Free Community Book Club and Discussion with Author

Featuring Playing Indian by Philip J. Deloria


Members of the community are invited to participate in One Book, One Community, a free community book club hosted by The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) in partnership with the public library systems of Licking County. This year’s book selection is Playing Indian by Philip J. Deloria. A virtual discussion with the author will be held on Monday, October 11, at 3 p.m. 

Complimentary copies of the book are available to the first 100 registrants who reside in Licking County. Participants may pick up a book at any public library in Licking County or request that a copy be mailed to their home address. A limited number of free e-books and e-audio books are available to download through any of the public libraries in Licking County. Register to attend this virtual event at any public library in Licking County or contact Laura Walsh at 740.364.9514 or

Book Cover Image with title Playing Indian. Clouds in background with image of Native American wearing a feather headdress at forefront.

Playing Indian explores how white Americans have used their ideas about Native Americans to shape national identity in different eras — and how Indian people have reacted to these imitations of their native dress, language and ritual. The Boston Tea Party, the Order of Red Men, Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts and Grateful Dead concerts are just a few examples of white Americans’ tendency to appropriate Indian dress and act out Indian roles.  

Deloria suggests that imagining Indians has helped generations of white Americans define, mask and evade paradoxes stemming from the simultaneous construction and destruction of these native peoples. In the process, Americans have created powerful identities that have never been fully secure.

Older Caucasian male with gray hair wearing a blue and white striped shirt smiling at camera

Deloria is a professor of history at Harvard University, where his research and teaching focus on the social, cultural and political histories of the relations among American Indian peoples and the United States, as well as the comparative and connective histories of indigenous peoples in a global context. He is also a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where he chairs the Repatriation Committee. Along with Erika Doss, he is the series editor of CultureAmerica, a University Press of Kansas series focused on American cultural history. 

One Book, One Community is made possible through the Melissa Warner Bow endowed fund. The Licking County Foundation, United Way of Licking County, The Energy Cooperative Operation Round Up Foundation and Park National Bank are also sponsoring the event.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor’s degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.