The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

This book is meticulously researched and well written. The author has
examined pertinent scholarly literature from the fields of church history
and race relations and has seemingly plumbed a bottomless pit of sermons,
tracts, proceedings, and periodicals. But the volume leaves unanswered some
important questions about relations between the South's racial and religious
institutions. For example, were clergymen who supported first slavery and
then segregation shaping or following public opinion? Smith suggests the
former, but does not overcome evidence to the contrary. The analysis of
ideas and public statements of prominent clergymen reveals little about the
changing social role of the southern clergy between 178o and I9Io and
inadequately conveys the attitudes of local preachers and laymen.
Nevertheless, In His Image, But . . . is an important book which as-
sembles an impressive array of evidence on a significant topic, evidence
which generally reinforces existing interpretations of the subject. Given Pro-
fessor Smith's conviction that "racism from the Christian standpoint is a
response that violates the equalitarian principle implied in the biblical doc-
trine of the imago Dei" (p. viii), the story is an almost unrelieved tragedy.
Georgia Institute of Technology ROBERT C. MCMATH, JR.
The Sun Dance Religion: Power for the Powerless. By Joseph G. Jorgensen.
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972. Pp. x+360. Illustra-
tions, appendix, bibliography, index. $2o.)
This is one of the best books yet published about the Sun Dance. It
should be noted at the outset, however, that its title is somewhat misleading.
It pertains to that redemptive religious movement only as it was practiced
by the Ute and Shoshone Indians of Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado,
and not to the practices of the more classic tribes of the Great Plains.
The Sun Dance, in Jorgensen's words, "was the grandest of all the aborig-
inal religious ceremonies performed by Plains tribes" during the late-eight-
eenth to mid-nineteenth centuries. It consisted of complex group ceremonies
and mythology whose purpose was to insure personal and societal success in
hunting, especially for buffalo. The Sun Dance movement did not come to
the Utes and most Shoshone tribes, however, until about 189o, and then for
quite different reasons than those for which it had served Indians of the
central plains. For the Shoshoneans it functioned largely as an escape from
the individual stresses of early reservation life and for the promotion of the
general well-being of the people.
The author, an anthropologist at the University of Michigan, grew up in
Utah and has had many years of contact with the peoples of whom he

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/. Accessed October 26, 2014.