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This unique source blends the recollections of two Lakota mixed-blood women who assembled their manuscript in the s, based upon their personal experiences and Oglala and Brule oral traditions. Editor Levine's extensive endnotes help clarify many of the oblique references and provide further detail to this empathetic account of Lakota life during the second half of the 19th century. Originally published in , this represents one of the earliest accounts of travel along the Missouri River that was accessible to the eastern public.
Bradbury was a trained naturalist who capably captured key aspects of the environment and Indian life in eastern Nebraska. Beginning as a bullwhacker out of Nebraska City in , Bratt rose in importance in the freighting and sutler firm of Coe and Carter, which served Ft. Within four years, he established one of the largest ranches in western Nebraska and became a civic leader in Frontier County. Anecdotes about cowboying and ranch life fill this reliable book.
Following a stint as a "tenderfoot rancher," Bronson established his own outfit near Ft. Robinson in His account of the s and s offers rich detail about ranch life, as well as major events associated with the Sioux and the Northern Cheyenne. In this book, Brown examines frontier military service in Nebraska and surrounding areas during the Civil War, mostly directed at protecting the overland trails from Indian attacks. Galvanized Yankees were former Confederate soldiers who were released from prisoner of war status based on their pledge to serve the Union army in the West.
Although somewhat outdated and devoted to the broader Granger Movement throughout rural America, this work offers a good understanding as to why the Grange would have found considerable support in Nebraska. It discusses the social origins of the movement and its political involvements, as well as the famous cooperatives and railway legislation. This meticulously researched and well-written two-volume study of a Nebraska icon offers the final word about a military installation that served as a famous Indian wars fort, Indian agency, remount station, World War II prisoner of war camp, and finally, as a unique state historical park for today's vacationer.
This frequently cited account of dragoon operations in Nebraska offers descriptions of the Pawnees in addition to efforts to stop inter-tribal warfare between Pawnees and Sioux. Carter presents wonderfully reproduced copies of some of Solomon Butcher's most revealing photographs taken in Custer County during the pioneer era. Narrative sections and photo captions add immeasurably to the value of the book by placing Butcher and his photographic techniques within the proper context of the times.
Cather's My Antonia and O Pioneers are arguably her most important Plains novels and they draw heavily from her real life Nebraska experiences. Definitive stories of Plains immigration and settlement, they are mythic and sweeping in conveying the extremes of hardship and optimism in the settlers' relationship to the land. This wonderfully illustrated special topical issue of Nebraska History pages offers general readers their best introduction to the state's paleontological and archaeological sites.
The narratives are also well written for the general audience. This sophisticated statistical study focuses upon election returns to discern patterns of voting behavior. Each of the major elections is evaluated in terms of campaigns, issues and personalities. Profiles of ethnicity, income, occupation and place of residence help sharpen our understanding of voting tendencies. This innovative statistical study interprets patterns of residential mobility, formation of ethnic neighborhoods, occupational patterns, urban housing markets and voting patterns. The author continues the story begun by his well-known father, James H.
Cook, by detailing the social life associated with the Agate Springs Ranch southwest of Crawford, Nebraska. Also addresses problems associated with weather and fluctuating livestock prices, as well as scientific study among the Agate Fossil Beds. Cook helped drive one of the first Texas longhorn herds into western Nebraska, and in bought the Ranch from his father-in-law, renaming it the Agate Springs Ranch. Much of his coverage of the Nebraska Panhandle concerns his Sioux neighbors and his efforts to protect the scientific value of the Agate Fossil Beds.
A collection of poems by more than 80 contemporary Nebraska poets, including Pulitzer Prize winner and former U. Although the "States and the Nation Series" severely restricted the number of pages for each volume in this set, Creigh fashioned a useful thematic approach to the state's history, especially from the midth century to the s.
No topic is rendered in great detail, but the author has captured the essence of the state and its identity as interpreted by most of its residents. This valuable array of reminiscences and letters documents many of the most important events of the famed Indian wars of western Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming between the Civil War and the Powder River Campaign of As co-commander of the famed Pawnee Scouts, along with his brother Frank, Luther North provided an insider's account of crucial military actions.
The detailed and thoughtful entries in this journal offer a rich account of life on a homestead near Nebraska City between and At the later date, newly married Mollie Dorsey Sanford accompanied her husband to the recently opened mining district of Denver. This remains one of the most thorough and readable accounts of Nebraska pioneer life in the post-Civil War era.
Like Walter Prescott Webb, Dick stresses the adaptations undertaken to overcome the unique Plains environment in matters relating to water, fuel, fences, sod houses, fires, grasshoppers, weather and mechanization of the farm. Although Dick begins his study with land policies in the late colonial era and progresses into the Trans-Appalachian frontier, he primarily examines laws affecting the public domain on the Great Plains and in the Far West from the Civil War through the New Deal.
He analyzes the forces and special interest groups that shaped government policies and the various impacts of those laws. Dick emphasizes what life was like for people who dwelled on Great Plains farms and in small towns during the pioneer era. He maintains focus on the human element in relating information about preemption, vigilantism, colonizing agencies, social life, education, religion, medical care, lawyers, industries and merchants.
In remarkable prose, Eiseley narrates wide-ranging events that have indelibly contoured his identity, whether meditating on his secluded childhood upbringing, his experience of riding the rails, or his university years during which he developed a penchant and reverence for nature. This book simply represents a straightforward account of his life.
In this collection of autobiographical tales, Eiseley explores in compelling prose the wonders of nature and humanity's experience in it. His acute sensibility and his eclectic interests in which he seamlessly mixes literature and science are fully evident in this remarkable text.
Although the author was a renowned scientist and anthropologist, his writing transcends limited appeal. Emmons offers an excellent survey of the various promotional efforts to attract settlers to the Great Plains. Railroads, land speculators and fledgling towns created an endless cycle of advertisements, broadsides and newspaper articles, often with exaggerated or outright fraudulent claims, to draw the greatest level of public interest. Originally published in , this book provides an overview of Nebraska during the Great Depression.
