Colin Calloway has done a masterful job of selecting and presenting an array of speeches, letters, documents, and drawings that tell compelling stories about the Plain Indians in the 1800's. His introduction alone has just the right level of information and links basic themes and events to the documents presented in the text. In short, a model of how an introduction should be done.
Colin Calloway's intentions were to focus on the humanistic study of the Plain Indians views on how the West was lost. It provides us with the actual perspectives of Indian people who lived through those times of manifestation and assimilation. From the Lewis and Clark expedition to the building of railroads, he attempts to explain the traumatic changes of the Native Americans during the nineteenth century. He opens our eyes from what earlier historians whose work seems now outdated, preferring to rescue elements of their work.
The narratives are divided into fourteen chapters, which supply historical document and secondary essays placing these documents within their historical context. Each chapter unfolds 1 OUR HEARTS FELL TO THE GROUND to show the tragedy the Plains Indian had to endure from the white settlers and their greed for land and prosperity.
From the slaughter of whole tribes, the out break of the unseen killer, and the forced assimilation through the reservation systems were only a few explanations for why the Indians numbers dwindled in the 1800s. It was not until the middle of the twentieth century that the reality of their suffering showed up in history books. Any writings prior only portrayed the Native American as savages and rebellious people, almost to a romance climax. Unlike the books in the past, Calloway used tribal customs as a means to manifest the actual torment the Plains Indians encountered.