The Boston Tea Party, the Order of Red Men, Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts, Grateful Dead concerts are just a few examples of the American tendency to appropriate Indian dress and act out Indian roles. This provocative book explores how white Americans have used their ideas about Indians to shape national identity in different eras - and how Indian people have reacted to these imitations of their native dress, language, and ritual. Deloria points out that throughout American history the creative uses of Indianness have been interwoven with conquest and dispossession of the Indians. Indian play has thus been fraught with ambivalence - for white Americans who idealized and villainized the Indian, and for Indians who were both humiliated and empowered by these cultural exercises.
[A] convincing study....Deloria builds his case with caution and precision, careful to avoid sweeping claims. -- The Boston Globe