In response to:
The Indians' Own Story from the April 7, 2005 issue
To the Editors:
Gratified as I am that Thomas Powers found tenable my arguments about American Indian forms of history in A Forest of Time [“The Indians’ Own Story,” NYR, April 7], I must correct the misimpression left by his characterization of my coauthored work, Restoring a Presence, which chronicles relationships between American Indians and Yellowstone National Park. Based on but one of five chapters, Mr. Powers was disappointed to find only “traits” and not much “knowable history.” However in the other four, narrative-driven chapters, which he never mentions, Lawrence Loendorf and I nail down the interactions of a half-dozen Indian tribes with the park region. Moreover, somewhat to the chagrin of current park officials, our research into Indian oral history provided proof positive that Crow Indians, for instance, definitely hunted buffalo within current park boundaries. And more surprisingly, our turning up mythic narratives still told by members of Oklahoma’s Kiowa tribe led to more research into unpublished materials and produced such a convincing tie between that tribe and the park—though today they are separated by over a thousand miles—that Yellowstone officials felt compelled to designate the Kiowa “an affiliated tribe” and to invite their leaders for a formal visit to their old haunts.
Department of World Arts and Cultures/American Indian Studies
University of California, Los Angeles
September 22, 2005