Going Indian explores Indian (as opposed to tribal) ethnic identity among Native American people in Oklahoma through their telling, in their own words, of how they became Indian and what being Indian means to them today. Divided into four parts, the book features Oklahoma Indians' constructions of their histories and their view of today's native populations, their experiences with forced removals and Indian educational institutions, the meaning they place on blood quantum and ancestry in relation to Indian identity, and their practice of religion in Native churches. James Hamill makes extensive use of the Indian Pioneer and Doris Duke material at the University of Oklahoma's Western History Library to assemble these narratives, using interviews collected between 1937-38 and 1967-70, as well as interviews he conducted from 2000 to 2001. While most books on Native American people in Oklahoma focus on tribes and their histories, Hamill instead explores the use of Indian symbolism across a wide field of experience to reveal what they thought and what they think about these various issues, and how these have influenced and affected their self-perceptions over time.
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