The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

another's cattle and settlements, and the Civil War led to tribes signing conflict-
ing treaties with Federal and Confederate forces.
The Comanches in Kavanagh's work emerge as complex individuals who ad-
justed their political and social structures to meet the demands caused by
swelling Euroamerican settlement in the Comancherfa, declining territory, esca-
lating competition for limited game, and increasing opportunity for, and depen-
dence upon, trade. He explains that tribal chiefs often faced conflicts from
within and without the tribes. Chiefs strove to balance between young warriors
who sought to build a power base through raiding and Euroamericans who de-
manded an end to the raids. Raiding was not for prestige alone, he points out.
"Comanche cattle raids into Texas were inspired as much by the possibility of
commercial transactions as by the desire to establish a war record," (p. 470) and
complicated by the Texans' insistence upon regarding Kiowas and Comanches
as the same people.
The book is a historical encyclopedia of Comanche diplomacy. Numerous ta-
bles facilitate an understanding of the various tribal ethnonyms, number and
types of gifts exchanged, leaders and chiefs, status hierarchy at various councils,
lists of captives, and more. No student of Southwest Native American history
should overlook this book for its facts, figures, and the contribution toward mak-
ing Comanche history more three-dimensional.
Texas Tech University GENE B. PREUSS
The Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-Seeking People. By Kenneth W. Porter.
(Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996. Pp. xi+284. Preface, illustra-
tions, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8130-1451-4. $29.95, cloth.)
In the 193os, Kenneth W. Porter began what would prove to be his life's work:
a history of the black Seminoles, a little-known people whose origins date back
to the early 18oos when small groups of fugitive slaves living in Florida joined
the Seminole Indians, and whose descendents now live primarily in Texas. In
the early 1940s, Porter visited Brackettville and Del Rio, Texas, as well as
Nacimiento, Coahuila, where most of the black Seminoles then lived. A number
of those who had served as army scouts were still living, as were others who had
been children both in Mexico and at Fort Clark during the Indian Wars. In all,
he interviewed some twenty-six individuals of black Seminole descent, many of
whom had known Chief John Horse. Porter died in 1981, before his work could
be published.
With the consent of Porter's widow, Alcione M. Amos and Thomas P. Senter
edited the manuscript and updated the history with research of their own. The
result is a book that finally makes available Porter's life-long research. In it the
fortunes and exploits of the black Seminoles are traced as they moved across the
country. Porter examines their role in the bloody Second Seminole War, when
John Horse and his men distinguished themselves as fierce warriors, and their
forced removal from Florida to the Oklahoma Indian territory in the 184os.

1997

517

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed July 13, 2014.