Who is an Indian?: Race, Place, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas

Who is an Indian?: Race, Place, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas

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Edited by Maximilian C. Forte
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2013
World Rights
272 Pages
ISBN 9780802095527
Published Aug 2013
Online discount: 15%
 $28.95    $24.61
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442668003
Published Jan 2014
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $27.95

Who is an Indian? This is possibly the oldest question facing Indigenous peoples across the Americas, and one with significant implications for decisions relating to resource distribution, conflicts over who gets to live where and for how long, and clashing principles of governance and law. For centuries, the dominant views on this issue have been strongly shaped by ideas of both race and place. But just as important, who is permitted to ask, and answer this question?

This collection examines the changing roles of race and place in the politics of defining Indigenous identities in the Americas. Drawing on case studies of Indigenous communities across North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, it is a rare volume to compare Indigenous experience throughout the western hemisphere. The contributors question the vocabulary, legal mechanisms, and applications of science in constructing the identities of Indigenous populations, and consider ideas of nation, land, and tradition in moving indigeneity beyond race.

Maximilian C. Forte is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University.


Introduction: “Who Is an Indian?” The Cultural Politics of a Bad Question
Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Sociology and Anthropology)

Chapter One
Inuitness and Territoriality in Canada
Donna Patrick (Carleton University, Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Canadian Studies)

Chapter Two
Federally-Unrecognized Indigenous Communities in Canadian Contexts
Bonita Lawrence (York University, Equity Studies)

Chapter Three
The Canary in the Coalmine: What Sociology Can Learn from Ethnic Identity Debates among American Indians
Eva Marie Garroutte (Boston College, Sociology) and C. Matthew Snipp (Stanford University, Sociology)

Chapter Four
“This Sovereignty Thing”: Nationality, Blood, and the Cherokee Resurgence
Julia Coates (University of California Davis, Native American Studies)

Chapter Five
Locating Identity: The Role of Place in Costa Rican Chorotega Identity
Karen Stocker (California State University, Anthropology)

Chapter Six
Carib Identity, Racial Politics, and the Problem of Indigenous Recognition in Trinidad and Tobago
Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Anthropology)

Chapter Seven
Encountering Indigeneity: The International Funding of Indigeneity in Peru
José Antonio Lucero (University of Washington, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies)

Chapter Eight
The Color of Race: Indians and Progress in a Center-Left Brazil
Jonathan Warren (University of Washington, International Studies, Chair of Latin American Studies)

Seeing Beyond the State and Thinking beyond the State of Sight
Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Sociology and Anthropology)



“A significant addition to research, Who Is an Indian? provides an extended examination and a clear picture of indigenous identity issues in the Americas. Among the book’s important contributions are its examination of the site of interface between the modern state and Indigenous peoples, as well as its analysis of how state discourses of identities are interpolated by Indigenous peoples and come to be important sites of tension.”

David Newhouse, Department of Indigenous Studies, Trent University

Who Is an Indian? makes a strong and distinct contribution to the literature on indigenous identities. The contributors examine imposed markers of distinctiveness, particularly those racial categories that have often been formulated by experts and imposed by dominant societies. This is a topic that is rife with controversy, but it is handled here with directness and historical acumen.”

Ronald Niezen, Department of Anthropology, McGill University