Call for Change


Call for Change

The Medicine Way of American Indian History, Ethos, and Reality

Donald L. Fixico

264 pages
10 diagrams


June 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
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June 2019


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eBook (PDF)
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June 2013


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About the Book

For too many years, the academic discipline of history has ignored American Indians or lacked the kind of open-minded thinking necessary to truly understand them. Most historians remain oriented toward the American experience at the expense of the Native experience. As a result, both the status and the quality of Native American history have suffered and remain marginalized within the discipline. In this impassioned work, noted historian Donald L. Fixico challenges academic historians—and everyone else—to change this way of thinking. Fixico argues that the current discipline and practice of American Indian history are insensitive to and inconsistent with Native people’s traditions, understandings, and ways of thinking about their own history. In Call for Change, Fixico suggests how the discipline of history can improve by reconsidering its approach to Native peoples.

He offers the “Medicine Way” as a paradigm to see both history and the current world through a Native lens. This new approach paves the way for historians to better understand Native peoples and their communities through the eyes and experiences of Indians, thus reflecting an insightful indigenous historical ethos and reality.

Author Bio

Donald L. Fixico is Distinguished Foundation Professor of History, Affiliate Faculty of American Indian studies, and Affiliate Faculty in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. He is the author of numerous books, including The American Indian Mind in a Linear World: American Indian Studies and Traditional Knowledge and The Invasion of Indian Country in the Twentieth Century: Tribal Natural Resources and American Capitalism.


"A survey of recent works on Indian history, especially popular history, suggests that Fixico is correct in calling for a change now. Fixico's insightful book is a good place to start."—Mark A. Eifler, Great Plains Quarterly

“Donald Fixico challenges scholars of American and Indian history to revise their thinking, enlarge their ‘seeing,’ and engage in an effort to understand Native people and their communities. He constructs a convincing argument about the uniqueness of Indian history and his explanation for seeing the world through Indian lenses leads Fixico to craft a terminology that makes a great deal of sense.”—Margaret Connell Szasz, Regents Professor of Native American and Celtic History at the University of New Mexico and author of Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans: Indigenous Education in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Table of Contents

1. Complexity of American Indian History
2. Native Ethos of "Seeing" and Natural Democracy
3. The First Dimension of Indian-White Relations
4. The Second Dimension of Interacting Indian-White Relations
5. The Third Dimension of Metaphysical Reality
6. A Cross-Cultural Bridge of Understanding
7. Oral Tradition and Language
8. Power of Earth and Woman
9. Coming Full Circle of Indian History

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