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Indians of the Greater Southeast

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Bonnie McEwan (editor). 2000. Indians of the Greater Southeast. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 317 pages, plus an index. References provided with separate chapters.
The Indians of the Greater Southeast is a collection of papers on Native American groups living from Florida to Texas during the first years of the European colonization of the American continent. Each chapter is written by a different author, but the coherent totality of the book is an educational exploration of the cultures of the southeastern peoples, as described from historic documents, oral tradition and archaeological evidence.

Chapters are provided on the Native American peoples in their original places: the Timucuas in what is now Florida and Georgia (Jerald T. Milanich); the Guales of Georgia on the Atlantic coast (Rebecca Saunders); the Apalachees of northern Florida (Bonnie McEwan); the Chickasaws of northern Mississippi (Jay K. Johnson); the Caddos of Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas (Ann M. Early); the Natchez of Mississippi (Karl G. Lorenz); the Quapaws of Arkansas (George Sabo III); the Cherokees (Gerald F. Schroedl) of Tennessee and northern Georgia; the Upper Creeks (Gregory Waselkov and Martin T. Smith) and Lower Creeks (John E. Worth) of Alabama; and the Seminoles of southern Florida (Brent R. Weisman). Everyone who studies—or is interested in—the Mississippian cultures of the Americas should read this book. The diversity of culture, the political structures, the reactions to the invaders, the effect of diseases, and how all of this is expressed—or not expressed—in the archaeological record, is the main force of this collection.
As some one who has studied the Late Prehistoric of the interior of the American continent, I found many parallels and surprises in comparing what I understand of Mill Creek, Great Oasis, Oneota, and the other Mississippian and related peoples to the information in the book. The book provides a glimmer into the diversity of the Native American cultures—and a glimpse into the changes wrought on them by European missionaries, traders, soldiers, and colonists.

There are a few line drawings, maps, and photographs to illustrate the writers’ ideas; and plenty of references for further reading. Primarily written for the professional, I believe this book would be informative to the interested amateur as well.

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