- White Man's Paper Trail: Grand Councils and Treaty-Making on the Central Plains, and: War Dance at Fort Marion: Plains Indian War Prisoners (review)
- Southwestern Historical Quarterly
- Texas State Historical Association
- Volume 111, Number 1, July 2007
- pp. 95-97
- View Citation
- Additional Information
2007Book Reviews95 to witness on the daily news, exterminatory conflicts are not circumscribed to the past either. Given its scope and significance, Robins's remarkable book is likely to set the pace for future comparative research on the subject. Texas State University-San MarcosJoaquín Rivaya-Martínez WhiteMan 's Paper Trail: Grand Councils and Treaty-Makingon the CentralPlains. By Stan Hoig. (Boulder, Colo.: University Press ofColorado, 2006. Pp. 256. Illustrations, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0870818295. $34.95, cloth.) WarDanceatFortMarion:PlainsIndian WarPrisoners. By Brad D. Lookingbill. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006. Pp. 304. Acknowledgments, illustrations, map, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0806137398. $29.95, clotii.) The saga of the nineteenth-century Plains Indian Wars has been well-documented in a host of insightful studies, but less attention has been directed toward the diplomatic aspects ofthese encounters and the fates ofNative American survivors of the conflicts. This is especially true for the history ofthe Southern Plains, where the Red River War of 1874-1875 so thoroughly destroyed Comanche, Kiowa, and Southern Cheyenne martial power that scholars have neglected the long-term impacts of the military confrontations. Happily, the books under review explo're two important aspects of the larger story—the complex treaty-making process and the treatment ofIndian prisoners-of-war and their families. Both are works ofsynthesis that carefully blend archival and published sources, as well as making use ofIndian oral and artistic sources, including the legendary sketchbook drawings. Stan Hoig, professor emeritus at the University of Central Oklahoma, is a seasoned author of Native American topics from the Southern Plains, and some among his fifteen books have received prestigious awards. Within this familiar range of events, Hoig provides another well-written and well-argued account of Indian-white relations. He attacks the stereotypical image of perpetually unfair treaties, whereby the imperious federal government always forced harsh terms on weak tribes that had no option but to sign and abide by the punitive demands. The initial five chapters demonstrate that most ofthe treaties signed by the United States and various Plains Indians between 1815 and 1 850 were actually "treaties of amity and commerce," which implied a quasi egalitarianism between whites and Native Americans. Contrary to the popularized notion of tribes being forced into these agreements at the point of a bayonet, Hoig correcdy demonstrates that both sides agreed to the general terms of these documents because both saw favorable provisions for themselves. As the decades passed, however, white pressure on Native American land and resources increased dramatically, and the cultural differences between the two groups became evident in their opposing views ofthe treaty process. American government negotiators tended to see treaties as the best legal mechanism for transferring land from indigenous people to federal control. They also believed that by locating western Indians upon smaller reservations and depriving them of their well-established g6Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly migratory ways, the government could better acculturate them in white men's ways. Native Americans, on the other hand, tended to see treaties as avenues for gaining American trade goods, government annuities, and alliances against other tribes. The one feature shared by both sides was their conviction that treaty terms were temporary. Thus, when signatories decided that a particular provision no longer suited their needs, they simply stopped abiding by it. This led to accusations ofbroken treaties on both sides and raised the possibility ofbloody conflict, but neitherwhites nor Indians saw their own failure to honor every provision as the true cause ofpotential violence. The author does an excellentjob of explaining these cultural differences and their collective impact on the treaty process. Somewhat surprisingly though, he does not fully explore the additional range of nuanced differences that were explained in a seminal 1 980 article by Raymond DeMallie entitied "Touching die Pen: Plains Indian Treaty Councils in Ethnohistorical Perspective." Even though WhiteMan'sPaper Trailis devoted primarily to relations between the United States government and Plains tribes, the author wisely includes two chapters on Texas's relationshipswith both groups—first as the independent Republic ofTexas ( 1 836-1 845), and subsequendy as an importantstate within the United States. During the two presidencies ofSam Houston in the era ofthe Republic, and his...