I was part of a small cohort of Native students, thrilled at the possibility of studying with a man we affectionately, and with some trepidation, referred to as "the Godfather" of Indian politics, policy and law. We called ourselves "Vine's Disciples," not because he was a religious figure, but because we sensed that in having the privilege and opportunity studying with the individual we all considered the most gifted of our time, that we would receive profound lessons in what was required of us as we sought to become active and informed defenders of indigenous nationhood.

What an influence he has been. Vine has said, I think too abruptly, that his approach to scholarship has been "ad hoc" or "spur-of-the-moment political tracts." In another work he noted more accurately that if one reads his scholarship in the context of his life it is possible to "see a persistent effort to lay down certain kinds of strategies for political action which are consistent from start to finish" and "they would be alerted that it is in the actions of my life that theories and ideologies are worked out."

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Copyright © 2005 Indian Country Today. This article first appeared in Indian Country Today (January 2005), A4.

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