anthropologist [Brice] Obermeyer [the author] constructs the time line of events that led to this situation in his ethnography of a people fighting to hold on to their identity. The "most removed" of Native Americans, the Lenape split into entities on the US and Canada. One group settled on land in the antebellum Cherokee Nation in what is now Oklahoma. In an 1867 document (colloquially called "the agreement"), the tribes agreed that Lenape born in that community thereafter would enjoy full membership in the Cherokee Nation. Problems arose quickly, however, because the Cherokee had not expected the Delaware to retain an ongoing Lenape identity. In the subsequent 150 years, the Delaware have fought for and received federal recognition, only to have it rescinded at the behest of the Cherokee. Since all federal services [must now] come through the Cherokee, the de-organized Lenape can either accept their historic status or do without. Obermeyer's volume details a fascinating and unique case study in intertribal relations and the role of sovereignty in maintenance of tribal identity.

The review, by C.R. Kasee of Winston-Salem University, included a "highly recommended" rating or three of a possible four stars.

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