SAGE Journal Articles

Staurowsky, E. (2007). "You Know, We Are All Indian": Exploring White Power and Privilege in Reactions to the NCAA Native American Mascot Policy. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 31(1), 61-76.

This article explores the controversy that started in 2005 when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that it would no longer allow schools with Native American mascots to display those images during NCAA events, and those schools would also be barred from hosting NCAA championships.

Questions to Consider:
  1. What does the author claim this case tells us about White power, racism, and using Native American symbols as mascots?
  2. Also, what do exceptions to the NCAA's rule tell us about "the continuum of sustainable racism"?


 Warner, L., & Grint, K. (2006). American Indian Ways of Leading and Knowing. Leadership, 2(2), 225-244.

This study looks at the differences between American Indian and Western styles of leadership, and doesn't see one as being "better" than the other, but simply "different."

Questions to Consider:
  1. How do these leadership and communication styles differ, especially when it comes to writing versus speaking?
  2. The textbook mentions that there are hundreds of different American Indian tribes, each with their own unique languages and cultures. As you read this article, consider where the study's sample was taken from. Where are the American Indians in the study from, and where are the Westerners from?
  3. Could there be differences in leadership styles among different tribes?
  4. Also, did the study find any gender differences in leadership and communication?  


D'Arcus, B. (2010). The Urban Geography of Red Power: The American Indian Movement in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, 1968-70. Urban Studies, 47(6), 1241-1255.

This article examines the role of urbanism and city life as a center of socio-political activism.  Using as example the ‘Red Power’ movement, a significant period of indigenous rights activism between 1964 and 1973 in the United States, the author argues that while most scholars have focused on the rural aspects of this movement, it is the city that is “a crucial site in geographies of resistance” (1243), providing the critical factors and spaces necessary for mobilization, recruitment  and sustainment of a social movement.

Questions to Consider:
  1. How does D’Arcus reconceptualize the traditional concept of resistance in this article?
  2. How did the Red Power movement use historical narratives, usually turned on their heads, in order to highlight and subvert the traditional practices of treaty-making between Indians and the US federal government?
  3. The author argues that AIM in Minneapolis sought to bring to public attention “a number of different but interconnected issues, as well as the spaces in which they were rooted” (1251).  What were these issues?
  4. “The tactics they [AIM] used to bring about the heightened political visibility of the American Indian within urban life were often controversial” (1251).  How and why were AIM’s tactics controversial?


Gilley, B. (2010). Native Sexual Inequalities: American Indian Cultural Conservative Homophobia and the Problem of Tradition. Sexualities, 13(1), 47-68.

This article discusses the struggle for social acceptance and the restoration of a place of honor within the community by gay – Two-Spirited – American Indian men.  The central strategy in this struggle has been the role of ceremonial and social practice, with the goal of proving themselves as culturally competent contributors.  The alienation for these men, produced by a homophobia that was not a part of the American Indian cultural milieu, has pushed many into an activist stance focused on publicly questioning mainstream contemporary Native attitudes about gender and sexuality.

Questions to Consider:
  1. What are the critical differences that the author cites between mainstream ideas of traditional conservatism and Native American conservatism?  How are these differences reflected in attitudes towards gay and Two-Spirit people?
  2. What are “the ways in which Two-Spirit men use American Indian conservatism to creatively engage their social alienation and secure a place for their social identity” (49)?  How do Two-Spirit men”demonstrate  their perfection of conservative ideals” (67)?
  3. What is the common response of non-gay Indians to the demand to incorporate all Indians in cultural and ceremonial/religious practices?


French, L. (2003). Wounded Knee II And the Indian Prison Reform Movement. The Prison Journal, 83(1), 26-37.

This article maps out some of the most significant American Indian responses to judicial abuse and punishment perpetrated by the United States government, beginning with the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, moving through the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington in 1972, the taking of Wounded Knee in 1973, and culminating in some of the contemporary legal battles conducted by the Native American Rights Fund ant other reform efforts.   One of the central issues that American Indian activism has focused on has been prison reform, particularly reform coupled with treatment for alcohol and substance abuse. 

Questions to Consider:
  1. Describe the ‘contemporary warriors’ that the author discusses.
  2. How were Indian prisoners subjected to assimilationist policies in the penal system, particularly in Nebraska?  What was AIM’s response to these practices?
  3. What is the ‘survival school method’?  How was this strategy used in the penal system?
  4. Why did the ‘Swift Bird Endeavor’ fail?


