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60 Western American Literature Despite these serious faults, the section on Religion contains some interesting stories: adventures of the War Gods, the ritual of the Scalp Dance, and how Halona, the Middle Place, got its name. But on the whole Zuni religion and ceremonialism is sketchily treated. The material adds nothing to the great, basic work of Ruth L. Bunzel on Zuni Origin Myths, Ritual Poetry, and Kachinas published in the Smithsonian Report forty-four years ago. This book, as it seems to this reviewer at least, reflects the present unhappy status of Zuni which is undergoing the process of modernization and industrializa­ tion under the direction of the Bureau of Indian. Affairs, in opposition to the futile protests of its minority religious faction. But Zuni always has been one of the largest and most staunchly religious of all pueblos. One can only hope that its last remnants of traditional beliefs can be recorded fully, without tampering, before they are swept under the rug by Progress. FRANK WATERS, Taos, New Mexico The Warren Wagontrain Raid. By Benjamin Capps. New York: Dial Press, 1974. $8.85. There was a time when fiction was fiction and fact was fact and the twain were not ordinarily supposed to meet. Then the lines between the genres began to disappear and we had biographical fiction, fictionized biography, fact pieces that read like stories and stories that sounded like factual reporting. An end product of the tendency would be books like In Cold Blood in which a novelist uses all his tools without apology to convey an understanding of something that actually happened. Benjamin Capps’ latest work belongs in this category. It will raise a question in the minds of many readers: Is his method sound or would he have done better to write straight fiction with a factual background, as he did in A Woman of the People, or plain pedestrian history? The episode he chooses to work with is not one of the best known in the history of the Indian wars, but it has much historic significance. It is the story of Satanta, Tsatangya and Addo Eta (usually called Satanta, Satank and Big Tree), Kiowa leaders who left their camps near the Kiowa and Comanche Agency in Oklahoma in May of 1877 and crossed the Red River on a raid into Texas. Near Fort Richardson on the old Butterfield Trail, they ambushed a supply train owned by Henry Warren and destroyed it. Five men escaped to the post and alerted the soldiers. The day before the raid, as Destiny arranged matters, General William Tecumseh Sherman arrived at the fort on an inspection tour of the frontier. He wanted to see for himself if the Indians were as bad as people said. When he saw what had happened to Warren’s men and wagons and talked to the survivors, he decided that the natives really were dangerous, and since he was in charge of military operations during the period of the Indian wars, then just beginning, his reaction to Satanta’s raid may have had a good deal to do with government policy toward “hostiles” from then on. Reviews 61 Sherman was present at the Kiowa Agency when the three chiefs were called in, arrested, and taken to Texas for trial. Tsatangya, the seventy-year-old principal chief, managed to get himself killed on the road. Capps follows the other two through their “trials,” imprisonment and later experiences, making the point over and over that the white people did not and could not understand the rules by which the Indians lived, any more than the Indians understood the ways of the white men. This is the standard conclusion reached by most writers nowadays, but nobody shows more clearly than Capps the reasonableness of the Indians’ behavior as seen from their own point of view. Part of his success is undoubtedly due to his willingness to explore the minds of his native characters, inventing conversations and analyzing motives as he goes along. There can be no doubt that he is a master of vivid narrative and an expert developer of character as a successful and skillful novelist has to be. The question is, does he...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 60-61
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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