The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 534
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
author argues, have proposed that from early contact the Indians suffered terri-
bly from disease and warfare, never really recovered, and eventually became
wholly dependent upon European goods. Anderson, however, introduces the
concept of "ethnogenesis" to explain how the natives of the Southwest adapted
to the European intrusion and were able to maintain possession of a political
economy that preceded initial contact and remained outside the invaders' con-
trol until the mid-nineteenth century. Rather than be passive pawns of the
Europeans, Anderson persuasively argues that the various Indian groups "altered
themselves culturally to forge unity with other groups, abandoning languages,
social practices, and even economic processes to meet the need of the new
order" (p. 4). Almost all of the Indians of the region experience ethnogenesis,
including the Comanches, who would prove to be masters of the process and by
1780 would create the most powerful native society in the Southwest.
Anderson begins his investigation with the Spanish penetration of New
Mexico in 1580. Bold, creative uses of original sources allow the author to recre-
ate a world heretofore a mystery to most scholars. He argues that the Spaniards
encountered an exchange economy already in place among various bands on
the Rio Grande between El Paso and La Junta, in which meat and hides were
exchanged for manufactured goods and carbohydrates. Spanish slave raiders,
disease, and drought reduced these Indians, who reinvented themselves as a
group known as the Jumanos, nomads who used the newly-introduced horses to
forge and control a trading network that stretched from the Caddos of East
Texas to the Pueblo peoples in New Mexico. The Spanish settlement of Texas,
combined with continued disease and drought, caused the Jumano trade net-
work to collapse in the early 17oos. By then, the Apaches had taken control of
the political economy of the Southwest by altering their economy from one of
buffalo hunting to raiding and poaching Spanish ranch herds and semiwild live-
stock. The Apaches themselves were a product of ethnogenesis, as previously
shattered groups were incorporated-sometimes through forced marriage,
sometimes peacefully-into the various bands. The author then shows how the
agricultural Caddos and Wichitas adapted to the changes wrought by the
Spanish and French, before finally examining the emergence of the Comanches.
What makes this work so innovative is the way it demonstrates the evolution of
a native political economy outside the sphere of European control. Anderson
eschews a political analysis of the interaction between Indians and Europeans in
favor of focusing on native exchange networks and how they adapted and
evolved over 250 years. The changing role of women, the climate and environ-
ment, and the dynamics of political hierarchies within the various tribes are
among the interesting items the author discusses. Anderson has used most of
the original and secondary sources pertaining to the region to produce this
highly original study that probably won't attract the general reader, but will
hopefully influence the way other scholars perceive the history of the Indian
Southwest in the future.
University of North Texas
F. TODD SMITH
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/578/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.