Rather than assuming an interpretive approach, it offers profiles on each of the communities within the state, as well as chapters on history, government, agriculture, industry, ethnicity, arts, press and literature. It stands as a time capsule of Nebraska in a bygone era. Fink turned to personal interviews, as well as archival and published materials, to construct this valuable study of women's concerns and evolving family structures during the pioneer and post-pioneer eras of Nebraska's rural development.
Equally revealing are discussions of relatives, friends and community participation in dictating the realities of agrarian life. This handy reference source on Nebraska's individual communities is arranged by counties and supplemented with selections from John Thomas Link's The Origin of the Place-Names of Nebraska In describing the origins of place names, this book blends history and folklore without always making a distinction.
This remains one of the most valuable studies ever prepared by the Bureau of American Ethnology. Originally published in , it drew upon the talents of anthropologist Alice Fletcher and the oral accounts rendered by Omaha tribal member Francis La Flesche. Although other fellow tribal members have faulted La Flesche's biases in some of the reporting, this study of cultural dynamics stands as an essential source for researchers and today's Omahas alike.
Although this study covers a far larger geographical range than Nebraska, it is a thoughtful exposition on the Great Plains environment written from a naturalist's viewpoint. Its thorough documentation and cogent arguments about restoration work serve as clarion calls for the present generation to awaken to environmental destruction now.
Numerous maps and photographs grace this wide assortment of multi-authored articles that deal with irrigation, climate and hydrology, industry, technology, economics, extension education, environmental quality, political policies and future uses of Nebraska water. Paolo Coletta's three-volume treatment of Bryan is more complete, but Glad's earlier interpretation retains its importance for scholars and general readers.
This biography stresses Bryan's Nebraska roots and how they shaped his political views. Special emphasis is directed at his impact on Populism, Progressivism and Anti-Imperialism. This books reprints Kurz's daily journal of his trip up the Missouri River and his observations about Native Americans and pioneer scenes along the eastern fringes of Nebraska. His original sketches of Omaha Indians are included.
A new version of Hickey's classic keeps the format of distilling Nebraska history into vignettes that are well written for general audiences. They range from profiles of individuals such as J. Despite having been published in , this remains an important book both historiographically and for its intrinsic factual information. Hicks sympathetically examined the growing agrarian discontent throughout the South, Great Plains and the Far West during the late 19th century, but his larger coverage is necessary for understanding Nebraska as a case study.
This beautifully produced collection of Bodmer's watercolors and sketches stands as a landmark in capturing scenes along the Missouri River - especially scenes of Native Americans - during the excursion. Captions for each art work are extensive, and an Introduction by William H. Goetzmann and an Artist's Biography by William J. Orr round out this unique publication. This biography imparts an understanding of the lack of law enforcement in vast sections of the Nebraska Panhandle during the late 19th century.
It also helps explain why some residents viewed Middleton as a local hero, while others viewed him as a ruthless murderer. Although Long's expedition was far from successful in a scientific record keeping sense, and although it did solidify the public's notion of the Plains as a Great American Desert, this book remains essential to modern readers. These two books constitute the highest level of naturalists' writings, complete with a transcendentalist eye on the intrinsic beauty of nature and its complex web of associations between life forms.
Set in the Nebraska sandhills, Joern's novel traces the lives of three generations of a ranch family as they struggle to retain their land in the face of modern pressures. Joern, a playwright, has a sturdy and realist, but memorable prose style. A brief book, The Platte offers a poetic view of the flora and fauna that stretch the length of the Platte River.
Its beauty is revealed in the "small environments" that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. In contrast, the more encyclopedic Nature of Nebraska examines all regions and environments within Nebraska - forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, tall grass prairies, short grass prairies, Sandhills - and provides a detailed checklist of key varieties of flora and fauna in particular areas.
One brief chapter also laments the "sad stories" of ecological damage to some species. Essayist Stephen Jones chronicles his travels through the Nebraska sandhills, discussing the natural and cultural history of the region and the threats to this unique environment. The work of this enigmatic literary figure of the mid-twentieth century has undergone a recent renaissance.
This collection of his best stories written mostly during his twenties and thirties offers a poignant look into rural life. In addition the stories allow a glimpse into the thoughts and world of the elusive Weldon Kees. The book offers a richly illustrated chronological survey of visual responses to the prairie as a type of landscape, focusing primarily on Euro-American representations of the 19th and 20th centuries.
This two-volume treatment represents the most complete financial history of the Union Pacific Railroad. The second volume is especially important because it carries the corporation from receivership status in through its rebirth and expansion in the 20th century. As reviewer Michael Sowder says, "Kloefkorn's ear for the midwestern rural vernacular is pitch-perfect, and his lines of dialogue and bits of country speech are alternately hilarious and deeply poignant.
Winner of the Nebraska Book Award for nonfiction, Kooser offers in exquisite detail the Nebraska landscape, whether examining his backyard or encroaching urban development. Kooser illustrates his remarkable ability to reveal the extraordinariness of everyday life. The authors offer an invaluable account of Nebraska's largest city, beginning with its founding in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and continuing chronologically to the mids.
This well-written interpretive account is enhanced in the Enlarged Edition by Professor Dalstrom's updating of events to the end of the century. This meticulously researched study demonstrates the close connection between Nebraska's outfitting towns such as Omaha, Plattsmouth, Nebraska City and Brownville with the western mining areas and with the older Oregon and California Trails.
Freighting operations of the s and s are the special focus of this work, which also demonstrates how the Union Pacific Railroad modified freighting patterns within the state.
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Lommasson's book constitutes a handy reference tool for botanists, and provides color photographs of most plant specimens for weekend hiking enthusiasts. Excellent statistical study indicates that Nebraska Germans traditionally favored Democratic candidates but that party loyalty split in the s with the rise of Populism and the fusionist movement.
