Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 15, No. 1, 2005. Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This slim volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary reservation economies in the Northern Plains, a subject that has received insufficient attention from anthropologists. Berman's narration demonstrates the intersection of kinship, the informal economy, ceremonial exchanges or goods, government assistance programs, and the cash economy on the reservation, home to the affiliated Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes who were settled there in the 1860s. Her analysis addresses several themes: the circulation of goods within a symbolic system of social and power relations; the centrality of women in kinship and community relations: and the reorganization of reservation economy and social life in response to changes in federal policy.