Jules B. Billard, editor,
The World of the American Indian
(National Geographic Society, 1979)

If it is a National Geographic publication, you know it will have breathtaking photography, excellent narratives and heavy supporting illustrations. The World of the American Indian has all of these.

This oversized behemoth has 400 pages and 448 illustrations with 362 in full and dazzling color. The cloth cover is a brilliantly colored Indian design. The inside of the back cover has a pouch with a huge map of the tribes.

You will find familiar names among the writers, many reviewed here. Chapters and authors are: "I Am Alive" by N. Scott Momaday, "Across the Arctic Bridge" by Jesse D. Jennings, "Nomads of the North" by David Damas, "Woodsmen & Villagers of the East" by William C. Sturtevant, "About Language: A Richness of Words, A Babel of Tongues" by Wallace L. Chafe, "Farmers & Raiders of the Southwest" by Alfonso Ortiz, "Fishermen & Foragers of the West" by Robert F. Heizer, "Horsemen of the Plains" by John C. Ewers, "The Clash of Cultures" by D'Arcy McNickle and "From Wounded Knee to Wounded Knee" by Vine Deloria Jr.

The "Tribal Supplement" at the end is a heartbreaker when you begin reading all the listings that have disappeared. The listings provide map coordinates so you can easily locate the tribe, then read about their region in the corresponding chapter.

The World of the American Indian is a must-own for any Native American buff. This is a book to curl up with during a long winter day.

book review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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