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

Book Reviews

within the context of the period and the dictates of the Indian Service. While
the Beckers strove to bring Christianity to the Comanches, the Indians them-
selves became more acculturated concomitant with their participation within the
Mennonite mission. Moreover, Kroeker points out that since they were immi-
grants "who themselves experienced Americanization pressure, the Beckers had
some understanding of what the Indians were going through" (p. 138) and did
not try to completely destroy all vestiges of Comanche culture. The Comanche
and Hispanic congregation accepted the leadership of the Beckers and came to
see the missionaries as active members of the community. In the 1950s the fed-
eral government adopted a policy of termination, and the Mennonite Brethren
church decided to end the mission status of Post Oak, yet Comanche and
Mexican American parishioners made the successful transition from mission sta-
tus to an autonomous church in 1960.
Kroeker's work has many commendable aspects. If some find his occasional
trend toward hagiography bothersome, they cannot overlook the importance of
the work in revealing the Americanization of Native Americans, and how the
Comanche adapted Christianity to their own culture.
Texas Tech University GENE B. PREUSS
Satanta: The Life and Death of a War Chief. By Charles M. Robinson III. (Austin:
State House Press, 1998. Pp. xix+235. Illustrations, foreword, acknowledg-
ments, introduction, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-880510-55-3.
$27.95, cloth).
Near the close of Larry McMurtry's novel Lonesome Dove, the notorious fiction-
al desperado Blue Duck leaps to his death from an upper-story window of a New
Mexico jail. The Kiowa war-chief White Bear, even more notorious in his time,
actually did leap to his death from an upper-story window of the Texas State
Penitentiary in October 1878.
White Bear, commonly called Satanta, has been the model for numerous fic-
tional portraits of Native American plains warriors. Some of them have been
named Satanta. In this recently published biography, Charles M. Robinson III
seeks to sort out the legend, the fact and the misinformation that surrounded
Satanta during his life and have grown over the past 120 years.
Robinson introduces his search saying, "Somewhere, amid these portrayals, is
a man" (p. xix). His effort to discover the Kiowa war-chief among these conflict-
ing portrayals is successful. He lets us know the man and much of the reason he
became the foundation of a legend.
The early lives of even the most well known nineteenth-century Native
Americans are not accessible by reference to written records. Robinson turns to
the oral traditions of the Kiowa people to move his comments on Satanta's early
life beyond conjecture. His conversation and correspondence with these descen-
dants of Satanta and his people undergird much of the narrative.
In his early chapters Robinson relates the life and times of the Kiowa during
the Civil War and Reconstruction. It was during these years that Satanta came to

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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 23, 2014.