Great Plains Indians

Great Plains Indians

David J. Wishart

Discover the Great Plains Series

168 pages
12 illustrations, 8 maps, 1 graph, 1 index


September 2016


$14.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

David J. Wishart’s Great Plains Indians covers thirteen thousand years of fascinating, dynamic, and often tragic history.

From a hunting and gathering lifestyle to first contact with Europeans to land dispossession to claims cases, and much more, Wishart takes a wide-angle look at one of the most significant groups of people in the country. Myriad internal and external forces have profoundly shaped Indian lives on the Great Plains. Those forces—the environment, religion, tradition, guns, disease, government policy—have written their way into this history. Wishart spans the vastness of Indian time on the Great Plains, bringing the reader up to date on reservation conditions and rebounding populations in a sea of rural population decline.   

Great Plains Indians is a compelling introduction to Indian life on the Great Plains from thirteen thousand years ago to the present. 


Author Bio

David J. Wishart is a professor of geography at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He is the author or editor of many books, including Encyclopedia of the Great Plains (Nebraska, 2004), and The Last Days of the Rainbelt (Nebraska, 2014). 


"[Wishart's] clear and succinct overview of Plains culture and history will enlighten the casual reader."—Publishers Weekly

"[Great Plains Indians is] packed with worthwhile information and observations on Indian life during the centuries before European settlement and up to present times."—Omaha World-Herald

"David Wishart's book is a very accessible introduction to the indigenous cultures of the North American Great Plains."—John Truden, Chronicles of Oklahoma

"[Great Plains Indians] will serve as an excellent, concise, and informative introduction to many facets of Plains Indian cultures, past and present, and should also serve as a conduit into additional studies. . . . A recommended volume for anyone interested in Plains Indians and the ongoing history of Native-U.S. relations that adds to the scholarship of the U.S. West and Borderlands of adjacent regions."—William C. Meadows, New Mexico Historical Review

"Very informative."—Donald Raker, Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society

"These are the stories of how the United States came to be what it is today, and they should be known to all Americans."—W. Raymond Wood, Annals of Iowa

“Essential reading for any westerner. Great Plains Indians is a magnificent encapsulation of a story we all need to know.”—Elizabeth Fenn, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People

“Excellent style—probably the most readable synthesis I have encountered. Masterful in its economy, without sounding trite.”—Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, author of Red Earth: Race and Agriculture in Oklahoma Territory

“David Wishart covers an astonishing range of time and territory in this brief introduction to the history of Plains Indians. Beginning with the earliest human migrations to the region, Wishart takes readers through Native cosmology and subsistence patterns, European incursions and indigenous dispossession, before arriving at the present moment, characterized by the bleak realities of reservation life mixed with the hopes represented by a resurgent population awaiting political mobilization.”—Andrew R. Graybill, author of The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Introduction: Plains Indians in the 2010 Census    
Chapter One. Since Time Immemorial    
Chapter Two. Land and Life around 1803    
Chapter Three. A Century of Dispossession    
Chapter Four. Against All Odds    

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