There is nothing small about Matthew S. Makley’s The Small Shall Be Strong: A History of Lake Tahoe’s Washoe Indians. A richly textured, meditative analysis of the Washoe, The Small Shall Be Strong demonstrates how bringing new voices and experiences adds depth and nuance to Indigenous history as well as the history of the US West.

Consisting of nine chapters plus an introduction and an afterword, The Small Shall Be Strong provides a tour through Washoe life, their initial encounters with non-Indians, the resulting violence and destruction, and the nation’s survival and persistence. The book is organized thematically and chronologically. One of the structural strengths of Makley’s study is in how he incorporates the perspectives of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Washoe throughout his study. In the epigraph of the preface, Makley includes a quotation from former Washoe Tribal chairman Brian Wallace: “History...

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