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Native Americans

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  1. 9.5 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    In 1877, Chief Standing Bear’s Ponca Indian tribe was forcibly removed from their Nebraska homeland and marched to Oklahoma—known then as Indian Territory—in what became the tribe’s own Trail of Tears. “I Am a Man” chronicles what happened when Standing Bear set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to return the body of his only son to their traditional burial grounds. Along the way, it examines the complex relationship between the United States government and the small, peaceful tribe and the legal consequences of land swaps and broken treaties, while never losing sight of the heartbreaking journey the Ponca endured. It is an account of people left for dead who survived injustice, disease, neglect, starvation, humiliation, and termination. On another level, it is a story of life and death, despair and fortitude, freedom and patriotism; a story of Christian kindness and bureaucratic evil; a story of hope, of a people still among us today, painstakingly preserving a cultural identity that had sustained them for centuries before their encounter with Lewis and Clark in the fall of 1804. Before it ends, Standing Bear’s long journey home also explores fundamental issues of citizenship, constitutional protection, cultural identity, and the nature of democracy—issues that continue to resonate loudly in twenty-first-century America. It is a story that questions whether native sovereignty, tribal-based societies, and cultural survival are compatible with American democracy. Standing Bear successfully used habeas corpus, the only liberty included in the original text of the Constitution, to gain access to a federal court and ultimately his freedom. This account aptly illuminates how the nation’s delicate system of checks and balances worked almost exactly as the Founding Fathers envisioned, a system arguably out of whack and under siege today.

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    “I Am a Man” by Joe Starita

    “I Am a Man”

    9.5 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 11.8 hrs • 5/19/2015 • Unabridged

    Jacksonland is the thrilling narrative history of two men—President Andrew Jackson and Cherokee chief John Ross—who led their respective nations at a crossroads of American history. Five decades after the Revolutionary War, the United States approached a constitutional crisis. At its center stood two former military comrades locked in a struggle that tested the boundaries of our fledgling democracy. Jacksonland is their story. One man we recognize: Andrew Jackson—war hero, populist, and exemplar of the expanding South—whose first major initiative as president instigated the massive expulsion of Native Americans known as the Trail of Tears. The other is a half-forgotten figure: John Ross—a mixed-race Cherokee politician and diplomat—who used the United States’ own legal system and democratic ideals to oppose Jackson. Representing one of the Five Civilized Tribes who had adopted the ways of white settlers—cultivating farms, publishing a newspaper in their own language, and sending children to school—Ross championed the tribes’ cause all the way to the Supreme Court. He gained allies like Senator Henry Clay, Chief Justice John Marshall, and even Davy Crockett. In a fight that seems at once distant and familiar, Ross and his allies made their case in the media, committed civil disobedience, and benefited from the first mass political action by American women. Their struggle contained ominous overtures of later events like the Civil War and set the pattern for modern-day politics. At stake in this struggle was the land of the Five Civilized Tribes. In shocking detail, Jacksonland reveals how Jackson, as a general, extracted immense wealth from his own armies’ conquest of native lands. Later, as president, Jackson set in motion the seizure of tens of millions of acres—“Jacksonland”—in today’s Deep South. Jacksonland offers here a heart-stopping narrative masterpiece, a tragedy of American history that feels ripped from the headlines in its immediacy, drama, and relevance to our lives. Harrowing, inspiring, and deeply moving, Inskeep’s Jacksonland is the story of America at a moment of transition, when the fate of states and nations was decided by the actions of two heroic yet tragically opposed men.

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    Jacksonland

    11.8 hrs • 5/19/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.2 hrs • 3/2/2015 • Unabridged

    The Pequot Indian intellectual, author, and itinerant preacher William Apess was one the most important voices of the nineteenth century. Here, Philip F. Gura offers the first book-length chronicle of Apess’ fascinating and consequential life. After an impoverished childhood marked by abuse, Apess soldiered with American troops during the War of 1812, converted to Methodism, and rose to fame as a lecturer who lifted a powerful voice of protest against the plight of Native Americans in New England and beyond. His 1829 autobiography, A Son of the Forest, stands as the first published by a Native American writer. Placing Apess’ activism on behalf of Native American people in the context of the era’s rising tide of abolitionism, Gura argues that this founding figure of Native intellectual history deserves greater recognition in the pantheon of antebellum reformers. Following Apess from his early life through the development of his political radicalism to his tragic early death and enduring legacy, this much-needed biography showcases the accomplishments of an extraordinary Native American.

