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Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation

With this note, I want to congratulate Brice Obermeyer on the publication of his new book Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation (University of Nebraska Press, 2009). Brice is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Emporia State University. His book began as his dissertation research at the University of Oklahoma, where I had the privilege of serving on his doctoral committee. Of the Ph.D. students with whom I have worked, Brice has the distinction of being the first to accomplish the difficult additional task of seeing his doctoral dissertation transformed into a published book. This major effort entails not only additional research, writing and revision, but the practical matters of securing a publisher, further revision on the basis of peer-review, and going through the multitude of steps the follow in the production process. Congratulations to Brice on his negotiating these many steps successfully.

An important study of a complex and contentious topic, Brice’s book has been published by the University of Nebraska Press, an important publisher of books in anthropology and Indigenous studies. His study is a crucial examination of the political and historical complexities that have led to the entanglement of the Delaware people with the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and of the Delaware struggle for self-determination in a context in which they are doubly encompassed by both the United States and the Cherokee Nation, two powerful governments whose interests have often been hostile to Delaware ones. To explore the complicated ways in which the exercise of Cherokee national sovereignty has resulted in the disenfranchisement and subjugation of another American Indian people is a difficult and painful undertaking, one that Brice pursues with care. Brice succeeds in accounting for the complexities of the Delaware situation, respecting the diversity of views found among Delaware people, and contextualizing the historical events and social and culture processes that make sense of the political paradoxes that Delaware and Cherokee people must negotiate. A excerpt is available on the University of Nebraska Press website.

Congratulations to Brice and to his Delaware collaborators.

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