In this sweeping account of Native American history in the Southern United States, Gregory D. Smithers lets “Native Southerners drive the story through their words and deeds” (11). Each chapter of Smithers’s book presents an overview of a specific era and details multiple case studies of societies and individuals, the identities they created, and the choices they made in responding to the pressures of their world.

Smithers follows a chronological arc from the Paleo-Indian period to the Removal era. Chapter 1 addresses questions of origin, from archaeological theories to Native Southerners’ own creation, migration, and origin stories. Chapter 2 describes chiefdom societies like Etowah, Cahokia, and Coosa; while chapter 3 traces postcontact changes to coalescent societies like the Apalachees, Westos, Natchez, and the Creek Confederacy. Chapter 4 details the transformation of petit nations into larger societies like Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and...

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