Fortunately for the human species, in its wide assortment of pigmentations, cultural experiences, and geographic locations, each generation of a given people produces a small number of truly spirited individuals. These are individuals who not only possess the ability to constructively critique and analyze what is both sound and problematic in their society—or for our purposes, a set of societies—but who also have the rarer gift of being able to propound suggestions, ideas, and prognostications on what might be done to improve the human condition, both individually and collectively.

In the breadth and depth of Vine Deloria Jr.'s copious works across several disciplines, manifested in more than twenty books, two hundred articles, and uncounted speeches, interviews, and congressional testimonials, one finds a bevy of such societal, structural, and attitudinal critiques. And, more impor­tant for the purposes of this chapter, an even more exciting bounty of suggested reforms, strategies, and policy recommendations that, if fully implemented or adopted, would produce immediate and sustainable improvements in a variety of fields for both indigenous and nonindigenous populations.

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Copyright © 2006 Fulcrum Publishing. This chapter first appeared in Destroying Dogma: Vine Deloria Jr. and His Influence on American Society.

Edited by Steve Pavlik and Daniel R. Wildcat

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