The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

4,600 acres in size. The author emphasizes that the most serious damage done
to the tribe since the mid-nineteenth century has been the virtual extinction of
its traditional culture, including its Muskohegan language. He identifies misce-
genation and emigration by tribal members as partly responsible for this devel-
opment, but places most of the blame on government policies and the influence
of Presbyterian missionaries. The author has, indeed, little good to say about
Presbyterianism among the Alabama-Coushattas. He repeatedly indicts the mis-
sionaries for breaking down the Indians' sense of identity as members of a dis-
crete community and declares flatly that "Every facet of life, including health,
education, and religion, was addressed by missionaries [who promoted] the cul-
tural value of individual aggrandizement and accomplishment" (p. 49).
The latter part of the book, which chronicles more recent tribal efforts to re-
gain some measure of self-government and to recover its shattered cultural lega-
cy, is cautiously optimistic. Hook shows how the group has been most successful
in this respect by promoting ethnogenesis, that is, by appropriating elements of
other Native American cultures, partly by participating in intertribal powwows.
The tribe has also attempted, in the process termed regenesis, to recreate or pre-
serve surviving elements of its own heritage, but with more modest success.
Ethnogenesis and regenesis are, indeed, among the central themes of this
monograph. Its coverage of Alabama-Coushatta history is brief but adequate to
Hook's principal concern: to trace the decline and tentative recovery of a tradi-
tional tribal culture under the impact of Euro-American civilization. It is based
on a rich collection of interviews with members of the tribe as well as on a fair
sampling of secondary sources. Howard N. Martin's article on the Alabama-
Coushattas in the New Handbook of Texas (Austin: Texas State Historical Associa-
tion, 1996, vol. I, pp. 77-81) was apparently not available to the author when
this study was published.
Southwest Missouri State University DAVID B. ADAMS
The White Scourge: Mexzcans, Blacks, and Poor Whztes in Texas Cotton Culture. By Neil
Foley. (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1997.
Pp. xvi+326. List of illustrations, preface and acknowledgments, introduc-
tion, conclusion, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-520-20723-8. $29.95,
cloth).
Adding to a growing body of literature on racial identity in American history,
Neil Foley has produced a highly sophisticated study of the construction and
meaning of whiteness in the cotton culture of Central Texas from 1836 through
the Great Depression. This award-winning, richly illustrated book provides a por-
trait of a tri-racial borderlands where ethno-racial identity was much more com-
plex and dynamic than suggested by traditional categories of "Anglo," "Black," and
"Mexican." Foley uses archival materials, government reports, newspapers, and in-
terviews to demonstrate that because of the interactions of race, gender, and class
among sharecroppers and tenant farmers, even poor whites might be kicked out
of the "whiteness club" (p. 7) if they failed to climb the agricultural ladder.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed August 29, 2014.