We want to highlight two recent books — both excellent in their own ways — on Indian leaders during (roughly) treaty times. First, Anton Treuer’s book, The Assassination of Hole in the Day (available online at Birchbark Books, the greatest bookstore in the world), published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, is a truly entertaining read. It is one of the rare books that makes extensive use of Indian oral histories, and gives these histories the credence they so often deserve. The story of Hole in the Day’s murder by his own people is a classic tale of Anishinaabe political leadership that more or less tracks the rise and fall of Julius Ceasar. Important leader, does some great and terrible things, overreaches, loses power, and eventually loses life. But real import, however, is the impact of treaty negotiations on Aninshinaabe leaders.
The second book, Brian Hicks’ Toward the Setting Sun: John Ross, the Cherokees, and the Trail of Tears (available here), was published by the Atlantic Monthly Press, and is another entertaining read. And like Treuer’s book, this is a great study of how tribal leadership operated during these amazing times.