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Public Native America

Tribal Self-Representation in Casinos, Museums, and Powows

Public Native America by Mary Lawlor
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The Native American casino and gaming industry has attracted unprecedented American public attention to life on reservations. Other tribal public venues, such as museums and powwows, have also gained in popularity among non-Native audiences and become sites of education and performance. In Public Native America, Mary Lawlor explores the process of tribal self-definition that the communities in her study make available to off-reservation audiences. Focusing on architectural and interior designs as well as performance styles, she reveals how a complex and often surprising cultural dynamic is created when Native Americans create lavish displays for the public’s participation and consumption.Drawing on postcolonial and cultural studies, Lawlor argues that these venues serve as a stage where indigenous communities play out delicate negotiations—on the one hand retaining traditional beliefs and rituals, while on the other, using what they have learned about U.S. politics, corporate culture, tourism, and public relations to advance their economic positions.
Rutgers University Press; June 2006
250 pages; ISBN 9780813539973
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Title: Public Native America
Author: Mary Lawlor