Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 244-245
Focusing on the Southern Plains in the nineteenth century, Jacki Rand proposes a study on Kiowa responses to military invasion and the reservation system as a colonized people reacting against a colonizing agent. Additionally, Rand alludes to her investigation yielding new insight as Kiowa reactions to colonialism were in essence covert strategies of adaptation and maintaining traditional cultural values in the face of repeated onslaught. For some, however, this argument will fall somewhat short of these goals.
One of the difficulties in assessing the contribution of Rand's study is determining its projected audience. She begins her narrative with a jargoned and rather turgid section that highlights the major theoretical "buzzwords" without providing either a clear definition or interpretation of these terms or how they will apply to her investigation. This first chapter feels "tacked on" as the rest of the book flows without a reference back to these theories or how her Kiowa examples relate to them. Additionally, the first chapter is also indicative in some ways of Rand's oversimplification of certain issues. For example, she states "U.S. historians have described the establishment of the United States as a history of exploration, discovery, and frontier settlement, omitting colonialism and genocide as agents of nation building." For a study that claims to break new ground in Indian responses to colonialism, statements like this hearken back to Francis Jennings's pathbreaking studies in the 1970s, which posited similar arguments without the contemporary reliance on postcolonial lingo.