This visual tour through Nebraska history surpasses all previous attempts at illustrated interpretations of the state. The photographs were chosen with care and their reproduction is of the highest quality. More important, Luebke's rich textual material amplifies the major themes and lifts this above the range of most visual treatments to the level of a solid interpretive work. The Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota borders the state of Nebraska, leading to various conflicts, in particular the sale of alcoholic beverages by Nebraska stores to residents of the "dry" reservation.
Focusing on the murder of Lakota tribal member Raymond Yellow Thunder, Magnuson traces the historical roots and current implications of the racially troubled area. This award-winning study remains the most complete account of the Nebraska portions of the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails between and Mattes examined a vast array of diaries, journals, letters and military reports to describe human responses to every significant landmark along the line of march.
Much of this book is presented in the original words of Andrew and Elizabeth Burt during their years of military service on the Northern Plains between and Their descriptions of life at Nebraska posts - Omaha, McPherson, Sidney Barracks and Robinson - have been utilized frequently by modern researchers because of the high quality of details.
This excellent study of boss rule in Omaha examines how a political machine was created, how it worked, and what led to its demise. Individual chapters especially document the workings of the Association, elections, courts and the business communities. This excellent collection of multi-authored articles analyzes various aspects of state government, political parties, and citizens' political behavior. This thoroughly researched account presents case studies of three Nebraska tribes that came under the administration of the Society of Friends during President Grant's so-called Quaker Peace Policy.
Despite the good intentions of the Quaker agents, attendant policies proved destructive to the various Indian people. Set in small-town Nebraska during the mid-twentieth century, members of an extended family converge in Lone Tree to celebrate their father's ninetieth birthday. A once prosperous town, Lone Tree is now occupied by one person, the family's patriarch who lives in a hotel along the railroad tracks.
Morris creates a fascinating cast of characters, including one based loosely upon Charles Starkweather, the man whose weeklong killing spree across the state terrified Nebraskans in early This dark comedy offers an intriguing examination of Nebraska during the s. Winner of the National Book Award in , Morris traces three generations of Nebraskan women and their lives beginning in the late nineteenth century.
In doing so, Morris offers vivid and fascinating insights into women's experiences on the plains. Moulton's definitive thirteen-volume rendering of the Lewis and Clark journals, as well as an atlas and the journals of enlisted men John Ordway, Charles Floyd, Patrick Gass and Joseph Whitehouse serve as a milestone in historical editing. Its rich details of editorial comment add further value to the original passages and the cumulative index vol. This one-volume abridgment will serve the needs of the casual print reader. This rare gem is an essential tool for researchers and casual readers who wish to know more about eastern Nebraska and bordering states along the Missouri River during the two decades before Lewis and Clark traveled upriver.
Most of the contents are translations of important Spanish documents, but Nasatir's lengthy Introduction and editorial notes make the collection even more valuable. Although Richard Lowitt has penned a three-volume exhaustive study of Norris' career, the general reader might be better served by reading Norris' own words about his Nebraska roots, political philosophies and distinguished public career.
Although no systematic interpretation is offered, this book provides accounts of the blizzard in Nebraska by survivors who recalled the death, devastation and resourcefulness of people. An excellent study of this Spanish-American fur trader who helped found the Missouri Fur Company and who, for a time, operated from the area of present-day Omaha.
The book is especially strong at identifying the reasons for company retrenchment and eventual sale to competitors. A moving tale of growing up on a northwestern Nebraska homestead under the Kinkaid Act and later in Rushville, as well as relations with the nearby Oglala Sioux. This is a good book to compare with Mari Sandoz's Old Jules since they overlap in time and place.
Excellent biography of Morton's important Nebraska political career, his role in formulating Arbor Day, and his building of Nebraska City's Arbor Lodge. This solid interpretation of government relations with the Lakota people demonstrates federal duplicity, pioneer pressures on the Indian land base, and the assault on native culture by well-intentioned but myopic reformers.
In precise detail it treats all the important events from the war on the Bozeman Trail through the Wounded Knee Massacre of This remains the best overview of Nebraska from prehistoric peoples to the present, both in terms of readability and accuracy. It assumes a chronological approach and the lengthy "Suggestions for Further Reading" section offers readers an excellent guide for following up the discussion of specific topics. Although Opie looks at all landscapes that are affected by the Ogallala Aquifer - Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico - much of his attention is devoted to Nebraska, which encompasses the largest share of the aquifer.
He examines not only traditional concerns about irrigation and water allotment to communities, but also the more recent impact of industrial hog farming in Plains states. Ostler partially rejects the notion that greater economic disparity explains why Kansas and Nebraska welcomed Populism while Iowa remained somewhat distant from the agrarian protest movement. He argues that Iowa's Republican and Democratic parties responded more favorably to farmers' demands than did the same parties in Kansas and Nebraska, so much of the drive for political activism was deflected.
The earlier of Overton's two masterful economic studies is about the acquisition of large land holdings by the railroad, their sale to private and corporate entities, and the accompanying sales techniques used to advertise and dispose of the lands. The later volume is an exhaustive financial history of the Burlington rail system from its modest beginnings in the pre-Civil War era through the end of World War II.
Because of the complexities of financial dealings in acquiring other lines over time and modifying the system, this book is a difficult read but a rewarding one for the persistent scholar. His account of that adventure thrilled readers in the East and it remains one of the most valuable accounts of trail life along the Platte River even today. This anthology of a dozen articles, ten of which were previously published in Nebraska History , offers a good overview of military relations with the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne during major phases of the Indian wars.
Original endnotes are printed with the articles that were written for researchers and general audiences alike. This competent biography of the Democratic Party is organized around specific time periods, but it focuses upon the contributions of key party leaders. In this book, she describes her experience working with refugees from Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq and other global trouble spots, helping them adapt and survive in their new home. Transplanted from often horrifying circumstances, many suffer from a deep malaise despite their awareness of new possibilities.
