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Subtitled ""A Chronicle of American Indian Leadership"", this book by an editor of American Heritage tells of the efforts of nine outstanding Indian chiefs to save their people from white domination; it also includes brief histories of the different tribes. The book begins with the ""real"" Hiawatha, not Longfellow's hero, but a wise chief of the war-like Iroquois who united his people before the coming of the white man; it ends with the Sioux chief, Crazy Horse, who never signed a treaty with the whites and was murdered in 1877, and with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, defeated this same year in his efforts to save his tribe from deportation from their own lands to southern reservations. Sometimes defeat was deferred, as with the Pueblo Indians and their chief, Pope, who in 1680 broke Spanish rule in New Mexico; more often it was not. The names of the chiefs, however, are still remembered: King Philip of the Pequots, who tried to drive the Puritans from America; Pontiac; Tecumseh of the Shawnees, who ""fought to give all Indians a national conscience"" -- and others. An epilogue presents a fine plea for an understanding of the American Indian and his present-day problems. Written in an honest and pedestrian style and suffering from the fact that its account of justified bitterness, bloodshed and inevitable defeat are much alike, this book is one for slow reading, for reference rather than excitement. It will appeal to students and teachers of the basic American background, and should form an excellent source book for historians and writers of the American West.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1961
Publisher: Viking