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THE NATIVE AMERICANS: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, Turner Publishing, 1993, ISBN 1-878685-42-2, 480 pages hardbound, profusely illustrated with high-quality works by Native artists ancient and modern, many maps, bibliography, picture source ID's, originally $50 US, can be found for $25 at many bookstores. (Grades 5-adult)
I should put this book on the Middle School, young adult and adult pages. It belongs in every native classroom. The writing is good, clear, not simplistic. Distinguished Native scholars, writers, and artists were involved in the project, which appears to have been an outgrowth of Turner's PBS Native American Series (of 1993). Researchers scoured museums for paintings by Native artists, like Minnesota's Patrick DesJarlait (honored here on the ArtPages to illustrate processes of daily life, attitudes toward the spirits and cosmos,, attitudes of Natives to whites of various sorts (there's a wonderful 1946 painting by Woody Crumbo, some supercilious fat white tourists buying blankets from a poor Navajo family). History goes up to the prsent, and covers subsistence -- early agricultural and architectural developments, clothing, art, customs, and after the Europeans arrived, the dismal history of that, through the present-day political revival, which possibly began with the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969. Wounded Knee, the American Indian Movement, casinos, Canada, Nunavut -- they all are covered with beautiful illustrations and informative, emotive photos. There is now a video and a CDROM available for the book from AISES, see the
500 NATIONS: AN ILLUSTRATD HISTORY OF NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS. Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. Alfred A Knopf, NY: 1994. 468 pages, oversize, maps., illustrations, source notes, index, picture sourcenotes. $35 paperback0-679-42930-1.
The genesis of this book was an 8-hour CBS TV documentary, produced by Kevin Costner and others. Considerable research was done to locate old pictures, engravings, photos and museum-poiece Native artworks. Unlike the Turner book there was no focus on the works of Indian artists, no works of art by modern native fine artists are used and none were commissioned for the project. Natives were involved in the project only as subjects of video interviews. The book contains little marginalia -- a mugshot, and a short quote -- from those (almost all men) involved. Indeed, Native women do not exist in this book.
Josephy followed the video script in writing this book. The writing is smoothly professional and wholly lifeless and uninspired. It is interesting to compare the text with his The Indian Heritage of America published in 1968. The earlier text is livelier, clearer, better organized, more interesting to read, and the whole panorama makes more sense. This current book is peppered by illustrations Most of which only remotely relate to the accomnpanying text, unlike the Turner book). Josephy's 1968 hardcover history had far fewer and those were gathered in a few sections, rather than laid out elaborately on each page.
On the whole, 500 Nations is an Ok illustrated history, with most of its illustrations being paintings and engravings by white men, or Native museum pi3ces divorced from the culture and unrelated to the text. It is quite beautiful, but the Turner history is far better both in organization, in writing, and in its determined attempt to find and use artwork by Native artists -- not only cultural museum pieces but fine arts paintings by Native artists of the 20th century. In the Turner book, all the pcitures genuinely relate to the text. Some were commissioned from native artists specifically for the Turner project. Native writers and consultants were thoroughly involved at many stages; they were not merely interview subjects.
