Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2012


Great Plains Quarterly 32:4 (Fall 2012).


Copyright © 2012 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska.


Cherokee families, Rose Stremlau states in her elegantly written book, were and remain "egalitarian, flexible, inclusive, and decentralized." These characteristics, she argues, have provided stability through difficult times, as Cherokee families faced colonization, displacement and removal, the Civil War, and ultimately the allotment policy of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries {although it is important to note that she also carries her analysis beyond the allotment era, into the mid-to-late twentieth century}. Using U.S. and Cherokee census data, Dawes Commission records, Guion Miller Commission applications, probate records, articles from the national Cherokee Advocate, and oral histories in the Doris Duke Collection, the Indian Pioneer Papers, and in the collections of the Oklahoma Historical Society, Stremlau examines a sample of about 200 people in and around the community of Chewey {located in what was once called the Goingsnake District and is known now as Adair County, Oklahoma}. To this rich documentary record she employs ethnohistorical methods and uses intimacy as an analytical concept, skillfully and compassionately humanizing the bureaucracy of allotment by writing "about each person as unique and fully human."