Home Books Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World

Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World
  • Format
  • Authored by: Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield
  • Trim Size: 8-1/2 x 11
  • ISBN-10: 0816040524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-4052-0
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $75.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 11/01/2001
  • Dewey Number: 970.004
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
  • Pages: 400


Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World is a unique A-to-Z reference to the vast offerings made by American Indians throughout history. More than 450 entries provide a panorama of little-known information about the rich inventiveness of indigenous peoples of North, Central, and South America.

To be included in the book, the item must have originated in one of those three regions, have been used by Indian people, and have been adopted in some way by other cultures. While many of those contributions can clearly be shown to have been first invented or used by Indians, some entries cover inventions that were made independently by others as well. In these cases, the unique features of the American Indian science or technology are covered and compared to the other version of the item or process.

Entries include:

  • Adobe
  • Agriculture
  • Appaloosa horse breed
  • Aromatherapy
  • Cigars
  • Diabetes medication
  • Electricity
  • Geometry
  • Hydraulics
  • Scalpels
  • Sports helmets
  • Tax system
  • Thanksgiving
  • Trousers
  • Urban planning
  • Zoned biodiversity.


Black-and-white photographs and illustrations. Maps. Indexes. Appendix. Bibliography. Cross-references. Chronology.

About the Author(s)

Emory Dean Keoke, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux, has worked as a multicultural relations and communications consultant. He received a B.A. in Indian studies and a B.S. in nursing from the University of North Dakota.

Kay Marie Porterfield is a writer with more than 20 years of experience. She received a B.A. in English and an M.A.Ed. in counseling. She is the author of numerous books, including several nonfiction books for Facts On File. Porterfield worked as a reporter for Indian Country Today, the largest Indian-owned weekly newspaper in the United States. She is the winner of a 1996 South Dakota Press Association Award and the recipient of a 2003 Artist Fellowship Award in creative nonfiction.

Reviews and Awards

"This encyclopedia merits reading cover to cover. It is a groundbreaking compilation...Keoke and Porterfield's lively encyclopedia abounds with surprises...The book offers a rich factual tapestry...a provocative reference book..."
American Indian Quarterly

"...an invaluable resource...I would recommend this title for every academic, school, and public library in America."
Tribal College Journal

"The strength is in its structure. The encyclopedia entries are followed by bibliographic sources that include texts and Web addresses, inviting further study. This book can be recommended to libraries that support an interdisciplinary approach to student learning, such as units that integrate biology and culture studies projects."

"...the most impressive summation of Native contributions to this planet...This text must become the new cornerstone upon which Native studies are taught...I would strongly urge anyone with a kernel of intellectual curiosity...to buy this book. I guarantee it will enlighten, stimulate and entertain. The Encyclopedia not only contains well written summations but has photographs, illustrations and maps...Ideally, a copy of the Encyclopedia should be in every class in every school across the hemisphere."
News from Indian Country

"...an extremely well researched book...well written by experts."
Tri-State Livestock News

"...a comprehensive, unique, A-to-Z reference to the vast offerings made by the American Indians throughtout history."
Book & Resources

"...Highly Recommended for academic libraries keeping collections about American Indians."

"More than 450 inventions and innovations that can be traced to indigenous peoples of the North, Middle, and South America are described in this wonderful encyclopedia...Readers will find much of the content revealing...This is a well-written book with fascinating information and wonderful pictures. It should be in every public, school, and academic library for its depth of research and amazing wealth of knowledge."

"...absorbing...A highly recommended resource for students of Native American history and culture, the Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World is an essential and core addition to academic and community library Native American Studies collections."
Midwest Book Review

"Native accomplishments finally get their due in award-winning book."
American Indian Report

"This large, well-illustrated volume is an excellent reference source for much about Native American culture...One of the important strengths of the encyclopedia is that the information provided is balanced and rooted in facts, not speculation...The Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World is an excellent reference. Highly recommended."
Multicultural Review

Winner of the 11th Annual Colorado Book Awards, Collections/Anthology
- Colorado Center for the Book

“Editors' Choice Reference Source, 2002”
- Booklist/RBB

"Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year (Creative, Reference Work), 2002"
- Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers

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