Pipher offers practical ways to empathize. After a beef-processing plant worker suffers brain damage in an automobile accident, his sister hires a famed neurologist to help nurse him to recovery against the backdrop of the sandhill crane migration along the Platte river. Winner of the National Book Award, this is an ambitious, complex and rich novel of emotional cognition.
Reidel traces the life of Nebraskan and literati Weldon Kees from his childhood days in Beatrice to his tragic disappearance and probable suicide in July when his car was found abandoned near the Golden Gate Bridge. This book offers an incisive portrait of the talented and enigmatic Kees, in addition to the broader twentieth-century and post-war American cultural milieu.
Many homesteaders viewed Richards as a wealthy cattle baron who blocked their chances to acquire their fair share of land and water in Nebraska's Sandhills. But among cattlemen he was a champion who fought the unrealistic and unjust land laws that favored agriculturalists. Although Sandoz took liberties with the facts and accepted some rumors uncritically, she crafted one of the most empathetic biographies of a Plains Indian leader. On a more positive note, she made good use of the rich E.
This is a "must-read" for persons who wish to better understand the pioneering experience in Nebraska's Panhandle during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mari wrote about her entrepreneurial father Jules Ami Sandoz who made so many outsiders feel welcome in the pursuit of homesteads, while simultaneously abusing his four wives and children. One cannot read this family story without being strongly affected by it.
This collection of fourteen separately authored articles treats a variety of Great Plains archeological topics, but the essays by R. Peter Winham, Edward J. Lueck, Jeffrey L. Eighmy and Patricia J. O'Brien remain the most relevant for Nebraska. They primarily address a scholarly audience that is familiar with the archeological debates and previously published sources. During the 19th century, the Missouri River served as a natural highway for people and commerce to the Northern Plains and beyond, and it also defined settlement patterns in eastern Nebraska.
The Pick-Sloan series of dams, established during the midth century, defined the river's uses for good and ill to the present. Although this book is too brief and superficial to serve as the definitive interpretation of the Pony Express, it provides a good read for general audiences. The firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell dominated freighting along the Platte River Road during the late s and s, and it operated a second headquarters at Nebraska City.
Its effort to gain the largest share of the federal mail contract by creation of the short-lived Pony Express in spelled further debt for the company and eventual extinction. A masterfully detailed and well-documented study that begins with Indian land titles and then provides chapters on issues such as preemption and land warrants, railroad grants, scrip, Homestead Act, Kinkaid Act, conflicts between farmers and cattlemen, frauds, state lands, and new policies in the early s.
This remains the best of the early efforts to relate the state's history in a massive way 2, pages. The first volume treats in detail a full range of chronological topics from Nebraska Indians not so good to the Political Campaign of much better.
Three Across the Northern Plains: The Fletcher Revenge
Volumes 2 and 3 offer extensive biographical profiles about prominent leaders within the state. Snyder recalls her childhood in a Custer County sod house and the rigors of homesteading in a pioneer agricultural environment. Following her marriage, she moved to a ranch in the Sandhills. In later life she became nationally known for her folk art expressed in quilt making. The important network of trails that developed during the late s linked the Union Pacific Railroad at Cheyenne, Wyoming, with the newly opened Black Hills mining areas.
The westernmost counties of Nebraska profited considerably from the commerce along these routes, but they also felt the lawlessness associated with the growing prosperity. Standing Bear pledged to return the body of his deceased son for burial to Nebraska's Niobrara River valley, setting in motion a series of events that led to the first U. A sympathetic view of Sandoz and her struggle to gain literary fame by writing about the people and realities she experienced in her own life.
She emerged as a prolific author of both history and fiction. Set in the late 19th century, this picaresque novel follows the adventures of a young girl sold by her father into slavery to a Pawnee Indian in order to settle a gambling debt. The premise provides a unique perspective on women, race and culture on the Plains. This reference work lists books, articles, government documents, master's theses and doctoral dissertations on all phases of Nebraska life, ranging from geology to literature.
Annotations alert researchers to the strengths and weaknesses of individual sources, and provide brief descriptions of contents. Tate finds that these encounters were far more often characterized by cooperation than conflict, even in the s. He seeks to dispel the persistent cultural stereotype of Indians as the pioneers' worst enemy. This warm treatment of the life of the nation's first female Native American medical doctor examines her traditional Omaha tribal culture, her education in eastern boarding schools, and her unwavering service to her own Omaha people.
She not only provided years of medical service, but also was a promoter of social reform and an advocate for native land rights. This prize-winning book is absolutely essential for understanding all phases of the overland migration across Nebraska to Oregon, California and Salt Lake City. Throughout its massive assembly of detail, it remains very engaging and it provides strong bibliographical sections to spur further research. The most comprehensive critical biography of William Cody in forty years, Warren places American's most renowned showman in the context of his cultural worlds in the Far West, in the East and in Europe.
A revealing biography and social history of a cultural icon. Although chapters 3 and 4 of this book are outdated and racially biased, this remains one of the true classics in interpreting the development of the American West. Webb's theme of "institutional and technological adaptability" west of the 98th meridian provided a departure point for so many other interpretations of the Great Plains that were published after his.
As Nebraska's best-known folklorist today, Welsch has long kept his eye peeled and his ears open to the voices of people at the grassroots level. From them he has assembled a collection of tall tales, lies and comic descriptions of Plains life. In My Nebraska , he trains his insightful eye and wit on rural and small town daily life in the state. This book represents the definitive edition of the Duke of Wurttemberg's immensely valuable journals of his ascent of the Missouri River. His lengthy descriptions of eastern Nebraska scenes, Native Americans, fur traders and Ft.
Atkinson soldiers are virtually unmatched for that era. Intended for "weekend historians" wishing to visit important Nebraska sites, and it provides brief data about each site, with directions and tips for visiting the location. With 1, entries contributed by more than one thousand scholars, this reference work captures what is vital and interesting about the Great Plains--from its temperamental climate to its images and icons, its historical character, its folklore and its politics.
