The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains
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.
Subjects: History, Sociology
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