Spokesman for the Sioux, Gary Clayton Anderson, is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma. He is also the author Kinsmen of Another Kind: Dakota-White Relations in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1650-1862, The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1830-1875 and The Indian Southwest 1580-1830: Ethnogenesis and Cultural Reinvention. Other publications include Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood and he teaches U. S. Survey and Native American history courses at University of Oklahoma at undergraduate and graduate levels.
Anderson is credited for co-editing with Alan R. Woolworth on the publication of, Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862. Specializing in American Indians of the Great Plains and the Southwest, Anderson presents his biography of Little Crow and a well written story of the Sioux tribe. In Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux, Anderson recounts the life of Little Crow in an objective biography which also incorporates an appealing, analytical narrative of the Sioux, or Dakota, tribe.
Anderson describes his purpose of the biography to explain Little Crow as an,” With all of the ambiguity surrounding the life of Little Crow, Anderson does a delightful job of analyzing the social, economic, political and intellectual aspects of his life, and that of the Sioux tribe in general. There are many characteristics of Little Crow’s life evaluated, which include his responsibilities to his family and tribe, and specifically what was essential to his culture.
Anderson describes the form of the book as, “In a word, this book is an attempt at ethno-biography, or the writing of a biography from the perspective of a minority culture. ” He writes this book in this fashion to attempt to clear up any myths or duel images that have been created of Little Crow. He proclaims, “Little Crow should be remembered as a leader who struggled to shape a realistic alternative to warfare in the cultural confrontation that took place between whites and Indians. ” In the writing of Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux, Anderson uses many different sources.
Newspapers, government and congressional documents, books, articles, and manuscripts are some of the primary sources listed in his bibliography. He also incorporates historical secondary works. It is this variety of sources used by Anderson that gives the reader an understanding that goes above and beyond just the life of Little Crow. According to Paul Stuart in American History Review, “Using an array of manuscript anti published primary sources, Anderson has produced a sensitive portrayal of Little Crow’s life and of Dakota society during the mid-nineteenth century. William K. Powers also agrees that Anderson paints Little Crow in a way that has never been done before, in South Dakota History, “This book takes a refreshing position in that it attempts to humanize Indian leaders, whereas, in the past, only the most ‘war-like’ have been designated as heroes” It is a general consensus among the reviews that Anderson has a sophisticated, well-written historical narrative, that depicts Indian and white relationships at this time.
Anderson uses Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux to tell the story of the Mdewakanton Sioux during the Sioux Uprising of 1862. He especially focuses on Little Crow’s role as a spokesperson for his tribe. Little Crow builds relationships with his tribe, other Sioux tribes, and the United States government and is able to negotiate with them in an exceptionally tactical manner. Paul Stuart describes Little Crow, in American History Review, “Bat-gaining skills, kinship ties with Indian leaders and white traders and a willingness to compromise made Little Crow an important leader.
It was in 1862 that Little Crow found fighting to be his only option; he had to follow his tribe. According to Raymond J. DeMallie in Minnesota History, “Anderson suggests that the chief’s surprising decision to join in the rebellion was motivated by his personal sense of betrayal by the Americans, as well as by a hope that this action would allow him to regain political power. ” Anderson has not only provided the reader with a remarkable historical narrative of Little Crow, he has also brought meaning to a life that deserved renowned recognition.
He captures the full magnitude of Little Crows leadership role, his political dominance, and still keeps him grounded in his cultural beliefs. Paul Stuart articulates, “This biography will take its place among recent contributions in American Indian history that emphasize Indian leaders as three-dimensional human beings acting within a specific cultural context. ” Although a few of the reviews think Anderson filled in too much of Little Crows life, or did not fully demonstrate the Dakota language properly, they all respect him for the historical narrative that he has written.
Anderson will be credited with a wonderful attempt to convey Little Crow’s life. William K. Powers claims, “Anderson should be congratulated on attempting to combine well-researched history with the touch of humanity that Little Crow and others have deserved for so long. ” Anderson successfully portrays Little Crow as the critical individual he was, not only in history, but also as an individual, by exemplifying his character during the hardships his tribe faced with the whites during the nineteenth century.