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Few people who cross the Great Plains today recollect that for centuries the land was a battleground where Indian nations fought one another for their own survival and then stood bravely against the irrepressible forces of white civilization. Even among those aware of the history, Plains Indian conflicts have been seen largely in terms of American conquest. In this readable narrative history, well-known Indian historian Stan Hoig tells how the native peoples of the southern plains have struggled continually to retain their homelands and their way of life. Tribal Wars of the Southern Plains is a comprehensive account of Indian conflicts in the area between the Platte River and the Rio Grande, from the first written reports of the Spaniards in the sixteenth century through the United States-Cheyenne Battle of the Sand Hills in 1875. The reader follows the exploits and defeats of such chiefs as Lone Wolf, Satanta, Black Kettle, and Dull Knife as they signed treaties, led attacks, battled for land, and defended their villages in the huge region that was home to the Wichitas, Comanches, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Kiowas, Osages, Pawnees, and other Indian nations. Unlike many previous studies of the Plains Indian wars, this one-volume synthesis chronicles not only the Indian-white wars but also the Indian-Indian conflicts. Of central importance are the intertribal wars that preceded the arrival of the Spaniards and continued during the next three centuries, particularly as white incursions on the north and east forced tribes from those regions onto the Great Plains. Stan Hoig details the numerous battles and the major treaties. He also explains the warrior ethic, which persists even among Plains Indian veterans today; the dual societal structure of peace and war chiefs within the tribes, in which both sometimes acted at cross-purposes, much the same as the U.S. government and frontier whites; techniques and tactics of Plains Indian warfare; and the role of medicine men, the Sun Dance, and spirituality in Plains warfare. This is a perfect introduction to an important era in the Indian history of North America by an acknowledged expert.
Dance, a vital expression of community and spirituality for Native Americans, has been the traditional metaphor for resolving conflict among Southern Plains tribes. The Wichita, Caddo, Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Apache, Arapaho, Delaware, and others brought together by choice or adversity have achieved harmonious coexistence through imagination, mythology, art, dance, commerce, and conservation. Looking toward the future by assessing that legacy, Howard Meredith argues that the Southern Plains Indians need to reestablish self-determination, traditional practices and values, and their native languages to overcome the adverse effects of federal paternalism, strengthen tribal relations, and improve economic and social conditions for all people in the Southern Plains.
Everywhere they are dancing. From Oklahoma City's huge Red Earth celebration to fund-raising events at local high schools, powwows are a vital element of contemporary Indian life on the Southern Plains. Some see it as tradition, handed down through the generations. Other say it's been sullied by white participation and robbed of its spiritual significance. But, during the past half century, the powwow has become one of the most popular and visible expressions of the dynamic cultural forces at work in Indian country today. Clyde Ellis has written the first comprehensive history of Southern Plains powwow culture--an interdisciplinary, highly collaborative ethnography based on more than two decades of participation in powwows. In seeking to determine what "powwow people" mean by so designating themselves, he addresses how the powwow and its role in contemporary Indian identity have changed over time--along with its songs and dances--and how Indians for nearly a century have used dance to define themselves within their communities. "A Dancing People shows that, whether understood as an intertribal or tribally specific event, dancing often satisfies needs and obligations that are not met in other ways--and that many Southern Plains Indians organize their lives around dancing and the continuity of culture that it represents. As one Kiowa elder explained, "When I go to [these dances]. I'm right where those old people were. Singing those songs, dancing where they danced. And my children and grandchildren, they've leanred these ways, too, because it's good, it's powerful." Ellis tells us not only why and how Southern Plains powwow culture originated, but also something about what it means. Heexplores powwow's cultural and historical roots, tracing suppression by government advocates of assimilation, Indian resistance movements, internal tribal disputes, and the emergence of powerful song and dance traditions. He a
Sometimes called "The Chivington Massacre" by those who would emphasize his responsibility for the attack and "The Battle of Sand Creek" by those who would imply that it was not a massacre, this event has become one of our nation’s most controversial Indian conflicts. The subject of army and Congressional investigations and inquiries, a matter of vigorous newspaper debates, the object of much oratory and writing biased in both directions, the Sand Creek Massacre very likely will never be completely and satisfactorily resolved. This account of the massacre investigates the historical events leading to the battle, tracing the growth of the Indian-white conflict in Colorado Territory. The author has shown the way in which the discontent stemming from the treaty of Fort Wise, the depredations committed by the Cheyennes and Arapahoes prior to the massacre, and the desire of some of the commanding officers for a bloody victory against the Indians laid the groundwork for the battle at Sand Creek.
Provides an explanation of the background, causes, and effects of the Plains wars, with an emphasis on the Red River War of 1874 to 1875, the continuation of a long-standing conflict, and the Great Sioux War of 1876 to 1877.
Before the drought of the early twenty-first century, the dry benchmark in the American plains was the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. But in this eye-opening work, Kevin Z. Sweeney reveals that the Dust Bowl was only one cycle in a series of droughts on the U.S. southern plains. Reinterpreting our nation’s nineteenth-century history through paleoclimatological data and firsthand accounts of four dry periods in the 1800s, Prelude to the Dust Bowl demonstrates the dramatic and little-known role drought played in settlement, migration, and war on the plains. Stephen H. Long’s famed military expedition coincided with the drought of the 1820s, which prompted Long to label the southern plains a “Great American Desert”—a destination many Anglo-Americans thought ideal for removing Southeastern Indian tribes to in the 1830s. The second dry trend, from 1854 to 1865, drove bison herds northeastward, fomenting tribal warfare, and deprived Civil War armies in Indian Territory of vital commissary. In the late 1880s and mid-1890s, two more periods of drought triggered massive outmigration from the southern plains as well as appeals from farmers and congressmen for federal famine relief, pleas quickly denied by President Grover Cleveland. Sweeney’s interpretation of familiar events through the lens of drought lays the groundwork for understanding why the U.S. government’s reaction to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s was such a radical departure from previous federal responses. Prelude to the Dust Bowl provides new insights into pivotal moments in the settlement of the southern plains and stands as a timely reminder that drought, as part of a natural climatic cycle, will continue to figure in the unfolding history of this region.

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