... an informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait of 'Indian survival, resilience, adaptability, pride and place in modern life.' Rarely has a single volume in Native American history attempted such comprehensiveness ... Treuer adeptly synthesizes [several] recent studies and fashions them with personal, familial and biographic vignettes. He works hard to connect the past with those who live with its ongoing legacies ... Through the book’s second half, recounting developments since World War II, Treuer’s counternarrative to Brown takes its fullest form. In particular, his detailed assessments of what he calls 'becoming Indian' highlight the resiliency and dynamism of contemporary tribal communities ... Ultimately, Treuer’s powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation’s past.
Readers in search of conventional history may be disappointed, for although somewhat chronological the book’s structure is hardly linear, and the historical content, while sound, is minimal ... impassioned ... Treuer is an easy companion: thoughtful, provocative and challenging. He tells a disturbing yet heroic story that may very well be seen as a definition of 'American exceptionalism.'
This retelling [of the beginnings of European contact] is the weakest part of the book, although there are some nice historical tidbits ... The author shines, instead, when he heads out on the road to meet with his relatives at Leech Lake or members of other tribes across the country. There are a delightful collection of characters ... [Treuer] succeeds in this fine and timely work. It will certainly help usher in a new narrative for Native Americans.