The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 620
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
examine a single tribe's reaction to the European intrusion and then have sort-
ed out the political, economic, and social adaptations the Indians made as a con-
sequence of the changes that had been wrought. This new scholarship, which is
wholeheartedly sympathetic to the various tribes, has advanced academics' un-
derstanding of Native Americans immensely. Unfortunately, I am afraid, the
general readership of interested students and laypersons-who tend to prefer a
focus on great personalities and big events in the history books they read-have
been left behind by these new, often dryly written, works.
Tony Hollihan's two-volume book, on the other hand, provides mini-biogra-
phies of twelve different Indian individuals the author has designated as being
"great chiefs." As the criteria for his choices Hollihan used wisdom and bravery
in the face of dramatic change. Using secondary sources, many of which are
extremely outdated, the author provides a readable, narrative biography of
each man. Hollihan provides the necessary historical background for each
piece, but then often focuses on the personal, imagining conversations that the
chief may have had with his fellow tribesmen or white adversaries. While some-
times bordering on hagiography, the book would provide high school or ju-
nior college students with a solid, interesting introduction to Native American
The only problem besides the extremely outdated sources I have with this ad-
mittedly unambitious work is the author's selection of Indian chiefs. Eight of the
leaders that he investigates-Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Quanah Parker, Red
Cloud, Sequoyah, Tecumseh, Crazy Horse, and Geronimo-are the obvious stan-
dard chiefs that have been the subjects of Indian biographies for over a century.
The other four Indians that Hollihan has chosen are a bit more interesting. Two
men-Siksika Blackfoot chief Crowfoot, and Louis Riel, a metis-reflect the fact
that this book was published in Canada. The other two leaders-Crow chief
Plenty Coups and Paiute shaman Wovoka-are different choices from the main-
stream picks. Still, Hollihan's book demonstrates again the continued domi-
nance of the nineteenth-century Great Plains in the field of Native American
history. I think that it would be more interesting to see a biographical book of
this nature which concentrates more on the eighteenth or the twentieth century,
and which looks at men and women from the Spanish and French frontiers in
North America, as well as those from the so-called English mainstream.
University of North Texas F. Todd Smith
Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian Project in the Field. Edited by Mick
Gidley. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003. Pp. xv+178. Preface,
acknowledgments, photographs, notes, references, index. ISBN 0-8032-
2193-2. $49.95, cloth.)
Mark Gidley's most recent book, a limited selection of previously unpublished
primary documents relating to Edward S. Curtis's project on the North Ameri-
can Indian, is a delight to read. Gidley explains in his introduction that the col-
lection concentrates "on the Curtis project's relationships with American Indian
peoples in their ancestral homelands and on the reservation lands" (p. 2). Fur-
thermore, Gidley hopes to illuminate "Native American lifeways and white
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/698/?rotate=90: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.