Johansen, Bruce E. 1950-
Johansen, Bruce E. 1950-
(Bruce Elliott Johansen)
PERSONAL: Born January 30, 1950, in San Diego, CA; son of Julian (a Coast Guard officer) and Hazel Elizabeth (Rees) Elliott. Education: University of Washington, Seattle, B.A., 1972, Ph.D., 1979; University of Minnesota, M.A., 1975.
ADDRESSES: Office—Arts & Sciences Hall, Room 107V, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182-0013. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, journalist, and educator. Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, intern, summers, 1970–71, copy editor, 1972, general assignment reporter, 1972–73, environmental and energy reporter, 1973–74, general assignment reporter, 1975–76; University of Washington, Seattle, instructor in communications, 1978–79; El Centro de la Raza, Seattle, director of grant administration, 1980–81; University of Nebraska, Omaha, 1982–, began as assistant professor, became professor of communications and Native American studies. Photographic work exhibited in Norway; consultant to Ford Foundation, Quinault Nation of Indians, and Washington Commission for the Humanities.
MEMBER: Sigma Delta Chi.
AWARDS, HONORS: First prize from Sigma Delta Chi, 1974, for study of resource scarcity in the state of Washington; nominated for Woodson Book Award from National Council on Social Studies, 1983, for best book on American ethnicity for young people.
(With Roberto F. Maestas) Wasi' chu: The Continuing Indian Wars, Monthly Review Press (New York, NY), 1979.
(With Maestas) El Pueblo: The Gallegos Family's American Journey, 1503–1980, Monthly Review Press (New York, NY), 1983.
Life and Death in Mohawk Country, North American Press (Golden, CO), 1993.
(With Grinde) Ecocide of Native America: Environmental Destruction of Indian Lands and People, Clear Light (Santa Fe, NM), 1995.
(Compiler) Native American Political Systems and the Evolution of Democracy: An Annotated Bibliography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.
So Far from Home: Manila's Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1942–1945, PBI Press (Omaha, NE), 1996.
(With Grinde) The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller, Holt (New York, NY), 1997.
Debating Democracy: Native American Legacy of Freedom, Clear Light (Sante Fe, NM), 1998.
(Editor) The Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1998.
(Editor) The Encyclopedia of Native American Economic History, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1999.
Native America and the Evolution of Democracy: A Supplementary Bibliography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1999.
(Editor, with Barbara Alice Mann) Encyclopedia of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy), Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2000.
Shapers of the Great Debate on Native Americans—Land, Spirit, and Power: A Biographical Dictionary, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2000.
The Global Warming Desk Reference, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2002.
Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues: An Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2003.
The Dirty Dozen: Toxic Chemicals and the Earth's Future, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2003.
(Editor) Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies, Praeger (West-port, CT), 2004.
The Native Peoples of North America: A History (two volumes), Praeger (Westport, CT), 2005.
Global Warming in the 21st Century, Praeger (West-port, CT), 2006.
Contributor to books, including Essential Sociology edited by Robert L. Ellis and Marcia J. Lipetz, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1979, and America's Energy: Reports from "The Nation" on One Hundred Years of Struggles for the Democratic Control of Our Resources, edited by Robert Engler, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1981. Contributor to periodicals, including Nation, Four Winds, View Northwest, and New Times. Writer for Associated Press and United Press International.
SIDELIGHTS: Bruce E. Johansen's Forgotten Founders: Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois, and the Rationale for the American Revolution proposes that British colonial Americans, namely Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were influenced by the culture of native Americans, especially the Iroquois. According to In These Times reviewer Harvey Wasserman: "What Bruce Johansen has done in his groundbreaking book … is demonstrate that the Indian culture in fact made a deep impression on key early American thinkers … who in turn integrated those ideas into the ideology of the American Revolution." Johansen also wanted to, in his own words, "demolish what remains of stereotypical assumptions that American Indians were somehow too simpleminded to engage in effective social and political organization." According to reviewers, Johansen accomplished what he set out to do with Forgotten Founders. In the Milwaukee Sentinel, Dorothy Austin wrote that the book "deserves a place in a collection of books on Indian history, and argues persuasively for recognition of the Indian contribution to early American democracy."
Johansen collaborated with Donald A. Grinde to write The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People from Powha-tan to Wilma Mankiller. Writing in the Reference & User Services Quarterly, Christina E. Carter noted that "this encyclopedia provides a look at a broad cross-section of native Americans from all endeavors." A contributor to Wild West wrote that "most readers will simply marvel at the amount of well-researched information about prominent and lesser-known Indian" personages.
In Shapers of the Great Debate on Native Americans—Land, Spirit, and Power: A Biographical Dictionary, the author focuses on "the ideological aspects of property as North America changed hands," according to Stephen H. Peters in the Library Journal. The book covers a wide range of historical figures, from Sitting Bull and Black Elk to famous American historical figures Benjamin Franklin and George Armstrong Custer.
Johansen provides a two-volume look at American Indian history in The Native Peoples of North America: A History. In the first volume, the author focuses on theories about Indian history prior to the arrival of Columbus on through the arrival of Europeans and the subsequent Westward expansion following the establishment of the United States. Volume two explores Native Americans in the twentieth century, including the rise of Native American activism and life on modern-day Indian reservations. Deborah Donovan, writing in Booklist, commented that "these two volumes will undoubtedly become an integral part of Native American history." A Bookwatch contributor called the two volumes "expertly compiled" and "definitive."
