• Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask

  • By: Anton Treuer
  • Narrated by: Kaipo Schwab
  • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

"I had a profoundly well-educated Princetonian ask me, 'Where is your tomahawk?' I had a beautiful woman approach me in the college gymnasium and exclaim, 'You have the most beautiful red skin.' I took a friend to see Dances with Wolves and was told, 'Your people have a beautiful culture.'...I made many lifelong friends at college, and they supported but also challenged me with questions like, 'Why should Indians have reservations?'"

What have you always wanted to know about Indians? Do you think you should already know the answers-or suspect that your questions may be offensive? In matter-of-fact responses to over 120 questions, both thoughtful and outrageous, modern and historical, Ojibwe scholar and cultural preservationist Anton Treuer gives a frank, funny, and sometimes personal tour of what's up with Indians, anyway.

White/Indian relations are often characterized by guilt and anger. Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask cuts through the emotion and builds a foundation for true understanding and positive action.

©2012 The Minnesota Historical Society (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“Straightforward, fascinating, funny, and often wise, Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask is a wonderful resource for non-Indians and Indians too. (There are plenty of things we want to know about each other.) It is that rare thing - an informational and entertaining read." (Louise Erdrich)

What listeners say about Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask

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one of the better books

for the longest I recommended books by Roxanne Dunbar an indigenous peoples History of the United States of America to read to understand to grasp I better feel about who I am and other natives however I feel I will be recommending this book first

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Great read for everyone!

Anton is on point with these various topics! it's great to see us talking on any level about the issues that American Indians face!

3 people found this helpful

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Lots of Knowledge

Very much information gained in regards to Native American Indians through innovative and sometimes uneasy questions.

2 people found this helpful

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Honest.Straightforward.Informative

This is a great book to introduce people to lives, history and hardships of native peoples. I wish I could merely say it was great for youth and the socially awkward, but we have far too many in the general population who could benefit from these bits of information. From the relatively benign instances like the questions in the blurb, to the more blatantly rationalizations regarding perceived preferential treatment of Indians and use of Indian mascots, the book provides valuable, common sense responses.

If nothing else, the casual reader, perhaps unaware of in-depth native history from an Indian perspective, may have their eyes opened by simple observations. It spurred my imagination. For example, if I don't see people in Scotland painted blue like Mel Gibson, have I never seen a true Scot? Or if I visit France, how long will it take to find a true Frenchman, dressed in a musketeer tabard holding a rapier like D'artagnan? I have to admit, I had never quite thought about it like that. Historical and/or fictionalized accounts do seem to hold sway, and I admit to a tendency of romanticizing the likes of Sacagawea and Crazy Horse, myself. This was good for me to see, even as someone who loves and devours everything I can find regarding native culture. Similarly, I feel less and less inclined to tolerate the attempts to justify native sports mascots, chants and chops. I've never really liked them, but feel more compelled to actively oppose them.

There is the slight bit of wobbly rationalizing near the end, regarding casinos and free college rides for Indian youth. I am thoroughly in the native camp on these modern issues, but the "life isn't always fair" line falls a bit flat for me, I have to say. I wish the author had done a bit more with those responses.

All in all, a really good listen. I wish that I'd picked it up earlier. Perhaps feeling so sympathetic to the Indian cause, I thought it was too simple for the likes of me. I was wrong, I still could learn. And it is good for kids and the socially awkward to hear/read, as well.

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Wow!! Insightful and Informative

Very raw and honest! Provides true exposure to the history of US Indians. Brings great light to many issues/hardships that seem to be ignored in school. Love it.

1 person found this helpful

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A must read for Minnesotans (like me).

Anton Treuer does a fantastic job at answering every question that I had and could have had . I listened to this book for an education related course at Bemidji State University, where Dr. Treuer works. I'm from the same (general) area that the author is from. The amount of stuff that once can be ignorant of whilst being friends, coworkers, and classmates with people who've grown up and are from American Indian backgrounds surprised me. I strongly recommend this to anyone who has, will, or wants to spend any amount of time in Minnesota, particularly Northern Minnesota.

The narrator sounds Minnesotan to me. It's rare to hear someone with a familiar accent in any form of media. That was much apricated.

Overall, this is very well done. 10/10

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bit sized truth bits are good ear-fit

This book has class. As a mixed Native person raised off the rez I actually needed to hear some of this for my own self-awareness. These are the talking points Indigenous people find themselves explaining time and time again. Excellent framing of a tough topic. grateful for this book.

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Necessary reading

This book provided so much detail and context, and heart, to many lessons and ideas my Lumbee grandfather tried to teach me before he passed. Unfortunately I was not engaged enough then, and I’m trying harder to connect now. This book was very helpful, and gave me more ways to connect and learn going forward.

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Great info

This book is an amazing place to learn about a culture that has been fiercely neglected in this society. It's both a great place to start and a great place to refresh. Highly recommended!

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Must read!

Wow. Every question you've ever had, answered. Incredible book. Anton, thank you for your wisdom.