The Enduring Indians of Kansas
A Century and a Half of Acculturation
With a New Foreword by Sarah Deer
Joseph B. Herring
The Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears” and the forced migration of other Southern tribes during the 1830s and 1840s were the most notorious consequences of Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy. Less well known is the fact that many tribes of the Old Northwest territory were also forced to surrender their lands and move west of the Mississippi River.
By 1850, upwards of 10,000 displaced Indians had been settled “permanently” along the wooded streams and rivers of eastern Kansas. Twenty years later only a few hundred—mostly Kickapoos, Potawatomis, Chippewas, Munsees, Iowas, Foxes, and Sacs—remained.
“An engaging account of displaced Indian peoples’ struggles to maintain their respective identities in eastern Kansas.”
—American Historical Review
“Concise, yet well-documented and thoroughly researched. . . Herring portrays Indian leaders as active participants in this drama, with strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures.”
—Kansas HistorySee all reviews...
“Herring shows that the surviving Indian groups were not the helpless victims of events; rather, they made careful, deliberately chosen decisions to accommodate to the values of neighboring settlers. This theme of choice is central to the “new Indian history” and Herring writes very well.”
—Michael Green, author of The Politics of Indian Removal
“Herring offers a set of compelling stories, each detailing the struggles of relatively small groups of people against corporate, religious, and bureaucratic forces. The tales have drama, memorable characters, and relevance for our own time. This book is a lasting contribution to Indian history because it both demonstrates and extends the new direction in the field, suggesting fresh ways to look at those Indians who struggled to survive more by pen and word than by gun and bullet. Herring makes a major conceptual point persuasively: that native peoples endured and sometimes triumphed. Students of 19th century Indian-Indian and Indian-white relations will find much to challenge them in this book, and it will have considerable appeal to a wider, non-professional audience, as well. ”
—James Ronda, author of Lewis & Clark Among the IndiansSee fewer reviews...
Joseph Herring’s The Enduring Indians of Kansas recounts the struggle of these determined survivors. For them, the “end of Indian Kansas” was unacceptable, and they stayed on the lands that they had been promised were theirs forever.
Offering a good counterpoint to Craig Miner’s and William Unrau’s The End of Indian Kansas, Herring shows the reader a shifting set of native perspectives and strategies. He argues that it was by acculturation on their own terms—by walking the fine line between their traditional ways and those of the whites—that these Indians managed to survive, to retain their land, and to resist the hostile intrusions of the white world. The story of their epic struggle to survive will place a new set of names in the pantheon of American Indian heroes.