Bad Fruits of the Civilized Tree (Nonfiction)

Izumi Ishii, University of Nebraska Press, $45, Hardcover.
Izumi Ishii, University of Nebraska Press, $45, Hardcover.

In her book, Izumi Ishii demolishes the simplistic stereotype of the Indian (in her case, the Cherokee) as a congenital drunkard. True, abuse of alcohol became common among Cherokees as an escape mechanism from the humiliation of the Trail of Tears exile. But, initially, the tribe welcomed rum and brandy from traders. When liquor spread from ceremonial use to widespread social use, tribal women fought back by forming a Cherokee Temperance Society. Then Cherokees fought the federal government for the right to control liquor in Indian nations. Ishii’s history stems from her doctoral dissertation, so while the text is not difficult reading, the words do not flow as softly as those of an Elmer Kelton novel.

Related Posts

  • Robert J. Torrez, University of New Mexico Press, $19.95, Softcover.

    Trials by “Judge Lynch” were euphemisms for mob vengeance from colonial America to the frontier…

  • Hank Vaughan was a gunfighter in the Northwest. One shootout claimed the life of a…

  • In the spring of 1874, medicine man Isa-tai (translates as “Wolf’s Vulva”) convinced 250 Kiowas,…