Manataka American Indian Council







A Basic Native/Iroquois Reading List

From Doug George-Kanentiio


Doug George-Kanentiio

Joanne Shenandoah and husband Kanentiio


Here are 25 'must read' books recommended by a highly acclaimed author of the Iroquois.



1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Charles C. Mann
Vintage Books
ISBN: 0739464418 / 0-7394-6441-8


Price: $13.25 + s/h

1491 New Revelations of Americas Before Columbus

Biography: Charles C. Mann is the author of 1493, a New York Times best-seller, and 1491, which won the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Keck award for the best book of the year. A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Science, and Wired, he has covered the intersection of science, technology, and commerce for many newspapers and magazines here and abroad, including National Geographic, the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and the Washington Post. In addition to 1491 and 1493, he is the co-author of five other books, one of which is a young person's version of 1491 called Before Columbus. His website is



American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World
David E. Stannard
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195075816

Hard bound

Price: $19.95 + s/h - new

For four hundred years--from the first Spanish assaults against the Arawak people of Hispaniola in the 1490s to the U.S. Army's massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in the 1890s--the indigenous inhabitants of North and South America endured an unending firestorm of violence. During that time the native population of the Western Hemisphere declined by as many as 100 million people. Indeed, as historian David E. Stannard argues in this stunning new book, the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.
Stannard begins with a portrait of the enormous richness and diversity of life in the Americas prior to Columbus's fateful voyage in 1492. He then follows the path of genocide from the Indies to Mexico and Central and South America, then north to Florida, Virginia, and New England, and finally out across the Great Plains and Southwest to California and the North Pacific Coast. Stannard reveals that wherever Europeans or white Americans went, the native people were caught between imported plagues and barbarous atrocities, typically resulting in the annihilation of 95 percent of their populations. What kind of people, he asks, do such horrendous things to others? His highly provocative answer: Christians. Digging deeply into ancient European and Christian attitudes toward sex, race, and war, he finds the cultural ground well prepared by the end of the Middle Ages for the centuries-long genocide campaign that Europeans and their descendants launched--and in places continue to wage--against the New World's original inhabitants. Advancing a thesis that is sure to create much controversy, Stannard contends that the perpetrators of the American Holocaust drew on the same ideological wellspring as did the later architects of the Nazi Holocaust. It is an ideology that remains dangerously alive today, he adds, and one that in recent years has surfaced in American justifications for large-scale military intervention in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

At once sweeping in scope and meticulously detailed, American Holocaust is a work of impassioned scholarship that is certain to ignite intense historical and moral debate.


American Indian Holocaust and Survival
A Population History Since 1492
Russell Thornton
University of Oklahoma Press

ISBN: 080612220X / 0-8061-2220-X

Soft Bound

Price: $22.45 + s/h

This demographic overview of North American Indian history describes in detail the holocaust that, even today, white Americans tend to dismiss as an unfortunate concomitant of Manifest Destiny. They wish to forget that, as Euro-Americans invaded North America and prospered in the "New World," the numbers of native peoples declined sharply; entire tribes, often in the space of a few years, were "wiped from the face of the earth."

The fires of the holocaust that consumed American Indians blazed in the fevers of newly encountered diseases, the flash of settlers’ and soldiers’ guns, the ravages of "firewater," and the scorched-earth policies of the white invaders. Russell Thornton describes how the holocaust had as its causes disease, warfare and genocide, removal and relocation, and destruction of aboriginal ways of life.

Until recently most scholars seemed reluctant to speculate about North American Indian populations in 1492. In this book Thornton discusses in detail how many Indians there were, where they had come from, and how modern scholarship in many disciplines may enable us to make more accurate estimates of aboriginal populations


Archaeology of the Iroquois
Jordan Kerber
Syracuse University Press

Soft Bound

Price:  $49.95 & FREE Shipping

This timely volume offers a compilation of twenty-four articles covering a wide spectrum of topics in Iroquoian archaeology. Culled from leading publications, these essays collectively represent the current state of knowledge and research in the field. A comprehensive research bibliography with more than 500 entries will be a key resource for specialists and nonspecialists alike. Both text and bibliography are structured in five sections:  Origins;  Precolumbian Dynamics;  Postcolumbian Dynamics;  Material Culture Studies; and Contemporary Iroquois Perspectives, Repatriation, and Collaborative Archaeology.