An excellent interpretation of western Nebraska's major role in the early fur trade, and the Bellevue-Omaha area's role as supply center. This meticulous and judicious study of the decline of native land bases in Nebraska during the 19th century exceeds the quality of all previous sources.
The praying, eating of peyote, and singing continue until midnight, when the fire boy informs the peyote roadman of the time and leaves the tipi to get a bucket of water. He returns with the water for the roadman, who dips a feather into the bucket and splashes water on the people.
After smoking and praying, the water is passed around to the members so that each may drink. During this part of the meeting another standard song is sung. After the water drinking, the bucket is removed and the singing and drumming continue. Before each major segment of the meeting, the cedar chief burns incense and the members purify themselves and their belongings in the smoke.
The ceremony lasts until dawn, when the morning-water woman is called into the lodge bearing another bucket of water. She is usually a relative of the peyote chief, who now sings the dawn song. The roadman smokes and prays and may doctor those who are ill or pray for the welfare of the people. After the ceremonial water drinking, the woman retrieves the bucket and leaves the tipi. The peyote chief then sings the "quittin' song" while the morning-water woman prepares the traditional breakfast consisting of water, corn, fruit, and meat.
Many missionaries frown on participation and membership in the Native American Church, despite its Christian aspects. Yet, it has become increasingly popular among many tribes, currently having approximately , members. In the Federal Drug Administration classified peyote as a controlled substance, and there has been a great deal of controversy over Indians' use of the plant in their religious meetings. Yet neither the legal issues nor the implication of immorality on the part of whites has prevented the Native American Church from becoming an important religious movement in the United States and Canada.
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act guaranteed protection of religious rights for Native Americans , including the right to use peyote. However, church members were still liable to prosecution for possession. Supreme Court ruling regarding the transportatin of peyote in see Smith and Snake that members of the Native American Church were guaranteed the right to both use peyote during ceremonies and transport it from the gathering fields across state lines.
Ideas of the sacred, as well as proscriptions against what is forbidden or profane, are unique to each nation and community. Many Native peoples describe their histories and the contexts of their ceremonies as particular to time and place and originating from specific events or through the mentorship of a prophet or holy person, someone who brings the ceremonies to the people for their continued well-being. Both states, the sacred and profane, may be changed through the intercession of the spirits and the mediation of prayer, song, and dance to strengthen the community by contact with the spirits.
Aspects of the sacred and profane can be changed through this intercession. All animate and inanimate objects serve as evidence of the sacred. The rituals employed to transform persons or objects from a profane state to a sacred one have frequently, but erroneously, been called "medicine," or "making medicine"; likewise, the source of a medicine man's personal power is kept in a "medicine bundle. In each Native language, power and sacredness are distinguished from each other. Certain English-language renderings of Native terms, such as Great Mystery and Great Spirit , seem to refer to a single creator or prime mover, and this led Christians to falsely ascribe to Native Americans a belief in a monotheistic god prior to European contact.
However, there is no empirical evidence for this belief, and today terms such as Supreme Being or Mysterious Being are usually acknowledged as designating the totality of all supernatural beings and powers, as well as "a Power" greater than the individual. Often symbols are used to designate important spirits associated with star phenomena, and the Great Mystery may be addressed as the Sun or Morning Star, or as a terrestrial counterpart, Mother Earth.
These references are significant since Plains peoples are avid and accurate astronomers and geographers who carefully note the cyclic nature of the stars and planets. Often, prohibitions associated with intercourse, menstruation, and food — prominent on the Plains as in a number of traditions and cultures — have been misinterpreted and misconstrued. For example, previously in the anthropological literature, restrictions on menstruating women were interpreted as degrading toward women. It is more accurate, however, to see women's isolation and separation as related to issues of power and access to power.
Women are seen as powerful particularly during times of fertility because of their ability to create life. From the time a woman begins to menstruate she is seen as having the power to create life, regardless of the time of her specific cycle. Men protect their power by not associating with women during this time in a woman's cycle, and rather than originating in a view of menstruation as "taboo," the proscriptions associated with avoidance of menstruating women reflect reverence for power inherent in women and the sacred nature of life.
A belief that each person has more than one "spirit," often equated with the Christian notion of "soul" — one that inheres in the living until death, another that corresponds to the notion of a ghost, as well as to other concepts — is common among Plains peoples.
When someone dies, they travel along the path of the dead, associated with the Milky Way , toward their final destination located in the Southern Hemisphere. Death is respected as part of the path of life, and throughout one's life there is meaning, purpose, and responsibility. Mourners may stay near a relative's body for several days after death, and during funeral proceedings the deceased as well as the mourners are addressed. Women and men may show respect for those who have died by cutting their hair short or by acts of physical sacrifice that may include an attitude of mourning for a period of time.
It also is customary for relatives to give away all of the deceased's belongings. The Lakota mourn their dead for one year, sometimes through a special ceremony called Ghost Keeping in which a close relative keeps a lock of the deceased's hair in a special bundle for one year. Each day during the year, the ghost that is, the deceased's spirit is fed by the relative keeping the ghost. At the end of the year a farewell ceremony is held on the ghost's behalf, relatives assemble for the last time, and the spirit is freed.
Belief in spirits is common among Plains Indians, and it is accepted that spirits are capable of advising humans about the welfare of the tribe. Medicine men may ask the advice of spirits on how to cure people, and spirits may predict certain events in the lives of the living.
Spirits also are capable of finding lost or stolen articles, and in some cases of taking another life. It is commonly believed that when a person dies, the spirit may attempt to entice a close relative to join it in death. Spirits herald their presence in numerous ways, and some believe that the sound of a baby crying outside in the night, or of a wolf howling or rooster crowing, means a spirit is calling someone to die. Family members may fire guns to frighten away the spirit, or medicine men may burn incense with an aroma that is displeasing to spirits.
Plains peoples have developed comprehensive philosophies, religious systems, and sacred ways based on oral tradition and knowledge. Their origin or creation stories express complex truths about the histories of Native peoples, and the stories are used to educate children and to document the history of each nation. Among Plains nations, the Pawnee provide an example of religious innovation, having established a comprehensive religious philosophy.
