Heritage, Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 1989 Page: 24
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Indianola: The Mother of
Indianola: The Mother of Western Texas, by
Brownson Malsch. State House Press,
Austin, Texas. $19.95.
Reviewed by Peter Nichols
A few years ago I was working on an
archaeological job near Port Lavaca. I had
an afternoon off and since I had read a great
deal about Indianola and its major contribution
to the settling of central and west
Texas I decided to go see what was left of it.
What I found was a big flat expanse of land
barely above the water of Matagorda Bay.
All that marked what had been one of the
busiest ports on the Texas coast were a few
tombstones and a monument. This piqued
my curiosity about Indianola and what
kind of place it might have been.
Brownson Malsch has it all in this book.
There are over 300 pages of text with great
old photographs, notes about each chapter
and an excellent index. This book was first
published in 1978 and at that time was
awarded the Summerfield G. Roberts
Award by the Sons of the Republic of
Texas. This revised edition has additional
text and many more photographs.
Think of something that you want to
know about Indianola and I will bet that
the answer is there. The 42-year history is
presented in a readable, straightforward
way with lots of details and facts. This book
is recommended to anyone interested in
the history of Texas, the trails to California
and Chihuahua, genealogy, Germans in
Texas and the War Between the States.
With distribution by the Texas Monthly
Press perhaps this book will get the wider
distribution that it deserves.
In the Winter '89 issue of Heritage,
the book review of Indian Life in
Texas incorrectly referred to the
Tigua of El Paso as the Tigers.
The Pueblo Indian Revolt
of 1696 and the Franciscan
Missions in New Mexico
Signs from the Ancestors:
Zunfi Cultural Symbolism &
Perceptions of Rock Art
Marks in Place:
to Rock Art
The Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1696 and the
Franciscan Missions in New Mexico, translated,
edited, and with an introduction by
J. Manuel Espinosa. University of Oklahoma
Press, 1988. $27.95.
Signs from the Ancestors: Zufii Cultural Symbolism
and Perceptions of Rock Art, by M.
Jane Young, Foreward by Dell Hymes.
University of New Mexico Press, 1988.
Marks in Place: Contemporary Responses to
Rock Art, photographs by Linda Connor,
Rick Dingus (Book Coordinator), Steve
Fitch, John Pfahl, Charles Roitz (Project
Director), essays by Polly Schaafsma and
Keith Davis, foreward by Lucy R. Lippard.
$24.95 paper, $45.00 cloth.
Reviewed by John Peterson
These three books take different bearings
on the Southwest and its native cultures.
They are all about context and
meaning, each from their own point of
view. Colonial Spanish missionaries saw
themselves as saviors of an ignorant but
otherwise deserving people. They considered
themselves generous bearers of the
Gospel, and perceived the Indians as receptacles
of the Word. Unfortunately,
along with the Word came all the other
trappings of Empire. Tribute and enforced
changes in lifestyle oppressed the people of
the pueblos. Their religion was censured
and their traditional, locally adapted farming
practices were threatened by expropriation
and new demands. Oxen and
horses, along with chickens, hogs, and
cattle were introduced along with wheat
and other plants that weren't sustainable
by the methods that had evolved over
several hundred years in the Southwest.
There was conflict between the missionaries
and the secular government as well that
instilled mistrust. What the church was
able to give was often taken away by the
new Spanish landlords. In the face of the
Spanish assault on their lifeways, the Indians
clung to their own produce and lifestyle,
and went underground with their
religious practices. When forced beyond
these coping strategies, they fought back.
In the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the
Puebloans demonstrated a toughness and
tenacity that at least kept the Spaniards at
bay for a few years. But by 1692 they were
back, this time with the savvy to squelch
the next attempt at rebellion in 1696.
J. Manuel Espinosa's The Pueblo Indian
Revolt of 1696 and the Franciscan Missions in
New Mexico chronicles these last few years
of Pueblo autonomy through the eyes of
the Spanish missionaries and administrators.
He has translated from colonial records
the letters and journals of the original participants,
and has thus provided an exceptional
primary source document for scholars
and general readers alike. The author
contributes a fine introduction that sets
the historic context for the documents.
Accordingly, this book is an excellent
place for the general reader to experience
some of the first hand pleasures of historical
As for the Indians, they weathered the
Spanish Conquest and showed their resilience
by absorbing new customs and culture
without giving up their cultural identity.
But they still had a center in their
sense of place and mythic time that no new
conquests could take away. The inner life
of Puebloan groups has been preserved
even throughout the latest assault by 20th
century American culture which has been
submerging native cultures all around the
world. You can go to the pueblo of San Juan
at Christmas and watch the Matachine
24 HERITAGE * SPRING 1989
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 1989, periodical, Spring 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45432/m1/24/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.