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In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020

October 12, 2020

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is observed every second Monday of October in many states in the U.S. to honor the estimated 370 million indigenous people around the world. Replacing Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that celebrating the life of Christopher Columbus is the same as celebrating the erasure of Indigenous existence.

In the spirit of this day, we are featuring a collection of titles on indigenous groups from around the world. Scroll down to read freely accessible introductions. For a wider selection, visit our Anthropology page.

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Everyday Endurance and Social Intensity in an Australian Aboriginal Community
Cameo Dalley

Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork undertaken since 2006, the book addresses some of the most topical aspects of remote Aboriginal life in Australia. This includes the role of kinship and family, relationships to land and sea, and cross-cultural relations with non-Aboriginal residents. There is also extensive treatment of contemporary issues relating to alcohol consumption, violence, use of the internet and social media, and the impact of systemic ill health. This richly detailed portrayal provides a nuanced account of being and becoming on Mornington Island.

» Read the Introduction.

Contemporary Warlpiri Ceremonial Life in Central Australia
Georgia Curran

As an ethnography of Central Australian singing traditions and ceremonial contexts, this book asks questions about the vitality of the cultural knowledge and practices highly valued by Warlpiri people and fundamental to their cultural heritage. Set against a discussion of the contemporary vitality of Aboriginal musical traditions in Australia and embedded in the historical background of this region, the book lays out the features of Warlpiri songs and ceremonies, and centers on a focal case study of the Warlpiri Kurdiji ceremony to illustrate the modes in which core cultural themes are being passed on through song to future generations.

» Read the introduction.

Reassessing Terminology, Anarchy and Worldview in Indigenous Societies of America, Australia and Highland Middle India
Georg Pfeffer

From a new perspective, this book re-examines, confirms, and criticizes Lewis Henry Morgan’s findings on the three domains of relationship terminologies, societal forms, and ideas of property.

» Read the introduction.

Warlpiri Matriarchs and the Refashioning of Tradition

Paul Burke

This innovative book is the first ethnographic account of the Warlpiri’s indigenous diaspora, whose traditional hunter-gatherer life has been transformed through their dispossession and involvement with ranchers, missionaries, and successive government projects of recognition.

» Read the introduction.

Ethnographies of Indigenous Cosmologies, Rituals and Songs
Edited by Juan Javier Rivera Andía
Volume 37, European Association of Social-Anthropologists (EASA) series

Drawing on fieldwork from diverse Amerindian societies whose lives and worlds are undergoing processes of transformation, adaptation, and deterioration, this volume offers new insights into the indigenous constitutions of humanity, personhood, and environment characteristic of the South American highlands and lowlands.

» Read the introduction.

Indigenous Revival and the Conservation of Sacred Natural Sites in the Americas

Edited by Fausto Sarmiento and Sarah Hitchner
Volume 22, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology series

This book presents current research in the political ecology of indigenous revival and its role in nature conservation in critical areas in the Americas. An important contribution to evolving studies on conservation of sacred natural sites (SNS), the book elucidates the complexity of development scenarios within cultural landscapes related to the appropriation of religion, environmental change in indigenous territories, and new conservation management approaches.

» Read the introduction.

Indigenous Perspectives on the Historical Archaeology of Colonialism

Edited by Tiina Äikäs and Anna-Kaisa Salm

Colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and European state powers are overarching themes in the historical archaeology of the modern era, and postcolonial historical archaeology has repeatedly emphasized the complex two-way nature of colonial encounters. This volume examines common trajectories in indigenous colonial histories and explores new ways to understand cultural contact, hybridization, and power relations between indigenous peoples and colonial powers from the indigenous point of view.

» Read Chapter 1.

Integral Ecology, Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability in Guyana

Thomas B. Henfrey
Volume 23, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology series

Based on an ethnographic account of subsistence use of Amazonian forests by Wapishana people in Guyana, Edges, Frontiers, Fringes examines the social, cultural and behavioral bases for sustainability and resilience in indigenous resource use.

