Tendoy Essay - Critical Essays

David L. Crowder


In constructing his book, Crowder has pieced together many lengthy quotations from various sources and authorities that, though well selected, sometimes impair the flow of the narrative. Nevertheless, their inclusion may be taken as evidence of Crowder’s passion for faithfulness to his sources and accuracy in reporting that which is reliable.

In his preface, Crowder states that the Native Americans who have been immortalized in literature are noted primarily for their fighting ability or for their ability as military strategists. This status has been acquired in their many wars against white soldiers. Crowder’s objective in writing Tendoy, however, was to portray the life of a Native American leader whose greatness was based on his contributions toward promoting peaceful relations, and even friendship, between Native Americans and whites. In so doing, Crowder hoped “to add another chapter to the wealth of literature concerning Indians and their response to the encroachment of the white man upon their primordial domain.”

Crowder does not deviate from his objective in any of his chapters. The life of Tendoy unfolds as a unique example of leadership among the tribal leaders of the Idaho-Montana region. It is a life which is portrayed as one of extraordinary conciliation toward white people. Crowder constantly reminds his readers that an unusual degree of felicity existed between the white population and the Lemhi precisely because of the efforts of Chief Tendoy.

Clearly, Crowder...

(The entire section is 626 words.)