Columbian Exchange
Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492
Alfred Crosby Jr.
Greenwood Press

ISBN-10: 0275980928

Soft Bound Trade

Price: $37.95 + s/h

Alfred Crosby published a small work that illuminated a simple point, that the most important changes brought on by the voyages of Columbus were not social or political, but biological in nature. In this edition the author reflects on the book and its creation.



Death and Rebirth of the Seneca
Anthony FC Wallace
Vintage Books


Trade PB, 1972;

Price:  $19.95 + s/h

Reviews:  "Until this volume, there has been no single book written that relates the history and life style of one of the Iroquois peoples with the encompassing depth and breadth of knowledge, clarity, and interest that the subject deserves. Finally, this book does it for the Seneca. It is enthralling history, told in a knowledgeable, highly readable way." -- Alvin M. Joseph, Jr., author of The Indian Heritage of America

"This book is at once troubling and richly textured; for it draws skillfully and impartially on the resources of history, ethnology and psychology to chronicle the agony and decline of one of the proudest of American Indian peoples." -- Morris Opler Book World

"Here is a carefully crafted masterpiece of anthropological and historical investigation. It is about both the specific renaissance of the Seneca and the possible renaissance of any people. On its specific subject matter, it will probably remain the definitive study for a long time."  -- Christian Science Monitor


Debating Democracy
Bruce Johansen
Clear Light Publishing

ISBN-10: 0940666790

Soft Bound Trade

Price:  $13.95 + s/h

There is substantial evidence that, in drawing up the documents and creating the institutions that are the foundation of the American republic, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Rutledge, and other founding fathers were influenced by the long-established democratic traditions of the Iroquois Confederacy. In recent decades this idea has created a heated controversy that has spilled out from academic circles into school policy and the media. For its opponents, the "influence theory," as it is called, is a perverse attack on American identity -- an attempt to deny the foundations of the European intellectual, cultural, and racial "credentials" that Americans have claimed from colonial times onward. This book gives a history of the highlights of the controversy and examines some important issues that it raises. This controversy is not merely "academic". It brings up very serious questions about the ability of the intellectual elite to "manage"-- that is, to censor and distort -- the pool of information from which public and educational policies, media coverage, and public opinion itself are drawn. Bruce Johansen, one of the historians who has been at the centre of this storm, follows the controversy from its early beginnings, providing highlights of the battle -- both attacks and responses. Exposing the machinations of the academic establishment, he makes it clear that academic "gatekeepers" deliberately suppressed works favouring the theory of Iroquois influence. When such works were eventually published, outraged establishment critics misrepresented the theory and labelled it "a new barbarism", "a fantasy", "a neo-Marxist ideology", and "a horror story of political correctness" -- without examining any of the historical evidence provided by the founding fathers. Johansen notes that the historical evidence has become known to a wider audience, and in a small way the "influence theory" has begun to filter into textbooks. The controversy, however, has been taken up by right wing media, which have linked non-European "influence" to every dysfunction of contemporary American society from "truly totalitarian impulses" exercised by "thought police," to the rise in teenage pregnancies, to the fall in Scholastic Aptitude Test scores. Barbara Mann's epilogue traces the philosophic roots of European assumptions of racial, cultural, and intellectual superiority, which remain the foundation of education and scholarship in the arts and sciences -- despite tokenism and lip service to multicultural values. She discusses the inevitable result: the continuing exclusion of all but a handful of non-Europeans from truly meaningful participation in our society.


