History, Department of


Date of this Version



In The Great Plains: Environment and Culture, edited by Brian W. Blouet and Frederick C. Luebke. University of Nebraska Press, 1977.


Copyright 1977 University of Nebraska Press.


In the pages that follow I have summarized the views of certain selected scholars whose emphases seem to illustrate changing and contrasting interpretations of the interaction of environment and culture on the Great Plains. I have grouped their writings into two inclusive categories. First come those whose conceptual schemes suggest the primacy of environmental variables. I refer to these scholars, perhaps simplistically, as environmentalists, even though this term has acquired a different meaning in recent years. In the second group are several scholars, selected more arbitrarily than the first, whose writings seem to accord more importance to cultural factors. For present purposes I refer to them as culturalists. Then follow brief introductions to the essays included here, in which I suggest relationships to the environmentalist and culturalist views. Because of the diversity of concept and method employed by the. several essayists, I make no effort to derme the Great Plains or to delineate its boundaries.