Buffalo Commons, Cather, 1837 treaty in Great Plains Studies

Released on 09/08/2005, at 12:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., September 8th, 2005 —

In 1987, Frank and Deborah Popper first offered their Buffalo Commons proposal that large parts of the Great Plains should be returned to the buffalo. In a new study published in the summer issue of Great Plains Quarterly, Amanda Rees, assistant professor of history at Columbus State University in Georgia explores the responses of Plains residents to that proposal.

Rees interviewed the Poppers to see how their vision for a Buffalo Commons evolved over the years. She also looked at media coverage to see how the Poppers' work was articulated to the general public, and interviewed residents of one plains community about their viewpoints of the proposal. Many had negative reactions, but some were familiar with the changing nature of the Poppers' ideas.

In an article about Willa Cather's "O Pioneers!" Maire Mullins, associate professor of English at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., wrote about the erotic power revealed in the dreams of Alexandra Bergson. Mullins says two factors that support the importance of those dreams are the Homestead Act of 1862 and the choice of Alexandra as head of the family.

In a third article, Linda M. Clemmons, assistant professor of history at Illinois State University in Normal, wrote about the important and controversial interpretations of the Treaty of 1827 between the Dakota and the federal government. According to Clemmons, the Dakota believed the treaty had unresolved conflicts that affected later treaties.

Clemmons wrote, "The Treaty of 1827, negotiated between the Mdewakanton bank of Dakota and the federal government, serves as an excellent case study in how Native recollections of events and the historical record clash."

Great Plains Quarterly is edited by Charles A. Braithwaite and published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The journal may be purchased at Nebraska Bookstore, in the Great Plains Art Museum gift shop at 1155 Q St., or by calling the center at (402) 472-3082.

Contact: Charles Braithwaite, Editor, Great Plains Quarterly, (402) 472-6178