From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the Near Southwest, 1786-1859

Synopsis

From Dominance to Disappearance is the first detailed history of the Indians of Texas and the Near Southwest from the late eighteenth to the middle nineteenth century, a period that began with Native peoples dominating the region and ended with their disappearance, after settlers forced the Indians in Texas to take refuge in Indian Territory. Drawing on a variety of published and unpublished sources in Spanish, French, and English, F. Todd Smith traces the differing histories of Texas's Native peoples. He begins in 1786, when the Spaniards concluded treaties with the Comanches and the Wichitas, among others, and traces the relations between the Native peoples and the various Euroamerican groups in Texas and the Near Southwest, an area encompassing parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. For the first half of this period, the Native peoples-including the Caddos, the Karankawas, the Tonkawas, the Lipan Apaches, and the Atakapas as well as emigrant groups such as the Cherokees and the Alabama-Coushattas-maintained a numerical superiority over the Euroamericans that allowed them to influence the region's economic, military, and diplomatic affairs. After Texas declared its independence, however, the power of Native peoples in Texas declined dramatically, and along with it, their ability to survive in the face of overwhelming hostility. From Dominance to Disappearance illuminates a poorly understood chapter in the history of Texas and its indigenous people.