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258Southwestern Historical QuarterlyOctober Journey to the West: The Alabama Uf Coushatta Indians. By Sheri Marie Shuck-Hall. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. Pp. 292. Illustration, maps, notes, bibliography, index, ISBN 9780806139401, $34.95 cloth.) The Alabama & Coushatta Indians are not well known even today. Along with the Tiguas and Kickapoos, they are the one of the few tribes to hold land in what was once a region dominated by Indians: Texas. Shuck-Hall's study focuses on the historical migration of these people from lands in Alabama, where they were closely allied and related to the Creek Indians, to their eventual homeland in East Texas, a small reservation of roughly 1 ,000 acres. Halfofthe book relates the story ofhow these people coped with the emerging colonial regimes east of the Mississippi River. The Spanish arrived in 1539 and brought new diseases. Native populations in what today is the American South plummeted and various tribal societies were forced to ally widi others in order to maintain vibrant communities. The author uses the diaspora paradigm to explain this migration and resetdement, a term developed by a number of authors who have worked on early Cherokee and Creek setdement—good examples being Joshua Piker and Steven Hahn. While Shuck-Hall focuses more closely on the Alabama and Coushatta people, there is not much new in this analysis. Under pressure from slave hunting and colonial competition, the Alabama and Coushatta slowly moved west, first into Louisiana and then, by 1820, into Texas. The story of the Alabama and Coushatta Indians in Texas has fundamentally been overlooked by historians simply because the groups were so small, consisting offewer than 300 people by 1840. Shuck-Hall argues that Alabama and Coushatta were very active in Texas, trying to negotiate claims diat would allow them to stay on lands in die Big Thicket, first with Mexican officials in San Antonio and later with the emerging government of the Texas Republic. In what is also a rather new argument, the audior sees these Indians as readilyjoining die so-called Cherokee Union in the 1830s after it became clear that they would be able to push a claim. To be sure, the Cherokees did negotiate a treaty with Sam Houston in the spring of 1836 that granted lands to a whole host of tribal groups, or more properly, factions of tribal groups, including (supposedly) the Alabama and Coushatta. The author then suggests that the Texas Senate betrayed that agreement when it was rejected in the fall of the same year. While this study is the only serious attempt to outline Alabama and Coushatta history, and therefore is valuable, it has a number of flaws, most of which appear in the final section. There are few primary sources to rely on for this period, and the author dius relies heavily on secondary sources, some ofwhich are dated and questionable. For example, the author has Santa Anna's army coming into Texas in October 1836 (150) and dien cites T. R. Fehrenbach's Lone Star as his source. There is little if any evidence to show, for example, that the Alabama and Coushatta Indians were players in the 1836 negotiation at the Cherokee village or in later conflict with the Kickapoos in 1838 or the Cherokees the next year. On the other hand, the author has searched the Bexar Archives for references to these Indians and found what little evidence is available.Just piecing this information togedier is in many ways a contribution to Texas history. The study 20ogBook Reviews259 also clearly reveals the intense pressures that mounted on Indian societies in the South, forcing them into the West, and how the Alabama and Coushatta managed to hold onto a small parcel of land in Texas when so many other native societies were driven out. University ofOklahomaGary Clayton Anderson General VicenteFilisola'sAnalysis ofJosé Urrea's Military Diary: A Forgotten 1838 Publication by anEyewitness to theTexasRevolution. Edited by GreggJ. Dimmick.Translated byJohn R. Wheat. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2007. Pp. 350. photographs, maps, appendixes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780876112243, $29.95 cloth.) "Success has a thousand fathers,"John F. Kennedy succinctly observed, "failure is an orphan." The aftermath of the Texas...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 258-259
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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