In this illuminating book, the Plains Indians come to life as shrewd traders. The Cheyennes played a vital role in an intricate and expanding barter system that connected tribes with each other and with whites. Joseph Jablow follows the Cheyennes, who by the beginning of the nineteenth century had migrated westward from their villages in present-day Minnesota into the heart of the Great Plains. Formerly horticulturists, they became madic hunters on horseback and, gradually, middlemen for the exchange of commodities between whites and Indian tribes. Jablow shows the effect that trading had on the lives of the Indians and outlines the tribal antagonisms that arose from the trading. He explains why the Cheyennes and the Kiowas, Comanches, and Prairie Apaches made peace among themselves in 1840. The Cheyenne in Plains Indian Trade Relations is a classic study of the manner in which an individual tribe reacted, in terms of the trade situation, to the changing forces of history.
Formerly a professor at Brooklyn College, Joseph Jablow is an authority on economic anthropology. Morris W. Foster shows, in his introduction to this Bison Book edition, how Jablow's thesis about the Cheyennes applies to other tribes on the Plains. Foster, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of Being Comanche: The Social History of an American Indian Community.