The square shape of this thick book is a design mistake. It is difficult to hold and read, more so than oversized rectangles. If a school (or individual) has enough money to purchase both this and th Turner book,, fine, but if there is enough for only one of this type, get the Turner. A CDROM has been made (from the video) and will be reviewed comparatively with the Truner CDROM shortly, when available. Reviewed by Paula Giese
SHADOW CATCHER: THE LIFE AND WORK OF EDWARD S. CURTIS, Laurie Lawlor, Walker and Company, New York, 1994. 132 pages, index, bibliography for young people, listing of the 20 vols. of Curtis's work. Hardcover, $20.85. 0-8027-8289-2R
This is the lifestory of an artist, a man obsessed. When photography was still pretty new in the 19th century, Curtis, an uneducated Minnesota farmer's son, became enthralled with it. Later, he moved to Seattle and became a successful society photographer -- occasionally taking studio and field photos of local Indian people. In 1899, he was engaged as a (mostly) scenery photographer on on a poshy scientific expedition up the coast of Alaska. This sparked the idea for a momumentasl documentation of -- 20 illustrated volumes, with a portfolio of Indians of the U.S. -- while some remnents of their original cultures yet survived. He approached the grasping railroad millionaire J.P. Morgan, who provided some minimal financing for travel, research staff, and printing Interpreters and writers recorded lifeways, history, and hundreds of native stories.. Much of this book chronicles various song-and-dance routines Curtis had to undertake to try to fill out the financing so he could complete his project. In the end, only 300 copies of the entire set were printed, and the negatives were thrown out as junk from the Morgan Library. No one wanted them in the post-World-War I period, no one was interested any more in Indians. Well, the "science of anthropology" was growing as big academic biz, and certainly none of the anthros were interested in the unprofessional Curtis, whose project recorded, orally and visually, the Indians themselves, rather than academic thories. At the time of his death, in 1952, the monumental work was forgotten. With the rise of Natrive activism of the 70's, reprints of the fine images began to be used in various books (as they are in this one, high-quality rephotographed sepiatones). I would like to see a library reissue of the encyclopediac set, which, from this book's description, wsounds fascionating in its written, as well as irreplaceable photographic, content. Ultimately, Curtis himself is a mystery. Nothing really explains his obsession, which destroyed his marriage, wrecked his health, and consumed his young life, leaving him to survive 20 years of old age, after completing the huge, unwanted project, living in poverty and obscurity. It appears still unwanted now; the photo collection is frequently mined for striking images, but the text, thee histories, the stories, in short the documentation of the images, the chronicles of Native cultures as they existed in the early 1900's, continues to be ignored. A videotape on Curtis's life and work is available. Reviewed by Paula Giese
3 Art Books by Heye National Museum of the American Indian--The national museum has book descriptions with beautiful pix on-line. Here follow the same book descriptions with long-loading but beautiful pix illustrating the books, which are all catalogs--but with text written by Indian artists--of opening shows and permanent exhibits of the Old Customs House new National Indian Museum.You can browse them below as on-oline museum exhibits. They are beautiful books, but flawed.
Short bits of text and a few selected pictures from: Creation's Journey -- Native Identity and Belief ($45)
Edited by Tom Hill and Richard W. Hill Sr. 256 pp 9 x 12 " hardcover, many photographs mostly color, index.
This is a beautiful book, and most of the pictures are well referenced and described. Not so the text. Scattered through it ar very short essays by Native people, generally not about the artwork. almost indistinguishable where one stops another begins -- essays not included in the table of contents, with authors identified only by intials, these essays actually discuss the artworks and the peoples, where the Native essays appear to be evocative outtakes from some other book. It is a good read, but you don't know who you're reading and teh table of contents is mum on the subject, very odd for a museum publication. The index is good (if you know Native art well enough to look things up in it), and the quality of pictures is also good. The book does not have an identifiable theme, but is a chaotic compilation by many different authors, most of them unidentified. As a museum show catalog, it is adequate (if pricey) because it does give full particulars on most of the objects pictured. As a book it is incoherent and not much good for anything othr than the pictures Reviewed by Paula Giese.
Radiance of My People--Rio Grande Gallery offers leading Navajo artist R.C. Gorman's autobiography, $100. A nice Gorman painting is its cover. No book review, or contents summary, If some rich eccentric is reading this and feels like giving me a gift, hey, this book, this book! It wouldn't lay around on my coffee table. I don't even have a coffee table. I'd like to actually read it. Gorman tells about his life, what's influenced his vision and imagery, and his techniques. Plus it's obviously full of gorgeous Gormans. Get this book for your school library. Then if I visit your school, better keep a close eye on me while I'm in that library....Not-Reviewed by Paula Giese, because I can't afford $100 books. If you can, go for it.
