This prodigious volume represents a landmark assemblage of the significant work of the legendary anthropologist and Native American intellectual Beatrice Medicine. For half a century, Dr. Medicine has defied stereotypes, racism, and sexism in her life and work while combating the reductive, patronizing views of Native Americans perpetuated by mainstream anthropologists. This retrospective collection reflects her unswerving commitment to furthering Native Americans' ability to speak for themselves and deal with the problems of contemporary life. "Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining "Native"" includes Medicine's clear-eyed views of assimilation, bilingual education, and the adaptive strategies by which Native Americans have conserved and preserved their ancestral languages. Her discussions of sex roles in contemporary Native American societies encompass homosexual orientation among males and females and the "warrior woman" role among Plains Indians as one of several culturally accepted positions according power and prestige to women.
The volume also includes Medicine's thoughtful assessments of kinship and family structures, alcoholism and sobriety, the activism implicit in the religious ritual of the Lakota Sioux Sun Dance, and the ceremonial uses of Lakota star quilts. "The Native American is possibly the least understood ethnic minority in contemporary American society", Medicine observes. Her decades of deliberate, generous, dedicated work have done much to reveal the workings of Native culture while illuminating the effects of racism and oppression on Indian families, kinship units, and social and cultural practices.