Books on Southwest Native American History?
September 23, 2022 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Looking for books on the history/culture of the tribes of the SW.
posted by ebesan to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Which nations in particular and which time period? 'The Southwest' is rather broad.

In general, Empire of the Summer Moon and Blood And Thunder get widely recommended because they re accessible reads and easy to get copies of. But they address specific parts of native history which you may not be interested in. If for example you are interested in the ancient Puebloans and their architecture, these books don't cover that. And if you are interested in the genetic history of remains found on San Juan Island off of California, again, not in the scope of these books.
posted by Ardnamurchan at 6:40 AM on September 23

Are you interested in southwest North America in the broad sense (Mesoamerica), or specifically the southwestern United States?
posted by thoroughburro at 7:13 AM on September 23

I found House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest to be expansive and evocative
posted by olopua at 8:21 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

I recently read Pekka Hämäläinen's The Comanche Empire; I'm completely ignorant about Native or colonial history, but I thought it was excellent, balanced, respectful, and comprehensive.
posted by multics at 8:38 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]

Diné Bahane’ is a highly regarded English language retelling of the Navajo creation story.
posted by Silvery Fish at 10:05 AM on September 23

Captives and Cousins is fascinating.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:40 PM on September 23

The most comprehensive book on the tribes of the Southwest (including parts of Mexico) is:

The Handbook of North American Indians: Volumes 9 and 10, "Southwest". Edited by Alfonzo Ortiz and published by the Smithsonian Institution. Volume 9 covers the Pueblo peoples, while 10 is everybody else. Ortiz was an anthropologist and a native of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, so he knew this subject from the inside and the outside.

These books are organized as a collection of long articles, so you can dip into them however you want. And the subjects can be really interesting: Zuni economics, Hopi semantics, and descriptions of every language. There's Navajo prehistory according to (white) historians, and Navajo prehistory according to Navajos.

The only down side is that they're coffee-table sized books, and expensive! $50 each, although I usually wait until I see a sale or secondhand copy.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:26 PM on September 23

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