NATIVE ARTISTS OF NORTH AMERICA, written and photographed by Reavis Moore. John Muir Publications, P.O. Box 613, Santa Fe, NM 87504, (800) 888-7504, (505) 988-1680 FAX. Children's book for all ages. Illustrated, glossarized index, map. 47 pp., $14.95 cloth. 1-56261-105-4
To Native Americans, there is little distinction between art and utility. Every creation has a function, whether ceremonial or for everyday use. Two hundred years ago, it was virtually unheard of to create something and place it somewhere just to look at occasionally. It is due to the money-based economy of the white culture that Native Americans now sell their art to others. In this first book in the "Rainbow Warrior Artists" series, five native artists are showcased: a yarn painter from the Huichol (Mexico) Tribe, a multi-media painter from the Spokane (Washington) tribe, a beader and doll maker from the Cayuga (New York) Nation, a flute maker from Taos (New Mexico) Pueblo, and a traditional dancer from the Chumash (California) tribe. Along with a history of each tribe, information on how they live, a portrait of the artist, and a discussion of the importance of their art, there are five activity pages, where children may create similar works. This highly colorful celebration is a delight. Highly recommended. Another book in the "Rainbow Warrior" series is: "Native Artists of Africa," due out in early 1994.
CLOTHING TRADITIONS SERIES: EARTH LINE AND MORNINGSTAR: NLAKA'PAMUX CLOTHING TRADITIONS by Leslie H. Tepper
SANATUJUT: PRIDE IN WOMEN'S WORK: COPPER AND CARIBOU INUIT CLOTHING TRADITIONS by Judy Hall, Jill Oakes, and Sally Qimmiu'naaq Webster,
FROM THE LAND: TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF DENE CLOTHING by Judy Thompson.
Published by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, distributed in the U.S. by the University of Washington Press, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096, (800) 441-4115, (206) 543-3932 FAX. Illustrated, bibliography, notes, maps. 136 pp., $29.95 paper, each. "Earth Line" is 0-660-14026-8, "Sanatujut" is 0-660-14027-6, "From the Land" is 0-660-14025-X.
Canadian natives, especially those of the Northwest Territories, live in a climate in which clothing must not only signify cultural identity, but keep them warm in winter and cool (yet protected from droves of biting insects) during the short, but warm, summer months. These three exhibition catalogs, published in cooperation with each tribe, describe the history, function, and design variations of clothing worn by the Nlaka'pamux (southwestern British Columbia), the Inuit (eastern Northwest Territories), and the Dene (western Northwest Territories). All are significant contributions to native and fine arts collections. Grade for each: A. Reviewed by Steve Brock
FOLLOWING THE SUN AND MOON: HOPI KACHINA TRADITION by Alph H. Secakuku. Northland Publishing, P.O. Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389, (800) 346-3257, (800) 257-9082 FAX. Illustrat ed, index, appendix, glossary, list of readings, map. 147 pp., $20 paper, 9 x 12" 0-87358-644-1
A spectacular catalogue of over 200 Hopi katchina dolls in the collection of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, with commentary from the Hopi point of view. The book is arranged according to the Hopi ceremonial calendar, and Sekakuku explains how each of the Kachina ceremonies, which begin in February and last until July, relate to the Hopi religion. Colorful and informative, "Following the Sun and Moon" will benefit kachina collectors as well as those interested in the Hopi way of life. Northland (the publisher) also has a line of southwestern design T-shirts and other gifts. Grade: A. Reviewed by Steve Brock
THE AMERICAN INDIAN PARFLECHE: A TRADITION OF ABSTRACT PAINTING by Gaylord Torrence. University of Washington Press in association with the Des Moines Art Center, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096, (800) 441-4115, (206) 543-3932 FAX. Illustrated (148 total, 103 in color), index, bibliography, notes, map. 272 pp., $60.00 cloth (0-295-97332-3), $35.00 paper (0-295-97333-1).
