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Mississippi’s American Indians by James F. Barnett Jr., Book Review Example

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Book Review

In this book the author at the onset shows his audience the intention to highlight an extinction of American Indians within American culture. As the title of the book suggests the Mississippi American Indians were not the only American- Indian tribe found within the continent. He pointed out that at the beginning of the 18th century more than 20 American Indian tribes living here. Today there are mere glimpses of one tribe called the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. In Mississippi American Indians Barnett (2012) explores the sociological, philosophical, political, economic, psychological and traditional forces, which have pushed these tribes into minority groups within the American society (Barnett, 2012).

Some key elements, which led the focused articulation of these historical issues embraced a lengthy 12,000-year prehistory account. It began as early as when hunter-gatherer societies existed.  Then it was traced through to the era of the emergence of awesome mound-building civilizations, which was later plundered by European expeditions to the new world. Impositions of new world civilizations, the author pointed out,  such as the Spanish, French, Dutch and English infiltration seemed to have crushed much of the native culture deeming it primitive and uncivilized. This seemed to have been the fate of all cultures exiting within that historical period, inevitably and  sadly falling prey to so called modern civilization ( Barnett, 2012).

Further deliberation linked the Mississippi region with the Atlantic market economy. Associated with this market culture were merchandises such as guns, blankets, and many items which are no longer on the market.  They have been classified non-comsumerable commodities.

In exchange Europeans traded invaluable items for Indian slaves; deerskins and currencies. In similar fashion as African slave trade, this emerging slave exchange trafficking considerably altered relationships among tribes creating tribal wars (Barnett, 2012).

Europeans did not only infiltrate Indian communities with goods and slavery, but they also transmitted diseases such as smallpox, gonorrhea and syphilis as they cohabited with the Indian women.  Barnett (2012) continued to contend that dissentions among European nations states regarding colonization issues sparked a number of wars including ‘Natchez rebellion, Chickasaw-French wars, the Choctaw civil war’ (Barnett,2012, p 244 ).  At the time Tunicas, Houmas, Pascagoulas, Biloxis, and part of the Choctaw confederacy still existed. By early nineteenth century treaties signed by the United States government further pushed American Indians out of the social structure. Today the Mississippi American Indian is left to communicate their demise from the  American society (Barnett, 2012).

The author’s sources could be considered credible since they are archived materials, which have been supported by anthropological studies of American tribes.  Some 10 of them are primary, which accounts for about half.  Secondary materials were used to support primary studies. Being an historian he chose not only to collect data from previous historical work undertaken by fellow researchers, but made his own empirical deductions as he accounted for the unfortunate history of these people.  Consequently, this gave strength to the documentation because apart from research, first hand interviews of tribes living today were reported as validation to their history. This is what makes the book so incredible and a must read for persons who are interested in America’s true history (Barnett, 2012)

Therefore, it can be confirmed that Barnett (2012) was writing for the American public who do not know their history. This includes African Americans who were born into a type of slavery during Jim Crow era when segregation existed. They feel that African Americans were the only group of people, to be marginalized within the society. However, if one is to review the history of American Indians they were marginalized and still are today with no voice. Very little is known of them. More importantly, they were the ones who owned America. Today they have no status in their country. Immigrants have come from all over the world and inhabit America while they just stand aside and watch.

Also, my belief is that Barnett (2012) was trying to catch the attention of politicians and world leaders. The plight of the Mississippi Indians is the same as Amerindians as they are called in South, Central and other parts of North America. Several tribes have been mutilated by what is termed civilization. Christopher Columbus was the first European to call them nomads. Further they tried Christianizing them as they became their slaves. American Indians/Amerindians have a distasteful history, which must be read and this can only happen if someone in the caliber of James Barnett (2012) writes it. This is why I feel he is targeting the American people, politicians and world leaders who have contributed to this crime and are still supporting it.

Assessing the quality of this book as a person who loves history it is phenomenal. Barnett (2012) simply told it as it is. He did not throw remarks, but made them and stated the facts as they occurred overtime. Anyone who has the gift of reading between the lines could understand the author’s theme and the story embodied in it. Americans ought to use this as supplemental history reading in schools so every child can know the true American history.

Works cited

Barnett James. Mississippi American Indian. Heritage of Mississippi Series. University of Mississippi Press. Jackson. 2012. Print

 

 

 

 

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