An Immersive History of Mixed-Descent Native Families
In “Born of Lakes and Plains,” Anne F. Hyde draws attention to the roles that intermarriage played in the development of the American West.
BORN OF LAKES AND PLAINS
Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West
By Anne F. Hyde
Illustrated. 442 pages. W.W. Norton & Company. $40.
Any history of Indigenous peoples in North America must reckon with the reality of exploitation, ethnic cleansing and genocide; but to reduce their experiences to unending violence is to adopt, however unwittingly, the perspective of European settlers.
“From this vantage point, we see nothing but a conquered land littered with Indian bones,” Anne F. Hyde writes in “Born of Lakes and Plains: Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West.” Hyde, a historian at the University of Oklahoma and the author of “Empires, Nations, and Families” (2011), a Pulitzer Prize finalist, doesn’t gloss over suffering. But in her immersive and humane new book she draws attention to the relationships between white and Indigenous people that made “strangers into kin,” long before such unions were decried and, in some states, outlawed.