Pawnee creation stories describe the creation of the world; the origin of animals, humans, and all other living things; and the power of the spirits. Tirawa sent his commands to humans through a number of spirits and messengers who manifested themselves to the Pawnees. Tcuperika Evening Star is personified as a young maiden and is keeper of a garden in the West, the source of all food.
From Tcuperika and Oprikata, the first human on earth was born. Other spirits include the four directions, the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest, and the three spirits of the north: "North Star," chief of all stars; "North Wind," who gave the buffalo to humans; and Hikus Breath , who gave life itself to the People. At the southern end of the Milky Way stood "Star of the South ," and the campfires of the departed that received the spirits of the dead. Another star named Skiritiuhuts Fool Wolf became offended at one of the councils of star people and in revenge introduced death to the world of humans.
Pawnee ceremonies include those dedicated to "Thunder," to "Morning Star," and to "Evening Star," practiced in connection to the planting and harvesting of Mother Corn as well as for the general welfare of the people. The Hako is performed to acknowledge relationships and a sense of responsibility between community members, and to ensure that community members enjoy long life, happiness, and peace.
The Ku'rahus elder, or "Man of Years" , who is venerated for his knowledge and experience, conducts the Hako. To him is entrusted the supervision of the songs and prayers, which must be performed precisely in the same order each time. The Hako is usually performed in the spring when birds are nesting or in the fall when they are flocking. Performers pray for the life, strength, and growth of the people.
Those taking part in the ceremony are divided into two groups: the fathers who sponsor the ceremony and the children who receive the focused intentions, prayers, and gifts from the fathers. The head of the fathers' group, called Father, is responsible for employing the Ku'rahus. The head of the children's group, called Son, acts on behalf of the other children. The most important objects used in the Hako are the sacred feathered wands resembling pipe stems without the bowls attached. In the past the ceremony took three days and three nights, during which time twenty-seven rituals were performed, each ritual and song unveiling sacred history and stories and cementing the relationships of fathers and children.
At the end of the ceremony the wands are waved over the children, sealing the bond between fathers and children. Most of the ritual objects are discarded, with the exception of the feathered wands, which are given to one of the children for keeping. At a later date the children assume the fathers' role and offer prayers to another group of children, thus perpetuating the tradition and solidarity of the Pawnee. The children may also take the wands to other tribes as an offering of peace.
The Cheyenne are closely related to "Our Own Kind of People," known as the Arapaho, and the creation story of both groups is closely guarded and considered sacred. In , according to Cheyenne histories, the Pawnee captured the Sacred Arrows and, as a result, difficulties befell the People. Although two of the arrows were returned, two substitutes remain in place of two other arrows that are still missing. Maiyun instructed Sweet Medicine in the proper care of the arrows and the sacred ceremonies associated with them.
Sweet Medicine was given the responsibility of teaching the Cheyenne about the powers of the arrows and their importance for the survival of the People. Sweet Medicine lived with the People for years and provided them with instructions on ways to live; among other things he counseled them to form a representative government in which spiritual and medicine people are vested with the highest authority.
He prophesized the coming of the white people, and of the misfortune, illness, death, and devastation that would befall the People with their arrival. Another prophecy described a prophet the People would meet named So'taaeo'o Erect Horns , who later taught them the Sun Dance and other sacred traditions distinctive to the Cheyenne.
The Sacred Arrow Renewal ceremony traditionally takes four days to perform and occurs every other year. After the site has been chosen by a group of individuals usually men held in high esteem , a special lodge is prepared on the first day. New poles are cut and the lodge covering is borrowed from families of good reputation.
Inside the lodge the medicine people of the tribe sit on beds of sage. As part of the preparations, each Cheyenne family provides a special counting stick to the leader of the ceremony that symbolically represents each member of the tribe. An individual pledges to sponsor a Sacred Arrow Renewal ceremony, and the arrows are unwrapped and displayed. The man making the pledge does so to fulfill a vow. Although only one person makes the pledge, the ceremony is given on behalf of all Cheyenne, to protect against famine and annihilation and to ensure a long and prosperous life for all.
On the second day the sacred arrows are obtained from the keeper and the bundle is opened and examined. If the flight feathers of the arrows are in any way damaged, a man known for his bravery is chosen to replace the feathers. On the third day the arrows are renewed and each of the counting sticks is blessed on behalf of all the families in the tribe. On the last day the arrows are exhibited to the male members of the tribe. The Cheyenne say that it is difficult to look directly at the arrows because they give off a blinding light. To conclude the ceremony, the medicine people make predictions about the future of the People.
With the conclusion of a sweat lodge ceremony, the Sacred Arrow Renewal ritual is officially over, and the Cheyenne symbolically began life anew. Beck, Peggy V. Tsaile, Ariz. Good overview reference and study of concepts and ways for thinking about the traditional practices, beliefs, and sacred ways of Native North America. Bowers, Alfred W.
Mandan Social and Ceremonial Organization. Chicago, This book, written by a ethnographer, includes a detailed description of the Okipa, the Mandan Sun Dance. Catlin, George. Edited and with preface by John C. New Haven , Conn. This edition of Catlin's work contains the controversial "Folium Reservatum," not included in the original edition because of its discussion of sexual symbolism in the ceremony.
Fletcher, Alice C. The Omaha Tribe. Washington, D. Includes important information on Omaha religion compiled by one of the earliest female ethnographers in collaboration with a member of the Omaha tribe. Grinnell, George Bird. Volume 2 contains information on the medicine lodge, Sweet Medicine, and the Massaum ceremony, and is a classic cultural history of the Cheyenne. Religions of the American Indians. Translated by Monica Setterwall. Los Angeles , Written by a leading historian of comparative religions who specializes in American Indian religion. It contains a great deal of comparative material on Plains Indians.