Devastation of the Indies
Bartolome De Las Casas
Johns Hopkins University Press


Five hundred years after Columbus's first voyage to the New World, the debate over the European impact on Native American civilization has grown more heated than ever. Among the first--and most insistent--voices raised in that debate was that of a Spanish priest, Bartolome de Las Casas, acquaintance of Cortes and Pizarro and shipmate of Velasquez on the voyage to conquer Cuba. In 1552, after forty years of witnessing--and opposing--countless acts of brutality in the new Spanish colonies, Las Casas returned to Seville, where he published a book that caused a storm of controversy that persists to the present day. The Devastation of the Indies is an eyewitness account of the first modern genocide, a story of greed, hypocrisy, and cruelties so grotesque as to rival the worst of our own century. Las Casas writes of men, women, and children burned alive "thirteen at a time in memory of Our Redeemer and his twelve apostles." He describes butcher shops that sold human flesh for dog food ("Give me a quarter of that rascal there, " one customer says, "until I can kill some more of my own"). Slave ship captains navigate "without need of compass or charts, " following instead the trail of floating corpses tossed overboard by the ship before them. Native kings are promised peace, then slaughtered. Whole families hang themselves in despair. Once-fertile islands are turned to desert, the wealth of nations plundered, millions killed outright, whole peoples annihilated. In an introduction, historian Bill M. Donovan provides a brief biography of Las Casas and reviews the controversy his work produced among Europeans, whose indignation--and denials--lasted centuries. But the book itself is short. "Were I t describe all this, " writes Las Casas of the four decades of suffering he witnessed, "no amount of time and paper could encompass this task."

Encyclopedia of the Haudenosaunee
Bruce Johansen
Greenwood Press

Soft Cover

Price: $199.95

A comprehensive reference work on the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy), containing over 200 entries covering Haudenosaunee history, present-day issues, and contributions to general North American culture. Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse) is the name the Iroquois use for their confederacy (Iroquois is the name given them by the French). This encyclopedia surveys the histories of the six constituent nations of the confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora, adopted about 1725). Several entries also trace ways in which the practices of the Iroquois have filtered into general North American society.



Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World
Kay Marie Porterfield
Facts on File
ISBN-10: 0816053677


Price: $59.95 + s/h

Review By Phil Konstantin:  "This is a very well researched and comprehensive book. It is quite monumental in its scope. To give you an example, I opened the book at random to page 139. One of the listings on this page is Ipecac. Many households know about this medication. It is usually used to induce vomiting. Children often swallow things they should not. The books goes into some detail about where the plant was first found, how it is refined, and how it came to be used by Europeans. It then lists some sources for further reading.  It also has a great Appendix section. It shows which tribes lived where, including many good maps. The Chronology section lists when different things were discovered or invented by the indigenous people. It also has an appendix which lists the book's entries by area, by subject and by which tribal group is associated with that item. I know how long it took me to do the research associated with my book. I can only guess that the authors spent a very long time putting together the material in this book.  EAICW has a plethora of listings and information. EAICW is 384 pages long and measures (in inches): 1.19 x 11.20 x 8.44. It is a BIG book. It would make an excellent addition to any well stocked library.  I highly recommend it."


Imaginary Indian
Daniel Francis
Arsenal Pulp Press
ISBN-10: 0889782512

Soft Cover

Price: $19.95 + s/h

Now entering a seventh printing, and with over 18,000 copies sold, The Imaginary Indian is a fascinating, revealing history of the "Indian" image mythologized by popular Canadian culture since 1850, propagating stereotypes that exist to this day.

Images of the Indian have always been fundamental to Canadian culture. From the paintings and photographs of the nineteenth century to the Mounted Police sagas and the spectacle of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show; from the performances of Pauline Johnson, Grey Owl, and Buffalo Long Lance to the media images of Oka and Elijah Harper—the Imaginary Indian is ever with us, oscillating throughout our history from friend to foe, from Noble Savage to bloodthirsty warrior, from debased alchoholic to wise elder, from monosyllabic "squaw" to eloquent princess, from enemy of progress to protector of the environment.