Johansen has also written on environmental issues. His The Global Warming Desk Reference is designed for students wishing to do undergraduate research work. Among the topics discussed are current scientific thoughts about global warming, skeptics' views of the problem, and the potential effects on Earth. "The text is blessedly clear, readable, and comprehensible," wrote Cindy Stewart Kaag in the Reference & User Services Quarterly. Johansen also wrote The Dirty Dozen: Toxic Chemicals and the Earth's Future, which discusses the twelve most commonly used persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The author relates the historical use of these compounds in agriculture and industry and their harmful effects, such as cancer and birth defects. Writing in the Library Journal, Irwin Weintraub commented that "this alarming expose will knock your socks off." Johansen combines his interest in Native Americans and the environment with his book Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues: An Encyclopedia. This time however, the author also discusses natives of such lands as Australia, Burma, Tibet, and Zambia. A Booklist contributor wrote that "the purpose of this work is to describe foreign intrusions (usually destructive) and their effects on indigenous peoples and their environment."
Johansen once told CA: "I came to focus on American Indians and Chicanos largely because of friendships developed while working for the Seattle Times as a reporter. The strongest of these friendships was (and continues to be) with Roberto F. Maestas, my coauthor. During the early 1970s, I covered several stories for the Times on American Indian rights and Chicano political events, including migrant workers in the Yakima Valley and undocumented workers. 'Sources' quickly became friends, and literary partners.
"As a writer, I owe a debt to many other writers, among them Ray Bradbury, for his style, John Reed, for his sense of adventure and social commitment, Malcolm X, for the artistry of his rage, and Benjamin Franklin, for his sagacity, as well as Thomas Jefferson, for his rage.
"I began writing, purely and simply, to express myself. I began to stutter at about age twelve and shortly thereafter found writing to be my most effective mode of communication. I have lived with the stutter (and while I have learned from it, I have never loved it). It's still very noticeable, but it does not seem to get between me and my students.
"When do I write? Usually whenever I can muscle an hour or two in between more pressing business. Time of day does not matter. Of late, it is only during the summer that I am able to make a vocation of writing: I write during the late morning and early afternoon. Between books and articles, I keep my fingers warm with a daily journal and with correspondence.
"As a writer, and a teacher of writing and editing, my first advice to students is—read. You are, intellectually, what you read. A lazy reader is a lazy writer."
Johansen more recently told CA: "Today my influences are various—I still read a lot of science fiction (Robert Silverberg and Isaac Asimov are two of many favorites). In the realm of nonfiction, I scan at least four daily newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Omaha World-Herald); if I was to pick out one regular name from these, it would be Paul Krugman. I subscribe to several magazines. I also write for the Progressive on a regular basis, and had the honor of hosting its editor, Matthew Rothschild, in Omaha, during 2006, for a talk on the case for impeachment of President George W. Bush.
"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer? Many things over the last 45 years, but two that stand out have been the influence of the Iroquois on democracy and the science that describes the dangerous nature of global warming. My list of books describes where I have spent a good part of my life. Left unmentioned are a number of magazine pieces written after visits to interesting places—post-communist Poland, for example, where I lectured during 2005, and the effect of global warming on Inuit hunters in the Arctic. These (and others) taught me a lot.
"What kind of effect do I hope my work will have? I am old enough to know that the world will not stop because I have written a book. However, I do hope that my work will serve a social purpose in that it may provoke some people to discuss important issues."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Johansen, Bruce E., Forgotten Founders: Benjamin Franklin, the Iroquois, and the Rationale for the American Revolution, Gambit (Ipswich, MA), 1982.
Atlantic Monthly, February, 1983, review of Forgotten Founders, p. 105.
Booklist, July, 2000, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of Shapers of the Great Debate on Native Americans—Land, Spirit, and Power; A Biograph-cal Dictionary, p. 2061; May 15, 2004, review of Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues: An Encyclopedia, p. 1660; August, 2005, Deborah Donovan, review of The Native Peoples of North America: A History, p. 1987.
Bookwatch, September, 2005, review of The Native Peoples of North America.
Choice, March, 1983, review of Forgotten Founders, p. 1052.
Environment, September, 2003, Anthony Leiserowitz, review of The Global Warming Desk Reference, p. 41.
In These Times, May 4-10, 1983, Harvey Wasserman, review of Forgotten Founders.
Library Journal, March 15, 2000, Stephen H. Peters, review of Shapers of the Great Debate on Native Americans, p. 104; August, 2003, Irwin Weintraub, review of The Dirty Dozen: Toxic Chemicals and the Earth's Future, p. 124; September 1, 2004, John Burch, review of Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies, p. 168.
Los Angeles Times, December 21, 1982, Michael Parfit, review of Forgotten Founders, p. 34.
Milwaukee Sentinel, March 4, 1983, Dorothy Austin, review of Forgotten Founders.
Reference & User Services Quarterly, fall, 1997, Christina E. Carter, review of The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller, p. 88; summer, 2003, Cindy Stewart Kaag, review of The Global Warming Desk Reference, p. 367; August, 2005, review of The Native Peoples of North America, p. 57.
Wild West, April, 1999, review of The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography, p. 70.