Lomawaima, K., & McCarty, T. (2002). When Tribal Sovereignty Challenges Democracy: American Indian Education and the Democratic Ideal. American Educational Research Journal, 39(2), 279-305.

This article discusses the role of standardization in American Indian education, with an eye towards postulating a more equitable educational system, not only for Indian students, but for all students.  The authors present the history and “lessons” of American Indian education as “a grand experiment in standardization ,” making the argument that a system that makes diversity its central tenet creates a “just multicultural democracy” (279).

Questions to Consider:
  1. The authors state:  “American Indian education teaches us that nurturing “places of difference” within American society is a necessary component of a fully functional democracy” (280).  Explain this argument in sociological terms.
  2. What is the “Indian problem” as the author defines it?  How are diversity and democracy linked in this argument?  Explain the author’s concept of “‘safe’ and ‘dangerous’ difference.”  How has Indian education worked to promote the first and constrain the second?
  3. What does the author mean by self –determination in education?  How is it related to linguistic and cultural self-determination?


Hormel, L., & Norgaard, K. (2009). Bring the Salmon Home! Karuk Challenges to Capitalist Incorporation. Critical Sociology, 35(3), 343-366.

In this article the authors ask questions about “about the long term ecological sustainability of capitalism, and its relationship to culture, values, political participation and human well-being” (344).  Using Immanuel Wallerstein’s world systems theory, they argue that “Despite the impacts of 150 years of direct genocide, Karuk people continue to survive and are revitalizing culture and community, which supports the idea that capitalist incorporation is not fully complete but partial. Karuk resistance and revitalization is epitomized in the campaign to remove four dams on the Klamath River and thereby ‘Bring the Salmon Home’ to the upper basin” (352).

Questions to Consider:
  1. How do the authors use the world systems concept of incorporation in this study?  How have the Karuk been incorporated?
  2. The authors ascribe three broad shifts in Karuk subsistence as a result of capitalist incorporation.  Describe each in its impact on Karuk culture and lifeway.
  3. What is the central difference between the Karuk and the capitalist conceptions of land, fish and river?
  4. What is the lesson, according to the authors, of the Karuk experience with capitalist incorporation?


Matamonasa-Bennett, A. (2014). "A Disease of the Outside People": Native American Men's Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1-17.

This article investigates “one of the most serious issues facing Native American women” – that of intimate partner violence.  The author used qualitative and ethnographic methods to examine the beliefs of Native American men who had experience with intimate partner violence.  Highlighting the participatory nature of ethnographic work, the author works to come to a consensus with her study participants about not only the root causes of this violence, but also culturally sensitive ways to approach both treatment and prevention.

Questions to Consider:
  1. What does the author cite as the estimated pre-contact rates of intimate partner violence?  What factors do you think have led to the current epidemic rates in both urban and reservation communities?
  2. What did the men that the author worked with propose as the roots of the problem of intimate partner violence?  In particular, how have the experience and consequences of colonization produced a cultural environment where violence is largely ignored?
  3. What does the author propose as important factors in prevention and treatment of intimate partner violence?


Merskin, D. (2014). How Many More Indians? An Argument for a Representational Ethics of Native Americans. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 38(3), 184-203.

This article explores the persistence of stereotypical representations of Native Americans as brand images and situates a call for change within an ethics of representation. American Spirit Cigarettes are used as an illustrative case study to demonstrate that these representations cannot be relegated to less enlightened times, rather endure because naturalization is part of commodified racism. The present essay argues for engagement in representational ethics on the part of communicators to interrupt the contribution of stereotypes to the maintenance of colonial ideologies.

This article discusses the persistence of stereotypical representations of Native Americans in advertising and branding of products.  The author joins the increasingly loud calls for a reorientation in the ethics that govern the creation and use of such representations.  Arguing that such branding is in fact commodified racism, the author argues for an ethical awareness intended to interruption and dissolution of these stereotypes.

Questions to Consider:
  1. What does the author mean by “an ethics of representation”?  How have Native Americans been used as brand images and what impact on personhood do these stereotypical representations have?
  2. How does the author use American Spirit cigarettes as an illustrative case study?  Is this effective in your opinion?  Why or why not?