Notes from a Miner's Canary (Paperback)
Essays on the State of Native America
University of New Mexico Press, 9780826348746, 461pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2010
The title of this lively collection of Jace Weaver's essays comes from Felix Cohen, the great authority on American Indian law: "The Indian plays much the same role in our American society that the Jews played in Germany. Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh air to poisonous gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, marks the rise and fall of our democratic faith." But the book goes far beyond the subject of law. The wide range of cultural references shows why the author is considered a leader in the field of Native American Studies. Beginning with a survey of the state of Native American Studies and ending with an assessment of literary theory, he also tackles environmentalism and environmental justice, NAGPRA, war tribunals, pilgrimage and migration, ethnography, food, architecture, ghost stories, identity, theory, and a few other lively subjects, including a splendid tribute to the towering significance of N. Scott Momaday.