The Imaginary Indian has been, and continues to be —as Daniel Francis reveals in this book—just about anything the non-Native culture has wanted it to be; and the contradictory stories non-Natives tell about Imaginary Indians are really stories about themselves and the uncertainties that make up their cultural heritage. This is not a book about Native people; it is the story of the images projected upon Native people—and the desperate uses to which they are put. The Imaginary Indian is an essential title for aboriginal studies in Canada. Now in its 7th printing.


Indian Givers
Jack Weatherford
Ballantine Books

ISBN-10: 0307717151

Soft Cover

Price: $19.95
"As entertaining as it is thoughtful....Few contemporary writers have Weatherford's talent for making the deep sweep of history seem vital and immediate." -- The Washington Post
After 500 years, the world's huge debt to the wisdom of the Indians of the Americas has finally been explored in all its vivid drama by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. He traces the crucial contributions made by the Indians to our federal system of government, our democratic institutions, modern medicine, agriculture, architecture, and ecology, and in this astonishing, ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward recovering a true American history.


Iroquois Culture and Commentary
Doug George-Kanentiio
Clear Light Publishers

ISBN-10: 157416053

Soft Cover

Price:  $19.95
This book offers fascinating perspectives on the life, traditions, and current affairs of the peoples of the Iroquois Confederacy. Author Doug George-Kanentiio is a Mohawk now living in Oneida Territory who is actively involved in issues affecting the Confederacy and has been writing about developments in Indian Country; for the past decade. Informative, provocative, and challenging, this book provides a refreshing insider's view of Indian peoples whose concerns continue to have major significance for the Northeast and whose future will affect Native Americans throughout the United States.

The author offers a portrait of the Iroquois that touches on a multitude of topics, beginning with Iroquois beliefs concerning their origins as a people and their spiritual, communal, and family traditions. He offers an Iroquois viewpoint on issues that are vital to the Six Nations' economic and cultural survival, including education, taxation, land-claims, treaty rights, crime, gambling, and relations with state and federal governments. Stories of Iroquois leaders and heroes include historical figures such as Handsome Lake, as well as elders whom the author has known personally.


Iroquois on Fire
Doug George-Kanentiio
University of Nebraska

0275983846 First Edition

Soft Cover

Price: $39.95

In their homelands in what is now New York state, Iroquois and their issues have come to dominate public debate as the residents of the region seek ways to resolve the multibillion dollar land claims against the state. This initial dispute over territorial title has grown to encompass gambling, treaties, taxation, and what it means to claim Native sovereignty in a world experiencing fantastic technological change. New York's influence is such that the experiences of Iroquois interaction with the state will surely affect how Natives and other states deal with similar issues. This is an essential volume for those wishing to better understand these issues, written from an Iroquois perspective by someone who has taken an active role in tribal affairs and who is dedicated to preserving the philosophies of his people.


Douglas George-Kanentiio, a member of the Mohawk Nation and an activist for Native American claims, details the history of his Nation from initial contact with the Europeans through to the casino crises. As a key figure in events of the last two decades, George-Kanentiio uses aspects of his personal story to highlight issues of public interest: the land, family and community, geography, federal interference in tribal affairs, religion, political activism, land use/claims, and connections to organized crime.


Iroquois in the American Revolution
Barbara Graymont
Syracuse University Press

ISBN-10: 0815601166

Price: $19.95

Reviews: The best book you can buy detailing the Iroquois role in the American Revolution. Very detailed, very well written. Covers all the major chiefs, politics and how the Iroquois played one side against the other, eventually leading to the tribal split which would doom the greatest Indian civilization in North America.

