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Researcher Reveals New Face of Indian Country

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    started a topic Researcher Reveals New Face of Indian Country

    Researcher Reveals New Face of Indian Country

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    Researcher Reveals New Face of Indian Country

    (javascript:EmailWindow();) (javascript:PrintWindow();) Posted: June 28,
    2005 by: _Brenda Norrell_ ( /
    Indian Country Today
    _Click to Enlarge_ (
    ( Photo courtesy
    "Tiller's Guide to Indian Country, second edition." -- Veronica Tiller,
    Jicarilla Apache from northwest New Mexico, is an Albuquerque businesswoman,
    researcher and publisher. The former history professor publishes "Tiller's Guide
    to Indian Country." The second edition is on its way to bookstores, with a
    new CD and hundreds of new pages revealing economic growth in Indian country.
    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - With the publication of the new, second edition,
    ''Tiller's Guide to Indian Country,'' Jicarilla Apache businessman Veronica Velarde
    Tiller said there is a demand for research and literature revealing the
    complex issues facing modern-day American Indian tribes.

    ''Historians seem to be stuck on Indian wars of the 19th century or Indian
    chiefs. Popular culture seems to be stuck on arts and crafts and Indian
    spirituality,'' Tiller told Indian Country Today.

    ''We have modern governments; we have issues of law and issues of
    legislation. Yet the misconceptions continue,'' said Tiller, CEO and owner of Tiller
    Research Inc. in Albuquerque.

    '''Tiller's Guide' comes from my passion to let the public know that Indian
    tribes still exist today. We have viable communities and functioning
    governments; our economies do contribute to the nation's well-being. In some areas,
    tribes are the main economic employers.''

    Tiller said many people believe today that all Indians are casino rich. In
    reality, the 562 federally recognized Indian tribes run the gamut, from very
    poor to very rich.

    ''The rich ones have budgets to hire public relations agents, own newspapers
    and make their issues known. Whoever can get to the media is in the media.
    But the poor people don't have access to the media.''

    Popular media take their clues from the Indian media and the misconceptions

    ''There is a need to inform the public of the reality of the existence of
    Indian country today. People don't know that Indian tribes exist in their own

    While the first edition was 700 pages, the new edition is 1,136 pages and
    includes information on media and tribal Web sites. The book, published by the
    University of New Mexico Press, includes Indian honors presented by Harvard
    University's Project on American Indian Economic Development.

    Featuring 562 Indian tribes in 33 states, ''Tiller's Guide to Indian
    Country'' includes information on Indian lands, including treaty status, executive
    orders, allotted lands and tribally owned lands. It gives readers an idea of
    the complexity of land ownership in Indian country, she said.

    Further, some Indian nations, such as those in Minnesota, have jurisdiction
    over hunting and fishing rights extending beyond their physical boundaries.

    Although the first edition did not include pronunciation of the names of
    Indian tribes, the second edition does, particularly helpful to visitors to
    Alaskan tribes. Tiller said her own tribe, Jicarilla Apache in northwestern New
    Mexico, is often mispronounced as ''Gik-a-rilla'' instead of ''Hek-a-REH-ya.''

    Tiller sent Indian tribes draft copies of their information before
    publication. Of those, 75 percent responded with additions, corrections and deletions.
    The last-minute updates delayed the publication of ''Tiller's Guide'' by
    four months.

    The final results are worth it.

    Featuring a new CD version of ''Tiller's Guide to Indian Country,'' the new
    edition is on its way to bookstores.

    Reflecting on her life, Tiller said, ''I was born and raised on the
    reservation.'' After receiving her bachelor's degree in Political Science at the
    University of New Mexico, she received her master's degree and doctoral degree in
    American History there.

    Her dissertation, ''The History of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe,'' was
    published as a book. It is now published by Tiller Research's BowArrow Publishing

    Tiller taught at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she served
    on the faculty and taught American Indian history between 1976 and 1980 with
    responsibilities that included teaching, public service and writing for

    During these years in Utah, she taught American Indian history at the
    undergraduate and graduate levels. At that time across the nation, American Indian
    history classes taught by American Indians outside of a Native Studies
    curriculum were extremely rare.

    Tiller realized there was a void in American history: a lack of modern-day
    history of American Indian tribes. ''After the 1930s, there was little or no
    information. I realized the need for updated information on Indian tribes.''

    Currently, federal agencies are the number one purchaser of ''Tiller's
    Guide,'' first published in 1996. Colleges and universities are the second most
    frequent purchaser of the guide, followed by the business sector - including
    lawyers, architects and others doing business with Indian nations - and finally
    national Indian organizations and the general public.

    While research and publication is Tiller's primary focus, she has also
    testified as an expert witness in the area of Indian history, in trials ranging
    from Indian water rights to historical racism from non-Indians in Indian

    Tiller's dream now is to begin a series of books on American Indian women,
    including the unsung heroes of the Indian fishing struggle in the Northwest,
    and recent Indian leaders.

    ''We need to create our own histories, our own literature. We need to define
    the issues we want to talk about.''

    For more information, visit

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