Study Questions for America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage



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Study Questions for America’s Fascinating Indian Heritage

Chapter: Renaissance of an Ancient People




  1. What is the stated birthrate of Native American compared to the general population, and what are its implications to the idea that Indians are “dying out”?

  2. What were the findings of the 1977 American Indian Policy Review Commission with regard to assimilation and sovereignty for Native Americans? How far back does the book suggest humanity may have entered the Americas? What was the composition of the committee?

  3. How many reservations are there in the United States, according to Maxwell?

  4. What was the purpose of the Dawes Act of 1887? What were its effects?

  5. Who was John Collier and what was his role in Indian affairs? His ideas eventually became part of what 1934 act of Congress?

  6. What role did folks like Ira Hayes play in American history?

  7. What is the NCAI and what are its goals? When was it formed?

  8. What was Concurrent Resolution 108, which passed in 1953? How did it affect the Menominee of Wisconsin?

  9. How many tribes were actually terminated during the 1950s and 60s?

  10. What did the Office of Economic Opportunity do for Indians in the 1960s and 70s?

  11. Although education has generally increased among Indians in the last 30 years, what other problems still plague their population?

  12. In what year did American Indians gain U.S. citizenship?

  13. What happened at Alcatraz in 1969 and what were the goals of the event organizers?

  14. Where did AIM start and what were its initial goals? How did the movement change as time progressed?

  15. What was the Indian Claims Commission? Why is there controversy over the methods used in resolving disputes in the Commission or in the later Claims Court takeover?

  16. What is the most widespread religion among Indians today and how is it unique?

  17. What traditional religion is popular among Iroquois speaking people?

  18. What is required in New Mexico in order to label an art piece as “Indian”? Why is this the case?



Native Americans Study Questions for Various Article Readings

Kingdoms of Gold, Kingdoms of Jade


        1. What disease arrived in American in 1519, and where? Within two years, how much had the population declined? How about by 1607?

        2. What disease was responsible for decimation in Peru? How did it aid Pizarro on his march to Cuzco?

        3. In addition to the immediate deaths caused by disease, what other affects occurred to Indian groups?

        4. What examples does Fagan provide about the rich ecology in which Paleo-Indians lived?

        5. What two events are marked by Fagan as major “watershed events” in American prehistory?

        6. What sorts of plants were domesticated in Mexico, South America, and at what times?

        7. What other developments come to America on the heels of agriculture, and how are they related?

        8. What sorts of parallel cultural evolution does Fagan discuss, and how does he explain it?

        9. Fagan says Indians provided what percentage of all crops grown in the world today?

        10. What were the “miracle crops” and why are they called this?

        11. Compare and contrast the medicinal skills of Americans and Europeans.

        12. How did the gold and silver of the Americas influence the economies of Europe and Africa?



Tribal Warfare


              1. What does Ferguson say about the “initial effect of European colonialism”?

              2. What do Ferguson and Whitehead call the “tribal zone”?

              3. What are the three identified causes of social change that act to destabilize the tribal zone?

              4. What does Ferguson have to say about rate of spread for trade goods and their effect on Native groups?

              5. What three things often “precede face to face contact”?

              6. How did the presence of English and French colonial powers affect the local indigenous groups politically?

              7. What other factors affected the relations between Europeans and Natives?

              8. What are Ferguson and Whitehead’s three types of war and what are their features?

              9. What are some of the specific Indian groups mentioned by Ferguson as exemplifying warfare among Indian groups?



A History of Federal Indian Policy


  1. How many independent nations occupied American prior to 1500?

  2. What percentage of Indians live on reservations, according to Pevar?

  3. What kind of variance is seen in the size of reservations?

  4. Why does Pevar choose to use the term “Indian” rather than “Native American”?

  5. What does Pevar say is the “most striking feature of federal Indian policy” through most of history?

  6. What does Pevar say about the attitude and relationship between most early colonists and Indians?

  7. How did the early United States government view Indian people? Give some examples.

  8. How did policy change during the Jackson presidency and what was passed in 1830 to facilitate it?

  9. What were the emphases in the mid to late 1800s with regard to Indian policy? How did schooling fit into this?

  10. What was the purpose of the Dawes Act and how was this to be done? What were its effects?

  11. How did policies change once again in the early 1900s? How was John Collier involved?

  12. What is the IRA and what were its goals? How were they to be accomplished?

  13. In the period beginning in 1953, how AGAIN did policies change, and how were they implemented?

  14. What are PL 180 and HCR 108?

  15. Beginning with Nixon, what has policy been toward Indians? What acts were passed in support?


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