REFERENCE

A Chickasaw Historical Atlas

Chickasaw. 2018. 276p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781935684688. $64.95. HIST
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Nelson (Toli: Chickasaw Stickball Then and Now), a member of the Chickasaw Nation, gathers maps (some from archives, many from online sources) that record the history and a bit of the culture of Indigenous people of the Southeast from 1723 to 2016. The organization is generally but not strictly chronological (later maps sometimes appear with earlier ones), and no time line or overview essay orients the nonspecialist to the movements and cultural adaptations of the book's subjects. It's difficult even to find the date and a cartological record of the tragic Removal of the Chickasaws: there is no 1837 map, and the index (which chiefly cites proper names) requires readers to search for "Chickasaw," then "Homeland," then "Removal." The Chickasaws are presented primarily as warriors, "unconquered and unconquerable," though the nation's commitment in recent years to services for its people is addressed. The captions and commentary could be considerably more informative—Nelson dismisses a 1737 French map annotation as "a condescending slur" without translation or further explanation. Map dimensions are seldom noted, and if there is no scale legend on the map, none is supplied. Nelson adopts the first-person plural, and his tone is somewhat informal. Accusation sometimes replaces context or analysis that might enlighten those unfamiliar with the topic.
VERDICT This atlas will undoubtedly be of great interest to those with a solid grounding in the subject, but other readers, though attracted by the maps, may be deprived of full understanding of the history reflected here.

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