The Indians in American Society: From the Revolutionary War to the Present (Quantum Books)

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While the unique legal status of American Indians rests on the historical treaty relationship between Indian tribes and the federal government, until now there has been no comprehensive history of these treaties and their role in American life. Francis Paul Prucha, a leading authority on the history of American Indian affairs, argues that the treaties were a political anomaly from the very beginning. The term "treaty" implies a contract between sovereign independent nations, yet Indians were always in a position of inequality and dependence as negotiators, a fact that complicates their current attempts to regain their rights and tribal sovereignty.

Prucha's impeccably researched book, based on a close analysis of every treaty, makes possible a thorough understanding of a legal dilemma whose legacy is so palpably felt today. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews.

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Robert Mosbrook rated it really liked it Oct 18, Jamie rated it it was ok Sep 07, Bert rated it it was amazing Oct 08, Kristena rated it did not like it Apr 26, Ashley rated it liked it Feb 22, Stephen rated it really liked it Jun 16, Alissa rated it liked it Oct 10, Mindy Ballard rated it liked it Dec 11, JD rated it did not like it Nov 28, Stephanie Perry rated it liked it Jul 27, Courtney Case rated it liked it Aug 28, Sydney Robertson rated it really liked it Feb 21, Justin rated it liked it Mar 25, Ryan rated it it was ok Jan 02, Sarah Holz rated it liked it Jan 24, Whitney Mckim added it Nov 03, Andrew marked it as to-read Sep 17, Donald Linnemeyer marked it as to-read Oct 01, Madison added it Nov 05, Common Asian Indian greetings tend to be in Hindi or Hindustani, and include such greetings as Namaste Namastay , the equivalent of "hello.

Aap kaise hai is the equivalent of the universal query "How are you? For Muslims, the traditional Islamic greetings of inshallah "insha-allah" —God willing, or Salaam Aleikum "sullahm allaykum" —God be with you, are the most common. For the most part, Asian Indians tend to live in nuclear families in the United States, although it is common for members of the extended family, particularly grandparents, to visit for months at a time. It has also been fairly common, particularly from on, for Asian Indians to encourage their siblings to emigrate from India, and to provide them with financial and emotional support until they are well settled in the United States.

Family ties are very strong, and it is considered the responsibility of more prosperous members to look after their less well-to-do relatives. Relatively low percentages of Asian Indian families receive public assistance. This is due to both relative affluence in the community and the tendency for extended family members to provide financial support in times of need.

Dating is not a traditional Indian custom, and Asian Indian parents tend to frown upon the practice, although they are slowly yielding to their offspring's demands to be allowed to date.

Modern history

The preference is still for the selection of a marriage partner from within the subgroup of the larger community and with the full approval and consent of the parents. Family or community members are often involved in the selection of a suitable mate. The family and educational backgrounds of the potential partner are thoroughly examined before introductions are made. Asian Indians believe that their children will be happier if they are married to someone who shares the same history, tradition, religion, and social customs and who will be able to impart these values to their children, thus ensuring the continuity of the community.

They believe that such marriages made within the community tend to be more stable and longer lasting than those that cross community borders. Asian Indians value education highly. A great percentage of all Asian Americans attend college for a minimum of four years. This percentage is much higher than any other ethnic group in America.

Many also attend graduate school and pursue such professions as medicine, business administration, and law. Asian Indian women have made great progress in recent years in both India and the United States. In India Indira Gandhi once held the highest seat in government—that of the prime minister.

In the United States, while many women continue to perform the traditional household tasks of cooking and caring for children, a greater number of Asian Indian women, particularly second- and third-generation women, are pursuing their own professional careers and life choices. Weddings in the North Indian community are often elaborate affairs, sometimes stretching over several days. In traditional Hindu ceremonies the bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers and circle a ceremonial fire three to seven times. The bride often wears a red sari and gold ornaments.

She might also have her hands and feet painted in intricate designs with henna, a tradition called mehendi.

The groom might wear the traditional North Indian dress of a churidar kameez, or tight leggings made of silk or fine cotton, and a long shirt, or opt for a western-style suit. A Brahman priest conducts the ceremony. Dancing and music is fairly common at Indian American weddings, a result of the assimilation of American customs.

