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The Choctaws in Oklahoma: From Tribe to Nation, 1855-1970 (American Indian Law and Policy) Hardcover – August, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0806138268 ISBN-10: 0806138262

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Product Details

  • Series: American Indian Law and Policy (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (August 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806138262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806138268
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,302,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Clara Sue Kidwell is Director Emerita of the Native American Studies program and Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Choctaws and Missionaries in Mississippi, 1818-1918.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bellizzi on March 27, 2014
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It is no accident that this book was the second volume in the American Indian Law and Policy Series, a title that clearly emphasizes the legal and political contours of Native American life. Early on, Kidwell explains the specific dates of her subtitle. It was in 1855 that the Choctaw national government "appointed a delegation to initiate negotiations for a new treaty that would redefine its relationship with the U.S. government." In 1970, "the federal government acknowledged the right of tribal members to choose their own leaders by popular election" (xvii). As the author narrates in detail, between those times, "the Choctaw Nation underwent a transition from a tribal society whose cultural values were based on communal land-holding, obligations to kin, oral traditions and language, and traditional food and game, to a political, corporate national entity that in 2001 had a budget of over $300 million dollars; whose tribal leaders traveled regularly to Washington, D.C., to lobby for legislation favorable to the tribe; and whose membership included approximately 128,000 people living in all fifty of the United States" (xvii).

In short, through one hundred and fifteen years of struggle, the Choctaws went "from tribe to nation." Almost always, Kidwell's approach to the history of the Choctaws focuses on legal and political struggles vis-a-vis the United States, but also within the tribe itself. Her method is thoroughly descriptive, treating the story as an historical narrative inherently worthy of being told. In at least two points, however, it becomes clear that, for the author, Choctaw history is always part family history. Series editor, Lindsay G.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Kelley VINE VOICE on March 26, 2009
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This is a solid, well-sourced book for anyone interested in Indian and specifically Choctaw history, including law and Federal policies. Dr. Kidwell, always a superb writer, has a firm grasp of her sources (including an 1855 book by Peter Pitchlynn that I really HAVE to get over to the Library of Congress to see), and includes a chapter of her own family history to add a good personal touch. At no point in this work did I ever have a question about where an assertion was based in the extant record.

I do disagree slightly with Dr. Kidwell's take on two events (one being the excitement following the 1902 election), based on documents she does not appear to have touched (at NARA DC). This is always the fun part of being a researcher/scholar-- finding new sources to further lift the veil of time.

The two final chapters have the feel of an author rushed to deadline. I have no idea if this was the case, but I was really hoping for more in-depth examination of the circumstances related to the re-emergence of public Choctaw tribal political activity.

Seeing Dr. Robert K. Thomas (may his memory be for a blessing) mentioned and cited is wonderful. "Uncle Bob," as he was known by his students, is still missed for his unvarnished opinions and concern for the development of both Indian scholars and scholars of Indian Studies.

An excellent work.
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Format: Paperback
A people displaced, a people whose history has been hard to track. "The Choctaws in Oklahoma: From Tribe to Nation, 1855-1970" attempts to draw the lines connecting the past of this Native American tribe from their wrongful displacement back in the mid nineteenth century to over one hundred years later. A story of how a tribe tries to stay true to its heritage when everything around them tries to change them, "The Choctaws in Oklahoma" is both saddening and intriguing about the cruelty and resolve of human nature.
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The book is interesting, but my copy must have been a misprint. All of the pages where maps should be, are blank. It wasn't brought to my attention until a month later.
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