When members of Great Plains tribes moved their lodges, they packed their food and personal belongings in folded or sewn and brightly painted rawhide containers (rectangular or tubular in shape) called parfleches. The containers, each bearing its own distinctive pattern, were created primarily by women during the period 1750- 1880. Torrence photographed 127 of these receptacles from over forty tribes for this catalog, as a component of a travelling art exhibition bearing the same name.
"The American Indian Parfleche" is a grand celebration of the nomadic way of life, as well as a commemoration of an outstanding artform. Sadly, most of the information that Torrence has gathered on each piece has more to do with its collector rather than who created it. This is not a reflection on Torrence, but on the method of record-keeping that predominates among art collectors. The exhibit will appear at the Miami Center for the Fine Arts from November 19, 1994 through January 8, 1995. Grade: B+. Reviewed by Steve Brock
Available from Native Book Centre.
HAIDA MONUMENTAL ART: VILLAGES OF THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS, by George F. MacDonald. University of Washington Press, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096, (800) 441-4115, (206) 543-3932 FAX. Illustrated (296 total, 18 in color), selected bibliography, notes, maps. 248 pp., $29.95 cloth. 0-295-97362-5
This paperback edition of the 1983 original which was published by the University of British Columbia, presents MacDonald's thirty- year exploration of Haida villages. The book is divided into two parts: an introduction to Haida culture and dwellings, and an inspection of over twenty individual villages. Especially interesting is the author's photography and mapping of Haida structures and carved sculptures, popularly-known as "totem poles," most of which are still in place. Grade: A. Reviewed by Steve Brock
Available from Native Book Centre
COLUMBIA RIVER BASKETRY: GIFT OF THE ANCESTORS, GIFT OF THE EARTH by Mary Dodds Schlick. University of Washington Press, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096, (800) 441-4115, (206) 543-3932 FAX. Illustrated (191 total, 56 in color), index, list of sources, glossary, notes, map. 248 pp., $60.00 cloth (0-295-97249-1), $35.00 paper (0-295-97289-0).
Schlick provides information on the wide variety of woven textiles and baskets made by mid-Columbia River Indians (from Richland to Vancouver, Washington) and their ancestors, as well as their cultural significance. Included are many archival photographs and close-up examples, accumulated from the author's relationship with tribes that has lasted for over 40 years. The book won an award for best book of 1994 from the Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Association. Grade: A-. Reviewed by Steve Brock
LANGUAGE OF THE ROBE: AMERICAN INDIAN TRADE BLANKETS by Robert W. Kapoun with Charles J. Lohrmann. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, P.O. Box 667, Layton, UT 84041, (801) 544-9800, FAX: (801) 544-5582. Illustrated (more than 300 black-and-white and color photographs), bibliography, notes. 191 pp., $34.95 cloth. 0-87905-468-9
From clothing staple to currency used in negotiating business deals to gift of deep friendship to collectible work of art, the trade blanket has become popular once again. Kapoun traces the history of trade blankets, robes, and other articles of clothing produced by Capps, Oregon City, Buell, Racine, and Pendleton prior to World War II. With numerous color plates, and a section on modern collecting (don't miss those designed by Hopi weaver Ramona Sakiestewa), this book is a beauty. Grade: A-. Reviewed by Steve Brock
DIRT FOR MAKING THINGS: AN APPRENTICESHIP IN MARICOPA POTTERY as told to Janet Stoeppelmann by Mary Fernald. Northland Publishing, P.O. Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389, (800) 346-3257, (800) 257- 9082 FAX. Northland also has a line of southwestern design T-shirts and other gifts. Illustrated, index, appendix, map. 112 pp., $14.95 paper. 0-87358-595-X
Fernald, concerned that Maricopa pottery would become a lost art (there are currently only four practicing potters left), has written a book about her apprenticeship with Mabel Sunn and Ida Redbird, which contains her recollections, a history of Maricopa pottery, and instructions for making a Maricopa pot. This affectionate narrative is a tribute, as well as a major step toward perpetuating the artform. Grade: B+. Reviewd by Steve Brock
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF NAVAJO RUGS by Marian E. Rodee. University of New Mexico Press, 1720 Lomas Blvd. N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87131-1591, (505) 277-2346, (505) 277-9270 FAX. Illustrated, index, maps, reading list. 199 pp., $29.95 paper. 0-8263-1576-3
