Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Handbook of North American Indians

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Handbook of North American Indians

Article excerpt

Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 13, Plains. Edited by Raymond J. DeMallie. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001. Pp. ix, 1,392, in two parts. Notes, preface, introduction, maps, illustrations, bibliography, index. $101.00.)

In the 1970s, the Smithsonian Institution Press began planning for the publication of the Handbook of North American Indians. Over the years, volumes on general topics and the native peoples of several regions have been published-none in the order of the volume numbers. Nearly thirty years later, volume thirteen on the Plains Indians has appeared. With the constant attention given to the Plains Indians, volume thirteen is probably one of the most eagerly anticipated volumes in the collection and covers so much ground it had to be divided into two parts. It begins with introductory chapters on archeological and ethnological research, the environment, and the language groups of the region. Those chapters are followed by several others on regional history, pre- and post-Columbian. The volume then proceeds to separate chapters on each tribe and final chapters dedicated to special topics like art and kinship.

At first glance, many interested in Arkansas history may wonder what a volume on Plains Indians has to do with Arkansas. This volume follows the broader framework of the whole series that places peoples in regions not just by geography but also by culture and language. Among the Plains people, then, are many who speak a Siouan language, including the Dhegiha Sioux speakers. To keep the chapters on the Dhegiha Sioux tribes together, the Plains volume includes the Osages, who were at home on the Missouri prairies and in the Arkansas mountains, and the Quapaws, who lived in the more humid Mississippi delta. …

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