Some weddings might include shehnai music, or a thin, wailing music played on an oboe-like instrument. This music is traditionally played at Hindu weddings in India. Feasts of traditional foods are prepared for guests and traditional Hindu or Muslim rites are observed. Often, family members prepare the feast themselves, although it is increasingly common to engage professional caterers. Asian Indian families can expect a lot of community support upon the death of a family member. Members of the community provide both comfort and material help in times of bereavement.

After priests offer prayers, the Hindu dead are cremated. In India the cremation traditionally takes place on a wooden pyre and the body, which is often dressed in gold-ornamented clothing, burns over several hours. This is in contrast to electric cremation in the United States. Garlands of flowers, incense sticks, and ghee purified melted butter are placed on the stretcher along with the body. In India as well as in the United States, it is traditional for the males of the family play the primary roles in the final rites; women play smaller roles during this ceremony.

Asian Indian Muslims are buried in cemeteries according to Islamic tradition and Christians in accordance with Christian beliefs. The earliest Hindu mandir, or temple, the "old temple," existed in San Francisco as early as , but in general the religious needs of Hindu Asian Indians prior to the s were served mainly through ethnic and community organizations like the Hindu Society of India.

Since the s, Hindu and Sikh temples have increasingly been built for worship in cities with high concentrations of Asian Indians like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, while Asian Muslims worship at mosques and Christians at existing churches. There are now more than a hundred places of worship for Asian Indians around the United States.

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All Hindus, regardless of their regional differences and the particular gods they worship, tend to worship at available temples. While Hindus are functionally polytheistic, they are philosophically monotheist. Brahman priests typically lead the service and recite from the scriptures. Services can be conducted in either Sanskrit, Hindi, or the regional languages. Poojas, or religious ceremonies that celebrate auspicious occasions like the birth of a child, are also performed by the priests. While some priests serve full time, others might have a second occupation in addition to performing priestly duties.

While some Asian Indians visit temples regularly, others limit their visits to important religious occasions. Since Hinduism tends to be less formally organized than other religions like Christianity, prayer meetings can also be conducted at individuals' homes. It is also quite common for Asian Indian homes to have a small room or a part of a room reserved for prayer and meditation.

Such household shrines are central to a family's religious life. Many Asian Indians practice Islam, meaning "submission to God. Muhammad recorded the angel's revelations in the Koran, the Muslim holy book. There are five requirements, or Pillars, of Islam: 1 Confession that there is "no god but God" and Muhammad is the messenger of God; 2 Pray five times daily; 3 Giving of alms; 4 Fasting in daylight hours for the Muhammadan month of Ramadan; and 5 Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

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While Muslims regard the message of Islam as eternal and universal, their individual lives have demonstrated a variety of orientations toward traditional and popular patterns. The most unique feature of the Jain religion, which was founded in the sixth century B. This belief leads Jains to practice strict vegetarianism, since they cannot condone the killing of animals. The Jains in the United States have their own temples for worship. Buddhists, Jainists, and Hindus all place a great value on personal austerity and are concerned with the final escape from the cycle of birth and rebirth known as reincarnation.

The Parsees came to India as refugees from Arab-invaded Persia in the ninth and tenth centuries. They are about , strong in India and have made significant economic and social contributions to the country. Earliest reports of Parsi immigrants to the United States date from the turn of this century, when groups of Parsees entered this country as merchants and traders.

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Of all the Asian Indian religious communities, the Sikhs are the oldest and tend to be the most well organized in terms of religious activity. Sikhism is different from Hinduism in its belief in one God. Sikhs follow the teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, and worship in temples called Gurudwaras Gurudwaaras. Services in Gurudwaras are held about once a week as well as on religious occasions. Tenets of the Sikh religion include wearing a turban on the head for males and a symbolic bangle called a Kara around their wrists. In addition, Sikh males are required not to cut their hair or beards.

This custom is still followed to by many in the community; others choose to give up the wearing of the turban and cut their hair.

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The economic profile of Asian Indians has changed dramatically. While the first immigrants were agricultural and manual laborers, today, significant numbers of Asian Indians are engaged in professions such as medicine, accounting, and engineering. Many Asian Indians who entered the United States as students remained and became respected professors and academics. In fact, a recent study indicates that a higher percentage of Asian Indians is engaged in managerial positions today than any other ethnic group in the United States.

Indian immigrants to the United States sometimes have been unable to practice the profession for which they were trained in India due to either a lack of employment opportunities or the lack of American certification. In such cases, like law, for instance, they have either chosen alternative occupations or have retrained themselves in another field.