The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains

The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains

Loretta Fowler
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 312
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    The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains
    Book Description:

    Plains Indians have long occupied a special place in the American imagination. Both the historical reality of such evocative figures and events as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Sacajewea, and the Battle of Little Bighorn and the lived reality of Native Americans today are often confused and conflated with popular representations of Indians in movies, paintings, novels, and on television. Ingrained stereotypes and cultural misconceptions born of late nineteenth-- and early twentieth--century images of the romantic nomad and the marauding savage have been surprisingly tenacious, obscuring the extraordinary cultural and linguistic diversity of the dozens of tribes and nations who have peopled the Great Plains. Here in one volume is an indispensable guide to the extensive ethnohistorical research that, in recent decades, has recovered the varied and often unexpected history of Comanche, Cheyenne, Osage, and Sioux Indians, to name only a few of the tribal groups included. From the earliest archaeological evidence to the current experience of Indians living on and off reservations, a wealth of information is presented in a clear and accessible way.

    The history of the Plains Indians has been a dynamic one of continuous change and adaptation as groups split and recombined to form new social orders and cultural traditions. Contact with Europeans and the introduction of trade in horses, slaves, furs, and guns dramatically altered native societies internally and influenced relations between different groups. In the face of pressures resulting from America's westward expansion throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries -- the extinction of the bison, the imposition of reservation life, and the assimilationist policies of the U.S. federal government -- the native peoples of the Great Plains have struggled to preserve their distinct cultures and reorient themselves to a new world on their own terms.

    The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains is divided into four parts. Part I presents an overview of the cultures and histories of Plains Indian people and surveys the key scholarly questions and debates that shape this field. Part II serves as an encyclopedia, alphabetically listing important individuals and places of significant cultural or historic meaning. Part III is a chronology of the major events in the history of American Indians in the Plains. The expertly selected resources guide in Part IV includes annotated bibliographies, museum and tribal Internet sites, and films that can be easily accessed by those wishing to learn more.

    The third in a six-volume reference series, The Columbia Guides to American Indian History and Culture, The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains is an invaluable resource for students, teachers, and researchers.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50737-0
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    • CHAPTER 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-16)

      The Great Plains is a land of sun, wind, and grass stretching 1,500 miles north to south from the Prairie Provinces of Canada to west central Texas and about 1,000 miles east from the base of the Rocky Mountains. Regions within the Plains vary in environmental conditions to the extent that five areas can be identified: the Southern Plains (today, roughly far eastern New Mexico, north central Texas, and west central Oklahoma); the Central Plains (roughly eastern Colorado, Kansas, far western Missouri, Nebraska, and far western Iowa); the Middle Missouri (roughly west central North and South Dakota); the Northeastern Periphery...

    • CHAPTER 2 Encounters with Europeans: Trade Relations
      (pp. 17-43)

      The Spanish entered the Plains in the mid-sixteenth century, and the French and the British followed. Impelled by nationalism and a desire for profit, all three competed for Indian trade and slaves. On the Southern Plains, Spain and France established trading posts; on the lower Missouri River, French traders competed with Spanish interests, as well as British traders who entered the Illinois country from their base in Carolina. On the Northern Plains, French and British traders from Canada vied for the native hunters’ furs. Guns sold by the French and the British, as well as the incorporation of horses brought...

    • CHAPTER 3 American Expansion: Trade and Treaties
      (pp. 44-84)

      The acquisition of Louisiana by the United States in 1803 paved the way for American expansion westward. American traders pushed west of the Missouri River and, without European rivals, had the edge in bargaining with native hunters. The settlers who followed the traders in the 1840s did not become kinsmen and partners in commercial enterprise, as had their predecessors. They viewed Indians as alien impediments to the settlement of the west. The farming peoples in the tall-grass prairie region felt the brunt of the entry of settlers and of immigrant Indians driven from their homes east of the Missouri River....

    • CHAPTER 4 Reservation Life: 1880s–1933
      (pp. 85-114)

      In 1897 two Northern Cheyennes, Spotted Hawk and Little Whirlwind, were tried for murder in a Montana court. Scapegoats for settler antagonism and racism, the men were convicted, despite the fact that their innocence had been established and their families had offered to pay damages to the family of the deceased rancher. This case figured importantly in the establishment of a land base for the Northern Cheyenne and, as we shall see, it illustrates many of the trends of the reservation era. In the 1880s and 1890s, the Plains peoples struggled to demonstrate some level of commitment to assimilation in...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Self-Determination Era
      (pp. 115-138)

      Upon the election of Franklin Roosevelt to the presidency in 1932, there was an abrupt change in Indian policy. The assimilation program was abandoned and, instead, the new director of the Indian Office or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (hereafter, BIA), John Collier, attempted to rebuild the economies of Indian communities and to encourage the perpetuation of Indian customs and values. Collier, one of the reformers of the 1920s who criticized the Bureau of Indian Affairs, served as director from 1933 to 1945. He hoped to use federal funds to purchase heirship, fee patent, and ceded lands and restore them...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
  5. Part II People, Places, and Events
    (pp. 139-190)

    age-graded societies A few Plains peoples had groups that undertook ceremonial and/or martial activities whose members were approximately the same age. Teenage youths were drawn from all the families and bands and initiated at the same time into the lowest ranking society. As they aged they moved up the series of societies, gaining more important ceremonial knowledge and social responsibility. By the time they were elderly they would have progressed through the entire series. At any one time, ideally, all the men in a community would belong to one of the age-graded societies and the older societies would have authority...

  6. Part III Chronology
    (pp. 191-208)

    12,000–16,000 B.P.

    Humans enter the Great Plains.

    11,500 B.P.

    Clovis technology used by big game hunters in the Plains region.

    11,000 B.P.

    Folsom technology used by big game hunters in the Plains region.

    7,600–2,000 B.P.

    Archaic or foraging tradition spreads throughout the Plains in response to climatic conditions.

    6,500–4,500 B.P.

    Modern species of bison evolves.

    2,250–1,000 B.P.

    Plains Woodland tradition develops in some regions, influenced by Eastern Woodlands developments, including some domestication of plants, pottery, and mound-building.

    900 A.D.

    Plains Village tradition of sedentary farming villages appears along streams; includes the introduction of domesticated corn and...

  7. Part IV Resources
    (pp. 209-264)
  8. Index
    (pp. 265-284)