Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest

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Further Reading


Berkhofer Jr., Robert F. The White Man’s Indian, Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1979. 261 pp.

This slim book (the narrative fills slightly more than 200 pages) lucidly traces the history of how white Americans have used recurring images of Native Americans to justify Indian subjugation. In doing so it also provides a succinct history of U.S-Indian history and policy and a thought provoking look at the development of racist stereotypes.

Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father, the United States Government and the American Indians. 2 vols. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

The Great Father is comprehensive overview of American Indian policy from the nation’s founding through the 1980s. Remarkably readable, if very detailed, this book is an essentially source for making sense out of the often convoluted story of national policy toward Native Americans. An abridged version is available for the more general reader.

Richards, Kent D. Isaac I. Stevens: Young Man in a Hurry. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1979.

One of the best biographies of Washington’s first territorial governor, it provides a good look at who Isaac I. Stevens was and focuses on Stevens’s time in Washington Territory. Although Richards sometimes presents a generously rosy view of Stevens’s motives, his book is still invaluable.

Schwantes, Carlos Arnaldo. The Pacific Northwest, an Interpretive History. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.

A survey of the history of the Pacific Northwest, this book does a good job sketching the broad outlines and themes that made the region what it is today. Useful for providing historical context, it tends to focus on the American settlers who began arriving in the 1840s.

Sturtevant, William C., ed. Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 7, Northwest Coast. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1990. Gunther, Erna, and Ann M. Renker. “Makah.” 422-30; Marino, Cesare. “History of Western Washington since 1846.” 169-79

This volume of the Smithsonian Institution’s acclaimed and comprehensive Handbook of North American Indians surveys the history, ethnology, and anthropology of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Its short (about 10 pages), illustrated articles provide a wealth of information even if some of them are written in an academic style.

Trafzer, Clifford E., ed. Indians, Superintendents, and Councils: Northwestern Indian Policy, 1850-1855. Lanham: University Press of America, 1986. Seeman, Carole. “The Treaty and Non-Treaty Coastal Indians.” 37-67

Another edited work, Indians, Superintendents, and Councils, contains chapters on treaty making in Western Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula. As such it is very useful, however, the author of those chapters, Carole Seeman, may be overly critical in her assessment of Governor Stevens and the work of the treaty commission. Her points about the imbalanced nature of the treaty negotiations, however, deserve thoughtful consideration.

Wray, Jacilee, ed. Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula: Who We Are, Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002.

Aimed at a more popular audience, this edited volume devotes individual chapters to each of the tribes on the Olympic Peninsula. While the content of each chapter varies, they usually provide descriptions of the tribe’s cultural traditions, brief histories of each group and perspectives on current issues affecting the Indians. Written by tribal members, each chapter provides valuable insight and this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the Native history of the Olympic Peninsula.

The University of Washington also provides three other very useful online resources for those interested in the history of the Pacific Northwest and its indigenous people. The first is John Findlay’s History of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. This is an online course developed for undergraduates at the university but made available to the general public through the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest. It can be found at http://www.washington.edu/uwired/outreach/cspn/ (click on “Hist432”).

The Center also offers a growing collection of historical writings and online curriculum packets that take an in-depth look at various facets of the Pacific Northwest’s past. All the material is available on the Center’s website (http://www.washington.edu/uwired/outreach/cspn/Website/index.html). The curriculum packets can be found by clicking the “Resources” button and scrolling down; the historical writings can be found by clicking the “History & Lit” button.

Finally, the University Libraries’ Special Collections provides one of the nation’s best online digital exhibits on Native Americans. The American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection provides photographs, maps, original documents, and interpretive essays related to Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures. The collection is fully searchable and many of the materials are suitable for classroom use. It can be found at http://content.lib.washington.edu/aipnw/.

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