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Beyond the Book

400 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 16 halftones, notes, bibl., index

ISBN  978-1-4696-0684-2
Published: February 2013

Rich Indians

Native People and the Problem of Wealth in American History

By Alexandra Harmon

Long before lucrative tribal casinos sparked controversy, Native Americans amassed other wealth that provoked intense debate about the desirability, morality, and compatibility of Indian and non-Indian economic practices. Alexandra Harmon examines seven such instances of Indian affluence and the dilemmas they presented both for Native Americans and for Euro-Americans--dilemmas rooted in the colonial origins of the modern American economy. Harmon's study not only compels us to look beyond stereotypes of greedy whites and poor Indians, but also convincingly demonstrates that Indians deserve a prominent place in American economic history and in the history of American ideas.

About the Author

Alexandra Harmon is professor of American Indian studies at the University of Washington. She is editor of The Power of Promises: Perspectives on Northwest Indian Treaties and author of Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities around Puget Sound.


"[Harmon] unites ethnography, history, and economic thought to offer a fresh perspective on Indian and Euro-American notions of wealth and how these shaped their views of one another. . . . Recommended. Graduate students, faculty."

"The book's greatest strengths are its synthesis of diverse materials and its ability to clearly articulate profound moral ambivalence. . . . The divergent pieces of history that Harmon connects . . . constitute a radically new way to understand twentieth-century Indian history."
--Journal of American History

"[A] well-crafted discussion of Indian wealth."
--Journal of Southern History

"Harmon offers a diverse, atypical view of the effects of tribal and American-influenced economics on Indian people."
--Indian Country Today

"A well-researched history. . . . Highly recommended for college and university libraries and some public libraries."
--Tennessee Libraries

"A sorely needed effort to integrate Native Americans into the story of American economic development and its consequences . . . . Noteworthy."
--American Historical Review

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