BOOK REVIEWS plateau lifeways. Throughout, Cebula is attentive to the dynamic nature of Indian life. His study provides a nuanced portrait of the dramatic adjustments plateau peoples made to the disruptions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Nonetheless, it feels as though Cebula has provided us with only part of the story. In a work detailing the spiritual journeys and religious beliefs of Plateau Indians, the voices of these people are muted. To a large degree, these problems stem from the evidence. With few sources written by plateau peoples themselves, Cebula's assertions about their spiritual world and the process of change that gripped it are necessarily filtered through the early ethnographies and fur trade and exploration accounts that form the core of his study. In his brief chapter on the Columbian religion, for example, Cebula attempts to describe its features using only the scattered observations of travelers and traders. The result is a murky picture of the ways outsiders made sense of these practices. What its practitioners thought remains unclear. But the issue is not solely one of evidence. By partitioning his story into the ``protohistoric'' changes that occurred before 1800 and the genuinely historic changes that began
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Jun 13, 2005
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