'Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being'

July 6, 2015

In his new book, Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being, Lawrence Gross, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Endowed Chair of Native American Studies, examines the worldview of the Anishinaabeg people, focusing primarily on the Minnesota Anishinaabeg.

“The Anishinaabeg on the White Earth reservation, my home reservation, went through an apocalypse at the beginning of the 20th century,” he said. “This book examines the history of the apocalypse and details how the Anishinaabe are healing their society and rebuilding their worldview so that it is true to traditional values, but yet responsive to modern realties.”

In Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being, Gross argues that because of the apocalypse, the Anishinaabeg are suffering from postapocalypse stress syndrome (PASS). The PASS theory does not just look at historical trauma theory, but considers personal dysfunctions, institutional collapse, and crisis in worldview that take place when people go through an apocalypse, and Gross focuses on how the Anishinaabeg are starting over, building a new world that takes into consideration both their traditions and modern life. Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being uses stories and oral histories to explore various aspects of the culture of the Anishinaabeg, and has original observations and ideas on everything from Native American rhetoric to spiritual growth.

Anton Treuer of Bemidji State University said the book delivers “fresh perspective and deep thought about the first people of the Great Lakes,” while Michael D. McNally of Carlton College called it “remarkable” and offering “keen insight.” Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being has been nominated for several awards, including the Arizona State University Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award, The Native American Literature Symposium Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies, the American Academy of Religion Best First Book in the History of Religions Award, the American Studies Association Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize, and the Before Columbus American Book Award.

Gross is now working on his next book, tentatively titled Conservative Native American Political Philosophy. His journal article, “Assisting American Indian Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Cope with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Lessons from Vietnam Veterans and the Writings of Jim Northrup,” received the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Writer of the Year 2006-2007 award.

Written by: Catherine Garcia