Revised and expanded from Rodee's 1981 edition of "Old Navajo Rugs," this history of the great Navajo weavers (primarily from 1900-1940), and the trading posts, Indian agencies, and museums that bought their rugs, includes many black-and-white and color plates from all periods. The book is well-researched (though a list of sources for the blankets would have been helpful) and recommended for both libraries and collectors. Grade: B. Reviewd by Steve Brock
THE PHOTOGRAPH AND THE AMERICAN INDIAN by Alfred L. Bush and Lee Clark Mitchell. Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, NJ 08540, (800) 777-4726, FAX: (609) 258-1335. Illustrated (more than 300 black-and-white and color photographs), bibliography, biographies of photographers. 360 pp., $79.50 cloth. 0-691-03489-3
By the mid-1800s, the had camera became another instrument for exploiting American Indians. In 1985, a conference and exhibition at Princeton looked back at the changing agendas of Indians, photographers, and Indian photographers, and this catalog documents the 150-year-history, with many famous stereotypes set alongside recent photomontages. The result is a visually rich, wide-ranging, and at times disturbing record, essential for photographers, scholars of American Indians, and fine arts libraries. Grade: A. Reviewed by Steve Brock
DOLLS & TOYS OF NATIVE AMERICA: A JOURNEY THROUGH CHILDHOOD by Don and Debra McQuiston. Chronicle Books, 275 Fifth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, (800) 722-6657, (800) 445-7577 in CA, (415) 777-8887 FAX. Illustrated (110 photographs total: 85 in color, 25 sepia-toned), index to illustrations, bibliography. 120 pp., $35.00 cloth (0-8118-0570-0), $19.95 paper (0-8118-0572-7). Paperback, $19.95 available from The Mail Order Catalog, 800/695-2241
To Indian children, certain toys that are presented to them contain lessons that have been passed down through many generations. The McQuistons examine the handmade toys of six tribes (Blackfeet, Chippewa, Hopi, Inuit, Haida, and Navajo) and the traditions they represent, in this colorful and authoritative guide. Grade: A-. Reviewed by Steve BrockMhr size=8>
Nomadics Tipi Makers--In addition to their (high-priced) tipis (I was especially flabbergasted by the cost of the poles), Nomadics provides info on how they were constructed historically, and shows a collection of traditional liner and door designs. Quite a few very fancy tipis you will see at powwow campouts are from Nomadics; the owners have done the fancy exterior paintings themselves. This is best done if you have a gym basketball court available for a weekend to spread them out and dry it well. Traditionally, very few tipis were painted on the exteriors, but door covers and liners were often decorated with paintings as well as beadwork and furs. Nomadics no longer sells leathercraft books that relate to tipis, including the best one, The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction and Use by Reginald and Gladys Laubin, Ballantine Books, c. 1957. That's the book that inspired the Nomadics people to their start decades ago, and it's still the best, especially if you're insterested in learning how to make a tipi in which you can survive a Plains winter -- or anyway, how they did it, back then. You can get the latest edition of it from Native Book Centre, Canada.Reviewed by Paula Giese
Arts and Crafts Book Pag of the Native Book Centre, where you can order on-line or by phone or mail. You have to know the books you want, though; none of Native Book Centre's books is adequately described, for most only title, author, and price ar given. But the Laubin tipi book (1989 edition, about $20) is available here. Even if you never intnd to make a real tipi (and you'd be ill-advised to try without a very experienced advisor to help) or bnuy one of Nomadics' eexpensive ones, reading the Laubins' book will give you a better understanding of day-to-day lif on th horse Plains than a great deal of anthro stuff. I'd been in canvas tipis before reading it, and I could not understand how they survived bitter winters. The Laubin book makes that -- and much else -- clear. Very highly recommended for those who like to read about construction projects they will nevr actually do. And, of course, anyone who wants to make (or buy) a tipi. Reviewed by Paula Giese
You'll see numerous other art books (and a very few craft ones) on this Native Center page. One of the Monte Smith books reviewed here is there (but 2 others and many other craft books are available from the Mail Order catalog). I don't see any $250 art books without a single word of description. I think the Native Book Centre discovered that type of super-expensive book does not sell on-line. Actually, one could display pages of art from such a book, but Native Centre is not very good at providing info about any of the 1100 books it carries.
