The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 191
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In the thicket, the struggle of a new life to begin has left the fifteen year old
mother-to-be on the edge of exhaustion. Her sister strokes her hair and offers
soothing words but the labor is long and no progress is apparent.
The women have come and gone all night long, offering up their advice
from experience and such potions as they could call to mind.
As the sun comes up, the situation in the brush is critical. The baby is too
large and ideas are no longer coming. (p. 35)
As if the narrative does not evoke a clear enough picture, the accom-
panying drawing of two women helping the younger one does. Such is
the strength of this book.
The text, however, which is drawn mostly from other general works,
tends to suffer from lack of depth. Although no serious errors seem to
be repeated, the information has the feel of having been recycled.
Much of the text could easily be a naive distillation of William W.
Newcomb's The Indians of Texas (1961). Shaw's afterword comes directly
from John Davis's Exploration in Texas (1984).
There are some specific difficulties in some of the narratives. After
the death of the Coahuiltecan woman in childbirth, the text describes
her burial: "They"ll lay here with the bones of others of their kind,
their heads pointed east, their feet pointed west, in the old way" (p. 41).
Excavations in South Texas reveal, despite persistent myths to the con-
trary, that bodies were not interred with orientation to the cardinal
Perhaps the most blatant error occurs on pages 6o and 61, where a
two-page drawing shows a mission in San Antonio bustling with ac-
tivity. The accompanying text discusses daily events in October, 1743.
The mission, however, is shown in its early nineteenth-century con-
figuration. It was not until the late eighteenth century that the style of
the missions became what is so immediately recognizable as Spanish
Somewhat misleading is the characterization of Caddo xinesis as
"shaman-priests" and the caddices as "chiefs" on page 65. Actually, these
titles were rank-ordered within Caddoan society. On page 70, the Cad-
dos are found to be electing their officials. I often use the fact that
Caddoan social and political organization was fundamentally, under-
standable and compatible with European organization as a point in dis-
cussing their success in surviving between the growing French and
Spanish influences. The similarities, however, did not extend to popu-
lar elections as we know them.
Reagan Bradshaw's photo essay of contemporary Indians fares much
better. There is an air of firsthand experience here. Photos of contem-
porary leaders such as Ray Apodaca, David Alcoze, Frank McLemore,
and others are deftly mixed with photos of Kickapoo tribal lands and
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/218/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.