Dr. Anton Truer
Published June 16, 2016
BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA – “Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe,” written by Bemidji State University professor Dr. Anton Treuer, has won an Award of Merit from theAmerican Association of State and Local History.
Treuer is the author of 13 other books, including the popoular “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask.”
The association’s Award of Merit, part of its annual Leadership in History Awards honor, is presented annually for excellence in history programs, projects and people when compared with similar activities nationwide. The awards will be presented at a Sept. 16 banquet during the association’s 71st annual meeting in Detroit.
“Warrior Nation” is among 63 recipients from 27 states to receive annual Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history honoring people, projects exhibits and publications. Other Leadership in History Award categories, in addition to the Award of Merit, include the Albert B. Corey Award, the History in Progress Award and the Michael Kamman Award.
“The Leadership in History Awards is AASLH’s highest distinction and the winners represent the best in the field,” said Trina Nelson Thomas, the association’s awards chair. “This year, we are pleased to distinguish each recipient’s commitment and innovation to the interpretation of history, as well as their leadership for the future of state and local history.”
The Leadership in History Awards Program was initiated in 1945 to build standards of excellence in the collection, preservation and interpretation of state and local history throughout America. Each nomination is peer reviewed by the association’s state captains. Final awards are decided by the awards committee, comprised of fourteen regional representatives and a national chair.
“Warrior Nation” explores 250 years of the unique and important history of the Red Lake Nation. It offers not only a chronicle of the Red Lake Nation, but also a compelling perspective on a difficult piece of U.S. history.
Unlike every other reservation in Minnesota, Red Lake holds its land in common—and, consequently, the tribe retains its entire reservation land base. The people of Red Lake developed the first modern indigenous democratic governance system in the United States, decades before any other tribe, but they also maintained their system of hereditary chiefs. The tribe never surrendered to state jurisdiction over crimes committed on its reservation. The reservation is also home to the highest number of Ojibwe-speaking people in the state.
Treuer conducted oral histories with elders across the Red Lake reservation, learning the stories carried by the people. For the book, the Red Lake band for the first time made available its archival collections, including the personal papers of Peter Graves, a political strategist and tribal leader for the first half of the 20th century, which tell a story about the negotiations over reservation boundaries.