Gary Clayton Anderson

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Gary Clayton Anderson
Born (1948-04-02) April 2, 1948 (age 69)
Residence Norman
Cleveland County
Oklahoma, USA
Alma mater

Concordia College
University of South Dakota

University of Toledo
Occupation Historian
Professor at University of Oklahoma
Spouse(s) Laura Lee Anderson
Children Kari Anderson Harding, Evan Anderson, John Anderson

Gary Clayton Anderson (born April 2, 1948) is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Oklahoma, known for his specialization in the American Indians of the Great Plains and the Southwest.


Anderson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He received his Master of Arts from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota. Anderson procured his Ph.D. from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.[1] From 1981 to 1991 Anderson was a member of the history faculty at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

In 2010, Anderson is working on a forthcoming book on native Oklahoman Will Rogers, the "Cowboy Philosopher" and humorist who perished with aviator Wiley Post in an airplane crash in 1935 near Point Barrow, Alaska. Anderson is also engaged in a study of the Great Plains Wars from 1830 to 1890, culminating with the Massacre of Wounded Knee in South Dakota.[2]


The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land[edit]

Anderson's most recent book is The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1830-1875, published in 2005 by the University of Oklahoma Press. The book repudiates traditional historians, such as Walter Prescott Webb and Rupert N. Richardson, who viewed the settlement of Texas by the displacement of the native populations as a healthful and inevitable development. Anderson writes that at the time of the outbreak of the American Civil War, when the Texas population was nearly 600,000, the still new state was "a very violent place. . . . Texans mostly blamed Indians for the violence -- an unfair indictment, since a series of terrible droughts had virtually incapacitated the Plains Indians, making them incapable of extended warfare."[3] The Conquest of Texas was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Anderson lectures across the country, including an appearance at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the theme that the displacement of the American Indians constituted ethnic cleansing, a term that had appeared on the international scene in the middle 1990s with the American intervention in Kosovo.[1][3]

Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood[edit]

Anderson's Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood is a revisionist examination of the Lakota Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull. Anderson stresses the Battle of the Little Big Horn not so much as a mishap by Colonel George Armstrong Custer but in terms of the past successes of the Lakota Nation and the merit of Sitting Bull himself.[4]

Kinsman of Another Kind[edit]

Another Anderson work is Kinsman of Another Kind: Dakota-White Relations in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1650-1862.[2] Anderson is considered the first scholar to employ an ethnohistorical approach to his discipline.[5] He finds that originally the Dakota developed a friendly kinship with whites, some of whom intermarried with the tribe. As economic conditions worsened and the whites defrauded the Indians of their property and possessions, the Dakotas or Eastern Sioux began to view the whites as enemies who must be driven from Minnesota.[5]

The Indian Southwest[edit]

Anderson's The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830: Ethnogenesis and Cultural Reinvention, was awarded a prize by the San Antonio Conservation Society in San Antonio, Texas. The work notes that the native tribes overcame conquest, drought, and disease. Many Indians became prosperous despite the odds they faced. Some of tribes joined Spanish missions, and others assimilated with other native peoples. The Indians also developed significant economic systems which continue in essence for three centuries afterwards.[6]

Little Crow[edit]

Anderson also has written a book on the Sioux chief Little Crow, entitled Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux, published in 1986 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.[7] A contributor to New Mexico Historical Review calls Little Crow a "major contribution to our understanding of an Indian tribe that profoundly influenced the course of history in the upper Mississippi Valley, partly at least through the personal role played by its most famous leader."[7]

Still another Anderson work is Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862, an anthology of thirty-six essays of the Indians' experiences in a conflict previously known only from the viewpoint of the victorious white culture.[8]

Power and Promise: The Changing American West[edit]

Anderson is co-author with Kathleen P. Chamberlain of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, of the textbook, Power and Promise: The Changing American West. A reviewer describes the book, accordingly, "An in-depth look at the United States west of the Mississippi, the narrative combines a strong chronology with a region-by-region analysis to show how different areas have transformed in terms of population, economic status, and urban development. . . . Detailed and comprehensive coverage of Native Americans appears throughout the text . . . "[9] The textbook also examines the myths of the American West of the popular imagination through films, literature, and culture.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Inside Augsburg". Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Gary Anderson, Professor United States history". University of Oklahoma. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Gary Clayton (2005). The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1830-1875. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 9 (quotation). ISBN 0-8061-3698-7. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Gary Clayton. Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-321-42192-0. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Anderson, Gary Clayton (15 September 1997). Kinsman of Another Kind: Dakota-White Relations in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-87351-353-1. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ Anderson, Gary Clayton (28 January 1999). The Indian Southwest 1580-1830. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-4067-4. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Anderson, Gary Clayton (1986). Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87351-196-4. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Gary Clayton (15 May 1988). Through Dakota Eyes: Narrative Accounts of the Minnesota Indian War of 1862. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-87351-216-9. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Anderson, Gary Clayton. Power and Promise: the Changing American West. Longman Publishers. ISBN 0-321-08062-9. Retrieved October 23, 2010.