The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Book Reviews

topics and include biography, U.S. Indian policy and relations, and Indian rights
programs. Taking Indzan Lands is characteristic of the others: the research, the
organization, and the writing-style are commendable. The topic dates to the late
nineteenth century, and Hagan again shows a remarkable grasp of his topic.
The Cherokee Commission, which is better known as the Jerome Commission
for its chairman David Jerome, came into existence after the passage of the
Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887. The Dawes Act called for the allotment of
tribally held reservation land to individual Indian people, usually about 160
acres to each head of household and lesser amounts to other family members.
Once that was done, the remaining reservation lands-sometimes several mil-
lion acres-would be open to white settlers. The Cherokee Commission held re-
sponsibility for getting Indian groups in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to sign
agreements for allotment.
Hagan, using commission notes and minutes; diaries, letters, and journals
from the commissioners; Bureau of Indian Affairs reports; and related docu-
ments, including the Indian Claims Commission records from the 1950s and af-
terward, dug deep. He uncovered a lot. The story he weaves from the records is
decidedly one-sided in favor of the Native Americans, but in many ways, such as
commission fraud, Indian Bureau graft, and white intimidation, it is an all too
painfully familiar tale when it comes to U.S. Government-Indian relations. Indi-
an people, especially the Cherokees, he notes, possessed political skill but lacked
political clout. They could not even get the government to live up to its treaties
and earlier agreements.
If Hagan is correct, and I think he is, the federal government's stubborn and
arrogant position is disgusting and bizarre. Think about it. The government
through the Cherokee Commission came uninvited to Indian homelands and
demanded (rather than asked) that Native Americans sell large portions of their
property. Moreover, the government set the price-an artificially low price at
that. Most Indian people had no interest in disposing of the land. But the gov-
ernment's commissioners threatened Indian leaders, ignored Indian logic and
arguments, and hired government-friendly attorneys to represent the tribes with
the idea that the lawyers would convince Native Americans to sell. Unbelievably,
the lawyers got paid at rates that individual Indian income from the sale of the
land could never reach. Plus, the Indians had to pay the attorneys. In detail, Ha-
gan explains how the commission moved through and dealt with the many tribes
that held reservations in Indian Territory.
The whole process seems alien and contemptible. No wonder modern Indian
leaders remain angry.
Texas Tech Unzversity Paul H. Carlson
Great Chiefs. By Tony Hollihan. (2 vols.; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Folklore
Publishing, 2002. Vol. 1: Pp. 320; Vol. 2: Pp. 320o. Maps, illustrations, notes
on sources. Vol. 1 ISBN: 1-894864-03-4, $10.95, paper; Vol. 2 ISBN: 1-
89468-07-7, $10.95, paper.)
Over the past few decades, tribal histories have dominated the increasingly
sophisticated field of Native American scholarship. Historians have tended to

619

2004

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed November 23, 2014.