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From The University of Arizona Press
We Are an Indian Nation
A History of the Hualapai People
By Jeffrey P. Shepherd
320 pp. / 6.0 x 9.0 / 2010
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Though not as well known as the U.S. military campaigns against the Apache, the ethnic warfare conducted against Indigenous people of the Colorado River basin was equally devastating.

"Jeffrey Shepherd shines a light on the Hualapai People's struggle to reconstruct their Nation and resist modern American colonialism after losing more than half their population and nearly all their land. The Hualapai survival battle is not as well known as other tribal reclamation efforts, and the author draws upon interviews, participant observations and archival research to describe how thirteen bands of extended families known as The Pai confronted colonization and recast themselves as a modern Indigenous Nation. This is a book to inspire and instruct about the essential nature of courage, standing up for your people and building your own future."
— Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee) President, The Morning Star Institute
In less than twenty-five years after first encountering Anglos, the Hualapais had lost more than half their population and nearly all their land and found themselves consigned to a reservation.

This book focuses on the historical construction of the Hualapai Nation in the face of modern American colonialism. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and participant observation, Jeffrey Shepherd describes how thirteen bands of extended families known as the Pai confronted American colonialism and in the process recast themselves as a modern Indigenous nation.

Shepherd shows that Hualapai nation-building was a complex process shaped by band identities, competing visions of the past, creative reactions to modernity, and resistance to state power. He analyzes how the Hualapais transformed an externally imposed tribal identity through nationalist discourses of protecting aboriginal territory; and he examines how that discourse strengthened the Hualapais' claim to land and water while simultaneously reifying a politicized version of their own history. Along the way, he sheds new light on familiar topics--Indian-white conflict, the creation of tribal government, wage labor, federal policy, and Native activism--by applying theories of race, space, historical memory, and decolonization.

Drawing on recent work in American Indian history and Native American studies, Shepherd shows how the Hualapai have strived to reclaim a distinct identity and culture in the face of ongoing colonialism. We Are an Indian Nation is grounded in Hualapai voices and agendas while simultaneously situating their history in the larger tapestry of Native peoples' confrontations with colonialism and modernity.



About Jeffrey P. Shepherd

Jeffrey P. Shepherd is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso.



First Peoples books are part of a special publishing initiative among four scholarly presses, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Books with the logo exemplify contemporary scholarship and research in Indigenous studies. The initiative supports this scholarship with unprecedented attention to the growing dialogue among scholars, communities, and publishers.