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Spotlight on Native American Studies: Q&A with Dr. Donald Fixico, HEB Author

Friday, September 22 is Native American Day in California and Humanities E-Book is taking the opportunity to honor Native American history and culture. Though California celebrates Native American Day on September 22, other states such as South Dakota, Washington, Alaska, and Minnesota celebrate on Monday, October 9, instead of Columbus Day.

To celebrate this day, we sat down with an expert on Native Americans and an author in our collection. Donald L. Fixico (Shawnee, Sac and Fox, Mvskoke Creek and Seminole) is Distinguished Foundation Professor of History in the School of Historical, Religious and Philosophical Studies and Affiliate Faculty in American Indian Studies and Distinguished Scholar of Sustainability in the Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.  His research focuses on indigenous people and the U.S. West.  He has been on faculty and a visiting professor at ten universities (including the University of Nottingham in England and the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Frie University in Berlin, Germany) with postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA and The Newberry Library in Chicago.

He has worked on 20 documentaries on American Indians, and is currently the author and editor of 14 books. His most recent book, That’s What They Used to Say: Reflection on American Indian Oral Traditions, is forthcoming from University of Oklahoma Press in October.  His other books include Indian Resilience and Rebuilding: Indigenous Nations in the Modern American West, (2013) and Call for Change: The Medicine Way of American Indian History, Ethos and Reality (2013), among others.

Thank you to Dr. Fixico for taking the time to answer some questions over email and giving us your informed perspective.


University of New Mexico Press, 1997

Q: Humanities E-Book is really fortunate to have a number of titles from you in our collection, among which are “Rethinking American Indian History,” “The Urban Indian Experience in America,” and “Termination and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945-1960.” Can you speak to how your works have become increasingly relevant in today’s political landscape?

A: As a historian trained in ethnohistory and policy history, I have always written books with an agenda to inform the public and government officials so that they can be better informed about the reality of American Indians including their issues, both past and present. This is why I chose the career direction to study modern American Indian history, so that my work can help people now. However, since my first book in 1986, the U.S. government has never contacted me, while Canadian officials have contacted me three times for advice. I hope one day that my work is helpful to some federal, state or local official and perhaps this has already happened without me knowing it.

Being Indian is knowing who your people are, and understanding one’s relationships. It would be wonderful on September 22, if people would take a walk, a hike, camp out, or just think about how to improve their relationships with other people, and things, especially the earth.

Q: What are the current obstacles in the way of promoting scholarship and awareness in your field?

A: Since American Indians and Alaska Native only constitute about two percent, or five million of the 323 million population in the U.S., there has always been a lack of attention and concern about Indians unless they capture national headlines like the Dakota Access Pipeline protest last year in North Dakota. As a result, most people in this country are not concerned about American Indians or their histories until they begin to know Indian people and Alaska Natives.

Q: Where do you see the discipline of Native American History/Indigenous People heading?

A: The history of Indigenous people in the U.S. and in other countries have a very bright future. More students interested Indian History are studying the twentieth century when it used to be nineteenth century Indian history was more popular. There are 567 federally recognized tribes and because many of them started to rebuild their communities in the late twentieth century, they have attracted attention due to the Indian gaming industry, defending tribal natural resources, and trying to hold onto sacred lands and sacred artifacts.Imagine, learning the collective history of 567 Indian nations compared to a global history of 195 nations in the world.

American Indian history has always been complex and continues to be in the twenty first century because of studying relationships with the U.S., other peoples, other tribes, and non-human relations. Some scholars are transnationally comparing histories with Indians with Indigenous peoples in other countries.

Q: How can we make Native American history and culture (both in academic and public life) more visible and accessible?

A: If academic and public life would expand their radars, scholars and mainstreamers would discover that American Indians have been around for a very long time and faced some of the most serious problems concerning life. This means setting aside the western perspective and trying to understand the many tribal perspectives of American Indians and learning how indigenous logic works and comprehend Native worldviews. In order to trying to solve our most difficult problems like racial relations, terrorism, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, including climate change and global warming, different perspectives need to be entertained for the best potential answers.

Q: How are the lives of Native American women distinct from those of other minority groups? From Native American men? What unique struggles have they faced in the past and how does that inform their present?

A: In general, Indian women are strong women. A good friend of mine says that Indian men are the jaw bone and Indian women are the back bone of their communities. The majority of Indigenous communities are matrilineal, meaning that Native women were and are the strength in the continual fight for sovereignty. For example, treaty rights are more important than civil rights, which makes Indian women different from other minority women. Indian women face a double glass ceiling, trying to break through racism for being a person of color and trying to break through for fair treatment as a woman.

Presently, a lot of Indian women serve two roles as mother and father in single parent families, which has become increasingly a challenge for many women in America, and Indian women keep their children connected to their cultures and network of relatives.

Q: Your book on the urban Indian experience in America describes a complex struggle for identity and culture for the generations of Indians moving to and/or growing up in cities. Going forward, what needs to change, externally and/or internally, in order for the Indian community to thrive?

Cover of book, "The Urban Indian Experience", by Donald Lee Fixico

University of New Mexico Press, 2000

A: For the record, roughly two-thirds of the American Indian population lives in urban areas, not on the current 326 reservations. In order for the Indian community to thrive, the mainstream needs to be more accepting and understanding of the issues confronting American Indians who leave rural homelands for new lives in cities.

In order for the Indian community to thrive, the mainstream needs to be more accepting and understanding of the issues confronting American Indians who leave rural homelands for new lives in cities.

