The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 266
Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
and adds to a more complete understanding of the actions of the Texas Chero-
kees and of Indian-white relations in Texas during the revolutionary period.
Xavzer University F. TODD SMITH
Champions of the Cherokees: Evan and John B. Jones. By William G. McLoughlin.
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. Pp. xiv+498. List of illustra-
tions, list of tables, acknowledgments, abbreviations, introduction, epi-
logue, bibliographical notes, index, illustrations, tables. $39.50.)
American Indian history has undergone a transformation of sorts during the
last two decades. No longer is it exclusively the story of Euroamerican relations
with Indians. Indians have acquired their voices, achieved their independence,
and reclaimed their histories. Methods of history and anthropology have been
joined to produce the hybrid ethnohistory. That is why, at first glance, this
book may cause some distress for readers whose primary interest is American
Indian ethnohistory. Once again, whites are the champions, Indians their
grateful lieges. Instead of a simple biography of two white men, father and son,
who lived and worked in the world of Northern Baptist home missions during
the mid-nineteenth century, readers are surfeited with ethno-heroics. Unable
to defend themselves, Cherokees must await their great white paladins.
There is certainly some of this in McLoughlin's book. His subject engrosses
him. He is a skilled biographer. On occasion, Evan and John Jones, father and
son, grow tiresome in all their efforts to "improve" the Cherokee and to help
them "find God" (p. 3). Readers, however, should not be put off by either the
tone or the subject. As the author rightly claims, the book also examines the
Cherokees' efforts to understand the missionaries.
Evan and John Jones were extraordinary missionaries who lived among the
Cherokees from 1821 to 1876. They were expelled four times, twice for their
anti-slavery stance, and twice by the federal government for assisting the Chero-
kees in their long resistance to Indian removal. If conversion of Indians to
Christianity can be a measure of success, than the Joneses were among the most
influential and successful missionaries in the history of the United States. Be-
tween them, according to McLoughlin's research, they converted more Indians
than any other Protestant missionaries. Through their efforts, the Baptists be-
came the denomination of the Cherokee Nation's chiefs as well as of its rank
and file. Unlike so many other missionaries, the Joneses learned that it was not
necessary to condemn or alienate those Cherokees who clung to many aspects
of their old religion. The Joneses operated from religious principles outside
the normal range of their peers. Their syncretic view of Christianity, of course,
had its limit. Still, readers will discover a fascinating study rich in detail and
sophisticated in its analysis of such major themes as Indian removal, slavery
among the Five Civilized Tribes, the Civil War in Indian Territory, and Texas
and Kansas border politics. Finally, the Joneses' refusal to accept "cultural in-
justice and oppression may tell us more about 'American civihzation' than we
want to remember. There were alternatives" (p. 484).
Oklahoma State Unzversity
L. G. MOSES
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page .
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/312/ocr/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.