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Release: Immediate

Potawatomi ethnohistory records tribe's historical, cultural, social changes

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The history of the Potawatomi Indians' migration across the Midwest, their settling across the United States, and their cultural and social changes have been preserved in James Clifton's expanded anthology "The Prairie People," published by the University of Iowa Press.

A "tour de forceA significant feature of his absorbing account of the prairie band is that Clifton has virtually written a history of the clashes between French, British and American interests," says "Choice" magazine.

Originally published in 1977, "The Prairie People: Continuity and Change in Potawatomi Culture, 1665-1965," includes stories from the author's personal 36 years of encounters with the tribe that moved to the Iowa Territory in 1838, now most popularly located in the Kansas prairie.

Clifton presents the Potawatomi tribal experience through the centuries based on scholarly history and research of more than 300 treaties the tribe negotiated since it originally migrated from the Great Lakes area. The anthology, or ethnohistory, is also based on personal interviews and records maintained at various state historical archives and records kept at several Midwest universities.

Clifton uses time frame narratives to detail events throughout the tribe's history, including its origination and subsequent migrations as they were ushered west of the Mississippi River during the 12-year Indian Removal Period. Clifton painstakingly records the tribe's struggle to maintain cohesiveness amid internal divisiveness, the tribe's reservation experience and their entry into what Clifton calls "the modern world." "The Prairie People" is regarded as the most comprehensively written anthology about the country's indigenous peoples.

The 528-page expanded edition of "The Prairie People: Continuity and Change in Potawatomi Indian Culture, 1665-1965," ISBN 0-87745-644-5, is available in bookstores or for $24.95 or by calling the UI Press (773)-568-1550.