» Read Chapter 1.

Confronting Electoral Communism and Precarious Livelihoods in Post-Reform Kerala

Luisa Steur
Volume 20, Dislocations series

This book offers a detailed ethnographic study of the dynamics between the Communist party and indigenist activists, defining the subtle ways in which global capitalist restructuring leads to a resonance of indigenist visions in the changing everyday working lives of subaltern groups in Kerala.

» Read the introduction.

Luck, Spirits and Ambivalence among the Siberian Orochen Reindeer Herders and Hunters

Donatas Brandišauskas
Volume 1, Studies in the Circumpolar North

Brandišauskas describes in rich details the skills, knowledge, ritual practices, storytelling, and movements that enable the Orochen to “catch luck” (or not, sometimes), to navigate times of change and upheaval.

» Read the introduction.

Environmental Knowledge in the Northeast Kula Ring

Frederick H. Damon
Volume 21, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

Trees, Knots, and Outriggers is the culmination of twenty-five years of work by Frederick H. Damon and his attention to cultural adaptations to the environment in Melanesia. Damon details the intricacies of indigenous knowledge and practice in his sweeping synthesis of symbolic and structuralist anthropology with recent developments in historical ecology.

» Read the introduction.

Leadership, Masculinity and Wealth in the Amazon

Marc Brightman

The Imbalance of Power demonstrates ethnographically that the Carib speaking indigenous societies of the Guiana region of Amazonia do not fit conventional characterizations of ‘simple’ political units with ‘egalitarian’ political ideologies and ‘harmonious’ relationships with nature. Marc Brightman builds a persuasive and original theory of Amerindian politics: far from balanced and egalitarian, Carib societies are rife with tension and difference; but this imbalance conditions social dynamism and a distinctive mode of cohesion.

» Read the introduction.

Embodiment and Experience among the Orang Rimba of Sumatra

Ramsey Elkholy

Anthropologist Ramsey Elkholy treats embodied action and perception as the basis of shared experience and shows how various forms of embodied experience constitute the very foundations of human culture. In a unique methodological contribution focusing on the Orang Rimba of Sumatra, Elkholy adopts a set of body-centered approaches that reflect and capture the day-to-day, moment-to-moment ways in which people engage with the world.

» Read the introduction.

Development Paradoxes, Belonging and Participation of the Baka in East Cameroon

Glory M. Lueong

This book examines how the Baka, who live in Eastern Cameroon, assert forms of belonging in order to participate in development interventions, and how community life is shaped and reshaped through these interventions.

» Read the introduction.

The Gwich’in Natives of Alaska

Steven C. Dinero

Using quantitative and qualitative data gathered since the turn of the millennium, this volume offers an interdisciplinary evaluation of the developments that have occurred in the community of the Gwich’in Natives over the past several decades.

» Read the introduction.

Of Related Interest from Berghahn Journals

A part of the Berghahn Open Anthro Collection!

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies
Editor: Jenanne Ferguson, MacEwan University, Canada

Sibirica is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal covering all aspects of the region and relations to neighboring areas, such as Central Asia, East Asia, and North America.

The journal publishes articles, research reports, conference and book reviews on history, politics, economics, geography, cultural studies, anthropology, and environmental studies. It provides a forum for scholars representing a wide variety of disciplines from around the world to present findings and discuss topics of relevance to human activities in the region or directly relevant to Siberian studies.

Advances in Research

Hunting for Justice: An Indigenous Critique of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation
Lauren Eichler and David Baumeister (Volume 9)

Righting Names: The Importance of Native American Philosophies of Naming for Environmental Justice
Rebekah Sinclair (Volume 9)

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

Within the Whole Body: An Interview with Ishmael Hope and Will Geiger on Tlingit House Screens and Indigenous Phenomenology
Sol Neely, Ishmael Hope, and Will Geiger (Vol. 4, Issue 1)