Academic journal article Military Review

General Stand Watie's Confederate Indians

Academic journal article Military Review

General Stand Watie's Confederate Indians

Article excerpt

GENERAL STAND WATIE'S CONFEDERATE INDIANS by Frank Cunningham. 252 pages. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK. 1998. $14.95

Originally published in 1959, General Stand Watie s Confederate Indians fills an important void in Civil War history. Frank Cunningham's book breaks the stereotype that Confederate soldiers were primarily of European descent. As with the newer works on African American Confederates, Cunningham's book shows that the Confederate cause crossed cultural and ethnic lines and does a reputable job of telling how Cherokee Indian chief Stand Watie became a Confederate general officer with his Cherokee tribesmen following him from Wilson's Creek, Missouri, to the end of the war in the West.

By portraying the Indian contribution to the Confederate effort, it provides an interesting study of alliances between diverse peoples with the same general goals. The Confederacy's inability to properly support its Indian allies proved to be a weak link in the South's political and military policies.

Cunningham's unbiased description of how Watie and the civilized tribes of Indian territory sided with the same South that had expelled them from their ancestral homelands less than 30 years before is a fascinating study in human nature. Rather than blame Southerners, the Indians directed their animosity toward the Federal government, whose intrusion was as much a continued threat in their lives as it was to Confederate states' rights. …

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