In The Gods of Indian Country, Jennifer Graber details the history of American and Kiowa interactions from 1803 to 1903. The book advances two arguments, with the first related to a loose assemblage of American Christians called the “friends of the Indian.” Comprised of missionaries, reformers, educators, and the like, “friends of the Indian” framed their dealings with Native populations as benevolent and peaceful. As Graber reveals, however, this obscured their coercive tactics and willingness to enlist governmental authority to further their aims. The book’s second argument addresses how Kiowas maintained tribal bonds by drawing on their own forms of sacred power. Significantly, Graber states that the Kiowa language had no specific word for religion. Rather, American Christians have often used religion as a tool for classifying themselves above and against non-Christians. Graber, therefore, does not speak of Kiowa religion per se, but instead of how this population developed...
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Book Review| April 01 2020
The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West
The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West. By Graber, Jennifer. (
Oxford University Press,
2018. xxii +288 pp., acknowledgments, illustrations, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. $29.95 hardcover.)
Ethnohistory (2020) 67 (2): 323–324.
Arthur Remillard; The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West. Ethnohistory 1 April 2020; 67 (2): 323–324. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-8025412
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