Technique of North American Indian Beadwork, 102 pages oversized, $10.95; Traditional Indian Bead and Leath4er Crafts, 100 pages oversized ($9.95); Traditional Indian Crafts, (96 pages oversized), $9.95 all by Monte Smith
The first is the best of these, includes directions for selecting, buying (how much to buy for a project), and using beading materials. Loom, applique, and lazy stitch seed beading. See Modern techniques of seed beading here. 200 illustrations, many diagrams, som finishd examples and patterns on items from historical times to the present. The second book gives tchniques for making pouches, in styles of many tribs, with example patterns for decorating them by beadwork and other methods. The third book is too general, covers bone, feathers, leather, beads, etc. Some nice pictures, but little that is practical here. These books can all be ordered from 800-695-2241, The Mail Order Company, of Summertown, TN, which carries many Native books (and publishes a few). See their web page. Reviewed by Paula Giese.
Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking, Beverly Cox and (photographer) Martin Jacobs, Publ. by Stewart, Tabori and Chang: NY, 1991, $32. This gorgeous cookbook is good reading as well as good eating. The author includes some personal details from the native women who shared their recipes, almost all of which are practical for city-dwellers with modern kitchens. Gorgeous photos show how it should look. For many of the foods snippets of cultural information (and misinformation) are provided. You won't find any commodities recipes here, nor does "culture" include any of the problems tribal peoples have had with keeping their land or with pollution affecting the small remaining landbases, getting arrested for hunting-fishing-gathering, etc. . This is a classy suburban cocktail-table type cookbook, despite the fact its recipes (mostly) work (if you can get the ingredients). I admit to a weakness for glamorous cookbooks like this if I can afford them, but reserve True-Hearted Kitchen Love for ones like that produced by the Ladies of Lovesick Lake. The Amazon is just a place where you can order it, there's no info about it there. I'd written this review note before finding it on-line. Also available from AISES. Reviewed by Paula Giese
Native Harvests : Recipes and Botanicals of the American IndianBarrie Kavasch, $13. --This was published in the '70's, click on the author's name to see a more recent book on Native Feasts year-round from 1990. There's no info about it but I used to have this years ago, and it was good. Also available from AISES. Reviewed (not really, it's been too long!) by Paula Giese
ENDURING HARVESTS: Native American Foods and Festivals for Every Season, E. Barrie Kavasch (1995), :The Globe Pequot Press, Box 833, Old Saybrook, Connecticut 06475, :ISBN 1-56440-737-3, $14.95
Selected bibliography of other cookbooks, culture, field guides and a source directory of Native foods.
An excerpt from the Introduction: "Enduring Harvests celebrates the eclectic pageantry of our original Native cuisines with all of their modern complements and enthusiasms. Beginning with the harvest season in September, it proceeds month by month throughout the year, exploring Native American events and foods, people and prayers, within their changing seasonal flow and visiting various tribes and regional landmarks all through Indian Country. Following the success of my first book, Native Harvests: Recipes and Botanicals of the American Indian, which was published almost two decades ago, Enduring Harvests continues to expand the vital, delicious realms of Native cuisines through glimpses of regional, seasonal Native celebrations.
