Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact

Vine Deloria Jr.

Vine Deloria, Jr., leading Native American scholar and author of the best-selling God Is Red, addresses the conflict between mainstream scientific theory about our world and the ancestral worldview of Native Americans. Claiming that science has created a largely fictional scenario for American Indians in prehistoric North America, Deloria offers an alternative view of the continent’s history as seen through the eyes and memories of Native Americans. Further, he warns future generations of scientists not to repeat the ethnocentric omissions and fallacies of the past by dismissing Native oral tradition as mere legends.

status Copy #1 (7281): in
genre Cultural Studies » Native American Studies
publisher Fulcrum
publish date 1997
popularity checked out 3 time(s)


  • By Nathaniel Kidd -

    Deloria is well regarded as one the great pioneers in giving the indigenous voice credibility, and this book — which he identifies as one of his most enjoyable to write — certainly does not disappoint as a classic example of his thought and method. Throughout critical of the modern western institutions of religion, law, education, politics, and science, Deloria in this volume takes particular aim at scientistic narratives, uncovering some of the tacitly racist motivations in the formulation of evolutionary theories, and anthropological theses regarding the population of the Americas, but throughout he traces the interweaving of different techniques of dominating power woven through the dogmatic articulation of modern common sense. Ever the iconoclast, Deloria proposes that common truths are not, by virtue of being commonly held, therefore true, and challenges the hegemonic systems of contemporary knowledge to make way for additional ways of being and knowing. In all, it is a lively and enjoyable read; although his argument might have been strengthened by being more reflexively self-aware — viz., tracing the parallel with other liberationist moving, and asking the question whether the convergence of liberationist voices might itself be a shadow of the dominant systems in need of an alternative.

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