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    The Life of William Apess, Pequot by Philip F. Gura

    The Life of William Apess, Pequot

    7.2 hrs • 3/2/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 8.7 hrs • 12/19/2011 • Unabridged

    The great unknown of the southwest is conquered by a one-armed man and his crew of adventurers, placing the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon on the map of the American continent. It is a journey no human being had ever made before. Dangerous rapids, narrow canyon walls offering no escape, terrifying river waterfalls, capsized boats, near drowning, lost equipment, and disillusioned men are dramatically described by John Wesley Powell, leader of this adventurous party. John Wesley Powell lost his arm at Shiloh in the Civil War but continued his rugged outdoor life with a series of explorations of the Rocky Mountains. Travel with Powell on his greatest adventure of all—the exploration of the unknown and dangerous Colorado River.

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  5. 15.1 hrs • 5/25/2010 • Unabridged

    Few people realize that the Comanche Indians were the greatest warring tribe in American history. Their forty-year battle with settlers held up the development of the new nation. Empire of the Summer Moon tells of the rise and fall of this fierce, powerful, and proud tribe and begins in 1836 with the kidnapping of a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower blue eyes named Cynthia Ann Parker. She grew to love her captors and eventually became famous as the “White Squaw.” She married a powerful Comanche chief, and their son, Quanah, became a warrior who was never defeated and whose bravery and military brilliance in the Texas panhandle made him a legend as one of the greatest of the Plains Indian chiefs. In this vivid piece of writing, S. C. Gwynne describes in sometimes brutal detail the savagery of both whites and Comanches and, despite the distance of time, demonstrates how truly shocking these events were, juxtaposed against the haunting story of an unforgettable figure of a woman caught between two worlds.

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    Empire of the Summer Moon

    15.1 hrs • 5/25/10 • Unabridged
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  6. 10.8 hrs • 7/1/2009 • Unabridged

    The life story of Ishi, the last Yahi Indian, lone survivor of an exterminated tribe, is unique in the annals of North American anthropology. Ishi stumbled into the twentieth century on the morning of August 29, 1911, when, desperate with hunger and terrified of the white murderers of his family, he was found in the corral of a slaughterhouse near Oroville, California. Finally identified as a Yahi by an anthropologist, Ishi was brought to San Francisco by Professor T. T. Waterman and lived there the rest of his life under the care and protection of Alfred Kroeber and the staff of the University of California's Museum of Anthropology. 

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    Ishi in Two Worlds by Theodora Kroeber

    Ishi in Two Worlds

    Foreword by Karl Kroeber
    Read by Lorna Raver
    10.8 hrs • 7/1/09 • Unabridged
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  7. 2.9 hrs • 10/20/2008 • Unabridged

    In the early seventeenth century, Captain John Smith led a company of English settlers to found the colony of Jamestown in Virginia. Here is Smith’s own account of his adventures there and his relationship with the beautiful Indian princess, Pocahontas.  Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the powerful chief of about thirty tribes of Indians living in Virginia. When Captain John Smith was captured by these Indians in 1607, he was brought before Powhatan, who sentenced him to death. Sixteen-year-old Pocahontas convinced her father to spare Captain Smith’s life, thus becoming a friend of the settlers and eventually influencing her father to be friendly, too. Years later, she saved the lives of the entire colony by secretly warning Captain Smith of another intended attack.

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    Pocahontas

    2.9 hrs • 10/20/08 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.6 hrs • 4/1/2005 • Unabridged

    This extraordinary classic has been variously acclaimed as one of the great books of adventure, travel, anthropology, and spiritual awakening. In 1938 and 1939, a French nobleman spent fifteen months living among the Inuit people of the Arctic. He was at first appalled by their way of life: eating rotten raw fish, sleeping with each others’ wives, ignoring schedules, and helping themselves to his possessions. Indeed, most Europeans would be overwhelmed merely by the smells Poncins encountered in the igloos. But as de Poncins’s odyssey continues, he is transformed from Kabloona, the White Man, an uncomprehending outsider, to someone who finds himself living, for a few short months, as Inuk: a man, preeminently. He opens his eyes to the world around him, a harsh but beautiful world unlike any other, and allows himself to be fully immersed in its culture.

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    Kabloona by Gontran de Poncins

    Kabloona

    By Gontran de Poncins, with Lewis Galantière
    9.6 hrs • 4/1/05 • Unabridged
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