Books Talks on Native Americans.

Provided by Joseph (Joe) L. Bass, EdD (

Below are three book talks that can be provided to any book club in the southeastern tidewater area of Virginia. These are provided without charge by ABetterSociety.Info, Inc. a non-profit dedicated to communicating information that can be used to improve society.

Book club members should understand and know in advance that these talks communicate real information about hunter-gatherer Native Americans peoples. They do not communicate the popular myths commonly associated with “Hollywood Indians” or the Noble Savage concepts developed by unknowing European scholars beginning in the 17th century. (See The movie Dances with Wolves is an example of a movie that is a fictionalization of real native people and their lives:  Comanche War Chief Quanah Parker and his Caucasian mother Cynthia Ann Parker. To improve society it is necessary for people to know and understand real societies not the fictional ones.

Sharing this information with other book clubs is encouraged.

Native People in Eastern Virginia

 The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture, Helen C Roundtree, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1988, ISBN 0-8061-2455-5

 The Powhatan Indians of Pocahontas’s People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries, Helen C. Roundtree, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1990, ISBN 0-8061-2849-6

 Helen Roundtree is a retired full professor of Anthropology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She is widely acknowledged as the leading researcher and writer on Virginia Indians and one of the leading researchers on East Coast tribes.

 The first book listed above deals with the culture of the Powhatans at first contact with the English in 1607. These were Algonquin-speaking natives lead by a chief known at Powhatan. He was the head of a “chiefdom,” not a “confederation” as is often incorrectly stated. His chiefdom included tribal groups east of the “falls line” and north and south from what we know as the Virginia/North Carolina border to the Great Falls of the Potomac in the Washington, D.C. area.

The second book deals with the same tribal groups from 1607 up to more recent times.




Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, S. C. Gwynne, Scribner, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4165-9-6

 S. C. Gwynne is a Texas journalist. His book focuses on the early Anglo settlement of Texas and the extended conflict between the Comanche and Anglos over land and other resources. There is emphasis on the lives of Quanah Parker, a “half-breed” Comanche war chief and his mother, Cynthia Ann Parker, an Anglo that was captured by a Comanche war party when a child and raised into adulthood to be culturally Comanche. It also tells the story of Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie, the military commander that successfully committed the genocide of most Comanche, subjugating the living survivors that eventually surrendered to Anglo rule on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma. (Note: We remember the defeated and killed Lieutenant Colonel Custer but forget the victor of the genocide.) The Hollywood style fictional movie is loosely based on Quanah Parker and his mother Cynthia Ann Parker.


 My Indian Boyhood: Who Was the Boy OTA K’TE (Plenty Kill), Luther Standing Bear, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Originally 1931, A New Edition, First Printing by First Bison Books 1988, ISBN 978-0-8032-9334-2

 My People, the Sioux, Luther Standing Bear, originally published in 1928, recently published in 2017, ISBN 97815495494328

 Land of the Spotted Eagle, originally published in 1933, Nebraska Press, Lincoln, New Edition First Printing by First Bison Books 1978 ISBN 978-0-8032-9333-5

 Luther Standing Bear’s life bridged the time between his boyhood living as a Sioux in a native culture during the subjugation of the Plains tribes in the late 19th century and the reservation era. The only part of his native upbringing he missed was going on the warpath against the Pawnee. He grew up the Sioux way and participated in a buffalo hunt on horseback using bow and arrow. But he was in the first class at the Carlisle Indian School, a federal effort to make the culturally native people to accept Anglo culture.. Later he was a “Hollywood Indian” in the movies and a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

 © Joseph L. Bass, EdD, May 2020