Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2009, pp. 000-000


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


This is a strange book, in part because the author does not seem to recognize the massive amount of scholarship available on the topic of Indian treaties that has accumulated in the last thirty years. Mostly limited to works published before 1970, its bibliography highlights the problems arising from minimal familiarity with recent research.

The book itself claims to be a unique narrative about the treaty councils of the Central Plains. In reality, it is not unique, and its coverage spans an area from Texas to Montana. The Southern Plains are a particular emphasis and fit the author's expertise. The volume's eighteen chapters begin with a brief essay on treatymaking and conclude with a personal essay in which the author intones, "Like democracy or even life itself, it [the treaty system] was far from perfect and often severely unfair. Yet who among us can suggest anything better?" A reading of many more of the works of Vine Deloria Jr., Walter Echo-Hawk, and modern Native and non-Native scholars of law and history might have helped answer that tumid question.