Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Summer 2008


Great Plains Quarterly Volume 28, Number 3, Summer 2008, pp. 236.


Copyright 2008 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


While there is little new in this volume, scholars and students of the Great Plains, the American West, and, of course, of Indian peoples will find this a useful reference tool. Editor David J. Wishart, a noted author on subjects of the Great Plains, culled the entries on Indian peoples from the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains (2004), which he also edited.

The time span of this work reaches back to around 10,000 BP and takes readers up to the present. Wishart included a precise, succinct introduction by Philip Deloria and Christopher K. Riggs, excerpted from the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Of the 123 entries, 23 are new, as are many of the over 50 illustrations. For quickly finding information on Great Plains Indian peoples, this current work is more convenient than the larger Encyclopedia.

Charles Vollan wrote all of the new entries, and his additions, as the preface notes, are mainly centered on the events and people of the twentieth century, such as Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, author of sixteen books and recipient in 2000 of a National Humanities medal. Many of these people are largely unfamiliar names to most students and scholars of the Great Plains, which is both a plus and a minus. In this the volume's pick-and-choose nature is evident. Most scholars, myself included, are often most familiar with one or a couple of Indian nations. Had I been doing the writing, more entries from the Southern Cheyennes might have been included, on W. Richard West, for example, the first director of the National Indian Museum in Washington, DC, or Henrietta Mann, noted humanitarian and educator.

Aside from Vollan's additions, why duplicate material mostly found in the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains? Perhaps the best answer is that the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains Indians represents the single best reference work on the topic. In short, Wishart has condensed a vast array of subjects within the broader context of Great Plains Indians into one highly useable book.