"Carefully researched, thoughtfully presented.  Forty years after "The Iroquois in the American Revolution" was published, Barbara Graymont remains the authority on this topic. Authors of more recent books and articles borrow heavily from her work. "The Iroquois in the American Revolution" should be required reading for anyone who is serious about American history. It is an eye-opener that will linger in the reader's mind for a long time.  Standard materials about the American Revolution showcase the story of the "Good Guys," (i.e., the American patriots) and "The Bad Guys," (i.e., the "Red Coats.") One sentence might be found in a history text about the Oneida and Tuscarora Indians who valiantly fought on the patriot side.  Although there is an obligatory portrait of Thayendanegea (also known as Joseph Brandt) in almost every history text book, The Mohawks, Senecas, Onondagas, and Cayugas's tragic faith in pre-war British treaties is rarely mentioned. This book will change all that. The nuances, the shades of gray, the grievances, the splintering of the Iroquois Nation caused by the American Revolution, are all here. This a powerful tale. This book is absolutely recommended. Kim Burdick


Iroquois Struggle for Survival
Laurence Hauptmann
Syracuse University Press
Syracuse, NY

ISBN-10: 081562350X

Soft Cover

Price: $103.99

Soft Cover 328 pages

Discusses the efforts of the Iroquois Indian tribes to preserve their independence and describes the history of government relations with the Iroquois




League of the Iroquois
Lewis Henry Morgan
Citadel Press
ISBN-10: 0806509171

510 Pages

Soft Cover - Used

Price: $19.95

Thicker trade paperback, glossy white wrappers with illustration of man and woman in regalia on front wrapper, 477 pages, some illustrations of objects throughout.  Review by: Ernest Schusky: Morgan was

a lawyer who became enthralled with the Iroquois as a grown man, as did many other men at the time, when Indians were seen as noble savages. (They would recite Hiawatha at meetings, for example.) He spent as much time as he could with Iroquois elders reconstructing their way of life. He was the first to record and undestand their kinship as part of their matrilineal descent groups or clans which would lead him to research for the Smithsonian on Native American kinship.Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family. His book on material culture served as a model for ethnography,Lewis H. Morgan on Iroquois Material Culture but his undestanding of social and political organization was even more important. His experience, plus the influence of Darwin, would lead him to construct the evolution of human society.Ancient society: or, Researches in the lines of human progress from savagery, through barbarism to civilization [ 1877? ] As the title suggsts, Morgan posed three major stages of social evolution, with three divisons in each stage. Savages were food collectors; barbarians were food producers, with civilization culminating in the Western World.  With his experience and all his writing, Morgan became regarded as the founding father of American anthropology, but lacking any students he is considered as an intellectual founder rather than the founder of the discipline, an honor that goes to Franz Boas.A Franz Boas Reader: The Shaping of American Anthropology, 1883-1911 (Midway Reprint)

Lies Across America
What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong
James W. Loewen
Touchstone Press
ISBN-10: 074329629X

Soft Cover

Price:  $19.95

In Lies Across America, James W. Loewen continues his mission, begun in the award-winning Lies My Teacher Told Me, of overturning the myths and misinformation that too often pass for American history. This is a one-of-a-kind examination of sites all over the country where history is literally written on the landscape, including historical markers, monuments, historic houses, forts, and ships. With entries drawn from each of the fifty states, Loewen reveals that:

  • The USS Intrepid, the "feel-good" war museum, celebrates its glorious service in World War II but nowhere mentions the three tours it served in Vietnam.
  • The Jefferson Memorial misquotes from the Declaration of Independence and skews Jefferson's writings to present this conflicted slave owner as a near abolitionist.
  • Abraham Lincoln had been dead for thirty years when his birthplace cabin was built.

Lies My Teacher Told Me
James Loewen
Touchstone Press

464 Pages

Soft Cover

ISBN-10: 0743296281

Price: $19.95
Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.

In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today's climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War. From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.  Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers, history buffs, and enlightened citizens across the country.


Native Roots
How The Indians Enriched America
Jack Weatherford
Crown Publishers

Soft Cover

ISBN-10: 0449907139

Price:  $19.95
"Well written, imagery-ridden...A tale of what was, what became, and what is today regarding the Indian relation to the European civilization that 'grafted' itself onto this ancient system.'" Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Conventional American history holds that the white settlers of the New World re-created the societies they had known in England, France, and Spain. But as anthropologist Jack Weatherford, author of INDIAN GIVERS, brilliantly shows, the Europeans actually grafted their civilization onto the deep and nourishing roots of Native American customs and beliefs. Our place names, our farming and hunting techniques, our crafts, the very blood that flows in our veins--all derive from American Indians ways that we consistently fail to see.


