Defying the Odds


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The Tule River Tribe's Struggle for Sovereignty in Three Centuries

Gelya Frank and Carole Goldberg

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An anthropologist and a legal scholar combine expertise in this innovative book, deploying the history of one California tribe—the Tule River Tribe—in a definitive study of indigenous sovereignty from earliest contact through the current Indian gaming era.

Gelya Frank is Professor of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy and Anthropology at the University of Southern California and Director of the Tule River Tribal History Project. Carole Goldberg is the Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Director of the Joint Degree Program in Law and American Indian Studies.

"The depth which these authors offer the reader in the 130-year scope is among the best. This is an excellent contribution to tribal literature with clear and careful analysis. The use of anthropology is very well done and original."—Sidney Harring, The City University of New York

"We do not have such a study of one reservation anywhere in the United States that thoroughly examines the many aspects of the political and cultural Native sovereignty.  The book is magnificent in its subjects, approaches, methodologies, and analyses."—Clifford Trafzer, University of California Riverside

"Defying the Odds will fascinate any reader who wishes better to understand the tortured relationship between culture and law in the history of Indian sovereignty.   The story of the Tule River Tribe is at once agonizing and redemptive, as a people torn asunder from within and without persevere across nearly two centuries to claim their right to sovereign choice.  In following their story, we learn not simply the gritty details, but are educated to fundamental issues in Federal Indian Policy and Tribal reconstitution."—James F. Brooks, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe

Defying the Odds transcends any comparable case study of an Indian nation in the depth of its historical and legal analysis and the innovative and thoughtful articulation of contrasting models of indigenous sovereignty, as they are understood by Native and non-Native peoples. This work provides a nuanced understanding of indigenous political and cultural sovereignty and is a testament to the unique values of a land-based community striving to maintain its core identity and craft relationships with the various governments that have claimed political dominance in California.  The story of the Tule River Tribe exemplifies the commitment to self-determination that underlies contemporary indigenous claims to self-government and economic development.”—Rebecca Tsosie, University of New Mexico

"The book is the most comprehensive study ever written about the Tule River Indian Reservation."—Porterville Recorder

"Authors Gelya Frank and Carole Goldberg have produced a very detailed, well-researched, and competently written history of one group's efforts to retain some semblance of sovereignty over a very long period of time."—Christian McMillen, Western Historical Quarterly
ISBN: 9780300178890
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
428 pages, 6 x 9
40 b/w illus. + 15 maps
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