It is little known that the Revolutionary War and the writing of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights were strongly influenced by Native American traditions. European philosophers of the Enlightenment such as Jean Jacques Rousseau had begun pressing for democratic reforms in Europe on the basis of glowing reports by early settlers about the New World and its native inhabitants.
The founding fathers of the United States, in turn, were inspired to fight for independence and to create the great American documents of freedom through contact with Native American statesmen and exposure to American Indian societies based on individual freedom, representative government and the democratic union of tribes. Yet American Indians have never been acknowledged for their many contributions to the founding of the United States of America, and they have never been permitted to fully share the benefits of the freedoms they helped establish.
Exiled in the Land of the Free is a dramatic recounting of early American history and an eloquent call for reform that will not be ignored. Written by eight prominent Native American leaders and scholars, each a specialist in his area of expertise, Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U. S. Constitution is a landmark volume, sure to be read by generations to come.
An aspect of American history that has been ignored and denied for centuries is the extent to which we are indebted to Native Americans for the principles and practices on which our democratic institutions are based. This is the first work to recognize that legacy and trace our model of participatory democracy to its Native American roots. This book, which was written into the Congressional Record, has major implications for future relations between Indian tribes and the governments of the United States and other nations. It presents the strongest case ever made for Native American sovereignty. American history has finally been written–not from the European point of view–but from an Indian perspective. Exiled in the Land of the Free has been adopted for courses in twelve universities, to date.
“This is a chapter of history that we must all have the opportunity to learn, and a chapter that we, as Americans, must never forget.” (from the Preface by Senator Daniel K. Inouye)