The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 118
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
finds himself on more treacherous ethnohistorical terrain. The most detailed
Indian utterances come from British and American newspapers. Interpreting
them requires accounting for different cultural perspectives, the mediation of
particular writers aiming at specific audiences, and the blurring of cultural
meaning that follows when Indians and non-Indians half-mimic one another's
perceived rituals. Given these qualifiers, it is perhaps understandable, if disap-
pointing, that Moses's interpretations of native experience occasionally tend to
the pedestrian. But if the book is sometimes light on interpretation, fascinating
images and accounts from the whole range of "show Indian" experience. Wild
West Shows and Images of American Indians sheds a great deal of light on a relative-
ly unexplored subject and is well worth a thorough reading.
University of Colorado at Boulder PHILIPJ. DELORIA
Imagining Indians in the Southwest: Persistent Visions of a Primitive Past. By Leah
Dilworth. (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996. Pp.
xiv+274. Illustrations, acknowledgments, introduction, epilogue, notes, ref-
erences, index. ISBN 1-56098-641-7. $29.95, cloth.)
Leah Dilworth's Imagining Indians could actually be four books, being a com-
bination of four studies, each with its own focus and interpretation of Gilded
Age white perceptions of Indians of the Southwest, most particularly the Pueblo
people. Additionally, it includes snippets of Native American views of tourists,
scientists, artists, writers, traders, and even a president (Teddy Roosevelt) who
lurked around their villages and Kivas studying religious ceremonies and pho-
tographing or sketching what they saw as human "relics of a past age."
Foremost among Dilworth's seekers of a "vanishing" race and its custom were
no accidental tourists-as the Fred Harvey Company and the Atchison, Topeka
& Santa Fe Railroad lured visitors to reservations and villages in the Southwest
with enticing marketing methods such as professional paintings, magazine arti-
cles, and postcards depicting the primitive yet sanguine lifeways of Native
Americans. These travels could provide for urban- and industrial-weary
Americans the chance to "Behold a Strange America" (p. 65, as quoted in
Hamlin Garland's 1896 Harpers Weekly article), and to take one last look into the
Dilworth carefully analyzes the primary and secondary works of early scholars
of Native American cultures by focusing on the Hopi Snake Dance and dis-
cussing the implications of such a ritual as a "spectacle" to be or not to be pre-
served, and by whom. He also includes a study of the works of poet Mary Austin
and others in their praise of Pueblo ceremony and life, with its absence of eco-
nomic or criminal classes and its success with "social engineering and urban
planning" (p. 191).
In another section Dilworth discusses a sometimes rapacious visitor to the
Southwest of the past (and present): the "collector-connoisseur" (p. 133). He pre-
sents the idea that the buyer of Indian art and the Native American artisan feed on
each other, thus leaving the reader with the question of who is capitalizing on whom.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/146/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.