The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

In this sequel to The Caddo Indians: Tribes at the Convergence of Empires,
1542-1854, F. Todd Smith continues his study of the Caddoan tribes, who origi-
nally occupied a large portion of East Texas, and their linguistic relatives the
Wichitas, who migrated to Texas from the Arkansas River basin in the mid-eigh-
teenth century. This book picks up the story of these tribes in 1846 when Texas
joined the Union and turned its Indian problems over to the U.S. government.
Smith traces the numerous relocations of the tribes from the short-lived Brazos
Reserve in Texas to their final home on a reservation in western Indian
Territory. The Caddos and Wichitas had barely begun to establish homes on
their new reservation when the Civil War forced them to flee to Kansas. After
five years in Kansas, they returned to face new problems on the reservation. The
rival Comanches and Kiowas were settled near the Caddos and Wichitas, causing
fear and apprehension. The reservation land proved to be too dry to support
agriculture, and the tribes, who had traditionally been sedentary farmers, were
forced to take up stock-raising. In i901 the reservation land was broken up and
allotted to individuals under terms of the Dawes Act, passed by Congress in
1887. The allotment process left most Caddos and Wichitas with insufficient
land for ranching while thousands of acres of surplus reservation land were sold
to white settlers. Smith contends that the Dawes Act and its disastrous impact on
the Caddos and Wichitas demonstrate that the true goal of government Indian
policy was land rather than assimilation.
Smith's study focuses on the strength and resilience of the Caddoan people,
who managed to maintain their tribal identity despite numerous relocations and
forced cultural adaptations. Smith has skillfully integrated primary and sec-
ondary sources to create a well-researched and readable account of the Caddo
and Wichita reservation experience.
University of North Texas CAROL A. LIPSCOMB
Plains Indian History and Culture: Essays on Continuity and Change. By John C.
Ewers. Foreword by William T. Hagan. (Norman: University of Oklahoma
Press, 1997. Pp. xxiii+272. Foreword, preface, illustrations, maps, tables,
notes, references, index. ISBN 0-8061-2862-3. $29.95, cloth.)
The twelve papers in this book, representing part of John C. Ewers's exten-
sive ethnohistorical research, are topically diverse. While a couple of the essays
focus on specific expressions of material culture (e.g., women's dress), most
look at broader questions of Indian-white interaction and acculturation of
native groups. The book includes well-documented discussions of such issues
as how Indians initially perceived Euroamericans, the influence of the fur
trade on northern Plains Indian lifeways, the nature of intertribal warfare, how
Euroamerican political authorities gained Indian allegiances by proffering
symbols of authority on selected Indian leaders, and the effects of Old World
epidemic diseases on the populations and cultures of Indian groups in the
Texas area.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed December 24, 2014.