The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature, Review by Holly Blommer

This book review, by Holly Blommer, of The War in Words, by Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, praises its analysis of events and narratives as they pertain to both Native Americans and Non-Native Americans, specifically noting how well it contrasts these views in light of historical events.

 

This book, focusing on the 1862 Dakota Conflict, creates a dialogue of analysis about captivity and confinement narratives that were predominantly claimed by Euro-Americans to narrate their treatment at the hands of Indians. Little known is that this particular genre was used by Indians as well to narrate their treatment at the hands of non-Natives. The two main sections of the book allow for perspectives from non-Natives and Natives in an attempt to give voice to those missing from historical discourse and to show individual ideologies and identities within the two groupings.

The review raves about the personable lens through which the book reviews history, claiming such perspective was captured for the Euro-Americans of the time, but still missing for much of the Native American population.

 

[Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola] efforts at leveling the historical playing field by not only giving voice to those Natives who were previously voiceless in history, but also by attempting to illustrate how wartime memories are wounds that are interpreted differently by each group because of personal, cultural, and historical context, should not go unnoticed.

Holly Boomer. The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature The Annals of Iowa 69 (2010), 224-225.