ies, Fan’s about the Blackfeet andnShkilnyk’s about the Ojibwa, shows usnsomething about cultural change andnsurvival. The two authors, one a historiannand the other a regional planner,nhold two very different views of whatnconstitutes the essential core of traditionalnculture, how fragile is that core,nwhat are the dynamics of culturalnchange, and what is necessary for “culturalnsurvival.” In response to Farr’sncentral question—“How much couldnIndian people change and yet remainnessentially Indian?”—the two authorsndiffer, and it is in those differences thatnwe can find the issues for a broaderndiscussion of authenticity, tradition,nand modernization.nFarr’s text is the briefer and simpler,nin part because he and his collaborator,nhigh school teacher GarynSchmautz, believe that the photographsnthey hunted down speak directlynto us, showing “the world of thenreservation honestiy, without distortingnthe recorded reality through thenprism of language or culture.” Farrnadmits there are limitations in thenassortment of photographs that survivedn(limitation such as the fact thatnalmost all the photographers werenwhite), but he confidentiy asserts thatnthe photographs show us in the tinyndetails of a facial expression or of anmodern item placed among the traditionalnartifacts the story of “Blackfeetnpeople trying to cope with their changingnworld as Blackfeet.”nThe brief chapters and extensivencaptions for the photographs relate thenessentials of the history of these uppernGreat Plains people. The Blackfeetnreally were four closely related tribesnsharing a common language and similarncustoms and religious beliefs. Thenbuffalo was crucial to the Blackfeet,nnot only for their material and spiritualnsustenance but also after 1830 for theirndealings with American whitesnthrough the buffalo robe trade. Thenfirst government treaty with the Blackfeetnin 1855 followed the familiar pattern,nestablishing agriculture and reservationnschools as the twin agents forncivilizing and Christianizing the nativenpeople. The demise of the buffalonafter 1880 sealed the fate of the Blackfeet,nand those who survived the “StarvationnWinter of 1883-84” proceedednin 1887 and again in 1895 to sell vastntracts of their Montana land in ex­nchange for cash that the white financialncustodians “stole, swindled, ornwasted away.”nThe Blackfeet never recovered economically,nand after 1900 they are notnmuch more than victims of white disagreementsnover what would be the bestneconomic course for the Indians,nfarming or cattie ranching. Those advocatingnranching as the road to selfsufficiencyneventually lost to those whonsaw farming as the best way to modernizenthe Blackfeet, but neither experimentnworked. By 1920 two-thirds ofnthe reservation population was on governmentnrations. Although Farr doesnnot go into the details of the laternperiod, the reader assumes that notnmuch has changed for the Blackfeet,nthat they are still bound in a pattern ofndependency.nFarr may have been seduced by thenvisual nature of his evidence, but fornwhatever reason, he believes thatn”white modernity arrived via a successionnof small and seemingly insignificantnthings.” Farr reads in the appearancenof boots, sewing machines, clothncoats, and a hundred other materialnthings the gradual adoption of modernncivilization. Given the choice betweenntwo interpretations of this evidence,none seeing a conversion to white waysnand the other seeing a realistic adaptationnof white means to Indian ends.nFair chooses the latter. The Blackfeetn”ingeniously converted white practicesnto Indian sensibility,” he insists.n”There is continuity, to be sure, but itnis deeper, more private, and moreninterior.”nIn a two-page “epilogue” Farr bringsnthe story to the present. The youngnBlackfeet more rapidly abandon thenreservation and their “home world”;nthey marry outside the group; theynbecome more fully Americanized.nYet, says Farr, they remain Blackfeet atnsome private, interior core. Unfortunately,nwe have only Farr’s word onnthat, and these last two pages are fillednwith the too-familiar romantic generalizationsnand views of “authenticity”nthat really beg his quite sensible initialnquestion: How much and what sort ofnchange makes a culture fundamentallyndifferent?nThe strength of Shkilnyk’s excellentnbook is that she does not beg thencentral question. Taking a leave ofn^^’g.^giSl-^^nPOETKY lOURNALnPlains Poetry Journal is like North Dakota: a well-kept secret. Traditionalnpoetic conventions forged into vigorous, compelling new poetry. We’renwhat you despaired of finding! Sample for $3.50; heartening manifesto fornSASE. Plains Poetry Journal, P.O. Box 2337, Bismarck, ND 58502.nnnMAY 1986/25n