Presently, we are well into the third generation of Indian urbanization while most Americans have little knowledge or none about the federal relocation program of the 1950s and 1960s that moved Indians to cities. If mainstream Americans would try to learn more about other peoples, they would gain a greater knowledge about other cultures and insights about themselves.

Q: Is there anything else that people should know about Native Americans in honoring this day (September 22)?

A: People should know that American Indians are a strong and resilient people who have struggled and rebuilt their communities in cycles throughout history to the present. Traditional Indians have cultures that developed organically and independent from white America. After Columbus in 1492, Indians and their histories changed due to the contact history of Indian-white relations.

All things are related and we need to understand and respect our relationships to make this a better planet for everyone.



Humanities E-Book at CLC 2017!

Humanities E-Book will be participating in a Juried Product Development Forum at the 2017 Charleston Conference with Michigan Publishing and hopes to see you there!  Michigan is hard at work on the new Fulcrum platform and the forum will be a perfect place for librarians (whether you are an HEB subscriber or not!) to come see all the exciting developments on the new platform and how they will impact the HEB collection.

Email Lee Walton, HEB’s National Academic Library Account Manager, for more details about HEB at the Charleston Conference.

Hispanic Heritage Month Kicks Off

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, which is September 15 to October 15, we want to celebrate the stories, culture, and traditions of a group of people that have enriched and continue to enrich our country in so many ways. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in the U.S. was 56.6 million (as of July 1, 2015), 17.6 percent of the population as a whole. The bureau projects those numbers to grow – by 2060, the population is projected to grow to 119 million, 28.6 percent of the nation’s population. It is imperative that we take some time to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of this nation, especially of a people group that represents such a large portion of our country, because ignorance will only breed fear and hate.

Though it started as a week-long celebration in 1968, Congress extended it to a month-long celebration in 1989. There is so much we can learn from their history, culture and traditions – the National Park Service has great resources to explore such as essays on topics like Dolores Huerta, immigration, labor, and Latino/a gender and sexuality, as well as guides to various places and parks significant to Hispanic history. There are also numerous events put on by the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution and other sponsors of the National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Additionally, here at Humanities E-Book, we are invested in covering critical topics in related to Hispanic Studies in our collection. It is especially important to encourage scholarship in the humanities as it fosters more compassion, creativity and critical thinking in students and in our society at large. We have nearly 200 titles on Latin America alone – to download a list of these titles, click here. You can also browse through our collection on our website, or see specially curated boards on our Pinterest.

Join us as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!


Back to School: A Digital Learning Environment

Welcome Back!

Whether you are involved in primary or higher education, going back to school is always an exciting time. As more institutions transition to digital content and a digital learning environments, there are many new possibilities for educators to be creative in integrating technology into their classrooms and for students to add substantial depth to what they’re already learning.

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) reports that 80% of K-12 classrooms use digital content. Within the last five years, student ownership of smartphones and tablets has increased by over 70%. Schools and universities are already taking advantage of this prevalence of smartphones by integrating digital content with a “mobile-first” approach.  As more and more students carry digital trends from their primary education into college classrooms, it is imperative for higher education to be prepared for expectations of digital natives.

With so many resources available through technology, there is a sense of educators and students alike being overwhelmed with so much information. How can educators teach students to be discerning in which digital resources they use? How can they optimize the platforms from which they’re learning? How can educators themselves sort through the digital content available to select the most relevant sources?

There are many challenges that come with the transition to digital content. But there are also so many exciting possibilities. Libraries are moving heavily towards digital collections, and students are inching closer to no longer needing to buy heavy, expensive textbooks, and multiple avenues to obtain resources through digital media are always popping up.

Humanities E-Book (HEB) is one such avenue. HEB has curated an online collection of 5,000 works, all of which are recommended and highly regarded by scholars in their respective fields and many of which are award-winning titles. HEB is committed to making digital humanities more accessible through an unlimited multiple user interface and our Humanities Open Book project, for example. HEB is also committed to transparency and service, keeping our costs low while also providing swift and reliable service to address the needs of users.

HEB at the Georgia Library Conference

See you in Columbus!

ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) will be attending the Georgia Library Conference 2017 from October 4-6.  This will be a great opportunity for librarians—from large research institutions to community colleges—to learn more about HEB and why we can provide a premiere digital collection in the humanities and save libraries money.

Do not miss your chance for two exciting opportunities.  First, HEB will be giving away a set of Flex Seal to a lucky librarian who stops by our table to learn how HEB can stop your budget from leaking cash on electronic resources of lower quality and less impact in the scholarly community.  Librarians are very much DIYers and Flex Seal is the ultimate DIY fix-all, so stop by our table as quickly as you can otherwise all of the Flex Seal will be gone!

However, HEB also realizes that Flex Seal is not a spray-on solution to your institution’s digital strategy and budget.  That is why HEB will be offering a special deal for attendees of the Georgia Libraries Conference: an 18 month subscription for the price of 12 months.  HEB’s pricing is already intended to help alleviate some of the pains of libraries operating in a difficult market, so with an additional six months this promotion is definitely too good of a deal to pass up.  This offer is exclusive to attendees of the conference, so do not miss your opportunity to get as much bang for your buck as possible with HEB.

*The 18 for 12 deal is exclusive to new HEB subscribers

If you are interested in learning more at the conference, stop by Table 50 and we can chat!  If you want to set up a meeting with HEB or have any questions, please email or call HEB’s Lee Walton at 847-486-8362.