24 / CHRONICLESnThe Rights of Tradition by Jay Mechlingn”Ah, kuinel, you see, Injun man ain ‘t strong likenwhite man!”n—William Gilmore SimmsnA Poison Stronger Than Love: ThenDestruction of an OjibwanCommunity by Anastasia M.nShkilnyk, New Haven: YalenUniversity Press.nThe Reservation Blackfeet,n1882-1945 A Photographic Historynof Cultural Survival by William E.nFarr, Seattle: University ofnWashington Press.nWe are approaching an importantncentenary, though there probablynwill be little public notice amid thenhoopla over the bicentennial of thenConstitution. In 1888 Franz Boasnjoined the newly formed faculty atnClark University to become the firstnprofessor of anthropology in the UnitednStates, and in that same year he andna handful of others founded the AmericannFolklore Society. The list of importantnanthropologists trained by Boasnreads like a “who’s who” of Americannanthropology: Alfred Kroeber, RobertnLowie, Edward Sapir, MelvillenHerskovits, Ruth Benedict, and MargaretnMead. So it makes great sense tonmark 1888 as the founding date ofnanthropology and folklore studies asnacademic disciplines in the UnitednStates.nThat first generation of Boasian anthropologistsnand folklorists saw asntheir duty a sort of “salvage operation”nconsisting of the collecting, recording,nand preserving (where possible) of thencultures of native American people.nSince it was clear by 1888 that modernizationnwas an irresistible force in thenevolution of society, these anthropologistsnand folklorists rushed into thenfield to preserve what they could of thenpremodern cultures close at hand,n]ay Mechling is professor and directornof American Studies at the Universitynof California, Davis. He is editor ofnWestern Folklore, the quarterlynjournal of the California FolklorenSociety.nmuch as a biologist might rush in tonsave a remaining few members of annendangered species. The turn of thencentury saw the creation of the greatncollections of American Indian artifactsnin museums, the publication ofnhundreds of monographs on AmericannIndian beliefs and customs, and evennthe use of “Indian Lore” as a pedagogicalntool in the programs of youthnorganizations like the Boy Scouts andnthe Campfire Girls. Still, it is onenthing to save the American bison, andnquite another to “save” the AmericannIndian.nTwo recent books remind us hownmuch those disciplines have changed.nWilliam Farr’s depiction of the Blackfeetnbelongs in the earlier period, admittedlyna “salvage operation” aimednat preserving the photographic recordnof the reservation experience fromn1882 to the end of World War II. Farrnassumes that the culture of the Blackfeetnof the 1880’s is gone, that what wenhave to learn from these photographsnis something of a lost world. AnastasiannnynShkilnyk’s study of an Ojibwa community,non the other hand, shares with anfew others a radically new goal for thenstudy of native Americans. We oughtnto understand the story of the destructionnof a Canadian Ojibwa community,nsays the author, not for what itnteaches us about the past or even aboutnthe Ojibwa, but for what it teaches usnabout our future.nThis announced goal raises somewhatndramatically the stakes ofnShkilnyk’s inquiry and permits us tonread her book not as a narrow study ofna tiny community, but as a critical testncase of the collision of tradition andnmodernity. The story of the Ojibwa ofnthe Grassy Narrows Indian Reservenraises timely and diificult questionsnabout tradition, meaning, and humannrights. These were questions raised innthe Constitutional Convention ofn1787, so the confluence in 1987-88 ofnan obscure centennial and a famousnbicentennial may not be so inappropriate,nafter all.nMoreover, juxtaposing the two stor-n