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Hinton, Leanne. Berkeley, Calif. Exceptional text from a foremost scholar of California Native languages, with information on language families and histories and on efforts to keep various languages alive. Irwin, Lee. Norman, Okla. The most comprehensive and scholarly treatment of an important subject, that reaches into the substance of visionary experiences. Lowie, Robert H. The Crow Indians. New York , ; reprint, The religious life of the Crow Indians is related to their workaday world in one of the classics of anthropology.
Mann, Henrietta. Cheyenne-Arapaho Education, — Niwot, Colo. Significant text documenting the educational history of Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples and their relationship with the U. Mooney, James. Introduction by Anthony F. Abridgement of study originally published in the U. Bureau of Ethnology Annual Repor t 14, pt.
Mooney interviewed participants of the Ghost Dance at the time it was being performed. Mist hangs heavily on the Atlantic and a great three-masted ship waits off the shore, her topsails rattling and slapping in the faint puffs of breeze. Men abroad her are taking soundings and the Skipper stands anxiously at the wheel. Slowly from afar steal the clouds, crawling above the mist invisibly, coming with cohorts of thunder. Lightning strikes at the sea and the ship staggers with the first faint shock of the gale, nosing her way out to seaward, while the crew swarm aloft and furl the sail—crying we'll roll—ay—we'll furl—ay—we'll pay Paddy Doyle for his boots.
Far away at the roots of the sea, a hurricane is rising, sweeping with surprising fury at the mist, tearing it away, heeling clippers homeward, driving them on to concealed reefs and shoals. The great ship, gleaming with brass and paint, under bare poles, rolls horribly in the tempest. War rises like a dark cloud, shrouding the young exultant country in its folds. For three years Lee keeps the North at bay. Lincoln sitting like a tragic king in the White House, kneels and prays in his homely way that the Lord will spare the North another disaster.
Gettysburg and Vicksburg is the answer, and the South, defeated, reels heavily. But when the last battle is fought and the last bullet is sped, Lincoln, too lies dead. And the victorious North, its conquest done, dreams of nothing better than of filling the continent with prosperity from the factories of the East to the coast of the setting sun.
Prosperity spells dollars for the coffers of the few; cheap immigrant labour for the many; any corrupt government for the new Union either South or North. Mist blows and as it goes it whispers echoes of the past. Old crazy faces creep to windows and peer out to listen to it as it whispers to them of ships—ships of Portland, of Salem, of Newport, and New Bedford, clipper-ships and whalers, privateers and Cape Horn limejuicers, bringing gold, ivory, spices and fruit.
Old hands smooth tremulously faded silks, old eyes peer hopelessly into Bibles. The age of ships is gone, the age of iron begun. Mills whirl their spindles, railroads carry the grain of the West to ports. The New England farms lie fallow and deserted and over their loneliness the red and yellow leaves of Autumn looming through the mist light torches, flashing in despair to the black hemlocks over there, like a group of Indians watchful and ready.
Time flies steadily on, to the tune of the looms, and millions flow into New England's thrifty portals. But the energy, the vitality, is sapped and gone. Squadrons are moving, grey through the mists of spring, on their way to France. Squadrons of troopships, guarded by cruisers, going forth into the unknown, into the battle the Allies cannot gain, into the dark ominous future. Has the new world joined the old at last? Will there be row on row of new low crosses on the blood-soaked soil of France to mark that America was willing to take her chance with the rest of the World?
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Soon enough the answer is heard—the thunder of guns proclaiming the armistice. Germany gives up the struggle and all is over. Ah, but the mists hover and curl, advancing, retreating over the low eastern coast, silencing every cry, every boast, every peal of victory! Mist hangs flat and sluggish, unstirring, unshaken. Underneath its touch the country will not waken. Fat and prosperous, it will slip easily to sleep, though discontent smoulders, though rebellion mutters at its gates.
The fates have sent it too easy a task, to spin dreams out of mist, to weave ropes of foam and sand. It has forgotten the past of Athens, of Persia, of Crete, of Carthage, of Egypt, of Rome, of many a great empire that laid its trust only on material good. Breakers and granite John Gould Fletcher. The ship glides softly in,. The ship glides in and stops. The dark, lead-coloured piers. The Henry K. Jewett fastens to her bows. Tug after tug assembles,. With rocking shocks, with throb of beating engines,. Minute on minute passes:. Nine columns of flying smoke. And still the ship stirs not.
One after one the tugs slip off,. I White lily hammered out of steel,. But at your feet shrill furnaces roar,. White lily, swaying, tremulous,. The noise of hatred that dies not. And if you should fail: —. And still they wait;. Yet, still aloof, they hesitate,. III Crash of plates, dribble of plates,.
Plates sliding on slippery floors,. Stupid faces, vulgar faces,. Tinkle of plates, mutter of plates,. IV Draped in soft-shaded robes of light,. Erect and pale; strange, beautiful,. Hawked, peddled, cheapened, made more vile each instant,. What are these, angels or demons,. If the grey sapless people,. What,are they, then, angels, or demons,. Slim motionless tree-stems are carelessly scattered,. Haze curls, drifts, floats, subsides, and lifts itself;. Will this water-Colour ecstasy,.
Towards the dull wavering storm-cloud uprising with mutters and flashes of flame,. But the temple is still roofless:. A cart is unloading square cases,. When the streets are freshly lighted,. In a blue mist half-wavering,. All the failures and incomplete efforts,. In the morning up the dizzy-limbed ladders,.
On the verandah here, bored couples eat, lifting their tea in jewelled hands. Between them goes the river seaward, frowning brown shadow, naked light. A steamer cuts through it, shooting outwards ripples in patterns of blue and brown. Gods of this land who shaped these cliffs, whose fireless altars no one heeds,.
Make peace between me and these rocks, let me not face their force in vain;. March 4, Earth for roamers, earth for hunters, earth desolate and free as any ocean,. Half-finished earth, useless earth, where are your scoundrels, saints and lovers? Earth everywhere rejecting life—sparse graveyards and sparse forests —. But man's forever drifting will. Its shutterless, blindless windows let you look inside.
