Date of this Version
Great Plains Research, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2012, p. 214.
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.