In the 1970s, as a young graduate student, Rodney Frey set out to “study” Native Americans. His career has spanned what proved to be critical decades in the lives of indigenous North Americans: the rise of the American Indian Movement, the resurgence of tribal cultural practices and indigenous languages, the push for expanding definitions of “tribal sovereignty,” and the emergence of a modern environmental movement seeking to preserve life on a planet damaged by climate change and other transformations. As an ethnographer, Frey has witnessed the winds of change in specific tribal communities, primarily within the Great Plains and Plateau regions, as both observer and participant. There are lessons to be learned from such a storied career, and Frey’s book is, above all else, a testimony to what he has been taught as a keen student of Native America.

For Native Americans,...

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