There are many types of Native American festival foods that lend themselves well to being prepared in massive amounts to feed huge crowds. There are countless other older, more traditional Native celebration foods that feed families and friends at home. Still others spring from specific tribal economies and are not often available in robust amounts sufficient to feed very large numbers. Enduring Harvests draws respectfully from each of these sources - and more - to share 150 recipes and profile 75 major events throughout Indian Country, from the Peruvian Andes, across North America,to the Arctic Circle, moving through Native moon times and seasons and often following the legendary Powwow Highway.
For March (they are listed by month), the recipe listings are as follows (each section also includes many stories, histories and cultural sidebars):
Northwest Coast Potlatches Grilled Halibut Steaks with Raspberry-Juniper Sauce Alaskan Salmon Cakes Shooks' Pickled Ice Fish The Return of the Buzzards Buzzard's Breath Four-Alarm Revenge Chili Maple Sugaring Festivals Cranberry-Maple Ice Maple-Ginger Tea Raspberry Flapjacks with Hot Maple Syrup Aztec Chocolate Nut Fudge Maple Nut Cream Fudge Sugared Cranberries and Nuts
Reviewed by Steve Brock
FOODS, COOKING, HERBOLOGY--Here are 3 Native cookbooks you can actually order from the Native Book Centre (Canadian on-line service). One is more anthro stuff on ancient food processing (Iroquois); one is by a Hopi lady don't know anything about it. But the real thing is the cookbook put out by the ladies of Lovesick Lake Reserve, Canada, which sounds from its title like a myth. It's here! Indeed, now I dug out the piece where I first heard of it -- in issue No. 1 of Indigenous Women's Network Magazine. It's so interesting, I retyped it (the IWN disks were lost from issues 1991 through 1994) here. Truly an example of COOKBOOK POWER!, a great True Myth for Modern Times, and great wild game recipes, too. But what is most interesting is how those Ojibwe ladies used that cookbook to organize.
Gatsi Nosdi News: Ultimate Cherokee Cookbook, by Cherokee The Oukah (1700-1800 recipes) -- this is a historical cookbook, most recipes may not be practical today, but there is historical-cultural info in it. You can order it from Gatsi Nosdi Promotions, a Cherokee enterprise that operates a restaurant in Texas. All I know about it is what I read on their web pages -- don't know if any of the recipes are really practical for today. Not reviewed. MARK MILLER'S INDIAN MARKET COOKBOOK: RECIPES FROM SANTA FE'S COYOTE CAFE by Mark Miller. Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707, (800) 841-2665, FAX: (510) 524-4588. Illustrated, index, menu index, glossary. 217 pp., 27.95 cloth. 0- 89815-620-3
Put away those tired old cookbooks with their ordinary recipes - it's Indian Market! Miller's fifth book, published to commemorate Santa Fe's Indian Markets past and present (begun in 1922, the 1995 Indian Market takes place the week of August 20), is a sensual celebration of southwestern fare guaranteed to send the taste buds to heaven, though at times they may feel they're in the other place.
Each year at Indian Market time, Miller and his Coyote Cafe staff prepare several special menus of traditional and contemporary fare to showcase the region's cultural heritage. New Mexican Blue Corn Muffins, Fresh Corn Soup with Chile Pasado, Roast Chicken Picadillo with Quinoa Grain Salad, Sweet Lobster and Melon Marengo, Blackfoot Buffalo Ribeye, and Navajo Peach Crisp are just a few of the book's highlights, which includes commentary on the area's cultural and culinary resources, as well as dazzling presentation and archival photographs. Also included is a list of where to procure ingredients and an index of past Coyote Cafe Indian Market menus, going back to 1987.
