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August 27, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

NATIVE HERITAGE: Personal Accounts by American Indians From 1790 to the Present edited by Arlene Hirschfelder (Macmillan: $15; 298 pp., paperback original). This collection of excerpts from oral histories and autobiographies demolishes the popular image of a monolithic Native American culture that was stoic, ecological and humorless. Reuben Snake Jr. (Winnebago) discusses the need to remain aware of the beauties of creation at all times. Writing with acerbic humor, Rayna Green (Cherokee) announces plans for a "Museum of the Plains White Person" ("We have just acquired the bones of John Wayne"). James R. Gooden (Inupiaq) recalls the cruel discrimination he experienced in government schools--and the rewards of finding a caring teacher.

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