Despite the range of topics, the essays are bound together by an underlying
perspective on the study of the changing lifeways of the Plains tribes in the eigh-
teenth and nineteenth centuries: Simplistic and reductionist views of both
Indian and white culture/society will offer little real insight into native
Americans as peoples, and Indian responses to white incursions should be exam-
ined within the context of actual native cultural traditions. Ewers clearly shows,
for example, that the conflicts between Indians and whites were in part an exten-
sion of a tradition of intertribal warfare rooted in prehistory and operative at the
time of earliest Indian-Euroamerican contact; to see the conflicts between
Indians and whites as solely a reaction to white expansion is to ignore the long-
established role of warfare in native society.
Ewers's essays thus highlight, in readily accessible prose, the importance of
understanding how tradition influenced patterns of culture change. The book
is, therefore, a valuable resource for readers concerned with the processes
underlying the emergence of modern conditions of Indian life in the American
West, in addition to being a good general sourcebook on important aspects of
Plains Indian culture.
University of Texas at Austin ROBERT A. RICKxis
Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest and Northern Mexico. Edited by
Thomas E. Sheridan and Nancy J. Parezo. (Tucson: University of Arizona
Press, 1997. Pp. xxxv+298. List of plates, list of figures, foreword, introduc-
tion, references and suggested readings, contributors, plate and figure cred-
its, index. ISBN 0-8165-1466-6. $17.95, paper.)
This wonderfully edited volume celebrates the loo-year anniversary of the
founding of the Arizona State Museum. Endeavoring to tell "the story of the
American Indian peoples of the region in a totally new, historically accurate,
and culturally sensitive way," this work succeeds in its task (p. xvii).
Highlighting fifteen tribes in Arizona and northern Mexico, the volume illus-
trates tribal ethnology, culture, history, and art. The book introduces tribes
with a short overview, after which "sidebars" of two to three articles follow.
These topical treatises describe masks, basketweaving techniques, games, cre-
ation stories, as well as the impact of environment, railroads, and tourism on
select tribes, illustrating their ability to retain culture and tradition regardless
of the vast changes around them.
The editors carefully included both struggles and triumphs so as not to por-
tray tribes as victims. The editors included the emergence and pre-contact
lifestyles of the tribes to their twentieth-century economic, social, and political
survival. Stories of recent Native American fights for land and water resources
and economic frustrations give Paths of Life a more complete view of Native
The most impressive aspect, however, is the inclusion of spectacular visual
images of Native American daily life in both "traditional" and "modern" settings.
Color plates of baskets, paintings, weavings, and war shields from the museum
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 April 28, 2015.