Many of the recipes are complex and require hefty preparation times (too bad Miller's staff of 80 doesn't make house calls), so I won't recommend it to novice pan rattlers. To those with plentiful kitchen experience, receiving this book, penned by the man who wears a chef hat and cowboy boots, will be a rare delight. Grade: A. Also by Miller: "The Great Chile Book" (1991), "The Great Salsa Book" (1994), "Coyote Cafe" (1989), and "Coyote's Pantry" (1993), as well as a series of culinary posters. Reviewed by Steve Brock
Coyote Cafe, Mark Miller,
This is a coffee table cookbook, and not a practical kitchen cookbook, so, presumably, is the one above which I haven't seen (and would not buy). Miller's designer increased the cost of this oversized, akward thing by using 4 process colors on every page, but there is not a single photo of the finished foods, which often require complex presentations. There is only one process photo: wrapping a tamale. Not only are the photos unclear, but the more important stages of th processa are omitted, while hands are shown slitting corn husks into ties -- something the cook can figure out herself.
Most of Miller's ingredients are unobtainable in most areas of the country (he uses a vast variety of chiles). Others you might be able to get if you are a restaurant ordering large qualtities, othrwise forget it. Sauce quantities turn out quarts or gallons -- fine for a restaurant, not for a home -- and not actually enough to feed a large party. But in some cases, sauce recipes that are part of a dish are scaled down and there is not enough sauce! In one case (duck pancakes stacked cake) Miller just says use your own favorite barbecue sauce -- but it is the sauce binding of the duck meat that makes or mars this disk (and he doesn't even specify to pour some over the pancake stacks!)
With some difficulty, I made some of Miller's items, and modified these recipes for northern tastes and materials availability, but the cookbook is not worth its high price for those few that are (with such mods) usable. Recipe quantities are not accurate, many appear to have been scaled down (incorrectly) from larger quantity restaurant jobs. Quantities are not expressed by a consistent measure, Miller frquently uses scales and by-weight (which is more accurate for quantity cooking but is seldom practiced in the home, never in any Native kitchen I've been in). In fact there are ways of converting weight quantities to cups and spoons, but Miller often doesn't -- and when he does, it's not right. Some recipes are given with lists of ingredients certain ones of which just never make it into the food. This is my idea of a rotten cookbook, one to be kicked right out of the kitchen and sent out to the garage or something.
It's not a very good coffee table cookbook either, with its lack of illustrations of the food, and scatterings of gonzo, talentless little fillers by some no-talent designer. It contains no significant cultural info, instead there are made up fables about the Coyote Cafe itself.
I see absolutely no reason why any sensible cook from any culture would buy any of Miller's expensive cookbooks, which are strictly tourist junk and puffs for Miller and his restaurant. Why I got this one -- I'd seen Brock's review (above). Brock should not review cookbooks. No cookbook should be reviewed without trying at least some of its recipes and looking at it from the viewpoint of the practical cook. It is often quite easy to tell that a good looking cookbook (held at arm's length) is a bad cookbook, defective recipes and wildly wrong quantities are an immediate tipoff. But the non-cook won't know this, and should pass cookbooks on to a qualified person for review.
This is for the no-taste yuppie coffee table, or maybe for the computer-potato to scan while he eats his cold can of Spaghetti-O's. Neither the author, his recipes, nor his restaurant have anything to do with native people, culture, or cuisine, though I think the food there is good and I would certainly eat there. But as a cookbook, these things should be avoided. Save your money. Send out for pizza. Grade: F. Reviewed by Paula Giese
Webmistress --Paula Giese. Text and graphics copyright 1996
CREDITS: The eagle started life as a real golden eagle photographed as he was being released from the Minnesota Raptor Center, much worked over with graphics utilities for the iridescent abalone-shell wing effect.
Last Updated: Thursday, March 21, 1996 - 1:03:27 PM