Parker on the Iroquois
Arthur C. Paker
Syracuse University Press

ISBN-10: 0815601158

Soft Cover

Price:  $19.95

A definitive ethnological study of the Iroquois' subsistence, religious traditions, laws, and customs. Third printing. Light wear to the book, spine sunned, previous owner's name to half-title page, top edge dusty, else clean and unmarked. Iroquois lore and history by a mixed race Iroquois ethnologist. Most items ship with free delivery confirmation, electronic tracking and jacket protectors (generally over $10.00) if applicable. Clean recycled packing material will be used when possible.





Red Earth, White Lies
Vine Deloria, JR
Scribner Books

ISBN-10: 1555913881

Soft Cover

Price:  $19.95

Vine Deloria, Jr., leading Native American scholar and author of the best-selling God Is Red, addresses the conflict between mainstream scientific theory about our world and the ancestral worldview of Native Americans. Claiming that science has created a largely fictional scenario for American Indians in prehistoric North America, Deloria offers an alternative view of the continent's history as seen through the eyes and memories of Native Americans. Further, he warns future generations of scientists not to repeat the ethnocentric omissions and fallacies of the past by dismissing Native oral tradition as mere legends.


Sisters in Spirit
Iroquois Influence on Early American Feminists
Sally Roesch Wagner
Native Voices
Soft Cover

ISBN-10: 1570671214

Price:  $19.95

This groundbreaking examination of the early influences on feminism may revolutionize feminist theory. Distinguished historian and contemporary feminist scholar Sally Roesch Wagner has compiled extensive research to analyze the source of the revolutionary vision of the early feminists. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Lucretia Mott had formed friendships with their Native neighbors that enabled them to understand a world view far different, and in many ways superior, to the patriarchal one that existed at that time.  This is the provocative and compelling history of their struggle to bring equality and dignity to all women, and the role played by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women who modelled the position women could occupy in society.


Smoke Signals: The Native Takeback of North America’s Tobacco Industry
Jim Poling Sr.
Dundurn Books

Soft Cover
ISBN-10: 1459706404

Price:  $29.95

When Europeans discovered tobacco among Amerindians in the New World, it became a long-sought panacea of panaceas, the critical ingredient in enemas, ointments, syrups, and powders employed to treat everything from syphilis to cancer. Almost five centuries passed before medical researchers concluded that tobacco is unhealthy and can cause cancer.

Smoke Signals follows tobacco from its origins in South America's Andes through its checkered history as a "miracle cure," powerful addictive and poison, friend of government revenue departments, and enemy of law enforcement directed at contraband and tax diversion. Author Jim Poling, Sr., traces tobacco's sacredness among Natives, notably how the modern substance has changed Native lives, sometimes for the good, often for the bad, explores how the coffers of governments, now so dependent on tobacco revenue, will be affected if the plant's commercial use is eliminated, and examines how Native traditions, including tobacco as a holy herb, might survive in modern society and strengthen Natives.


US Constitution and the Great Law of Peace
Greg Schaaf
CIAC Press

ISBN-10: 0966694821

Soft Cover

80 Pages

Price: $950 with FREE Shipping

This little book has clause-by-clause comparisons of the constitution of the Iroquois Federation, known as the Great Law of Peace, with the US Constitution. It shows how much of the US Constitution was inspired by the Iroquois. You can also see where key aspects of the Great Law of Peace were not incorporated, much to our detriment. The role of the Grandmothers in the Great Law of Peace is an example that I think is particularly important. We live now in a nation governed mostly by uninitiated men without any meaningful check and balance from the elder feminine perspective. Is it any wonder that we are devastating the very lands upon which our future generations depend?