But when the windows up and down those fronts. One or two lights low down. At the edge of a beautiful gulf of gloom and stillness. December, Loosely the river sways out, backward, forward,. Like an enormous serpent, dilating, uncoiling,. It goes, while the steamboat drifting out upon it,. The heavy clouds like cargo-boats strain slowly against its current;. And the flickering of the haze is like the thunder of ten thousand paddles. It is weaving a river of light to take the place of this river;. A river where we shall drift all night, then come to rest in its shallows;.
And then I shall wake from my drowsiness and look down from some dim treetop. And the river waits,. They stop like heart-beats that abruptly stop,. And then supreme revelation of the river —. Deep, matted green silence of my South,. There is a silence I have achieved: I have walked beyond its threshold;. Immortal death is very sweet.
It has been here when into silent forests. It flowed on still when the first French explorers,. It stood at flood-tide while the northern armies. Thunder has worked upon these cliffs,. Low Indian drums of thunder,. And yet, child of the woods,. It rises out of thunder,. Here where men's dreams. Here where De Soto's heart. Here where my fathers crossed,. Has the land failed,. Still flows the shining river. Lift a last council-fire. Lift a plumed long grey smoke,. We who are broken, lost,.
II With flashes of lightning striding above its surface,. A vast brown rounded sweep of moving water,. Slowly the summer wanes, and slowly slackens the river;. And there beyond the weedy green levee. Buffaloes, snorting, trample their way to its shallows;. And, underneath the bluff,. Darker and still more dark. But still the river flows,.
I saw in midwinter the white mists arising,. I saw in midwinter the plumes of the cypress. String after string of bubbles and of foam,. Until there come to us. Have we no power to find. III Full moon at midnight,. Owl that in the branches. Night of the passionate south,. Where is the wind tonight?
I have cried out to the forest,. Steadily out of the gulf. Come, rushing breeze of the darkness, scented with earth and her flowers,. On the verandah rings the fiddle,. Spice-bush odours from the garden. Fireflies signal here and there;. When the dawn will rise and smite. A steamboat steadily weaves.
Into the shadowy banks where racing flows the current,. The steamboat glows and burns,. And weaving across, she suddenly toots one long blast;. No longer free, but fettered in its movement,. With fields of sugar, fields of rice, the smooth green leaves of cotton,. Too wild it was ever to reach the sea;. The sweetbay with its berries of bright red,. We have not loved enough,. We builded long ago. Now we build factories. And far away their fires. River that goes to death,. You hide yourself in haze;. The pawpaw falls at dusk;.
And all in vain you spread. It winds out oceanward;. Afar off over shallows. And far away to north. Born of the forest and the cloud,. Wild flowers bloom at Gettysburg;. The fields with rhododendron. Suddenly, out of the south,. Seventy-three thousand men march out:. Stuart with his grey cavalry. II Wild flowers bloom at Gettysburg;. In the long rolling country. The cavalry reel and crash:. Backward the blue-clad army rolls from Gettysburg to southward,.
The west burns up to red. III Darkness and brooding clouds. The cry of the South ascends:—. Vicksburg holds still the river safe to south;. And the flower of the Southern blood, drawn from the fields left fallow,. Lee prays in his tent at midnight:.
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And in the silence of night. IV Wild flowers bloom at Gettysburg,. It is the second day; Lee hammers at the flanks. Tree-branches tossed and torn. And three miles to the north,. Cannon on cannon wakes,. Winds of the west and east,. Sunrise for the third time touches the peaks to westward,. Facing each other a mile apart, the armies wait the onset,. From far away the thunders ride outstreaming;. Gather, you masses of grey, for one last fierce upspringing,.
Flash upon flash from brazen lips of flame—. The noon is past and now wanes afternoon. The thunder clouds have come together,. Out of their rest they rise,. Through ragged grey wisps of smoke they stumble, shift and waver,. Bullets sing, flicking the dust to puffs of angry brown. Half of their way they have come, and still one third are standing. And, along the stone-piled ridge,. Slashing with sabre and steel, they meet in melee and rally,. VI Wild flowers bloom at Gettysburg. Dying men stain their petals with bubbles and streaks of blood,. Darkness and heavy rain;.
Lee silently rides amid them. Darkness and heavy rain. VII Fifty and seven years ago: —. But we who hold the land,. But sometimes, a tall shadow. Sometimes a broken sword of cloud. Dust that rises — dust that settles — and the rust of ancient years Suddenly the endless dark green piney uplands. Yellow, red, grey-green, purple-black chasms fell swiftly below each other. II When the free thunder-spirit. Silent and windless,. Now in the steady glare,. Yet still behind them,. III Should I by chance deserve some last reward from earth,—.
The winds would drift the ash. The rabbits in the morning. IV Shadows of clouds. Clutching, staggering, upstriking,. The winds are battling and striving to break them;. Grey rain-curtains wave afar off. Now the clouds are a lazy procession:. Where rise sharp-fretted, golden-roofed cathedrals. And a girl in a black lace shawl. A little further along the street.
The ponies struggle and scramble,. Nothing has ever lived here,. When we plod up to them,. Shards of pots and shreds of straw,. Yellow melon flowers. The houses, double-roofed for coolness,. The windmills stare at the sun. And, after sunset, when the sky. Turning, turning, forever turning. Where on the windblown edge of a cliff. Up and down and up and down,. My life is a stony plain,. The old priests sleep, white-shrouded,.
Their pottery whistles lie beside them, the prayersticks closely feathered;. The sun is rolling slowly. The old dead priests. And now the showers. O, my soul of purple and gold, the earth is green, the sun is gold! O my soul of the blue and gold, the earth is cold, the sky is cold! Summer, I bow myself to the quarters;. Many things have I to say unto you:. Many chiefs! Many warriors! Many young men! Wherefore do You now abandon us? Did the great river that Your Finger traced.