A Meditation and History on the Great Plains



Amer-European settlement of the Great Plains transformed bountiful Native soil into pasture and cropland, distorting the prairie ecosystem as it was understood and used by the peoples who originally populated the land. Settlers justified this transformation with the unexamined premise of deficiency, according to which the Great Plains region was inadequate in flora and fauna and the region lacking in modern civilization. Drawing on history, sociology, art, and economic theory, Frances W. Kaye counters the argument of deficiency, pointing out that, in its original ecological state, no region can possibly be incomplete. Goodlands examines the settlers' misguided theory, discussing the ideas that shaped its implementation, the forces that resisted it, and Indigenous ideologies about what it meant to make good use of the land. By suggesting methods for redeveloping the Great Plains that are founded on native cultural values, Goodlands serves the region in the context of a changing globe.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Contents 8
Acknowledgements 10
Introduction 12
1 A Unified Field Theory of the Great Plains 28
2 Exploring the Explorers 56
3 Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part 1: Custer and Riel 74
4 Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part 2: Messianism, the 1885 Northwest Resistance, and the 1890 Lakota Ghost Dance 90
5 Spiritual and Intellectual Resistance to Conquest, Part 3: John Joseph Mathews’ Wah’Kon-Tah and John G. Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks 122
6 Intellectual Justification for Conquest: Comparative Historiography of the Canadian and US Wests 138
7 Homesteading as Capital Formation on the Great Plains 154
8 The Women’s West 178
9 And Still the Waters 196
10 Dust Bowls 216
11 Mitigating but Not Rethinking: George W. Norris, Tommy Douglas, and the Great Plains 228
12 Planning and Economic Theory 254
13 Mouse Beans and Drowned Rivers 276
14 Oil 286
15 Arts, Justice, and Hope on the Great Plains 302
Conclusion 330
Notes 344
Credits 376
A 378
B 378
Index 378
C 379
D 380
E 380
G 381
H 381
F 381
L 382
J 382
K 382
I 382
M 383
O 384
N 384
P 385
Q 385
R 385
S 386
W 387
U 387
V 387
T 387
Y 388