The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 332
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from Texas A&M
ELENA ZAMORA O'SHEA
WITH NEW INTRODUCTIONS BY LETICIA M. GARZA-FALCON
AND ANDRES TIJERINA
In 1930s Texas, neither Tejanos nor women had much voice. But
Elena Zamora O'Shea (1880-1951), a descendant of one of the old
Spanish land-grant families in South Texas, found an ingenious way to
publish her region's history and help Mexican Americans know their
proud heritage. In ElMesquite, first published in 1935 and long out of
print, O'Shea tells her story from the perspective of an ancient mesquite
tree, under whose branches much history has passed.
Through the voice of the gnarled old tree, O'Shea tells South Texas
pohtical and ethnographic history filled with details of daily life such as
songs, local plants and folk medicines, foods and recipes, relationships
between landowners and settlers, and the Tejano ranch vocabulary. In
doing so, O'Shea raises issues of culture, discrimination, and prejudice she
could not have addressed in her own voice in that day. "... the mesquite
narratively guides us through a considerable amount of Texas history...
engaging, lively at moments, serious at others and well-written."-Jos6 E.
Lim6n. $27.95 cloth; $15.95 paper
The Wichita Indians
Traders of Texas and the Southern Plains, 1540-1845
1 When two Wichita traders first encountered Europeans visiting the
Pecos Pueblo in 1540, the Wichita tribes dominated the Southern Plains
area, which stretched from Kansas to Central Texas. In the three centuries
that followed, the Wichitas would be forced to negotiate with competi-
tors, both European and Indian, for land, resources, trade, and their very
The Wichita Indians presents a thorough narrative of these bands from
their first contact with Europeans until 1845, when the United States
annexed Texas. Smith provides background information on the Wichita
Indians' provenance-the separate tribes ofTaovayas, Tawakonis, Kichais,
Wacos, and other bands whose shared language and culture united them for
survival when external pressures increased. Offering detailed descriptions of
their battles, negotiations, trading practices, and survival strategies, Smith
traces the Wichitas' struggles to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances
and defend themselves from encroaching tribes and white settlers. $32.95
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/384/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.