Indian Givers

How Native Americans Transformed the World

Author Jack Weatherford, an anthropologist, traces the crucial contributions made by Native Americans to our federal system of government, our democratic institutions, modern medicine, agriculture, architecture, ecology and more. This ground-breaking book makes a deep sweep of history seem vital and immediate. It is both entertaining and thoughtful.
351 pages. ©2010.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted February 10, 2019


Super informative, but kinda boring.


Review posted January 9, 2019


I thought this book was great. Very accessibly written, provides a lot of interesting information. Each chapter covers a different topic, such as agriculture, architecture, medicine, etc. and outlines the huge contributions made by indigenous peoples of the Americas. Personally the story i found most interesting was about the Creek people of the southeast US and how their leader successfully held off incursions by the British, French, Americans & Spanish around them by playing them off against each other, and then the cultural movement that arose (called the Red Sticks) after that leader died.


Review posted December 20, 2018


This book was initially difficult for me to "get into," perhaps because it began with financial activities. However, it was ultimately fascinating the areas of our current world we owe thanks for to Native Americans.


Review posted December 15, 2018


I got this book intending to give it away when I was finished to an aunt. After reading it I got my aunt her own because it was too good. It reminded me of the book Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt with the way it was written. I learned a great deal about ingeniousness people across the globe.


Review posted December 2, 2018


Well put together. I enjoyed reading this very much as I do all of the publications offered by the Ford Family Foundation. Thank you William Schmidt


Review posted November 20, 2018


I was so thankful to add this book to my collection on Native American culture and sociology. I myself am a Modoc Native of Klamath Falls. I have known for a long time just how great the native Americans were. But I didn’t know exactly how much they changed European culture itself. 5 stars!


Review posted November 9, 2018


This is a very informative book, not a leisurely book, very educational


Review posted November 2, 2018


Great read!


Review posted November 2, 2018


I enjoyed reading about the origin of so many everyday things, especially the foods we currently enjoy. Who knew that America contributed so generously to the cuisine enjoyed throughout the whole world? I suppose, because of the beautiful illustration on the cover, I was expecting the book to focus more on the Indians who live in the United States. instead, it seemed to be more about the history of the people south of the US. I learned a lot about the metal mining and how the other established countries of the world ransacked the Americas and killed the inhabitants, either through murder or by making slave laborers out of them. If you enjoy reading about the origin of modern life, you'll like this book.

Dione Jordan

Review posted October 30, 2018




Review posted October 22, 2018


This book was an interesting read. Well covered about Indians and history of our early natives.

Niki Price

Review posted October 15, 2018


REALLY learned a lot from this book -- especially the discussion of urban planning, and the author's thoughts on democracy as an Indian concept.


Review posted October 1, 2018


Really useful book


Review posted September 20, 2018


I really enjoyed and appreciated reading this book. My knowledge on the Native American history was minor compared to what this book offered me. I have a much better understanding of the culture especially relating to the farming/land use, medical and governance structure.


Review posted September 14, 2018


I found book "Indian Givers" to be both thoughtful and entertaining. The author manages to keep the reader engaged while sometimes discussing sensitive material. It wasn't a book I would normally choose for myself to read, but I'm very glad that I chose to pick it up!


Review posted September 3, 2018


Jack Weatherford is truly a master of his craft and is a premier historian and anthropologist. This work is just as compelling as his Genghis Khan book, as it is well researched and professionally stated. Weatherford embraces Native American culture and ties that culture into the frame of the larger world. Native American culture has had a significant impact on the formation of American cultural, social, and political practices. Weatherford certainly provides a credit to that historical fact.


Review posted August 22, 2018


Good read, good information


Review posted August 12, 2018


Interesting read.

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Review posted August 2, 2018


This a an amazingly insightful look at a very whitewashed part of the story of the Americas. I

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Review posted July 22, 2018


This was an eye-opening perspective on how the Native American culture shaped our world.


Review posted July 20, 2018


highly recommend


Review posted July 11, 2018


I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Native Americans and what they have contributed to this country.


Review posted June 20, 2018


Indian Givers was a great read. As a Native American myself, the title intrigued me as well as made me wonder as "Indian Giver" generally has a negative stigma attached to it, but all in all it was super informative and I learned a lot


Review posted June 6, 2018


This book is an excellent read about the great contributions of the native peoples of America to modern American culture. It offers a perspective of history that is often obscured--if not utterly neglected--in our parochial educational system.


Review posted May 31, 2018


So much knowledge stuffed into the pages. It is Well written, yet a bit hard handling the volume of detail. Specifically naming every Mountain, near City, roads and rivers close by. Do not let the names and lack of pronunciations deter you. It is engrossing and an overall pleasure.


Review posted May 21, 2018


This book is a very thorough journey through Indian history. At times, a bit too informative but informative non the least. I was expecting more of a novel.