Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2012


Great Plains Research, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2012, p. 214.


© Copyright 2012 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Epidemiological evidence consistently emphasizes the challenges American Indian tribes of the Great Plains confront through excess alcohol consumption. Until Erica Prussing's recent book, however, we have lacked a detailed analysis of the social and cultural context in which these challenges unfold. With a focus on women's experiences across two generations, White Man s Water provides us with a careful description of the social and cultural world of contemporary Northern Cheyennes, coupled with an understanding of how individual experiences within the milieu vary, especially as a function of history.

White Man's Water is a truly significant book: the first book-length ethnographic account of drinking in a Plains tribe, the first representation of American Indian drinking to focus on women's experiences, a careful analysis of subjectivity in culture, and a critical statement on the ongoing need for health care improvements in tribal nations. It deserves to be widely read by audiences sharing any of these interests.